Roofing contractor: Select, hire & get job done

Author: Housing Editors

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Hiring a professional roofing contractor is important to ensure a successful and stress-free roof replacement project. How do you choose the right one?


This article provides you with essential tips to select a professional roofing contractor, evaluating estimates, understanding the scope of work, and coordinating the project effectively.


These tips to hire a contractor are part of the Homeowners’ Roof Repair and Replacement Guide.


Selecting a Professional Roofing Contractor:


Experience: Look for contractors with extensive experience in the roofing industry. They should have a proven track record of successfully completing projects similar to yours.


Licensing and Insurance: Ensure that the contractor holds the necessary licenses and permits required by your local authorities (usually one of your State licensing Board). Additionally, verify their insurance coverage, including liability insurance and worker’s compensation, to protect yourself from any potential liabilities.


Customer Reviews and Recommendations: Check online reviews and seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors who have had roofing work done. This can provide valuable insights into a contractor’s reputation and the quality of their work.


Evaluating Contractors & Obtaining Accurate Quotes:


Request Multiple Quotes: Reach out to at least three reputable roofing contractors to obtain detailed quotes for your project. This will allow you to compare their services, prices, and estimated timelines.


On-Site Inspection: A professional contractor should conduct a thorough on-site inspection of your roof before providing an estimate. Beware of contractors who offer quotes without inspecting the roof in person, as it may lead to inaccurate estimates or overlooked issues.


Written Estimates: Ensure that each contractor provides a written estimate that clearly outlines the scope of work, materials to be used, project timeline, payment terms, and any warranties or guarantees offered.


Understanding the Roofing Estimate and Its Components:


Materials: The estimate should specify the type and quality of materials that will be used for your roof replacement or repair. This includes shingles, underlayment, flashing, and any additional components.


Labor Costs: The estimate should clearly indicate the cost of labor, including the number of workers involved and the estimated number of hours required to complete the project.


Additional Expenses: Discuss any potential additional expenses, such as permits, disposal of old materials, or unforeseen repairs that may arise during the project. Transparency is crucial in avoiding unexpected costs.


Comparing and Evaluating Different Estimates:


Compare Detailed Breakdowns: Analyze each estimate’s breakdown of costs and ensure that they cover all the necessary aspects of the project. Look for any discrepancies or missing items that could affect the final price.


Quality and Reputation: Consider the reputation and quality of the contractor when evaluating estimates. A slightly higher price may be justified if the contractor has a strong track record and positive customer reviews.


Ask Questions: Reach out to the contractors to clarify any doubts or questions you may have about their estimates. Clear communication is key to making an informed decision.


Avoiding Hidden Costs and Understanding the Scope of Work:


Clear Project Scope: Ensure that the estimate explicitly defines the scope of work, including the tasks to be performed, materials to be used, and any specific requirements or preferences you have discussed with the contractor.


Hidden Costs: Beware of hidden costs that may arise during the project. Discuss with the contractor potential scenarios that could lead to additional expenses and how they will be addressed.


Importance of Written Contracts and Warranties:


Written Contract: Once you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure to sign a written contract that includes all the details discussed and agreed upon. This contract protects both parties and ensures that everyone is on the same page.


Warranties: Understand the warranties provided by the contractor for both materials and workmanship. Clarify the duration of the warranties and any conditions or limitations that apply.


What is the warranty and guarantees available?


There are 2 different types of warranty coming with a roofing contract:


A manufacturer warranty: This covers the materials used and depending on the type of roofing material it varies from 20 to 50 years.

The contractor’s labor warranty or workmanship: These days most roofers offer a 1 or 2 years guarantee on the manual work they’ve done. This also come with restrictions which may void their guarantee: usually if you have someone else do work on the roof it’ll void their warranty and there’s usually also a clause saying you need to do the usual maintenance on your roof to keep their guarantee valid. Naturally the guarantee does not cover natural damages due to wind, snow, hail, lightnight, etc.


Steps to Prepare the House and Surrounding Areas:


Clear the Work Area: Remove any valuable or delicate items from the areas surrounding the work site to protect them from potential damage during the roofing project.


Trim Trees and Plants: If there are overhanging branches or vegetation near the roof, consider trimming them to provide easier access for the contractors and to prevent damage to the roof or landscaping.


Temporary Accommodations and Protecting Belongings:


Temporary Relocation: Depending on the scale of the roofing project, you may need to temporarily relocate to minimize disruptions and ensure safety. Discuss this aspect with the contractor and plan accordingly.


Protecting Belongings: Cover outdoor furniture, electronics, and other valuable belongings with protective sheets or tarp to shield them from dust or debris that may be generated during the construction process.


Communicating with Neighbors:


Noise and Disruptions: Inform your neighbors in advance about the upcoming roofing project to minimize any inconveniences caused by noise, temporary parking restrictions, or other disruptions.


Have a Timeline & Coordinate with Contractor:


Establish a Timeline: Work with the contractor to establish a realistic timeline for the project, considering factors such as weather conditions and the availability of materials.


Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with the contractor throughout the project to address any concerns, provide feedback, and stay updated on the progress.


Can a general contractor replace a roof?


In general, a contractor without a roofing licence can only do the following:


– Small repairs.

– Install shingles on a new house or building.


A contractor won’t be allowed to do the following work but subcontract to a roofing company:


– Major roof repairs

– Roof additions

– Roof replacement with any type of roof and roofing materials: tiles, shingles, bitumen or asphalt, rolling roof. 


By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can select the right contractor, evaluate estimates effectively, understand the scope of work, and ensure a smooth and successful roofing project.