How To Choose A Roofer

10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Contractor

Daris Brown, Writer
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Good help is hard to find. This especially rings true when you need help the most. Such is the case with a damaged roof. Many homeowners will only have to repair their home’s roof once — if it’s done correctly. But how do you find the right roofing contractor for the job? Referrals from friends, neighbors and online reviews are a great place to start, but they are only a starting point.

To ensure you have the best experience possible, don’t award the job to the first roofing contractor who picks up the phone. Think of yourself as the owner of a company. Before you hire a new employee, you must conduct interviews to make sure you find the person best qualified to handle the job. The interview process is a great way to separate the best from the rest. To make sure you have thoroughly vetted your roofing contractor, here are 10 questions you should ask:

1. Are you licensed?

There are no guarantees with an unlicensed roofing contractor — only more questions.

To avoid getting scammed, only hire a licensed roofing contractor.

License requirements vary from state to state. In most states, contractors have to pay a fee and pass an exam. In addition, they must purchase liability and property insurance to receive their license. Contractors are also required to take continuing education courses and pay a license renewal fee.

2. Do you check ventilation and make sure I have a balanced system?

Proper ventilation serves many purposes and plays a vital role in the integrity of your roof. A poorly ventilated roof can dramatically shorten the lifespan of shingles while also causing the air conditioning unit to work much harder, driving up your energy bill. If your ventilation system is no good, then all of the time, effort and money you spend on a new roof could be destroyed in a few short years.

3. Do you have insurance (workers’ comp, general liability, etc.)?

Mistakes happen and problems do occur. You want to make sure the company you hire is prepared for the worst. If not, should anything go wrong, you might be on the hook for damages. Don't forget to ask for proof of insurance before awarding a contractor the job.

4. Do you have a local phone number and address?

On top of basic customer service, you want to make sure the roofing contractor you are working with has local ties for many different reasons. Local contractors have more reason to care about the quality of their work because much of their business comes by way of referral. Roofing contractors who can pick up and leave town the next day don't have to worry as much about word of mouth. Plus, getting in touch with contractors is much harder when you have to cross state borders to walk into their office. Typically, this is only a problem if you're looking for a contractor after a major storm. Any contractors within driving distance will be in the area hunting for jobs.

5. What kind of warranty (contractor workmanship and manufacturer’s warranty) do you offer?

You want to be sure your roof is taken care of should there be a problem. Make sure the roofing contractor explains exactly what is and isn’t covered in your warranty. From high-wind damage to black streaks caused by algae and manufacturing defects to a roofing system failure, a roof built with Atlas shingles is backed by quality, industry-leading warranty coverage.

6. Do you have any references?

We said referrals are a great place to start, and they are. Roofing contractors who don't have any homeowners willing to vouch for their work is a red flag signaling that this hire is not worth the risk. Be sure to follow up on the references provided to make sure they are legitimate.

7. Do you protect my landscape?

Any answer other than yes is a reason to run away. Think damaged bushes, broken windows and hundreds of extra dollars wasted.

8. Can you guarantee against algae?

Unfortunately, most homeowners don't pay attention to their roofs until they are either damaged or look so dirty they can no longer be ignored. That dirty appearance is caused by algae. Some shingles have no algae protection, while others are simply "algae resistant." Atlas shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector by 3M offer a lifetime guarantee against the ugly black streaks caused by algae — which is why they're a HOLMES Approved Product.

9. Do you use subcontractors?

The use of subcontractors is not uncommon. By using subcontractors, roofing contractors don’t have to pay for workers’ comp insurance, which saves them a lot of money on labor. If your roofing contractor intends on using subs, be sure a representative of the roofing company will be onsite during the installation so you have someone to communicate with.

10. Do you offer a system warranty?

A system warranty provides added protection. Buying a roofing system means that every component comes from a single manufacturer that rewards you with a longer, stronger warranty for your roof.

When you install an Atlas Signature Select® Roofing System, all of the components (underlayment, starter shingles, shingles and hip and ridge shingles) are designed and backed by an Atlas warranty. Unlike many other roofing warranties that promise more than they deliver, Atlas packs value and assurance into an enhanced Premium Protection Period with the installation of an Atlas Signature Select Roofing System.

The Premium Protection Period includes:

  • Non-prorated labor and materials
  • Tear-off and disposal fees
  • Coverage of the full system
  • Transferability

Ready to get started? Find a licensed roofing contractor in your area.