How to Hire a Roofer

Ingrown Hairs and Razor Burn

Need to hire a roofer and don’t know where to start? Here’s a guide to hiring the best roofer for the job — and how much it’ll approximately cost you.

What a Roofing Contractor Does

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A roofing company — which could be a small three- or four-person operation or a larger company with multiple crews — either fixes or installs new roofs. Some remodeling companies also include roofing as one of the services offered, along with siding, window installations, and other home improvement projects.

Some of the roofer’s tasks include:

Visiting your home to take measurements and discuss your material options.
Providing a written estimate. The estimate and contract should include information on product and labor warranties.
Securing construction permits if necessary. (Note that some states and municipalities do not require a building permit for a roof replacement.)
Ordering roofing materials, which include the finish roofing material (such as asphalt shingles, flashing, drip edge, self-sticking ice dam underlayment, roofing felt, roofing nails, etc.).
Arranging for a dumpster to dispose of roofing debris.
Hiring a gutter installer. Some roofers rely on subcontractors to install gutters and downspouts.
Removing the existing roof.
Inspecting and repairing the roof deck.
Installing the new roof.
Cleaning up the area. A roofer will inspect the ground for dropped nails and other fasteners.

Questions to ask potential candidates include:

  • Are you licensed?​ Requirements vary from state to state, and not all areas require roofers to be licensed.
  • What types of insurance do you have?​ There are three types of insurance. Workers’ compensation covers the roofing crew should someone become injured on the job. General liability insurance covers any damage to your home. A surety bond guarantees a payment to you if the roofer does not finish the job. Not all roofers are bonded unless it is a local requirement.
  • Can you supply references?​ All roofers should be able to give you the names and contact information of past clients.
  • Will you provide a written estimate?​ What will it include?
  • What’s your payment schedule?​ Most roofers will ask for a deposit when you sign the contract. The amount may be limited by law, but it should be no more than 10 to 25 percent of the total estimate. Never pay in full before the job starts and never submit your final payment until you are satisfied with the work.
  • What type of warranty do you offer?​ There will be a warranty on the materials as well as a workmanship warranty. The materials warranty can last 20 to 50 years or more depending on the project. Workmanship warranties run from 5 to 25 years. There are cases where the two are combined in one lifetime warranty. In those cases, the contractor will be certified by the materials manufacturer, and the contractor will use products specified by the manufacturer.
  • What are the start and end dates?​ Roofing projects can be delayed because of the weather.

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