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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do you have references to share?
- 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.
- Who will monitor the job on-site?
- Does the material selection require any special additional work, such as framing?
- Does the roof material meet local codes, including fire regulations?
- 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.