Men working on roof

Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Before investing your money in a new roof it is wise to invest your time investigating local roofing contractors. This will help guarantee that you get a great roof replacement installed properly by knowledgeable roofing contractors. Roofing contractors are not all created equal. Taking the time to select a professional roofing contractor will save you money (and headaches) in the long run.

The NRCA recommends several simple steps when screening potential roofing contractors:

  1.  Determine an actual, permanent place of business, telephone number, and tax identification number. If applicable, check for a business license as well.
  1. Ask potential roofing contractors for proof of insurance. Make sure the contractor has adequate workers’ compensation insurance based on the requirements of your states law and ask to see valid copies of both liability coverage and workers’ compensation certificates. You should ensure that your roofing contractors insurance will remain in effect for the duration of the job to avoid possible litigation involving uninsured roofing contractors. This will also protect against any potential personal liability for accidents which occur on your property during roof replacement.
  1. Some states have specific licensing requirements for roofing contractors. You should look to your state’s Department of Professional Regulation or Licensing Board to find this information and ensure that your roofing contractor is properly licensed or bonded.
  1. Verify the financial stability of your roofing contractor. Professional roofing contractors will be able to provide current financial information about their company upon request.
  1. Make sure the roofing contractor provides you with a written proposal. Your replacement roof estimate should be highly detailed and should provide a clear description of all work and specifications. It is also advisable to have written documentation of approximate project start date, project duration and required payment procedures.
  1. Request a list of past clients and completed roofing projects and take the time to check references. Calling your roofing contractor’s past clients and asking if they were satisfied with their replacement roof is a highly effective way to guarantee you choose a quality roofing contractor to handle your roof installation.
  1. Ask for a list of the roofing manufactures your roofing contractor is licensed or approved to install. This will help confirm that your roofing contractor has the credentials needed to properly install your new roof. Select a contractor with experience installing the type of roof you require. This is especially important with specialty roofing materials, such as slate roofing, which require a specific skill set and special tools for proper roof installation.
  1. Find out how your roofing contractor runs jobs. Ask for the name of the person that will specifically oversee your roof installation. Find out how many workers will be on site during the roof replacement and ask for an estimate on how long the project will take.
  1. Ask your roofing contractor to explain their quality-control procedures as well as their safety procedures. Make sure you feel confident in the professionalism of your roofing contractor and the knowledge and abilities of the workers who will actually install your new roof. A roofing contractor who is committed to the safety and training of his roofers likely possesses a high level of professionalism.
  1. Ask your roofing contractor about membership in regional and national industry standard associations. Membership in organizations (like the NRCA) indicates a dedication to upholding industry standards and professionalism.
  1. Make a call to the Better Business Bureau or Department of Professional Regulation to inquire about any complaints filed against potential roofing contractors.
  1. Roofing contractors offer warranties on replacement roofs. Take the time to carefully read the warranty terms and be sure you understand provisions that may void the warranty. Ask questions of your roofing contractor to make sure you fully understand all warranty provisions. For example, will mounting a satellite dish to one area of the roof void the warranty on the whole roof?
  1. Ask potential roofing contractors to include a Roofing Qualification Statement along with their work proposal. This form will provide you with written information about the contractors’ work in progress, finances, references, companies and insurance.
  1. Inquire as to the types of long-term relationship to guarantee roof maintenance offered by your contractor. Properly maintaining a roof system can significantly extend it’s useful life.

Exercise due diligence and learn about roofing options from several local roofing contractors. It is important to choose a contractor who is knowledgeable not only about your desired roofing materials but also about other structural aspects that can impact the lifespan and integrity of your roof. Proper ventilation and insulation are essential to ensure the protection of your new roof so make sure your contractor is knowledgeable about properly ventilating and insulating your attic space when installing your new roof.

If a roof isn’t properly ventilated it’s useful life will be cut short as moisture and heat can build up in certain areas, such as attics. Louvres, ridge vents and soffit vents should never be obstructed as doing so can result in moisture damage. This results in rotting sheathing and rafters, buckling shingles, and eventually heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter as insulation loses its effectiveness.

Ideally your attic should contain one gap-free layer of insulation on the floor with a vapor retarder underneath the insulation and next to the ceiling to prevent household moisture from rising into the attic-space. There should also be plenty of open space to facilitate the free flow of air; there should be a minimum of 1” of space between the insulation and roof sheathing.

A qualified roofing contractor will consider factors such as exposure to sun and shade, area humidity, and geographic location when determining the optimal way to properly ventilate and insulate your roof. As a general rule the NRCA recommends a minimum of 1 square foot of free vent space for every 150 square feet of attic floor, along with vents placed proportionately at eaves, soffits, and near the ridge.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has established guidelines to assist consumers in evaluating roofing contractors. By following these guidelines you can rest assured that you are on the way to choosing a high quality roof system at a competitive price by an experienced roof installation professional.

Once you’ve found a few reliable professional roofers, ask for estimates and compare them against each other. Use judgment and consider factors such as quality of workmanship, amount of experience and level of professionalism, in addition to cost. Remember that the low bid which seems “too good to be true” probably is. Selecting a roofing installer based solely on price will likely leave you with a sub-par installation and subsequent roof problems, voided warranty, and even interior damage to your home and attic space.

Taking the proper steps before choosing a roofing contractor will help ensure enjoyment of a high quality, properly installed replacement roof for years to come.

When purchasing a new roof or considering installation of a replacement roof choosing a qualified roofing contractor is very important. Spending a bit of time learning how to properly evaluate roofing contractors is a critical step to take when considering roof replacement.