How often do you honestly think about your roof? You know it is up there protecting your home from the wind and the rain. Occasionally you have to go up there for a stray Frisbee. If you are anything like me you won’t think about your roof unless there is a problem or you want to sell your house. Hubby and I are getting our house ready to sell in the next year or so and the biggest thing we have to take care of is our roof. The current roof is original to the house – almost 20 years. So I had to teach myself How To Hire a Roofing Company With Confidence.
Over the last month I have been researching online what happens when you get your house reroofed, and what to look for in a roofing company. I tried looking for a list of questions to ask but couldn’t find one that wasn’t put out by a roofing company with the intent to promote their service . So after talking to several different companies and some friends who have had their roofs redone in the past I have created this list to help you learn how to pick a roofing company.
Not all roofs need the same level of repair and reroofing. Walk around your house, and climb up on your roof to check out your roof’s status. So you know what to ask about and if they are adding things you don’t think you need. Some things to check:
- Are there shingles missing?
- Does the soffit (the board under the roof overhang) need replaced or repaired?
- Do you need new pipes and flashing (the pipes for your bathroom vents etc)?
Before you call for estimates know what kind of roof you want to get. There are shingles (what this article is based on), tile, metal, and roofs with sun panels.
When you are comparing the written bids make sure you know who is going to do the work you need done. Not all roofing companies will do the same things. For our house we need the soffit boards replaced and painted. Some of the responses I received for the soffit were:
- One refused to do that work.
- One would replace the boards but not paint or seal them.
- One would do the work for a ‘significant price upgrade’.
- One added in replacing the boards and painting them without batting an eye.
If you have a free standing shed or garage get an estimate for those at the same time. That roof probably has the same wear and tear as your house and needs to be replaced as well.
When you are researching who to call for an estimate look in several places for reviews. Don’t just look at the 5 star reviews. Look at all the different level of rankings. If they have 1 star see if it is because of their work or if the customer was just not happy with something trivial. Places I checked:
- Company’s website
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
- Your city’s review. In Pensacola we have a yearly review where citizens vote on the best of everything – pizza place, hair salon, tattoo parlor, plumber, lawyer and yep you guessed it roofing companies.
10 Questions to Ask Each Roofing Company
- What brand of shingles do they use? You want a name brand shingle that you can research after your meeting. You want to make sure the shingles are good quality and are rated for the weather in your area. Here in Florida we need shingles that will handle a hurricane, but your area might have different requirements. There is no reason to pay for a roof that can handle 100+ mile an hour winds if you don’t need it.
- What sublayer are they going to use? The standard is a felt, but you can upgrade to peel and stick with fillers that seal around nails. You want to know this because there are significant price differences between them.
- Is the metal facing included in the roof materials? There is a strip of metal that goes around the edge of my roof. It was included in some of the bids and was an additional cost on others.
- Does the roofing company handle the permits and inspections? Depending on where you live there are permits that must be obtained before the work can be done. There is also an inspection that has to be done after the job is completed to make sure the roof is solid.
- How long is the wait list for your roof? Any good roofing company has a list of jobs they are currently working on and a list they are waiting to start. One company I talked to gave me a wait time of 3 months, another said they could get to me in 1 month. (Side note – my roof isn’t leaking or damaged so I am fine with waiting. If yours is damaged see what you can do to get moved up the list.)
- How long will the job take? My house is a small one story ranch all the companies agreed it would take 2 days to complete the house and our shed. What you want to watch for with this question is if they have different crews for each part of the job. A company that I talked to said they have one crew that comes in and removes all the old shingles etc and strips the roof down to the decking. A second crew comes out with in the next two days to install the new roof. Then a third crew comes out and does the clean up within a week of the roof being completed. Personally I have 2 dogs who go into the back yard to play and handle business – I can’t wait over a week to make sure the yard is safe for them. Much less the couple of days to have the roof installed!
- Do they have a permanent crew or use day laborers? Personally I want to hire a company that has full time, trained employees who are invested in their jobs.
- How will they protect my property? Almost all of the companies I talked to will bring in a dumpster they back up to the front of the house on the driveway. They will lay tarps around the house and over the rose bushes to catch most of the debris.
- How will they clean up after the job? Every company I talked to will walk a magnet around the house to catch any stray nails. All of them will also haul away all debris from the reroofing. This should be built into the estimate not extra. Make sure before you sign that contract so you don’t end up with a bill for moving and dumping any debris they left in your yard.
- Warranty! Different companies and shingles have different warranties. They range from 20 – 50 years. The things you really need to know about the warranty are:
- How much do you have to pay out of pocket for repair under warranty? Some are covered 100% for parts and labor, others are covered for parts but not labor, and one was prorated depending on the age of the roof.
- Is the warranty transferable to a new owner?
- How much will they charge the new owner to transfer it?
Make Your Informed Decision
After you meet with each of the roofing companies sit down with a printed copy of all their bids. Compare everything before you make a final decision. If you are stuck between two companies call them and ask for the address of a job they are working on. Drive by and see how the crew is working, and how the roof looks when it is finished. Don’t get out of your car and start asking questions like a deranged roofing paparazzi.
Hubby and I picked a company and signed the paperwork this week. We are waiting on them to get the permit and do the job next month. The reasons I chose them:
- The employee who came to the house was prepared. He had a folder for us with information on the shingles, the sublayer, a list of references from happy customers I could call and talk to, they had done a satellite image of the house to get exact dimensions for the estimate, and he answered every question without making me feel like a ‘little woman.’
- They have permanent crews that do all parts of the job, so there is no waiting.
- I talked to four of the referrals on the sheet and they all loved the company. One lady told me how she had them come out for a roof leak. After about 6 months the roof leaked again. That day a man in a suit came to tarp the roof and see what was the matter. A crew wasn’t available that day and he didn’t want her house to have water damage. Seriously a guy in a suit climbed on her roof to tarp it until a crew could redo the repair.
- They were not the cheapest bid, but they are the only bid that will do all of the work I need done. I have no problem paying them a little more so I won’t have to find a handyman to repair the soffit, and a painter to come paint the wood work when they are done.
- They offer a military discount. It is only $250 but it is going to cover all the roof vents.
- They win awards. They won the Best of the Bay in Pensacola, several awards in the state, and were in the top 100 roofing companies in all of the USA in 2017.
I hope this helps you feel confident when you pick and meet with roofing companies. Let me know how it goes for you! If you have had a roof replaced in the past and know something I missed leave me a comment below so I can add it! We have to stick together ladies!