Find the Right Roofing Contractor With These Tips
Your roof serves some of the most important functions in a home, including protecting you, your family, and your belongings from the elements, and the structure itself. For this reason alone, you should always ensure a professional roofing service handles any work on your roof. The problem is this is easier said than done. To help, here are tips to help you find a reputable residential roofing contractor to hire.
1. Read Through Reviews
One of the best things you can do when considering a residential roofing contractor to hire is to pay attention to what other customers have to say about their experience with them. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2017, almost all customers look up online reviews, reading about seven testimonials before trusting a firm. Reviews posted in reliable places are just as valuable as personal recommendations.
While the roofing industry primarily comprises hardworking and trustworthy individuals, some roofers will say anything, such as they offer affordable roofing services, to win your business. Reading reviews can let you know whether you risk becoming the victim of a scam by working with a particular roofing contractor. Most people who’ve fallen victim to fraudulent roofers do everything they can to warn others about their bad experiences.
Online reviews can also give insight into how a contractor handles conflicts. Most roofers make mistakes and encounter misunderstandings with customers, but professional ones know how to address them appropriately. That’s why it’s normal to see negative reviews even with high ratings.
In fact, always ensure a company has a mix of good and bad reviews. It’s unrealistic for a contractor to only have positive reviews. They may be paying people to leave them on their website.
2. Ask Your Neighbors
Even with the most recent technological advancements, word-of-mouth is one of the surest ways of finding a reputable roofing contractor. While some recommendations are typically harder to find, depending on the services, it’s safe to say almost everyone you know lives under a roof, so you can be sure you’ll find several. Before going online, look around for homes that have recently had roofing work done in your neighborhood.
Reach out to the owners and ask about their experience. Getting a firsthand account or word of caution from someone will give you a more accurate idea of what to anticipate. People you speak with may suggest businesses or individuals, but after receiving honest feedback, you’ll feel a little more confident about your decision.
3. Ask for Warranties
When looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire, prioritize those who provide a warranty on their workmanship. A warranty will protect you from the financial implications of careless or lazy work that results in the need for premature roof repair or replacement. Note that a workmanship warranty doesn’t extend to the roofing materials. It only covers issues related to the installation process.
This implies that your contractor is responsible for making repairs if your roofing materials malfunction due to poor installation. If a roofing contractor isn’t willing to stand behind their work, move on to the next one. Beware that a contractor offering a workmanship warranty doesn’t always guarantee they’ll do the job right. Only hire a contractor with a history of quality installation work and customer service.
4. Ensure They Provide Free Estimates
The thought of repairing a damaged roof or getting a new one can be intimidating, but that doesn’t have to be the case. To determine the best way forward, you’ll first need to put together a list of reputable roofing contractors and request free roof inspections from a couple. Most offer free, no-contact inspections, which take up at least an hour to determine the full scope of the project before providing an estimate.
Whether it’s for the underlayment, decking, shingles, or flashing, estimates should include all materials to be used for the job. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need to tear out all the plywood and replace it with new material, which can cost an arm and leg, but you didn’t account for the material costs in your budget. You should also ensure it includes costs for all repairs so you’re aware of the ‘worst-case scenario’ cost and can plan accordingly.
A local roofing company should be able to tell you when they can start working. They should also know how long the project will take after conducting a thorough assessment of your roof’s condition. Knowing this is useful, especially if you want the job completed by a specific date.
If you receive a free roofing estimate that doesn’t include the cost of obtaining permits for the project, chances are you’re dealing with an amateur roofer. Every city and municipality has building code regulations that roofing contractors must follow, and the cost of all necessary permits should be included in your free estimate.
Another important consideration when looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire is the cost of dumpster rental for the old roofing material and the fees for hauling them away. When talking to previous customers, ask whether a contractor cleans up the job site after completing a project. The last thing you want is to be left with stray nails or other debris.
Remember to check to see if the free roofing estimate specifies when the initial payment and final balance are due. You should also find out if the contractor accepts cash, money orders, checks, or major credit cards.
5. Look for the Materials You Want
Ask the roofers you’re considering about the roofing systems they offer. This will give you an idea of what roofing options are. It’ll also give you an opportunity to go into detail about the more technical matters, like how the system or material in question will perform, especially during extreme weather events.
A residential roofer who offers a variety of asphalt shingle roofing options will give you greater design flexibility. Most homeowners don’t know that asphalt shingles exist in options other than the ones they see around their neighborhood. One good example is the increasingly popular dimensional shingles.
Metal roofing materials such as steel and aluminum are also great options. They’re durable and have great fire resistance capabilities. However, metal roofs are typically more expensive than asphalt shingles.
Natural slate offers a heavy and durable option. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to introduce a luxurious aesthetic to your home’s exterior facade. You can also opt for synthetic slate if you like the look but find the cost too high.
Ceramic and clay tiles are great if you want to achieve the timeless Spanish-style look. They’re rugged and fire-resistant and hold up well in extreme weather conditions. So when looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire, always inquire about their experience working with different roofing materials.
6. Check If They Have Experience
Another important consideration when looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire is experience. You don’t want your new roof to be used as a test case for every roofing contractor. When conducting interviews with the different roofers on your shortlist, ask them how long they’ve actively been in business to determine if they can handle the unique needs of your project. Several homeowners have fallen victim to ‘roofers,’ who close shop shortly after completing a project, only to discover multiple flaws in the installation.
If you find a roofing contractor who’s manufacturer-certified, give them serious consideration. Quality performance can only be achieved when a roofing project meets the relevant industry and manufacturer standards. Ask roofers if their technicians have undergone special training from your preferred roofing material manufacturer.
Reputable manufacturers like CertainTeed, Owens Corning, and GAF have strict certification requirements. This includes a proven track record in the local community. They must also commit to continuous training to ensure the team is up to date with their roofing products’ latest repair, maintenance, and installation techniques.
7. Ensure They’re Local
It may seem like a good idea to go with an out-of-state residential roofing contractor to hire because they have a big brand name, but working with local roofers offers several benefits. For example, with a local business, you can be sure that you’ll be working with people who are knowledgeable about the unique roofing needs of your area. This includes knowing the best time to schedule projects by factoring in the local weather patterns and challenges.
It’s also easier to set up the initial consultation and other meetings with a local roofing business than an out-of-town one since you can just go to their office and speak with them in person. If you hire a firm without a local office or representative, it may take longer for them to respond if you need to make a warranty claim, make an urgent repair, or just have a general question regarding your new roof installation.
If a roofer has been operating in your neighborhood for years, they’re more likely to have built a solid network of local connections and resources. This includes roofing material suppliers and other contractors you may need during installation, including electricians and plumbers. They’ll know which manufacturers produce the best materials for your region and likely have a long-standing relationship with them, potentially allowing them to get the materials at a discount.
8. Look Through Their Portfolio
Seeing the previous work of a roofer will help you determine if they are a great fit for your project. When looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire, prioritize those who provide a portfolio with images of previous work. Look through them, keeping an eye out for projects that are comparable to yours and the customer reviews and ratings.
A portfolio shows that a roofer is proud of the work they’ve done in the past and isn’t afraid of showing property owners what to expect at the conclusion of a project. If a contractor isn’t willing to provide one, you’re better off looking elsewhere. With reputable roofers, you’ll likely come across photos of various roofing projects, such as replacements, repairs, or reroofing, without even asking for them.
If you find a roofer who’s completed some local projects recently, set aside some time to visit these locations in person to assess the quality of their work. You can also use the opportunity to speak with the property owners so you can get more information about the contractor, including how well or badly they treat customers. If they allow, you can also visit a site the roofer is currently working on to observe the crew in action.
9. Ask for Referrals
In your search for roofing businesses to hire, seek referrals from family members and friends who’ve recently had roofing work done on their home or commercial property. Inquire about their experience with their roofer. Besides helping you find reputable roofing companies, it’ll also help you find local ones.
This will help you get the most convenient services, not just for you but also for your contractor. A combination of local reviews and referrals will help you make the best decision for your roofing project.
10. Insurance Coverage
Always ask to see a current certificate of insurance when looking for a residential roofing contractor to hire. Verify that the insurance coverage complies with your standards and the state regulations that apply to the facility and your home. Ensure the insurance is active for the entire duration of the project.
General liability and workman’s compensation are two of the most important coverages to review. A contractor should also have insurance to cover damage to your home, landscaping, or interior belongings. Rates for workers’ compensation should be in compliance with what your state mandates, so be sure to check your state’s latest requirements.
Choosing the right residential roofing contractor to hire can make all the difference for your roofing needs. However, with the increasing number of roofers operating in the United States in 2023, finding one can be challenging. Lucky for you, this read highlights ten tips that’ll help you find the right roofing contractor for your project.