Questions to Ask a Roofer: How to Pick the Right Roofer for Your Needs

Homeowner Learning

Author: Amy Freeman | July 6, 2023

Your roof has a big job to do. It protects your home and family from water, wind, excessive sunlight and snow. It keeps birds, squirrels and other critters from staking a claim inside your house. It plays a big role in keeping your home warm in winter and cool in the summer.

If you need to repair or replace your roof, you want to be sure it's in the right hands. Knowing what questions to ask a roofer can help you find the contractor who will best meet your needs. Here's what to ask and why.

Roofer on a roof
Getting ready to hire a contractor? Here's what you should ask first.

1. Who Works for Your Company?

Roofers work in crews. That means the person who answers the phone or makes a site visit won't be the only one working on the job. Some questions to ask a roofer should focus on the people they work with. Where do they find and hire their subcontractors, and can they provide you with their contact information? If the company hires employees, do they pay them a fair wage?

Worker safety should be important to the contractor you hire. Ask them what they use to protect their workers on the job, such as safety harnesses and provide fall protection training.

2. What Manufacturers Do You Work With?

It's a good idea to learn about the manufacturers or distributors a roofer uses. As with any other product, some roofing material manufacturers have a better reputation than others. In many cases, companies with better reputations offer warranties, as they have an excellent track record and reliable products. Learning which manufacturers your contractor works with can also give you an idea of the warranty you can expect on your new shingles or other roofing materials.

3. Do You Work With My Roofing Material?

As Consumer Reports notes, asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing choice. But they aren't the only material out there. If you want something different from basic asphalt, it's important to verify that a roofer has experience with that material. For example, you may need a contractor with masonry experience to install slate. If you want tile, rubber shingles or another specialty material, learn more about a contractor's experience first.

4. Are You Local?

A roofing contractor should understand the challenges specific to your area or climate, such as weather and pest control. They should also be a phone call and quick drive away if you run into problems with your roof a year or two down the road. Choose a roofing contractor who is part of your community, and not just someone who's in town cleaning up after a storm.

5. How Do I Pay You?

A reputable contractor won't usually ask for the full price of an expensive roofing project upfront. If someone demands full payment before work begins, consider that a warning that things won't go as planned.

Ideally, a contractor's payment schedule will line up with the project timeline. You might pay a small amount upfront, then make another payment when the project is halfway complete and a final payment when everything is finished. Ask potential roofing matches what their usual payment schedule looks like.

Finally, don't sign a roofing company's contract until you're sure what it means. Sit down with any potential contractors and ask them to review the contract with you. If they're offering a warranty, ask about what's covered and for how long.

Working with the right contractor can mean the difference between a project that goes better than expected and one that goes off the rails. Along with getting the full scoop on any contractor you're considering working with, trust your instincts. If you feel like you haven't found the perfect roofer for the job, you might be better off continuing your search.

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