The roof is one of the most important components in a house because it not only provides protection from the elements, but is also important for security and aesthetic reasons. However, even the best roofing material will not serve you as it should if it is not installed properly. This means you should choose your roofing contractor as carefully as you choose the roofing material. So, how do you find the right roofing contractor?
In the U.S., it is mandatory that a contractor has General Liability coverage as well as workman’s compensation insurance. Liability insurance covers you in case the activity of a contractor leads to property damage while workman’s compensation insurance indemnifies you in case of an accident during the roofing. Ask for insurance certificates and call the insurance carrier to confirm validity.
The contractor should be licensed by the relevant state regulatory body. Each state has different eligibility criteria for roofing contractors, but most include several years of experience and passing relevant exams. Insist that the contractor gives you his license number. Most state regulator websites have pages that allow you to confirm if the license number issued is valid.
There are many roofing materials available on the market today. They range from wood shingle to resawn shakes, from slate to rubber shingle, from stone slab to metal shakes or shingles, from ceramic tiles to imbrex and tegula, and from corrugated galvanized iron to steel coated with zinc and aluminum alloy, among many others. Given the great variety, it is obvious no roofing contractor will have the expertise in all roofing materials. Your choice should, therefore, be based on what the contractor specializes on.
Go for a roofing contractor who offers written warranties to guarantee the workmanship. The warranty should be for a couple of years and should cover most repairs not resulting from the roofing material itself. Note that this is different from warranties on roofing materials, which you get from the manufacturer.
Go for local, midsize, owner-operated contractors
Hiring a local roofing contractor has more advantages than hiring even a better known out-of-state or out-of-town contractor. Vetting a local contractor is much easier and you can even visit the office for a face-to-face conversation. With smaller local companies, you get more one-on-one interaction, management is more hands-on, and your views are listened to.
A local contractor will know all the relevant codes, the process of getting a permit, and where to get the necessary materials. You pay less with a local contractor because of the shorter distance. The response time is also quicker because of the shorter distance.
Avoid cheap contractors
When it comes to roofing, cheap is expensive, both for roofing materials and contractors. Although it is okay to hunt for a bargain, you should know a roofing contractor who has overly low rates will most probably cut corners such as working too quickly or buying cheap or insufficient materials.
Other important tips when picking between roofing contractors are:
- Ask for referrals from people who have recently had their roof installed or repaired
- Consider reviews and testimonials, both online and in magazines and other publications
- Look at completed roofing installations
- Research BBB (Better Business Bureau) ratings