A new roof installation is among the biggest and most expensive home improvement projects you can undertake as a homeowner. So how do you pick the right roofer with the sea of options you have? There are some things to keep in mind.
Call several roofers.
Talking to no less than three or four roofers will give you an honest and reasonable price range. If anyone makes a remarkably low or high bid, you should be suspicious. Of course, this is a perfect chance to get a feel of your chemistry or rapport with different contractors. This project won’t be done overnight, and you don’t want to feel stuck with people you don’t feel good around. Don’t worry – it’s easy to find roofers who are both competent and likable.
Research the roofer’s credentials.
When considering a certain roofer, make sure you research their credentials. First, they should have a license and be willing to give you at least three client references you can talk to about their work. You can even do a drive-by inspection of their past projects, preferably those from about five years back.
By all means, they should be insured with both liability and workman’s compensation coverage, sparing you from liabilities in case of property damage (on your property or a neighbor’s) or worker injuries.
Review the contract closely, especially on warranties.
Sounds obvious but worth the repeat as always – don’t sign a contract unless you’ve reviewed it closely. Don’t worry, a professional contractor won’t mind, knowing that this is your right and, in fact, your job as a responsible consumer. Also, if certain parts seem vague or confusing, go right ahead and ask questions. Good contractors are always eager to provide answers. One part you should be very particular about is warranties. Make sure you get at least five years for all materials and workmanship, and about 20 to 40 years for the roof itself.
Don’t pay off the job until it’s finished and you’re completely satisfied.
This rule is one for all large projects. If your prospective contractor wants you to pay the full quote upfront, look for another roofer. Certainly, they will ask you to pay a deposit and follow a payment schedule, all within reason, but avoid paying cash. In a worst-case scenario, your credit card will let you recover your money without spending a fortune on litigation.
Don’t forget the basics.
Lastly, ask your roofer if a permit is necessary (good thing most contractors will take care of this themselves). If you’re filing a claim on your roof, be sure to follow prescribed procedures and get all necessary approvals before getting started with your new roof.