By Vickie Sharples, RCS Partner.
Interview your contractor to ensure a successful roof installation.
Having a roof installed is no small project or expense, so you want to make sure you’re working with a professional contractor and that you’re setting yourself up for success. Don’t be shy, have a list of questions, like the ones below, ready to ask your contractor before the project commences.
First, find out if your contractor is legitimate. There are a couple ways to determine this. First, identify if they have a place of business. Many contractors will work out of their homes if they don’t have a large operation, which is ok, but it’s important to find out if they have lived there for more than a week. Second, look up their license. Many contractors are licensed in the state that they do business in, so simply search your state name and “contractor license lookup.” In states where licensing is not required, like Texas, check with the roofing contractors association to see if they offer a voluntary licensing program and review the participating contractors. A long time ago, a contractor told me that he brought old yellow pages to his estimates to show how long he had been in business. While we don’t have yellow pages anymore, Google is a reliable alternative.
Questions to ask:
- How many years of experience do you have?
- How many years in business?
- Any certifications from roofing manufacturers?
- Have you installed any roofs in this area in the last few years? Could I drive past them?
- Have you installed this type of roofing before?
- Are you tearing off the old roof?
- Will you cover it the same day?
- What do you do if we have bad weather?
- Is clean-up included in your bid?
- Will you replace old roof vents?
- Will you be on the project everyday? If not, will I be able to communicate with your installers?
- Are you subcontracting this project?
- Do we need a permit?
- How do we handle change orders?
As with most projects, sometimes there are unforeseen issues. This is also true with roofs. Discuss in advance what happens if any damage is uncovered that wasn’t seen before. When your roof gets torn off, there’s a chance the contractor could find issues that aren’t in the original bid such as wood damage, mold, or animal damage. Be prepared for some possible additional costs.
A great way to verify the quality of the contractor’s installation is by seeing previous work. Ask the contractor if there is a job in progress that you can drive by. If so, see how the jobsite looks and ask the homeowners if this has been a good experience for them. You can even call for a referral on a job that has already been completed and ask about the contractor and the process. Did they have to call the contractor back?
These questions are a great way to start a conversation with your contractor and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding your roof, one of the most important components of your home.