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Top 6 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor Before Hiring

1. What level of certification do they have?

It can be tough to know when somebody is good at their job when you don’t know how to do their job yourself.  This is the situation most homeowners are in when hiring roofing contractors, which means you need a few heuristics that help you find a contractor who knows how to do the job right without you having to know every detail.

One of the best ways you can do this is to verify their manufacturer certification level.  Roofing manufacturers are large, multinational corporations with vested interest in contractors who install their products to do so correctly.

It’s common for some manufacturers to hand out low level certifications like candy, but the higher level ones are tough to get.  Only the best of the best roofers get certification at the top level.  We are in GAF President’s Club and have been Master Elite since 2011.  The certification level doesn’t get any higher than this anywhere in the industry.

2. What warranty will they provide you?

It’s standard for roofing contractors to have an in-house labor warranty that could be for 2 to 5 years, but these are often not reliable.  If the contractor has been in business for a long time (over 10 years), then it becomes easier to rely on what they say their warranties are, but even then it’s still a risk.

The more important thing for you to find out is what manufacturer warranty will come with the project.  This is in line with certification level.  Usually the top certified roofers are able to offer top level warranties that bypass the contractor and go straight to the manufacturer.

We use the GAF Golden Pledge.  It’s spectacular and in our experience, GAF has robust infrastructure internally to make sure the warranty claims are handled promptly and effectively.  A bunch of warranties in the roofing industry are not worth the paper they’re written on, but the Golden Pledge is worth every bit of it.

3. Is the contractor licensed, bonded, and insured?

This is a pass or fail test for a roofing contractor.  Have the contactor send you the paperwork verifying that the company is fully licensed, bonded, and insured.  If they can’t do that, it’s a huge red flag and you should not hire them.

4. What extra costs might there be?

Sometimes a roofing contractor will not be straight with homeowners about what they think the final cost of the job will be.  They may send you a quote knowing that there will be hidden costs, so they can jack up the price later.  The most common way this takes place is when there is no discussion of the need for addressing any wood substrate.

Some homes need complete resheets, and others need replacement of damage sheets.  If this isn’t being addressed by your roofing contractor, it can mean something isn’t right.

5. Ask about the contractor’s experience and history

Get to know your contractor.  You can ask about favorite projects, biggest mistakes that they learned from, industry trends, why they got into the industry, etc.

If the contractor doesn’t have much to say, it can mean they don’t have much relevant experience to pull from.  The better you get to know your roofer, the better the outcome will be.  Picking their brain about the industry and their place in it can reveal how reliable they truly are.

6. Ask for examples of similar projects they’ve completed

This can take some extra work on your part, but it’s worth it.  You want to know what the unique aspects of your roof are.  Like do you have a dead valley, a chimney, skylights, a spire, a low slope section, or any number of unique traits.

Some roofing contractors don’t know how to properly work on these structures, yet they still will try.  What you can do is ask them for examples of projects they’ve completed where they did the same type of work.  The contractor can give you a few addresses to drive by, and if the roof looks good it usually means they know how to do that type of work properly.  Typically, workmanship errors show up shortly after the project was completed.

If you live in the south Puget Sound of Washington State and need a roof inspection, please call us now at (253) 544-3651 or fill out our quick estimate form.

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