In the market for a New Jersey roof replacement? If you’ve never needed a new one before, you might be surprised to learn how hard it is to find good roofing contractors. It’s much easier, in fact, to find fly-by-night quasi professionals who love to prey on unsuspecting homeowners. Unfortunately, however, it’s not nearly so easy to spot these disreputable companies; that is, unless you know what to look for. To help you identify potential red flags, we’ve put together this “When Roofing Goes Wrong” post.

Roofing Red Flag #1:  No Portfolio/No References

When you’re shopping for a good roofing contractor to do your New Jersey roof replacement, one of the first things you’ll want to ask about are references as well as examples of their past work. You should ask for a list of at least ten customers, at minimum, from each roofer you interview (you only need to call three or so). George J Keller and Sons recognizes how important it is to provide potential clients with references, so we always make a list of up to 25 former customers available. You should also be sure to view photos of your potential roofer’s past work. Ideally, the examples should include pictures of the type of roofing product you’re interested in as well as of homes that are similar to your own.

Roofing Red Flag #2: No Written Estimate

Your roofing pro should be able to provide you with a written estimate of the cost of work to be performed on your home. You should get estimates from at least three different contractors prior to making a decision. Notice an estimate that’s significantly lower than the others? Be wary—labor and materials cost a lot of money, and low-ball estimates could be a sign that the roofing company plans to cut corners or use second-rate materials.

Roofing Red Flag #3: No “Under the Hood” Inspection

To provide an accurate estimate of the work to be done on your home, a contractor needs to not only inspect your roof, but also the underside of it—that is, your attic. Looking underneath your roof gives a pro important insight into the structural integrity of your roofing system. If he or she doesn’t look at this key area, potential problems may be missed, causing a written estimate to be wildly inaccurate.

Roofing Red Flag #4: Uninsured/Unregistered

If you’re in the market for a New Jersey roof replacement, it’s important that you know that, just like all home-improvement pros, roofing contractors must be registered with the state of New Jersey to do this type of work. Ask for their registration number, and then check with the state’s online system to verify that it’s active. In addition to maintaining an active registration, your roofing company should also be adequately insured, holding both liability and worker’s compensation insurances. A good roofing contractor will be happy to show you all his or her relevant credentials, so don’t be afraid to request and inspect them.

Roofing Red Flag #5: A Too-Large Deposit Request

New Jersey roof replacement contractors are not allowed to request payment in full until the work is completed per the terms of your contract (you have a signed contract, right?). A good roofing contractor will ask for no more than 50% of the total project cost upfront (they do need to buy their materials, after all), but you should be suspicious of any contractor who requests significantly more than this. Regardless of your down-payment amount, don’t pay the balance until you have confirmed that the work has been completed to your satisfaction.

Avoid your own “When Roofing Goes Wrong” horror story by avoiding these red flags when hiring a contractor to perform your New Jersey roof replacement. No matter what, follow your instincts. Speak up and ask questions if something seems amiss. It’s never too late to voice your concerns! That said, the best way to avoid dealing with a roofing replacement nightmare is to hire a reputable contractor at the outset. George J Keller and Sons has over 35 years of experience installing roofs, and we’ve gained the trust of hundreds of satisfied clients during that time. Give us a call today at 973-927-0963 and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free estimate on your roof replacement!