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Picking the right roofing contractor – 5 signs you might be on the wrong track

When you’re ready to put a new roof on your home, one of your primary concerns is likely to be selecting the right contractor, and for good reason. Choose the best home-improvement contractor for the job, and you’ll be rewarded with a roof that looks great and performs well for decades to come. Select a disreputable or unscrupulous company, and you may end up with a roof that leaks, sags, or fails prematurely. At worst, you could even end up forking over your hard-earned cash to a scam artist, so it certainly behooves you to be able to recognize the signs of a shady NJ roofing contractor.

picking the right roofing contractor

Sign #1: Your roofer gives you a final price quote without ever inspecting your roof—or looking in your attic/crawl space. While roofing companies can certainly provide estimates to homeowners with only limited information about your roof to go on, final project quotes should never be given—or included in a contract—unless your roofing system has been thoroughly inspected. That means your roofer should either climb on the roof himself or use other tools to carefully assess your roof. Soon, George J Keller & Sons will be using drones to closely examine every inch of your roof before providing you with a final quote. Your roofing contractor should also carefully look over the underside of your roof to identify any damage due to falling debris, water, mold, and rot.

Sign #2: Your NJ roofing contractor wants you to pay the entire project cost before the job is complete. A reputable roofing contractor will ask for no more than half of the project cost upfront. It’s reasonable for a contractor to ask for some money up front so he or she can buy the materials needed to complete the job. However, if a roofing business tries to rope you into paying in full, you should refuse, no matter what the company’s reasoning is. It would be wise to carefully consider whether a contractor who makes such a request is the right one for the job.

Sign #3: Your home-improvement contractor suggests putting a new roof on right over the old one. While you might be able to get away with doing this in some cases, in the vast majority of situations, it’s best to put an entirely new roof on your home. Why? Removing the existing roofing material allows your roofer to get a thorough look at the sheathing underneath. Oftentimes, damage to those boards is undetectable, even if the underside of your roof has been thoroughly perused. If you elect to put another layer on right over the first, you forfeit any opportunity to uncover damage due to insects, rot, or mold. If those issues later cause your new roof to fail, you’ll have to pay for everything to be removed and redone anyway. So, even though putting a new roof on without tearing off the existing one is usually acceptable as far as building codes go, don’t give into the temptation (or let a contractor talk you into it).  

Sign #4: Your NJ roofing contractor can’t produce the proper documents. At minimum, your roofer must be registered with the state of New Jersey to do business as a home-improvement contractor. He or she must also carry workers’ compensation insurance for any employees (and he should have employees—re-roofing a home is a not a one-person job!) as well as liability insurance. If your roofer is uninsured or even simply underinsured, you could be on the hook for thousands or more if an accident occurs on your property. If your contractor says he’s insured, but won’t or can’t produce proof, don’t work with him. This is a non-negotiable. But don’t just ask for the documents–you should also inspect your contractor’s paperwork and call to ensure coverages are active and in force. It would be wiser still to call your own insurance representative and ask him or her to review the limits and confirm that they’re appropriate.

Sign #5: Your home-improvement contractor sidesteps your requests for references or examples of past work. Roofing is a big job—one that will cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands. You should never hesitate to ask for proof that your roofer regularly satisfies his clients’ expectations. Your contractor should be able to produce a sizable list of references—past customers with whom you may speak regarding their experiences with your contractor. Plan to call at least three people from that list before signing. In addition, your contractor should have examples, such as photos or case studies, of past roofing jobs he’s done. The examples should, ideally, feature homes similar in style and size to your own as well as incorporate the roofing products you’re interested in.

Choose a Trusted, Local Name

Above are just a few of the signs to look for when you’re searching and selecting a contractor to re-roof your home. It’s important that you know what questions to ask and that you continue searching until you find a contractor that you’re comfortable with and feel you can trust.

At George J Keller and Sons, we recognize the importance of making our customers feel at ease and work hard to earn your confidence. That’s why we take the time to scrutinize your roof, inside and out, answer all your questions (and ask plenty of our own), provide you with long reference lists of at least 25 happy customers as well as photos of our past projects, happily produce all our documents, and explain what you can expect from the roofing process, start to finish. What’s more, we’ve been in the business right here in Morris County for 38 years! Ready to start your roofing project, or simply have questions for us? Give us a call today at 973-927-0963!  

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