Does your roof have more than a few bald spots? Perhaps it’s time you consider having a new roof installed. However, before you begin googling contractors near you, you should know the process is in no way as simple as finding a pizzeria. Roof installation is a serious job, and it can be quite expensive. We’ve put together some of the most essential questions to ask a contractor before you decide to have your roof fixed.

Question 1: Can I have a detailed, written estimate?

Ideal Response: Yes.

Why It’s Important:
Most of us are used to skimming 15 pages of legal jargon before signing a contract. Usually, there’s not much at stake. However, in some cases, it’s important to read the bold and small print to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
Your estimate should include removal fees, new roof installation fees and any additional work that comes up along the way. Some work can’t be predicted, but the contractor can still document everything as he or she goes. Sign the contract only when you feel comfortable that all work has been disclosed.

Question 2: Are you licensed in my county?

Ideal Response: Yes.

Why It’s Important:
It’s a no brainer. Doing business with an unlicensed roofing contractor leaves you vulnerable to faulty work and overpricing. Each state has specific codes to follow, so don’t assume someone licensed in New Mexico is also licensed in Texas.
You should do your own research to find out if contractors must be licensed in your state and what regulations the contractor has to follow.

Question 3: Do you have a workman’s comp insurance plan?

Ideal Response: Yep.

Why It’s Important:
You’d expect any responsible business owner to insure all employees, especially when it comes to manual labor jobs. However, insurance gets expensive. Therefore, some contractors just don’t have it. If an accident occurs, no insurance is forking over the money, so they will turn to you know who for bills, pain and suffering. If you decide to hire a contractor who works for a company who slacks on insurance, expect to pay out a pretty penny in the case of an accident. That’s why you should just ask upfront.

Question 4: Will you be installing edge metal ?

Ideal Response: Yes.

Why It’s Important:
If you want a drip edge, you’ve got to ask for it. Although it’s an essential part of the roof installation process, your contractors will probably skip it. This step prevents unpleasant issues associated with water damage. It prevents water from flowing behind the gutters where there’s wood and fascia. Instead, it helps keep water flowing into the gutters. You already have a roof to replace. The last thing you need is a faulty new one.

Question 5: What’s your protocol in the case of inclement weather?

Ideal Response: I’ll use plastic covers or tarp to cover the job to make sure everything underneath stays dry.

Why It’s Important:
Even if you live in Cupertino or some other single season climate, weather conditions sometimes deter work progress. Furthermore, weather predictions aren’t always accurate. If it should rain while the contractor is in the middle of the job, he or she should be prepared to cover it.
Also, you should ask if the contractor will come out to make sure the covering is intact if inclement weather persists for a few days. If you get a weird look when asking this, perhaps there’s a contractor better suited for you elsewhere.

Question 6: How much would I have to pay if you find rotten or soft decking?

Ideal Response: A specific dollar amount per each plywood sheet

Why It’s Important:
There are good surprises, and there are bad ones. Getting a bill that’s much higher than your estimate only adds to the dread of having to pay a thousand dollars or more for a new roof. But you can prevent an unexpected spike in the cost by asking for an estimate in the event that the plywood needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, many contractors omit this part when presenting you an estimate. So, be sure to ask before signing and agreeing for the work to be done.

Question 7: Do you have a general liability insurance plan?

Ideal Response: Yes.

Why It’s Important:
As opposed to workman’s comp insurance, general liability insurance covers your property. There have been real cases in which a house was damaged due to a contractor’s negligence. Some accidents are, but not limited to, house fires, exterior and interior damage and even personal injuries.
If such damage occurs without general liability insurance, you could be stuck paying for the contractor’s damage. Much worse, you may end up in court trying to collect money for the damage.
Don’t simply take “yes” for an answer. Ask to see a copy of the documents that list you and your property as an additional insured.

Question 8: Will you use roof standoffs or stabilizers while installing my roof?

Ideal Response: Yes

Why It’s Important:
So, you’ve got a brand new roof , but now the gutters are looking a bit wobbly and torn. More than likely, your careless contractor is to blame. Whenever someone installs a new roof, stabilizers should be used to protect your gutters from the weight of the extension ladders. If the contractor doesn’t provide a confident “yes” to this question, maybe you should find someone else to do the job.

Question 9:: How do you plan to protect my landscaping during the roof installation process?

Ideal Response: A detailed plan that ensures your landscape will remain recognizable

Why It’s Important:
If you’ve invested time and money in the aesthetics of your yard, you’ll want to ask this question. Yes, you’ll have a nice new roof at the end of the job, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your hard-earned landscaping to get it. The contractor should be ready and willing to tell you where the ladders will go, and how he’ll discard of old plywood, for instance. Furthermore, is the company prepared to pay for any damage from trampling over those newly planted azaleas?

Question 10: How long is the warranty on my new roof?

Ideal Response: At least 25 years

Why It’s Important:
Newer shingles are designed to last a little longer than the traditional versions. However, whether you purchase traditional or conventional shingles, the warranty should be similar for both. It’s at least 25 years.
If your contractor can’t provide you with specifics about the warranty, you should be suspicious. Some contractors only do roof work “on the side” and therefore have no intentions to make repairs without charging more fees. A warranty ensures you don’t have to pay much, if anything, if something goes wrong.

Replacing your roof is a major investment and can be quite intimidating. If something doesn’t go as planned, it could turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare. For these reasons, you should take all possible measures to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor questions. What you don’t ask may haunt you later.

We hope you enjoyed this article and it helps you out a little. Be sure to find more great information in our other blogs as well.

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