Ready to sign on the dotted line with a roofing contractor? Not so fast. Before you enter into a binding agreement and fork over a deposit, there are important questions you should ask your roofing contractor. A roof is your family’s primary source of protection against the elements, and that contractor is going to making major changes to your home. This is one investment you don’t want to regret making later.
A basic list of questions to ask any roofing contractor can help you narrow down your contenders and can be found on our Selecting a Contractor page. Once you’ve selected a contractor and are hammering out the details of the contract, use this post as a reference guide to ensure you’re covering all your bases. Know what you’re getting into and what you’re getting out of the deal by asking these 6 questions of your roofing contractor BEFORE you sign:
- In addition to underlayment and shingles, will you also be replacing all fascia, flashing, soffits, and drip edge?
Underlayment and shingles make up most of your roof, to be sure, but there are key components that should be replaced along with these. Even if some of the components of your existing roof are still in good shape, it’s wise to replace everything at once. Your roof is an entire system that works together, and if one component fails, it can affect the integrity of your whole roof.
- Can you describe your inspection process of the roof once the old one is off? What will happen if a problem, such as rotted sheathing, is unearthed?
If your roofer says he’s going to just shingle right over your existing roof to save money, think twice. You’re missing out on a key opportunity to have a close inspection of your roof performed and for any problems to be addressed before they become major issues. shingling right over an existing roof might mean you have to tear it off when it starts leaking due to rotted decking that you didn’t know was there. You want to know that your contractor will uncover and address these issues—and you want to find out what the cost will be if this ends up happening.
- How will old materials be disposed of? What will you do with excess materials that you don’t end up using on this job?
Make sure your contractor has a plan for safe and responsible materials disposal, and make sure you’re comfortable with where the roofing contractor plans to place any refuse containers. Also, if the contractor ends up with excess shingles or other materials, will you get to keep any for repairs? Roofing contractors generally order extra material to cover various “just in case” situations, and that material usually belongs to them once a job is complete. However, it’s worth discussing this issue with your contractor upfront.
- Can you please explain how all through-roof structures, such as chimneys, skylights, vents, as well as on-roof structures, such as satellite dishes, will be handled during the project?
Your roof is not just a vast, unbroken expanse. Usually, roofing contractors need to negotiate around chimneys and vents, so you’ll want to ensure you discuss how these will be handled. If you have a satellite dish, this will need to be removed in order to reroof your home, and it may need to be recalibrated by your dish company afterward.
- How will you protect my gutters, shrubs, plants, lawn, and other non-removeable items from the work area?
In general, you and your roofing contractor will work together to create a plan to prevent damage to these areas and items. You should discuss ladder placement, refuse placement, active work areas, and more. You’ll want to be assured that the roofing contractor respects your entire home, and intends to take steps to costly damage to your shrubs, flowers, and lawns. In addition, you’ll want to find out how your roofing contractor protects your gutters from damage. Ladders should never be leaned directly against your gutters! Instead, stabilizers, stand-offs, or other mounting systems should be employed.
- How will you handle inclement weather issues?
What type of weather could cause a job to be postponed? What if it starts raining during the job? These are key questions you want answered, and you want to make sure your roofing contractor adequately protects your home in the event a roofing project needs to be paused due to poor weather conditions.
Make sure you are completely satisfied with the roofing contractor’s answers, and that any specifics are spelled out in the contract. This is not an exhaustive list, so there may be other questions you should ask your roofing contractor, depending on your situation. In any case, the goal is for there to be open communication between you and your roofing contractor–not just before you sign the contract, but throughout the process. This is key to ensuring you’re happy with the final results!
Ready to start your roofing contractor search? Call George J Keller & Sons today at 973-927-0963 and we’ll be happy to come out and provide you with a free estimate!