How to Select a Roofing Contractor


A new roof with a dormer
A new roof with a dormer

It’s simple. If you have a home you have a roof. Just as a residential fence protects your yard, your roof protects the interior of your home. Even renters need a roof although your landlord is generally liable for repairs like roofing and siding. But if you need to select a roofing contractor here are the things you need to know since a new roof is a rather large investment.

First, Decide on What Kind of Roofing Material You Want

You basically first have to choose between a metal or shingle roof. This is important because some contractors do it all but some simply focus on one kind of material. You don’t want a contractor to “practice” or “train new hires” on your dime.

Metal roofs will cost you more but they last longer and are very fire resistant. Consider this if your home is in the vicinity of fires spread by the Santa Ana winds.

Questions to Ask Potential Roofing Contractors

You can create a short list by going to a service like Angie’s List or Networx. You can also ask neighbors who have recently had roof service. After you have a short list it’s time to ask some questions.

  • Do you use nails or staples? Nails are far superior in windy conditions.
  • Have you ever had to deal with a mechanics lien? If so, it generally means he hadn’t paid his workers in a timely manner. Not a good thing.
  • Are you bonded? Do you carry Workers compensation and contractor’s liability insurance? The answer should be a resounding “yes.”
  • Are you willing to sign a binding contract? Life happens to all of us but nothing is worse than a roofing contractor pulling off the job halfway through to deal with something else.
  • How is your record with the BBB.

These are just some things you need to ask before signing on the dotted line. Protect yourself and your pocketbook.


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Springtime is Roof Inspection Time


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The roof of your home, whether a shingle or metal roof should be inspected, and have repairs done if needed, twice a year. The time corresponds to the season. Specifically, during the spring and during the fall. This is especially important in areas that experience snowfall. I don’t get any snow (well, maybe once every ten years).

These inspections grow increasingly more important the older your roof is. I have found that shingle manufacturer’s “guaranteed lifetime” are wildly optimistic and are basically a marketing tool.

Some Considerations During a Roof Inspection

The fact is that composition shingle roofs don’t last forever. What that means is that right after installation you shouldn’t have any issues but as time goes on you will have more and more. At some point it will make more sense to just bite the bullet and replace it.

  • If you are knowledgeable and know what to look for you’re gold. If not, have a reputable roofing contractor determine if you need a new roof or shingle repair.
  • If you do need a new roof and decide to do the job yourself you will need to know how to estimate how many shingles you will need.
  • On the other hand, if you are going to farm the job out it is important to know how to select a roof contractor. The industry is notorious for fly-by-night contractors. This is especially true if you need a new roof because of damage from a hurricane or other natural disaster. Some contractors flock in from out of state and take advantage of folks that already have enough to worry about. These contractors are often called “storm chasers.”
  • For minor damage repair such as fixing shingles, in many cases the average homeowner can do it himself. Just be sure to follow all the safety rules. I’m certainly not suggesting that you climb up on the roof if you don’t know what you are doing.

I hope you found this information helpful. Your roof might just be the most important component of your home. After all, if it goes, everything below will be exposed to the elements.
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