A new roof installation is among the biggest and most expensive home improvement projects you can undertake as a homeowner. So how do you choose the best roofer when you’re practically swimming in a sea of prospects? There are some things to keep in mind.
Call several roofers.
By talking to at least three or four roofers, you will be able to identify an honest and reasonable price range. If anyone makes a remarkably low or high bid, you should be suspicious. Of course, this is also an opportunity to know how well you’ll go along with different roofers. A roof installation is not done overnight, and the last thing you want is to feel stuck with people you’re not happy working with. Don’t worry there are many contractors who are both competent and likable.
Know the contractor’s credentials.
You’d like to know as much as possible about the credentials of your prospective roofers. First off, they should be licensed and willing to provide at least three client references who can help you verify the quality of their work. If possible, do a drive-by inspection of a few of their older projects (at least 5 years back.
By all means, they should be insured with both liability and workman’s compensation coverage, sparing you from liabilities in case of property damage (on your property or a neighbor’s) or worker injuries.
Review the contract closely, especially on warranties.
Obvious but worth repeating every time: never sign a contract you haven’t reviewed to the letter. Don’t worry, a professional contractor won’t mind, knowing that this is your right and, in fact, your job as a responsible consumer. Also, if you find certain parts confusing, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good contractors will be happy to answer. One part you should be very careful with is warranties. All materials and workmanship should be covered for at least five years, and the roof itself for a minimum of 20 years.
Don’t pay off the job until it’s finished and you’re completely satisfied.
This is the rule for all big projects. If a contractor is demanding you pay the full cost upfront, get another another roofer. Certainly, they will ask you to pay a deposit and follow a payment schedule, all within reason, but avoid paying cash. Using a credit card will give you the chance to recover your money in a worst-case scenario sans expensive litigation.
Cover your basics.
Lastly, ask your roofer if a permit is necessary (good thing most contractors will take care of this themselves). When filing a claim on your roof, follow all necessary procedures and obtain all required approvals before starting work on your new roof.