10 Rules of Thumb Every Homeowner Needs to Know When Choosing a Roofing Contractor
When was the last time you thought about your roof or getting a roofing contractor to come out and inspect it?
Unless you currently have a roof leak, the answer is probably never. That’s pretty typical.
You see your front door, your exterior paint and your landscaping every day. Most people focus on these for their weekend chores and repairs.
However, your roof does does the most important job in the whole house … protection.
Your roof is the only thing standing between your family and the elements, and it’s your homes main defense against structural damage, deterioration, property loss and a huge loss in your home’s value.
Especially in this “buyer’s market,” you can’t take any chances with a “minor” roof problem ruining your ability to sell your home when it’s time. Buyers may overlook a squeaky front door, dingy paint job and a shaggy lawn, but any sign of water damage is a huge stop sign. You’ll likely lose the sale by an aware home buyer. (We’ll be happy to give you a free, no-obligation professional roof inspection.)
American Roofing is happy to present you with the following “10 Rules of Thumb in Hiring Roofing Contractors” to help guide your decision process when the time comes for a new roof. These tips are especially important now as we approach storm season and the storm-chasing roofing contractors will soon follow.
Before You Call a Roofing Contractor
1) “Snoop” around. The roofing contractor you choose will perform the same inspection (with a more trained eye of course), and you’ll be better prepared to discuss his findings.
2) Learn a little bit about the roofing business. Get to know what the most common steps in roofing are and which may require special skills. When you understand the basic process of replacing a roof, you’re better equipped to negotiate with your contractor and watch out for both short cuts and unnecessary expenses.
Before you sign a contract with a roofing contractor:
3) Check for insurance – Get the name of the roofing contractor‘s insurance carrier and policy number, and call them to make sure the policy is current, and that it covers the company and its workers. If you allow an uninsured worker on you roof and they get injured, you’re liable.
4) Check certifications – Each state may require different levels of certification for roofing contractors. Some states are very strict, and others require no certification at all. Make sure your roofer is properly certified to do the work by either the National Roofing Contractors Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or any other state or local organization. It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints and how long they’ve been in the business.
5) Check your neighbors – If your friends and neighbors have recently replaced their roof, see who did the work and ask for a review. Every reputable roofing contractor should be able to provide many satisfied references in the Denver, Colorado region, and you should talk to at least one of them.
6) Shop – Take a look at ratings and prices of different roofing products and know what the roofing contractor is going to use so you can lock in a price upfront. Know the work they will do. Find out who will actually do the work.
7) Get it in writing – Sam Goldwyn of MGM fame once said, “a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” He was right. Get your detailed contract in writing including project scope, timeline, materials to be used, who will do the work, contingencies, payment schedule and EXACT COST. Estimating software and training have made it possible for contractors and insurance companies to take the guesswork out of estimating.
8) Permits – Let your roofing contractor get your job permitted. If you pull the permits, then you and not the contractor are responsible for insuring the work is completed to code. In addition, if the roofing contractor holds the permits, the building inspector becomes your advocate and intermediary.
9) Get a lien release – This is an often-overlooked step in the roof replacement process but it can save you a lot of headaches down the road. A lien release protects you in case you pay your roofing contractor for materials … but he fails to pay his suppliers. Most of the roofing contractor nightmare stories involve a knock at the door from a supplier (you’ve never heard of) who is putting a lien on your house for the cost of your shingles.
10) Post work inspection – Let your roofing contractor know from the outset you’ll bring in an independent inspector to declare the job is complete, sound, and up to industry/manufacturer standards before you release final payment.
If the roofing contractors you’re interviewing start squirming when you discuss your “10 rules of roofing,” then they likely aren’t the right roofing company for you. Remember, an uneducated consumer who is only looking for the lowest price is the easiest target for an unscrupulous roofing contractors.
Follow the above “rules”, and you’ll likely have a very happy experience with your roofing contractor.