Looking for a good roofer isn’t always easy. For one, there are so many contractors out there, and each one will probably have their own unique take of your project. It can get very confusing, especially if you don’t know a thing about roofing. Not to mention the presence of fly-by-nights and cowboys in this business.
The good news is, reputable roofers have greater numbers, although you may have to do your research to tell them apart. The question is, how can you tell a good roofer from a not-so-good one?
Get at least two or three estimates from different roofers with exactly the same project specifics. You may find a huge difference in their options and pricing.
When you compare estimates, don’t look at the price alone. Remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best, but neither is the most expensive. Different contractors may use different materials and installation techniques, hence their varying prices.
Ask people around you for roofer references – friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. – who may know someone who’s good enough to recommend. If you can’t get any, read online reviews but stay with independent and trusted consumer watchdog sites for credibility.
Meeting the Roofer
Before hiring a roofer, make sure you meet them personally, sit down and talk about the work that must be done. You’d like to know how the roofer plans to take on the project, including the materials he intends to use.
Also, don’t think a roofer who sounds very technical is a good one – that doesn’t necessarily make any indication of his abilities. And don’t be fooled by appearance. A good roofer isn’t always in a shiny truck with an attractive logo.
Some roofers will hire subcontractors, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. You just have to know who’s actually going to be doing the work on your roof.
Warranties and Guarantees
Find out the roofer’s policies regarding issues that arise once the work is complete. Ask if you will be given a warranty or guarantee for the work, and if not, be careful. When a contractor isn’t confident about his own work, no one else should be, including you.
By all means, hire a roofer who has both liability and workman’s compensation insurance. In most states, roofers have to register, which means they will need insurance as a requirement.
Finally, be sure to put your agreement with the roofer in written form. Everything, from the materials to be used to their individual costs to the project start and end dates etc. should be clearly stated. Never take any detail for granted.