First, do your own research. Decide what type of roofing you want depending on the style and location of your home, your preference, and your budget. Asphalt shingles are the most common and are available in several grades. More expensive roofing includes wood, metal, or slate.
Familiarize yourself with the installation process. Know whether your existing roof may need to be removed, or can be roofed over. Know the average price, availability, and warranty; and what other materials are required for installation. The more you understand about the project before talking to contractors, the better.
Next, plan for repairs. A good contractor will inspect the entire roof and advise you about water damage, rotted joists or beams, and other needed repairs in addition to the new roof. You may also want to think about such upgrades as new insulation or updated gutter systems, especially if your home is older.
Now it’s time to find a roofing contractor. You can check your state and find local licensed contractors. Other sources include your local insurance adjuster, Roofing Contractors Association, Better Business Bureau, or Small Business Association. You can also get references from family and friends.
Once you have compiled a list of at least three roofing contractors, it’s time to make phone calls. Below is a list of “do’s and don’ts” when making your final choice.
–Make sure he is licensed, bonded, and insured.
–Make sure he will work with your insurance company and adjuster.
–Make sure he has experience with the roofing material you selected.
–Request local references so you can see examples of his work.
–Discuss the entire project with him.
–Listen to his advice. He does this for a living, after all.
–Request line item detail on the repair estimate.
–Make sure property cleanup is included, and exactly what that entails.
–Compare at least three estimates before making your choice.
–Get a detailed contract in writing; and a guarantee on both the material and the labor.
–Keep a job file of all project paperwork (contracts, work orders, copies of checks, etc.).
–Don’t allow any contractor to pressure you into a decision.
–Don’t work with any contractor that demands full payment up front.
–Don’t sign anything until you completely understand what you’re signing.
–Remember this is an outdoor job. Weather may interfere with his projected timeline.
Make sure all your estimates are for the same work and materials so you can intelligently compare bids. Once you have selected your roofing contractor, be available to work closely with him. Remember that he is the expert – that’s why you hired him – but don’t be afraid to verify what he says. Any reputable contractor will expect such attention to detail on such a large expense. The key is to work WITH him so that you are both satisfied at the end of the job.