Expensive? Yes. A huge job? Definitely. Applying a new roof is one massive undertaking and, unless you install them for a living, it’s not a DIY project.
It starts with finding the right roofing contractor from what may seem like a sea of them. The key is to take the time required to research carefully.
We’ve always found the best-of-the-best at what they do by asking others for their recommendations. If you know and trust a general contractor, ask him or her. Real estate agents are also excellent sources of information about various trades people.
Then, seek out referrals from family members, friends, neighbors and even colleagues. If you still can’t find at least three to interview, check reviews on Yelp.com and the rosters at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA.net).
Now that you have a list of referrals, call each roofing contractor and set an appointment for them to come out to the home and provide a written bid. You’ll want the bid in writing so that you have something to compare to other roofers.
The bids should describe the scope of the project, “… including approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures,” according to the experts at NRCA.
Is the roofer licensed and insured? Don’t be like our trusting friend who recently hired a painter. She did ask him if he was licensed and insured and she believed him when he said he was.
It turns out, he wasn’t.
Ask each roofer to bring along a copy of their license, proof of insurance coverage (especially workers’ compensation and liability). Finally, ask for a list of the names and contact information for his or her last three clients. Then, call each one for a reference.
If any roofer can’t or won’t provide the requested information, consider hiring someone else.
Perform background checks
Go online to your local Better Business Bureau’s website (bbb.org) and plug in the name of each contractor. Check their record carefully.
Then, find your state licensing board for contractors and ensure that the roofer’s license is valid and not suspended or revoked. You’ll find various directories online, such as the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies website and also at liennow.com.
Finally, head back to Yelp.com and enter the roofing company’s name. Read each review carefully.
Avoid basing your hiring decision on any warranty offered. In fact, the pros at NRCA suggest that you “Keep a healthy skepticism” when it comes to these warranties. Many of them are merely marketing gimmicks, they explain.
Run the warranty by your attorney or read it carefully if you understand legalese. “Watch for provisions that would void it,” cautions the folks at NRCA. Read more about roof system warranties on the NRCA website.
“Nationally, the average homeowner spends about $7,636 to install a new roof, and most spend within a range of $5,202 and $10,120,” according to the pros at HomeAdvisor.com. When faced with a job that costs that much, it pays to research carefully before hiring.
When choosing someone to install your new roof, ensure that the contractor is licensed, insured, highly experienced, has few customer complaints and offers a guarantee, in writing, of her or his work.