Are you new to all things roofing? Or are you a savvy homeowner who has already experienced getting a new roof or roof repairs? Either way, we’ve got a list of 22 questions to ask a roofer you’ve never worked with before.
It’s important to ask these questions, instead of jumping in without first researching a roofer, especially if your roof is in bad condition and you’re stressed.
Before you agree to let a roofer touch a shingle on your roof, ask these questions. A customer service-focused contractor won’t mind that you’re doing your due diligence, so ask away!
We’ve broken up relevant questions into different categories.
General Questions To Ask A Roofer
1. What’s your business name, and how long have you been in business?
Unfortunately there are scammers out there who will take your deposit money and run. While not all roofers are dishonest, you’ll want to research any prospects on your Secretary of State’s website. There, you’ll learn if they’re registered with the state as a legitimate business, where their mailing address/office is, etc.
2. Are you licensed?
Don’t confuse licensure — something a contractor achieves after proving competency by passing exams and meeting certain criteria — with registration or certification. When a roofer is licensed, you have a better chance with legal recourse if something goes wrong.State licensing requirements vary, so make sure you know what licensure roofers in your state are or are not required to have. See a list here.No good contractor will have a problem forwarding you their license or insurance via email. (More on insurance questions below.)
3. Are you local?
This may sound like a strange question to ask, but sometimes roofers travel for work, or they work in areas that they don’t call home. If the contractor offers a PO Box for a mailing address, it’s a sign that he or she may not have a year-round presence in your local area. If your roofing job requires more work from this contractor, you’ll want to know that he or she is nearby and able to return to correct mistakes and finish the job in a timely manner.
4. What kind and how much of insurance coverage do you have?
While you may feel like an interrogator at this point, this is one of the most important topics you should cover with a contractor because it could be your problem later.Research from the CDC shows us that lot of things can go wrong for roofers, whether they are careless or not. When you consider that anything from a random gust of wind to improper use of fall protection equipment can result in a fall that leads to injury or death, the importance of something like current and sufficient insurance coverage is extremely important for contractors.We’ll break down the different types of insurance contractors can purchase and explain why they should matter to you as the customer.
- General liability insurance – If any damage occurs to your property (including your roof, house or anything else that belongs to you), you don’t want to be liable for the repairs.
- Workman’s compensation insurance – If someone on the roofer’s team is injured while on your property and the contractor does not hold the right kind of insurance, you could be required to pay for the injured employee’s medical treatment. Workman’s comp takes care of the medical expenses of someone injured on the job; this greatly reduces your risk of being sued in that scenario.Your state should have clear information regarding how much insurance coverage it requires of roofers. We recommend Googling your state’s requirements ahead of a conversation with roofing providers.
5. Do you employ subcontractors?
All of the above questions related to insurance are relevant to the subcontractors, and you may want to consider getting lien wavers, which help ensure that all involved parties are paid what they earned.
6. Can I call a few of your previous customers? OR Are there any current job sites I can examine your work at?
Any reliable business owner will feel comfortable pointing you toward their customers for testimony.Reviews are your friend, too. We strongly recommend checking the online reviews, on Angie’s List, Home Advisor Google My Business and Yelp, for starters.
7. Will you remove my old roof?
It’s common to add new shingles over an old roof (called a “layover”), thus ignoring the underlying problems of leaks or damage to the roof barrier. This usually does more damage than good in the long run, because without exposing the sheating, you won’t know where the moisture damage has been done.Shingles are heavy. Like, thousands-of-pounds-of-weight-on-your-house heavy. Layovers are a bad idea and especially so for houses in areas that see heavy snowfall in winter; the weight of the old shingles, the new shingles and lots of snow is enough to cause a cave-in, in some cases.
8.Will you install edge metal / drip edge?
Edge metal, AKA drip edge, is aluminum placed under the shingles to draw water to the edge of your roof, where it can drain out through your gutters.
9. How do you calculate your pricing?
Beware of a cost-per-square foot, one-size-fits-all type of answer that doesn’t necessarily cover any unexpected costs related to extra materials or labor needed to finish the job. Experienced and fair roofers will price according to the specifics of your roof (like pitch, for example) and the labor and materials needed. Don’t forget to ask for a written estimate, too, in case you need to reference the original estimate later.
10. How will you handle dead valleys, skylights, chimney crickets, and other protrusions?
Be sure to ask about replacing skylights that are 10+ years old. Ask the roofer how he or she might to fortify your new roof/chimney/skylights against future damage. Snoop around your own roof (as safely as possible).
More questions to ask a roofer (that don’t require an explanation)
11. When will you be able to start, and how long do you expect this job take?
12. Will you inspect my attic and the interior walls of my house for leaks?
13. Will stabilizers be used to protect my gutters from the pressure of ladders?
14. Will you bring a container to gather the waste materials from the job, like nails and old shingles?
15. What is the warranty on my new roof?
16. What training and experience does your crew have?
17. Is a building permit required for my project? Will you pull one, if so?
18. Can you provide proof that the fasteners you’re using are approved for my shingles?
19. How will you handle pipe penetrations?
20. Are there any areas where you will use a seal as opposed to flashing?
21. Do you see any areas of my roof or attic needing more ventilation?
22. How will you perform decking tests?
Pro tip: Google Earth your house to see debris or water build-up on your roof. Look through upper-story windows to get a better glimpse of your roof, too.
Ready with your questions? Call the pros today.
Feeling locked and loaded with the right questions to find your next roofer today? Call us here at Gutterman Services. We provide excellent service to back our answers to your questions, no matter how in-depth.