Depending on the age of your roof, eventually a leak is to be expected. That “drip, drip, drip” sound that all homeowners dread hearing will send you running for the phone. What is surprising is the number of times a homeowner with a relatively new roof can experience serious problems. Often these problems develop due to poor workmanship. Choosing a reliable and honest roofing contractor can eliminate many headaches and even save you money as your roof ages.
You cannot control the weather but you can control who repairs or installs your roof. Start the selection process by reviewing a contractor’s references. Don’t be shy – call the references and ask good questions about the quality of workmanship, customer service and finance arrangements. Make notes on the responses because you will probably need to repeat the process for at least three contractors. Ask the contractor if they are licensed, bonded and insured (regulations vary by state) and ask for documentation or proof. A reputable contractor will be more than happy that you ask these questions. They want you to know their qualifications since they’ve worked hard to earn them. Evasive answers or avoiding your questions could be a sign for you to move on.
Contact your local better business bureau or state regulatory board and ask if there are any complaints filed against each contractor. If you find a complaint, it’s up to you to decide if the severity of the issue will impact your trust for this contractor. If the complaint is not with the BBB but an online complaint or unflattering review – question the contractor about what you find. You can never be certain if the online reviews are real customers or the work of a competitor in disguise. The BBB investigates complaints whereas most online reviews are not equipped to monitor reviews.
It’s okay to choose the contractor with the best price – but a much lower price compared to others may indicate a lesser quality job. From improper installation of flashing to low quality shingles, there are many areas where roofing contractors can cut corners. Make certain you get a detailed estimate or written agreement – don’t rely on verbal promises. Thoroughly read all agreements, warranties or guarantees and be on hand during the process to make sure you are getting what you expect. Some contractors will be more than happy to take pictures of the before and after so you don’t have to climb on the roof to inspect their work.
You want to be sure that you are satisfied with:
* Workmanship and Product Quality
* Clean up and Courtesy
* Timeline for Completion
Often a reputable roofing contractor will address each of the points above in their contract or sales agreement. However, if they don’t make sure you ask them to put anything they’ve promised into the agreement.