Finding a Professional Roofer You Can Trust

Finding a Professional Roofer You Can Trust
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We’ve all heard the horror stories about roofing projects gone wrong. You hire a company that seems great on the surface, only to end up with a leaky roof, damaged property, and constant headaches trying to get them to fix their shoddy work. 

Finding a professional roofer you can trust takes some legwork upfront, but it’s worth the effort to avoid ending up in a nightmare scenario. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the tricks for choosing the right roofer to tackle your roofing project.

Do Your Research

The first step is gathering intel from people you know and trust, along with strangers on the internet.

Get Referrals and Read Reviews

Start close to home by asking friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors if they’ve used a roofer recently that they’d recommend. Referrals from people you trust carry a lot of weight.

Next, scour online review sites to get a broader perspective. Pay attention to recent reviews that go in-depth on positives and negatives. A professional roofer will have mostly 4 and 5 star ratings. Beware of roofers with no reviews or a sketchy history of 1 star rants about terrible service.

It’s also smart to ask any potential hires for references from past customers that you can call directly. Speaking to a real human who’s used their services will give you invaluable insight.

Look for Experience and Specialties

The longer a roofer has been in business, the more seasoned their skills will be. Search for ones like Apple Roofing that have many years if not decades of experience under their belt.

Also ensure they specialize in your type of roof – whether asphalt shingle, metal, flat, tile, or other. You want a pro who’s done hundreds of roofs just like yours, not a jack of all trades dabbling in roofing.

Confirm Credentials and Affiliations

Any reputable professional roofer needs proper licensing, bonded and insured status, and affiliations with roofing product manufacturers. Don’t just take their word for it―confirm they have the proper documentation.

If your state doesn’t require licensing, look for advanced certifications and manufacturer training programs the roofer has completed. This proves they’re serious about their trade.

Interview Potential Roofers

Once you’ve identified 3-5 promising roofers through your research, it’s time to talk to them directly.

Prepare Interview Questions

Draft up a list of questions about their experience, methods, costs, timelines, warranties, safety protocols and anything else that’s important to you. Preparing questions ahead of time will make the interviews more productive.

Meet in Person

Schedule in-person consultations whenever possible. This gives you a better feel for the company’s professionalism and how well you communicate. Be wary of any roofer reluctant to meet you on your own roof.

Ask About the Estimate

A detailed written estimate is essential before agreeing to any work. Make sure it specifies exactly what’s included so there are no surprises with the final bill. Get clarification on any vague costs.

Discuss the Project Plan

Go through the full project plan including timeline, roofing materials they’ll use, warranties, daily cleanup process, how they’ll protect your home from damage, and of course the final cost.

Confirm Insurance and Licenses

Rigorously vet that the roofer has active liability insurance, workers comp, and required licenses. Ask to see the documentation yourself―don’t take their word for it.

Evaluate Your Options

With estimates from several roofers in hand, you can start making an informed decision.

Compare Quotes

Look at the bottom line cost, but also scrutinize what’s included. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. The cheapest quote often comes back to bite you.

Go Beyond Price

Factor in the roofer’s experience, reputation, professionalism, how well you communicated, and your overall gut feeling after meeting them. This is not a decision to make on price alone.

Trust Your Instincts

Listen to your gut. Even if a roofer checks every box, if you don’t have a good feeling after meeting them or sense warning signs, keep looking.

Confirm Safety Procedures

Ask for specifics on how they’ll keep your property protected and clean during the roofing job. Look for conscientious safety processes.

Check References

Circle back with the references you got earlier and ask how satisfied they were overall. This can reveal potential issues not obvious from other research.

Review the Contract

Never sign a contract or agree to work without a detailed written contract. Read the fine print carefully before signing to ensure it aligns with everything you discussed.

Prepare for the Project

Once you’ve selected your professional roofer, take steps to get ready for the project.

Handle Permits

Determine if your project requires permits and who will pull them. Some roofers include this, for others you need to do it yourself. Don’t skip required permits.

Make Payments

Avoid paying for the entire project upfront if possible. Opt for staged payments tied to completion milestones instead. This gives you leverage in case issues arise.

Prepare the Property

Talk with the roofer about anything you need to do to prepare the property like clearing plants away from the house, covering exterior furnishings, or protecting certain interior areas from dust and debris.

Communicate Expectations

Share your schedule availability and constraints with the roofer. Exchange contact info so you can easily check progress and get updates.

Document Everything

Take photos of your roof and property before work begins as a baseline. Keep copies of all paperwork and invoices related to the project in case you need to reference them later.

Understand Your Roofing Needs

Before starting your search, take time to understand the specifics of your roofing situation. Do you need minor repairs, replacement of older shingles, or a whole new roof? Does the issue stem from storm damage, age, faulty installation or other factors? Know the roofing materials already on your home and the approximate square footage. 

If you’re not sure of the problem’s extent, some roofers offer free consultations to evaluate and diagnose. Having these details in hand will allow you to find a roofer suited to your exact needs. Don’t waste time meeting with roofers that don’t have experience with your specific roofing requirements.

Ask About Crew Supervision

For large roofing jobs, ask detailed questions about who will supervise the roofing crew each day. You want an experienced foreman overseeing the work, not just random workers. Find out how they ensure consistency and quality control when multiple roofers are involved. A reputable company will have proper supervisors to manage crews on bigger projects.

Consider Roofing Material Options

When replacing a roof, you may have choices on the roofing materials to use. Do research on the pros and cons of different options for your region’s weather – composition shingles, metal, tile, slate, etc. 

Some are better suited for areas with heavy snow, high heat, frequent storms, or wet climates. Talk through the options with your potential roofer to select the right materials. Make sure the contract specifies exactly which roofing products will be installed.

Maintain Good Communication

Throughout your roofing project, maintain constant communication with the head roofer or project manager. Discuss daily and weekly schedules, material deliveries, crew supervision and any issues that come up. 

Establish the best ways to connect – phone, text, email, etc based on their preference. Quick and open communication ensures the project stays on track and problems get resolved promptly. Check in at the end of each workday on progress and next steps.

Ask About Cleaning Up

Roofing jobs involve tons of debris, nails, and leftover materials that need proper cleanup and disposal. Discuss the roofer’s specific cleanup process to avoid hazards around your home. Are they responsible for magnetic sweeping for nails? 

Will they check yards, gardens and landscaping for sharp debris? What’s their system for removing waste materials? A thorough cleanup regimen is a sign of a conscientious, professional contractor.

Compare Warranties

Roofers offer different warranty terms, durations and fine print. One may cover labor and materials for 5 years, while another only covers defective materials for 2 years. Read the warranties closely to understand exactly what’s covered and for how long. 

You want the best assurance that your new roof will be free of defects. Ask the roofer to explain any unclear warranty details. Opt for the most comprehensive labor and materials coverage you can get.

Inquire About Crew Training

For roofers who employ crews, ask about their training processes. All workers should be educated on proper installation methods for your specific roof type. They should hold certifications and have extensive hands-on training. Don’t assume all crew members are highly skilled—vet their qualifications. Proper training ensures you get the highest quality roof work.

Set a Post-Project Walkthrough

Schedule a walkthrough with the head roofer when the project finishes before making final payment. Thoroughly inspect their work, look for any missed or incomplete elements, check cleanup was done properly, and identify any issues to address. This ensures you only pay once totally satisfied with the finished roof. Pay attention to details during the walkthrough.

In Conclusion

Finding a trustworthy professional roofer takes diligence―there are no shortcuts. With the right research, interviews, vetting, and communication, you can have confidence as you undertake your roofing project. 

Always listen to your gut feeling about a roofer, and don’t hesitate to keep looking if something seems off. The extra effort to find the right pro now will save you from headaches down the road. Before you know it, your roofing headaches will be over and you’ll have a roof you can rely on for years to come.

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