How to Choose a Roofer

It’s getting to be that time of year again, when homeowners in the Vancouver, WA area start noticing drips, leaks, and other roof problems. Unfortunately, too many people hire a roofer before having the information they need to make a smart decision.

In today’s post, we’ll look at the most important questions you should ask any potential roofer and how you can find a roofer you can trust. Let’s get started!

1. Who Will I Be Contacting?

As a homeowner, you’re likely to have questions about the progress of your roofing project, when it’ll be finished, or maybe about the materials being used. The point is: you’re going to have questions. Who will answer them?

Will you be able to reach out and contact someone who is directly involved with managing your roofing project? Or will you be dealing with a salesman who may not have the technical knowledge to answer your questions or ensure your job is setup properly, or who may not even be involved after your project starts?

At Cutting Edge Contracting, we know that communication on projects is paramount, and having the same point of contact throughout the job who also has the proper job site and technical knowledge is the only way to ensure your project goes smoothly and is done the right way.

When evaluating a roofing company, make sure that the person who provides the quote on your project can properly diagnose roof failures. For example, did you know that you can cut the life expectancy of a new roof by 30% if the home has a poorly ventilated attic?

Be sure to meet with somebody who knows how to identify and fix the root causes of your roofing issues, and not somebody who is just there to give you a price and sign a contract.

2. What About Ratings & Reviews?

We’re incredibly proud of our reviews on Home Advisor, as well as our many testimonials from satisfied homeowners.

Ratings and reviews are among the best ways to investigate the work of a roofing company. Take a look at the overall ratings and reviews of the roofing company. What impression do you get?

Then compare the total number of reviews to how long a company has been in business? This can give you some insight into how much the company values customer service and satisfaction, as well as the follow through they have.

For example are you looking at a newer company that has upwards of 20 top-rated reviews or a company that’s been around for awhile but only has 4 or 5? Lots of recent positive reviews is a great indicator that a roofing company is busy and is committed to top quality service.

3. How Experienced Are You? What Certifications Do You Hold?

How experienced are the roofing crews who will be working on your project? What kind of training or skill levels does the company demand of their workers? Does the company have safety training programs? Do the installers have any legitimate roofing certifications?

Many roofers claim to be experts, but never receive any type of formal training on proper installation procedures or product training on the products they install.

The roof installers here at Cutting Edge Contracting work to earn their Master Shingler certification through CertainTeed, an industry leader in standardizing training programs. Our roofers learn proper product installation procedures and develop thorough knowledge of all of our roofing products.

4. Do You Hire Employees or Work With Subcontractors?

Is the roofing crew actually doing the work employed by the same company you’re hiring or are they subcontractors? When working with a company that utilizes subcontractors, make sure to ask:

  • How are quality controls enforced on the job?
  • Who am I to communicate with if I have questions or concerns with the project?
  • Do they verify their subcontractors to make sure they have the same liability and workers compensation insurance they promise you?
  • Who is responsible for the guarantees on your project?
  • Many times, there is a much lower degree of control over communication, quality, and timeliness of completion when working with subcontractors.
  • Many contractors claim to be roofing companies, but in fact, have no roofing crews of their own and solely sell roofing services and subcontract out.

Be sure to work with a company that specializes in the roofing service you are looking for.

5. What Roofing Products Do You Use?

Are the roofing products used on the roof specifically designed for the climate here in the Pacific Northwest? Is your roofer recommending products specifically designed for your home or are they recommending products that are in their best interest to sell? Are the products being installed the same products you were told were included during your estimate?

When comparing bids and discussing other bids with roofers, it may be very easy for a roofer to tell you they are doing the same work or installing the same products as the competition, but your contractor’s promises are only as good as what they put in writing.

Make sure the products and installation specs are specifically written out on your estimate / contract.

6. Are You Insured? What About Liability & Worker’s Comp?

Many roofing companies claim to be licensed, bonded, and insured, but some may not have all of the above. A roofer without insurance coverage can leave you open to all sorts of risk, from damage to your property to liability for personal injury.

A simple lapse in coverage or failure to verify this information can easily leave you open to unnecessary risk. Take extra precaution when evaluating smaller companies, in particular, those that have owner / operators that may elect NOT to cover themselves under workers comp to cut costs.

At Cutting Edge Contracting, we’re happy to provide proof of insurance, including liability and worker’s comp coverage. In fact, even if you forget to ask we’ll make sure you know about it before we start working.

7. Do You Provide Written Estimates? Will I Sign a Contract?

While an old fashioned handshake is nice and a sign of a courteous contractor, you still need to have everything in writing. This includes:

  • Scope of the project
  • Materials to be used and their specifications
  • Any guarantees or warranties

Be wary of contractors who claim to use “Lifetime” products or warranties. These terms have specific industry definitions, so be sure to understand what benefits you are actually being provided.

8. Are Your Products & Labor Covered By Warranty?

Does your contractor back up their product with a workmanship warranty? How long is their guarantee and what does it cover?

The roofing material’s manufacturer will usually include a product warranty but this does not cover the installation. “Lifetime” warranties advertised by contractors are typically the manufacturer’s warranty that covers the product and not installation should your install fail. Be sure to ask yourself if the roofing company you are working with will be around to honor the warranty they provide.

9. How Much Do You Charge?

NEVER choose a roofer based solely on price. Cheap bids drive down the market and anyone with overhead and proper insurance has to establish pricing to cover such costs. Those that do work on the side or are just working out of a pick-up truck can always do the work cheaper. But an unusually low bid is usually an indicator of poor quality materials or sub-standard work and in the long run, you get what you pay for.

If you pick a roofer based solely on price, you’ll likely end up spending more money in the long run to fix problems, many of which may been covered under a workmanship guarantee by a reputable established roofing company.

In addition, many times, the first costs cut by unethical roofers are typically the most important, including: workers comp, payroll taxes, tool maintenance, continuing education, etc. If in doubt, make sure to ask any potential roofing contractor how they arrived at their price.

Cutting Edge Contracting

“Every family needs a roof over their head. Why put yours in jeopardy by not choosing the right roofer?

We’ll care for your roof as if it was our own.”

— Sean Kelly, President, Cutting Edge Contracting

Are you thinking about starting a roofing project in the Vancouver, WA area? Contact the roofing experts here at Cutting Edge Contracting. We have over 20 years of local roofing experience and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions before providing you with a free in-home estimate and quote.

We want you to be 100% satisfied with our work and that starts by making sure that you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you and your home.

By | 2017-03-29T22:52:47+00:00 October 21st, 2016|cutting edge contracting, roofer, roofing, Uncategorized|17 Comments

About the Author:

Sean Kelly is the COO & President of Cutting Edge Contracting. His background in business, accounting, and the construction industry helped him become the award-winning manager of a nationally-known paint company before joining Cutting Edge.

17 Comments

  1. Alice Jones April 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I’m thinking about questions to ask a potential roofer, so I turned to your article to help me think of some. I like your third question asking if they have any certifications. Ensuring that they have certification is necessary for me to feel relaxed when they’re working on my work. I like to know that a contractor I hire for my roofing is a professional.

  2. Kyle Winters May 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    I do like that you remind readers to always get the estimate in writing, no matter how nice the roofer is. After all, the written estimate is basically an agreement for what you’ll pay for the roofer’s work. Any good roofer should happily give a written estimate in order to make sure that the job is done legally.

  3. Max Jones May 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I really like how you talked about finding a roofing contractor who isn’t going to have a lapse in coverage that will put me at risk. We need to get a new roof on our home, and I think that finding a quality roofing contractor is the best first step for us. Hopefully we can have a few roofers to choose from, and pick one who has proof of liability insurance so that I’m protected also!

  4. […] There are so many options out there. So the question remains: how do you choose a roofing contractor? […]

  5. Braden Bills June 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    I want to make sure that I get my roof taken care of properly. It makes sense that the best way to do that would be to find a good professional roofer! I’ll make sure that the one that I find has plenty of experience.

  6. Jeff V July 3, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Luckily my best friend is a roofer, but these are great questions and qualities to look for

  7. Sandra Hexner July 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Thank you for all this great information about finding a good roofer! I really like your point to make sure the warranty includes the labor of the install on top of the equipment. We are hoping to replace our roof and want to make sure our investment is worth it now and later.

  8. Derek Dewitt August 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    My wife and I just moved and are thinking about replacing the roof before winter comes. I had no idea that the life expectancy of a roof is 30% less if the attic is poorly vented. We’ll have to check out what kind of ventilation systems the attic has first. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sandra Hexner September 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the information to be competent enough to choose the best roofer. Our house is about 1/2 way built and we need to find a company to do a new roof installation. That is a great idea to make sure that the roofer has formal training and that they have a legitimate roofing certification too.

  10. Finley Moreira September 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I’m looking at getting a new roof in the next couple of months. I liked how you pointed out the need for me to inquire about the experience level a roofer has before hiring them. I’ll be sure to do this since I want to make sure my roof replacement is done quickly and correctly.

  11. Ken Hwan September 27, 2017 at 2:06 am - Reply

    I like your tips to consider the number of reviews when you’re looking at the reviews for a roofing contractor. I also recommend checking multiple sites for reviews. That way you can avoid biassed reviews.

  12. Callum Palmer September 27, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    It really does help to make sure that the work done on your roof is covered by a warranty. Considering how important your roof is to the rest of your home you do not want to pay to have the same problem repaired twice. It might help to even talk to the roofer about what warranties they offer when you’re getting the quote from them.

  13. megan September 28, 2017 at 1:02 am - Reply

    My parents are looking at getting a new roof. I am going to let them know to ask if the roofers will be employees or subcontractors. I want to make sure they are satisfied with the service and the end product of the new roof.

  14. Harper Campbell October 6, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Our roof is in need of some big repairs and we need help in knowing how to find the right roofer to help us fix them. I am glad that you mentioned that one thing we need to inquire about is how experienced they are when it comes to things like this. It will be nice to have someone that is well trained in this area and is a true expert.

  15. Theordore Winston October 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I’m getting my house renovated and I’m thinking about what to consider when hiring a roofing contractor. I didn’t know that the roofing contractors have insurance and that it should be better to hire them. That’s a nice tip! Thanks.

  16. Braden Bills October 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    I want to make sure that I get the right roofing contractor. It makes sense that I would want to find one that has experience! That way I don’t have to worry about the job not getting done right.

  17. Frank October 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    My parents really need some help with their roof repairs, and I think that being able to ask about labor and product warranties like you mentioned would be smart for us! I think that being able to have some sort of guarantee when you pay for something is always comforting, so being able to have that with their roof repair company would be really nice. I’m going to have to see if we can find a roof repair contractor who offers some sort of warranty, and hopefully is able to do my parents roofing quickly and with high quality!

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