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Roof replacement primer

A roof replacement project can be an intimidating, expensive home improvement or home repair undertaking. There are lots of things to consider when replacing a roof, such as which material is right for your home, what questions to ask a roofing contractor and what goes into a roofing agreement.

After you’ve evaluated the roofing material options — asphalt, wood, synthetic, clay/concrete or slate, or metal roofs — it’s time to further investigate your potential contractor. Start with essential questions that help you learn more about them, their past experience and their approach to roof replacement jobs.

  1. What’s your official company name and physical address? A P.O. box serving as a physical address may be a red flag as it may indicate a lack of permanence or a fly-by-night operation.
  2. Do you have workmen’s compensation and liability insurance? The former protects you if a roofing company employee is injured while on the job; the latter provides coverage should damage occur to your property while work is being completed. Ask for a copy of the policy declarations page as proof of the coverage.
  3. Will you do the work or will you subcontract it? Using a subcontractor is not uncommon; however, if one is used, ask for a lien waiver, which protects you if the subcontractor is not paid.
  4. Do you have a current license in my state, and do you have any outstanding violations? Be sure to verify the information if you are uncomfortable with the answers. Ask for a copy of the license.
  5. Do you have references to share?
  6. How long is your warranty? The bare minimum from a roofer is typically a year. The materials should have a separate warranty; the minimum is typically about 25 years.
  7. Who will monitor the job on-site?
  8. Does the material selection require any special additional work, such as framing?
  9. Does the roof material meet local codes, including fire regulations?
After you’ve selected a contractor, you should receive a written roof replacement agreement. It should address these 8 things:
  • A detailed, written estimate that clearly states the quantity of materials needed and labor charges. This should include the description of work to be done and the price.
  • Removal of the old roof. That’s the only way to check that the underlying structure doesn’t have any issues.
  • Plywood sheeting. This goes under the shingles.
  • Edging. Where a roof meets the edge of a home — say, against a chimney — is a possible source of leakage. Metal or drip edging used in these key spots directs moisture toward gutters.
  • Gutter protection. This should indicate that any damage done to the existing gutters will be repaired or replaced. Typically, this occurs with the use of ladder stabilizers.
  • Landscaping protection. For example, ask what happens if one of their trucks creates ruts in the yard.
  • Refuse collection and removal.
  • Home protection during construction in case of rain and wind.
  • Work specification including approximate start and completion dates and payment procedures.

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