7 Secret Questions To Ask Roofing Contractors
If you’re looking to hire a roofing contractor (and if you’re anything like our friends and family), then I’m certain you want to do the job ONE time, right? Roofing isn’t a fun job to do twice because the process can quickly take up lots of your valuable time and hard-earned money…
Step #1: Determine A Roofer’s Credibility With These 3 Simple Questions
Before you even consider a roofer’s price, you need to make sure they’re credible. This is beyond important in protecting yourself from getting a bad installation.
Though there are many questions you could ask, we recommend using these three during your phone screening:
Question #1: What is your legal business name?
Getting a roofer’s legal business name is especially important nowadays because of how easy it is to falsely represent yourself online. A little detective work can go a long way in your pursuit of hiring the right contractor.
Answers you can accept:
- The exact name they’re marketing themselves as
- Our legal company name is X, but we’re ‘doing business as’ Y
- We market ourselves as ‘Roofing Company’, but our legal business name is Roofing Company LLC or Roofing Company Inc
Don’t accept answers that sound hesitant, or are unclear. This is the easiest way to guard against being scammed. When in doubt, ask for proof! No roofer should have trouble emailing you a copy of state licenses or proof of insurance.
Question #2: What level of roofing insurance do you have?
Roofing insurance can get tricky as many states may require different levels of insurance depending on what type of contractor you are.
To figure out what level of insurance is needed in your state, head over to Google, type in “[YOUR STATE] roofing insurance requirements,” then choose a result from your state’s official website. You’ll want a .gov website to be certain, not a .com or net. Using Massachusetts as an example, the site is “mass.gov.”
Answers you can accept:
- An exact match, or an amount exceeding the minimum state requirements
- A copy of the company’s liability policy sent via email after the phone call
Don’t accept answers that are indecisive, hesitant, or don’t match local, state, and/or federal requirements. Even if the company doesn’t have insurance, it’s easy to answer “yes, we have insurance.” Giving an exact amount is harder, which is why we recommend asking this way.
If a roofer is hesitant over the phone when you ask this question, it is a red flag, but they may not be lying. If so, you don’t need to rule them out right away. Just ask for them to email you a copy of their insurance liability policy
Question #3: Who will be on the job site during my roofing installation?
If you’re hiring a reputable roofing contractor, there’s a good chance they may have more than one roofing project going on in one day.
But if the company owner isn’t going to be on your property during the install, then who’s going to be around to ensure the project goes smoothly?
Many larger roofing companies have a “project manager” whose sole focus is to make sure your roof is being installed in accordance with both local laws and manufacturer guidelines.
So if the manager or owner of the company won’t be present during ‘install day,’ it’s important that an experienced project manager will be.
This is an easy question to ask any roofer over the phone.
Answers you can accept:
- Owner of the roofing company
- Manager of the company
- Project manager trained by the organization
Don’t take this for an answer: “Our roofers are very experienced, so they don’t need supervision.” While it IS important to have experienced roofers on your crew, an efficient installation will only happen if there’s an industry expert in charge.
Step #2: Pre-Screen For Ethical Roofers Using These 4 Questions
Question #4: Can you leave the roof estimate in my mailbox?
Answers you can accept:
- No, because we may need to ask you questions.
- No, because you’ll need to choose which materials you prefer so the estimate is accurate.
- No, because depending on what we find outside we may need to inspect your attic.
Don’t accept answers that allow a roofing contractor just to drop off an estimate in your mailbox because the price they leave may increase when materials change, or if more work needs to be done than was originally expected.
Question #5: What is your roofing price per square foot?
Roof pricing is complex.
Lots of factors that go into how much your roof will cost, including:
- Current market price of roofing materials
- Age of roof
- Pitch of roof
- # of layers on the existing roof
- Known issues
- The condition of the shingles
- The condition of the wood decking
And many more…
Important: if many factors go into determining the price of a new roof, then shouldn’t you choose a roofer who’s able to both explain each factor? Don’t you want a roofing company to holistically determine your roof’s health before putting a price tag on its replacement?
We think so… Which is why we factor in all of the above when determining how much new roofs cost in Georgia.
Answers you can accept include ones that take many factors into consideration. You’ll want a roofer who prices your roof from a holistic point of view because it shows they’re acting ethically and are pricing the job from an experienced point of view.
Don’t accept answers that consider just one factor. You don’t want to hire a roofer who only prices your roof based on its pitch, how many layers it has, or even how big it is (size). This is a recipe for disaster because it not only allows lots of room for error but leaves you as a homeowner open for surprises on install day when you’re most vulnerable.
Question #6: Can you do a layover instead of a full roof replacement?
A roofing layover is when the roofer nails new shingles directly over your existing shingles instead of first taking them off. Laying one layer directly over the other.
Important: If the roofing contractor answers “Yes, we can do a layover instead of a full roof replacement!” then it may be a sign that they’re just out to make a buck because this practice can be detrimental to your roof’s health.
Why is a “roofing layover” bad for your roof?
Think about why you’re looking to replace your roof in the first place…
Most likely, it’s because there’s something wrong! And if this is the case, then why cover it up? Covering up your existing problems with a roof layover won’t protect your for long, if at all, and in many cases will do more damage than good in the short term.
Do you know how heavy shingles are?
HEAVY! Like, really heavy…
Strong architectural shingles from well-known manufacturers like GAF and can weigh up to 350 pounds per square!
Answers you can accept, especially if you’re living in Georgia, should only include a “no” when you ask for a layover.
Don’t accept answers that allow for any type of layover because although you’ll save money in the short-term, the long-term (including exponentially increasing your chance of a cave-in) is far greater.
Question #7: Does the roof estimator reallyneed to come inside my house?
Why a roofer needs to come inside your home…
Roofers should come inside your home for an estimate so they can inspect the attic space, especially if there are signs of water damage (moss, lichen, etc) on the exterior of the roof. Not doing so can result in thousands and thousands of dollars in surprise charges on install day…
But what if you don’t have an attic space?
If you don’t have an attic space, letting a qualified roofer inside your home is that much more important! A trained roofing eye can quickly spot small cracks and stains on your interior walls or on your ceilings. These are tell-tale signs of a leak and such a discovery MUST be taken seriously.
Answers you can accept include only those that require the estimator to come inside your home. If the roofing service your speaking with over the phone does not make this a priority, then only hire them if they require you hire a professional attic inspection before they complete the job.
Don’t accept answers that only consider exterior roof damage like curling shingles or moss. In many cases, roofing systems that look okay from the outside are riddled with the interior damage that is far more important to your home’s health than interior damage ever would be.