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6 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor

By Susan Hu

Your home’s roof is like a protection barrier for your home. It keeps out the elements and helps keep you safe inside your home. When it’s time for a repair, any homeowner with a credit card and the phonebook can get a problem fixed but most homeowners would like to know the problem is being fixed correctly and for a fair price. Unfortunately, many so-called roofing contractors set up shop in cities across the country, especially in areas that suffer extensive storm damage, only to scam their trusting customers. Other contractors are more permanent but fail to perform quality work. So how do you know that you’re hiring the right roofing contractor? Get the information you need to make an informed choice by asking these questions.

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

Checking a company’s business history is one way to determine how reputable they are. A company with a good 10 years or more in the area is established. You can work with newer companies but make sure they have actually committed to their business by joining your local chamber of commerce, the Better Business Bureau or other professional organizations. Don’t take the word of some guy with a cheesy business card just because he provides a cell phone number and an estimate. Establishing a business history helps ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.

2. Do You Have Any Customer Referrals?

Any contractor who has been in business for any length of time should be able to provide you with references to at least three satisfied customers. It is typical business practice in the home service industry to build customer portfolios. They are often available on their website but some companies have paper copies of testimonials or at least survey cards. A reputable business will have no problems proving they have a history of satisfied customers.

3. Can You Provide Me with a Free Estimate?

It is good practice to get three estimates when considering any major renovation or repair to your home. Many companies do indeed provide free estimates. Sure, it costs them money to send someone out to bid a job without a guarantee of landing the job but that is precisely how construction works. It’s a business model and most companies know it. Having three estimates to compare helps you make a more informed choice, even if it isn’t always about the lowest price. You might throw out the high and low bidders, and go with the middle guy because they promised better material, faster completion, or some other aspect that is important to you.

4. Can I Get a Contract?

A contract to perform work, with an agreed price, time frame, materials and work to be done all detailed in writing is the safest way to do business. It protects you as much as the contractor. In the roofing business, it is understood that weather can prohibit progress but you want to be sure that the company isn’t putting you off for another job. Check your contract thoroughly before signing and make sure you don’t pay for the work in full until it is completed to your satisfaction.

5. Does My Roof Need Replaced or Just Repaired?

Ask this question of every contractor you allow to bid the job. If you get different answers, you might have to get a fourth opinion. Keep in mind that signs of an aging roof in need of replacement are curling edges, missing shingles, and damaged flashing. If you’ve noticed water spots on your ceilings or in corners, it’s likely your roof is leaking. If it appears in otherwise good shape, it may only need repaired. A reputable roofing contractor will be able to identify the problem. For the contractor, the advantage of repairing it rather than talking you into replacing it is to win a repeat customer for the future.

6. Do You Guarantee Your Work?

Find out if the workmanship is guaranteed as well as the material. Many roofing shingles have guarantees of 20, 30 or more years. Material guarantees are different from the workmanship. If the paper or flashing wasn’t properly installed, it won’t matter that the shingles are guaranteed. You should get at least a one-year warranty on workmanship. If the contractor doesn’t offer it, ask for it. A quality roofing contractor should have no problem backing up his work.

If you are in need of emergency repair or replacement, odds are your insurance company will provide you with the name of a contractor who they have already had dealings with. In fact, if you have a limited amount of time and resources, you might want to call your insurance company and ask who they recommend.

Many roofing contractors will address most, if not all, of these questions without you needing to bring them up. Even if you do have to ask, the answers will clue you in to whether you’re dealing with a quality company. By asking these important questions upfront, you will be able to make the most informed decision and get the best results from your finished roof.

Home Renovation Guide provides free information and advice on all aspects of home renovation topics ranging from roofing to landscaping. Visit online today for toronto flooring information you may need to get the job done right.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Hu, Susan "6 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor." 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor. 22 Aug. 2010. 14 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Hu, S (2010, August 22). 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor. Retrieved October 14, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Hu, Susan "6 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor"

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