Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Mar 19, 2021

10 Questions to Ask Your Roofing Contractor

Not all roofing contractors are created equal, and learning how to tell the difference between a reputable company and a fly by night operation will make a huge difference. No matter who you choose to repair or replace your roof, you should be asking them all of these questions and getting the right answers.

Are you a licensed contractor in Toledo?

Toledo is one of the few cities in Ohio that requires licensing for roofing contractors. Even if your home is not located in Toledo, it is highly recommended that you use a contractor that is licensed with the city. Licensing insures that contractor passed specific training and testing to obtain General Contractor status, and is qualified to work on your home. It also requires that contractors have general liability and Workers’ Comp insurance, which help protect you the homeowner as well.

Does your roofing company carry insurance?

Contractors should carry both comprehensive & Workers’ Compensation insurances to protect you in the event of a roofing accident on your property. This can be verified by asking contractor for certificates of insurance. Be aware, if contractor doesn’t have these insurances, homeowner may be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur on the job.

How long has your company been in business? Do you have a local business address (NOT a P.O. Box)?

Needless to say, longer is usually much better. Less than 3 years in business may be a sign of an unstable business or one with an inexperienced staff. While younger companies may be capable, you take a much bigger risk as well. Referrals are highly recommended, if you know someone who has had work done by them. Also try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby, as they will typically provide better and quicker service, and someone who has a phone number that someone actually picks up. 

Will your company provide references from previous jobs?

Ask for photos of the contractor’s previous work, and make sure that it’s recent! Request a list of 3-5 names and phone numbers of previous customers. Randomly pick 2-3 on the list and call them for information. Don’t be shy about doing homework on the person responsible for fixing your home, especially with something as valuable and important as your roof. 

Did you perform a physical roof inspection?

It is STRONGLY recommended that contractor physically gets on roof to perform a complete roof assessment. This will identify any areas of concerns that need to be fixed, including chimney deterioration, skylight condition, wood frame damage, damaged flashing, etc. When this is done at the start the likelihood of unexpected repairs is less likely, and the contractor will be able to provide you with an accurate quote. Some roofing companies like to hide costs until they start the project, then find issues that were there all along to upcharge you. Don’t let them! 

Did you perform a full attic inspection?

This is missed often by roofing contractors, though it is one of the most important steps to performing a complete roof inspection. There are things that cannot be seen from the outside of the roof, such as rotted wood, improper or lack of ventilation, bathroom vents improperly vented, and water accumulation or damage. Without getting into your attic, a contractor may be unaware of these issues, which could cause serious problems for your new roof. Make sure whoever is inspecting your roof does a thorough job. 

Does my attic have proper ventilation? 

There are specific calculations that need to be completed to determine the right balance of intake and exhaust ventilation. If there is not proper ventilation, it could cause shingles to deteriorate or trap moisture in attic, causing potential mold risks and higher heating and cooling bills. Most leading shingle manufacturers require proper ventilation for warranties to be valid as well, another important reason not to skip this step.

Can you explain your roofing system? What do you use and why?

There are many important components to installing a long lasting roofing system. Be cautious of those contractors and sales companies that are more interested in giving you a price rather than explaining the materials and the process they will be using. You may find this same approach when there are questions or concerns during the project or years after. If your contractor isn’t educating you than be cautious. Price isn’t everything, and having someone who uses quality materials will increase the lifespan of your roof.

Is there a warranty for your roofing system? Can you explain in detail what is and is not covered?

The leading shingle manufactures all offer extended warranties on their materials for contractors that have been credentialed. Be sure to ask whether the warranty covers labor, installation, materials or all three, and for how long. Be sure that it is included in the proposal or contract in writing.

Can you provide a written proposal/contract?

It is always in your best interest that certain items which are important to you be stated in writing in a binding contract. Some less than honest contractors will try to upsell essential parts of the roof, or increase the size of the job without your consent. Be sure that the terms of what is going to be repaired and what the agreed to price is for that work are spelled out in detail, and anything additional must be approved by you. No matter what promises they make, if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t count! 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your roofing contractor, or the answers that they gave you to any one of these questions, please call Frogtown Roofing at (419) 466-2131 for a second opinion. We provide a free, no obligation on-site quote to all our prospective customers, and will be happy to take care of your roofing and roof repair needs. No matter who you choose, make sure that your home is being taken care of by reliable and trustworthy professionals.