Roof repair, especially roof replacement, is expensive. The right roofing company will do a professional job at a fair price, provide a roof that should protect a house and what’s inside it for many years to come, and fix any problems that appear while the warranty is in effect. The wrong roofing company may not do all these things or conceivably any of them, resulting in additional expense well before the homeowner had any reason to expect it.
Given the potential downside, sorting through the available roofing contractors to find the best roofing company for a particular job can seem like a scary proposition. But it doesn’t have to be. Following a few simple guidelines can help you make a sound choice.
Explore Your Options
Even if the first roofing company you talk to seems to be offering a good deal, don’t be in a hurry to sign a contract. It’s a better idea to talk to a number of roofing contractors for a couple different reasons.
You’ll see who best appears to understand your needs and seems like he or she will be easy to work with. This positive feeling is useful information even though it’s no substitute for the “due diligence” recommended below.
Talking to several roofing contractors also gives you a sense of the price range various roofing contractors would charge for your particular job.
Don’t fixate on price and price alone, though. You’ll have a natural tendency to steer clear of bids that seem excessively high, but a price that seems like too much of a bargain can be a red flag as well, suggesting a difference in the quality of what’s being offered that can end up costing you more in the long run.
The Hallmarks of a High Quality Roofing Company
There are several things to check when evaluating a roofing company.
Reputable, professional roofing contractors are licensed and able to provide a minimum of three references attesting to the quality of their work.
They can also furnish proof of workmen’s compensation and liability insurance that will cover the roof repair job in question.
The agent of a professional roofing company will be happy to explain the particulars of a job, contract, and warranties to you and answer any questions you may have.
Finally, a reputable roofing company will never ask a homeowner to pay the entire cost of a roof replacement upfront. Any contract containing such a clause is unacceptable and an excellent reason to look elsewhere for someone to do the job.
It is, however, accepted practice for a roofing company to ask for a deposit and a payment schedule based on the work hitting successive benchmarks.
When making such a payment, don’t pay the roofing company in cash. Paying with a credit card makes it more likely that, if things go horribly wrong despite your precautions, it will be possible to get your money back without costly litigation.
Take Care of Your End
Vetting the roofing company is only part of the process. You could still find that the roof replacement process isn’t as trouble-free and generally satisfactory as you hoped it would be if you don’t attend to the aspects that are your responsibility.
Understand the Roofing Company’s Contract and Warranties
Review the contractor and warranties carefully and ask any questions you may have. As mentioned above, the representative of the roofing company should be happy to provide answers.
A proper roofing warranty guarantees all materials and workmanship for a minimum of five years. The roofing itself should be warrantied for 20 to 40 years.
Insurance and Permits
It’s possible that insurance is supposed to cover the cost of roof replacement. To make sure this happens as expected, verify that you’ve followed all the necessary claim procedures and obtained all the required approvals before work begins.
Similarly, make sure the necessary permits, if any, are obtained before the job starts. It’s common for the roofing company to take care of this for the homeowner, but if not, you’ll need to attend to it yourself.