This is a common time of year to reassess the roof, especially if you are thinking of selling your house. If you need a roofer, follow these 10 steps to make sure you find a good one!
Finding a Good Roofer
Ask at least three different companies to submit proposals. Learn what you can from each person who looks at your roof, and ask questions. Take time to make an informed decision. Pay careful attention to what each roofer recommends.
Don’t jump at the lowest bidder. If all bids for your roof are within 20 percent of each other, the low bid might be okay. Compare what each roofer is offering, and watch out for hidden costs or extras.
Make certain the company is properly registered and insured. Ask the roofer for his contractor’s registration number, which means he has legal credentials to operate in your state.
Do not consider anything but a proposal in writing. Ask the roofer if he has given you an estimate or a bid. An estimate is the roofer’s best guess on what a job will cost. It is given when much of the work that needs to be done is unable to be seen or measured. A bid is a fixed amount of money to do the job, an agreement that the job will be done for an agreed-upon price.
Ask when payment is due. Some roofers want a percentage up front, before they begin the job. Others request the full amount to be paid within ten to 30 days after completion.
Find out when the job will begin and end. Ask what you can do to get ready. Will the roofer clean up when he’s finished? How? (If clean-up is not included in the contract, ask to add it in, a contingency of payment.)
If you’re replacing a roof, ask the roofer how many layers are already up there. (He can usually tell easily by making a small cut.) Will he remove the existing old material? After three layers the roofer should strip the roof, check for rot in the wood below, insulate and then reroof. A good roofer isn’t afraid to do this.
Most roofing materials are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Some roofing materials are designed for special applications, such as high wind, heavy snowfall, or salt-water exposure. Ask your roofer how each of these apply in your situation and what warranty will come with the material you chose.
The most frequent causes of roof deterioration are inadequate venting and poor flashing. Find out how the roofer plans to deal with these areas. If you don’t see it in his proposal, ask about it.
The best time to have a chimney repaired is just before the installation of a new roof. Ask the roofer about your chimney. If it needs repair, he should be able to recommend a mason and coordinate the work.