Ten tips for choosing a roofing contractor

Has your 30-year roof already surpassed its three-decade lifespan or did a recent storm knock an old maple tree on to your second story master bedroom? Either way, it’s time to call a roofer to discuss roof replacements or roofing repairs. But how do you choose the best residential roofing contractor?

It’s an important decision. The roof plays a large part in the curb appeal of your home but is also the first line of defense against the four-season weather of the Pacific Northwest. A failing roof has the potential to cost you 10s of thousands of dollars if not addressed in time.

Getting all roofing work done right the first time is very important. The first step is choosing the right roofing installation company in the first place. It’s a good idea to take your time and do some research. Keep in mind these ten tips on what to look for when hiring a roofing contractor.

Ask Questions

Whether in person or on the phone, don’t be afraid to ask any question that pops into your head about your roof, the process, and options available to you. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. They should be able to answer all of your questions. If they need to get back to you about something – and they never do – you may have your answer.

Communication

When it’s time to start gathering information about contractors (from friends, the internet, or other advertising), make notes of when you call them. Did it take an hour for a callback or an email, or are you still waiting for a reply? With a job as big as a roof replacement, communication is important. If they can’t return your messages at the start, how will they be once they’ve started?

Professionalism

When you talk to a prospective contractor, how are they on the phone? Do they answer the questions you have, or avoid them? If they’re at your home inspecting the job before giving an estimate, are they responsive to your questions, or do they seem irritated? Don’t badger them of course (that would irritate anyone), but they’re trying to secure YOUR job remember.

Look At The Calendar

Although any home improvement roofing contractor in the Pacific Northwest should be able to work during all four seasons, Spring is when work starts really picking up. Ask what their time frame looks like and when they’ll be able to start. A 700 square foot bungalow won’t take nearly as long as a home three times that big. Excluding emergency situations, how long are you willing to wait before they can start the job?

Experience

The more experience a roofing contractor has, chances are they’ll have a better understanding of your roofing system. Of course, they had to start somewhere too, right? If a roofing contractor is just starting out, ask if they were an apprentice and how long they apprenticed. This will give some idea if they know the difference between bitumen and cedar shakes.

Consider your roofing project, too. Putting asphalt shingles on a gardening shed is much different than a complete roof tear-off. You’ll want to be certain whichever roofing company you choose will have the experience, the tools, and the knowledge to actually complete the job in a professional manner.

Size Matters

An earlier mentioned tip mentioned timelines and when the job will get started. Equally important is how long the job will take. If no structural damage is detected, contractors should know how long a straight-forward job will take. The size of the crew working on your roof will play a part in their schedule.

Do they have enough workers to get the job done in a timely fashion? Or will it be a two-man team? Small operations don’t mean “bad,” but it does mean they will take longer than a crew of four or more workers. Also – do they have their own crews or do they bring in sub-contractors? If a company holds on to its roofers, chances are they know what they’re doing.

Paperwork

When dreaming of a new metal roof for your farmhouse or cedar shakes for a small cabin, don’t forget about reality. Any roofer you choose should have taken the time to get licensed with the state (and stay up to date on that license) as well as provide general liability insurance.

If a roofing employee is hurt on the job, the company will be responsible for any workers’ compensation, not you. To protect yourself even further, a bonded company will protect you in the event of an unfinished or poorly executed job. Make sure all three are up to date or even a copy of their insurance certificate.

More Paperwork

A written estimate will make sure you understand what you’re paying for as well as a signed document that the contractor has agreed to perform the services. These estimates will include labor and roofing materials, so it’s easy to see where the money goes. Make sure to read through the estimate carefully before signing a contract.

Price

We understand that price plays a part in almost every purchase you’ll make. A big part. However, there is a reason we put this tip at the end of our list: It shouldn’t be the only thing to look for when hiring a roofing contractor.

If you’ve narrowed your search to a couple of roofers, by all means, look at the bottom line. Why pay more than you have to? But if most licensed contractors are in the same ballpark, and a single roofer charges half as much, that should raise a red flag. The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” may very well apply.

Your Gut

We’ve all been in a situation when it comes time to make a decision. And we’re not talking about what goes on a pizza. A major part of your home is going under construction and you want to make sure it’s going to be done right. During this research process, how did you feel?

Was an estimator friendly, pushing, or non-commital? Was the estimate detailed and neatly presented? Often times, they aren’t the ones doing the work, but they are the face of the company. Do they feel like someone you could work with?

That’s the difference between going with a roofing contractor rather than hiring the work through a big national home improvement store. they just sell you the service, they don’t actually have crews to perform the work. Warner Roofing and Construction has been working in the Clark County area since 1992.

We’re familiar with local building codes, have our own crews, and you’ll be working with us from that first phone call to the final inspection. We are experienced with every facet of the roofing system, from decking, underlayment, roofing materials, and the structure underneath. If you’re needing a new roof or a large-scale repair, do your research. Just make sure to give Warner Roofing a call as well.

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