Your roof is integral to the building envelope of your home. Yet, it’s also a component with a limited working life of around 20 years for shingle roofing. Unless you buy a home with a recently replaced roof, there is a good chance that you’ll end up replacing the roof at some point.
In fact, a smart homeowner will often replace their roof in the run-up to selling a home as a kind of enticement. Of course, you want the best roofing company you can find. Otherwise, you risk problems that can derail a sale or damage your home.
So, how do you pick the best roofing company in your area? Keep reading for some key factors to keep in mind as you make the choice.
Unless everyone you know lives in an apartment, you almost certainly know a few people who hired professional roofers for repairs or a roof replacement. Getting recommendations from them will go a long way toward keeping your research time down to something manageable.
Make sure you ask some pertinent questions, such as:
- Would you hire them again?
- Were the crew respectful of you/your property?
- Did they bring the job in on budget?
- Did they bring the job in on schedule?
- Did they clean up after the job?
- Have you had any problems with your roof since they did the work?
These questions can give you some important insights into how a roofer operates. It can also help eliminate potential problem roofers.
For example, if the crew members were rude, that’s a hassle you may not want even if they do good work.
You can back up those recommendations with some time spent on review sites. If the companies your friends and family recommend have good reviews, you’ve got a decent starting list.
Check Their Credentials
Some states require that roofers get a state license and some don’t. On top of that, some cities require local licenses even if the state does not.
Look into what, if any, licensing requirements your state or city has on the books for roofers. Then, check out the websites of the roofers who make it onto your shortlist.
If your state or city requires a license, smart roofers will mention they have a license or similar credential. If they don’t mention it outright, call and ask for their license information.
In states and cities that do require licenses, there is typically an online portal where you can check the license or registration status of contractors.
Make sure you ask all of your potential local roofers about their insurance. States and cities that require licensing will typically also require that roofers carry a minimum level of liability insurance. That’s the insurance that will compensate you if the roofers damage your property in some way.
Even in areas where the state or city doesn’t explicitly require it, you still don’t want a roofer without a liability insurance policy. After all, if they do damage something, you don’t want to have to take them to court over the costs.
Those liability policies protect your property, but they also protect the roofer. Many roofers will state that they carry insurance on their website. If not, ask them about it before you get too deep into the selection process.
Get Several Quotes
Like most contractors, roofers will offer quotes or estimates for a job. Don’t pull a one-and-done with the estimates. Get up to three or four estimates.
If nothing else, multiple estimates should give you a fairly accurate picture of the going rate for a job like yours. Odds are good that two or three of the estimates will prove fairly close. That’s your going rate.
Any estimate that comes in that is way above or way below that average is a warning sign. At the very least, you should get an explanation for why the estimate is so much higher or lower than everyone else’s.
You can head over here for more info on the kind of information that roofers will ask for to do an initial estimate.
Ask About The Permitting Process
Major work on a home, such as getting a new roof, almost always requires a building permit from the town, city, or county. What many people don’t realize is that getting those permits is the homeowner’s responsibility.
Many contractors just take getting those permits as part of their job, but you shouldn’t assume. Ask them about the permitting process and whether they will handle securing those permits.
You can still work with a roofer who doesn’t handle them, but it’s often simpler to find one who will do it for you.
Get It In Writing
Before you give the contractor any money, get everything in writing from them. This usually takes the form of a contract. Some of the things you should look for in the contract include:
- Breakdown of costs
- Work schedule (weather permitting)
- Payment schedule
- Breakdown of materials
Costs can go up because of unforeseen problems, such as issues in the supply chain. As a rule, though, the written breakdown helps ensure that you don’t end up with a bill that doesn’t resemble the estimate or quote you got from the roofer before.
Trust Your Instincts
While roofers won’t be inside your home the same way a remodeling crew would, you should still feel comfortable with the roofer. There are no hard and fast rules about why someone makes you uncomfortable, but you should trust those feelings.
If you just don’t like the person giving you the estimate, move on to other options.
Picking The Best Roofing Company In Your Area
There are a lot of factors that go into picking the best roofing company in your area. The recommendations of people you know and reviews of the company are a good way to get a feel for a roofing company.
Beyond that, it’s mostly about ticking appropriate boxes like credentials, insurance, and permitting. The caveat is that you should never go with a roofer who leaves you feeling uncomfortable, even if you don’t know why.
Looking for more home improvement tips or ideas? Check out the posts in our Home and Garden section.