Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors
How to find a good roofer? Here are some questions to ask your prospective contractor. We recommend you interview at least three different companies.
- How long have you been in business? Several years in business is highly desirable.
- Do you have a local permanent office in my city? If you have a problem it's much easier to contact a local office. Be careful of companies coming into your neighborhood after a big storm which have no local office.
- Do you have Certificate of Insurance for General Liability? General Liability is a must, Workers Compensation is a bonus.
- Are you a member of BBB? This is a good sign if they are.
- What type of Guarantee do you offer? Parts and Labor? Should be several years, 5 to 10.
- Are you a certified installer for the shingle manufacturer? To get the manufacturer's warranty the roofer may need to be certified
- Do we get a copy of manufacturer's warranty? You need this in case your contractor goes out of business.
- Do you use your own employees or sub-contractors? Do you augment with day labors? How many on your crew? To finish a large residential roof in a day they need 6-10 workers.
- Materials / Construction
- How many nails do you use per shingle? 4 is common, 6 is perhaps better in windy areas.
- What brand of shingles do you use? 30 yr Architectural is a often a better choice than 20 yr.
- Is the old felt stripped off? Stripping the felt allows better inspection of the plywood base, but the old fasteners may leave a rough surface and cause extra work. Should be in contract which way you want it.
- What weight of felt do you use? 15 lb felt is typical for normal roofs, 30 lb is usually used on steep roofs.
- Do you install new flashings or reuse old ones? (StormGuard is a synthetic material used instead of metal flashings in the valleys.)
- Do you install drip-edges? shiny ones or pre-painted?
- What fasteners do you use? nails or staples? Nails are much better.
- Will our metal pipes be replaced?
- Can you install ridge vents for extra ventilation? If your roof needs extra venting, now is the perfect time to install them.
- Can you finish in a day? It's so much better to finish in a day, so you don't have to worry about rain overnight, although this can be overcome with precautions.
- Will a supervisor be on-site all day? Always good to have a supervisor who can speak your language there all day - except when getting last minute supplies.
- Is it an extra charge if plywood sheets of the current roof need replacing? How many will be replaced free?
- What kind of roof vents?
- How do you handle chimney?
- Will you remove the old shingles from the roof? Make sure the contractor removes the old shingles from the roof. An old practice was to "overlay" - putting new shingles over old shingles, but roofs are not generally designed to carry that extra weight.
- Do we need to get any permits?
- How is the yard cleaned?
- How soon can you replace my roof?
- Will you or subcontractors place a lien on our house? Not a desirable thing.
- How is payment done?
Get everything in writing. Some contractors will try to change things as their workers are removing your shingles.
In Texas, roofers do not need a Texas Contractors License.