Roof replacements can be expensive, and since your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, choosing a high quality contractor is important. Taking a little extra time to choose a good roofing contractor can save you a lot of money and headache in the long run!
Here are 7 tips to help you choose the right roofing contractor for your project, as well as a few bonus tips for after you’ve chosen who to work with.
Before Requesting an Estimate
Here are a few items to look at before you even request an estimate from a contractor. This will allow you to narrow down your selection to the best options and save you a lot of time.
1. Check Online Reviews
Before getting a quote from a roofing company, take a few minutes to read their online reviews. You are more likely to have a good experience if your contractor has over ten reviews, has a good rating, and has reviews that mention specific areas where the contractor excels. Generic five star reviews that say “this is a great company” really don’t tell you much, so look for reviews with more detail.
2. See Where the Contractor is Located
Since local companies have a local reputation to protect, they will probably be more willing and able to help you if anything goes wrong with your roof installation. Often, when a major storm hits, contractors from all over the country travel to the area and start offering their services. While they may offer good prices and warranties, they may be gone before problems start to show up. Not all roofers from out of town are bad contractors, just proceed with a little extra caution and make sure they are able to fulfill all the promises they make.
3. Check BBB Rating
Better Business Bureau listings provide a lot of information about a company. You can see how long the company has been in business, see if they have any complaints, and read customer reviews.
It’s estimated that about 96% of roofers go out of business within the first five years, according to this article. Choosing a contractor that has been in business for more than 5 years is usually a much safer option.
4. Check for a Valid Roofing License
Before hiring a contractor, make sure they are licensed for roofing work. To look up a contractor license in Illinois, you can go to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation website. This page allows you to look up contractor licenses. Go to the page, select “ROOFING CONTRACTOR” under license type, and search by the business name or license number. It will pull up their license (if it exists) as well as the registration and expiration date.
After an Estimate is Provided
After you've narrowed down your selection, choose a few contractors to get quotes from. Get between 3-5 estimates to give yourself a good selection of candidates. At the end of the day, pick a contractor that you feel confident in based on their reputation, expertise, and communication.
As you consider the quotes you've received, here are a few things to do before you sign up with a specific contractor:
5. Understand Workmanship Warranties
No company gets it right 100% of the time. Even the best companies make mistakes once in a while. That’s why workmanship warranties are so important! While manufacturer warranties generally cover issues caused by defects in materials, workmanship warranties cover issues caused by human error in installing the roof. If the contractor makes a mistake while installing your new roof, a workmanship warranty covers you to have that mistake corrected.
It’s a good idea to work with contractors who offer strong workmanship warranties. Not only does this mean you will be covered in the case of mistakes, but it also means the roofer has confidence in their quality of work. Carefully read the workmanship warranty offered to you by your roofer so that you fully understand its benefits! Also, keep in mind that local, established roofers will generally be more willing and able to fulfill their workmanship warranties.
6. Never Feel Pressured to Sign up Immediately
Never feel pressured to sign up with any roofer on the spot. Even if you have an active leak, emergency tarping is a good short term solution while you look for a competent contractor to replace your roof. Some contractors may offer a significant discount if you “sign up today,” but in a lot of cases this is simply a sales tactic, and they will give you the discount anyways. Even if they don’t, it’s worth losing the discount to ensure that you are choosing a good contractor! Take your time, read and understand the paperwork, and do your due diligence.
7. Avoid Contractors Who Offer to Pay the Deductible
It's illegal for contractors to pay for the insurance deductible on your insurance claim for a new roof. If a contractor offers to cover the deductible for you, don't participate. Not only will you be participating in breaking the law, but if the contractor is willing to cut corners here, they may be willing to cut other corners that negatively affect your project.
BONUS: After Choosing a Contractor
Here are a few items to take care of after you choose a contractor to work with.
Ensure they Register Manufacturer Warranties
In order for manufacturer warranties (that cover material quality, etc.) to take effect, the roofer needs to register the roof with the manufacturer. Once your roofer begins the project, confirm with them that they have taken this step.
Find Out the Quality of the Decking
Under the shingles and underlayment on your roof is the roof decking (usually plywood.) If the decking has rot, it can be a big issue and cause roof leaks, even if your roofing contractor installs brand new underlayment and shingles.
Some contractors may feel uncomfortable bringing this to your attention, because it will cost extra to repair, and no one likes to deliver bad news. But making sure to get this taken care of will save you lots of money and headache in the long run. So ask your roofer about the condition of the roof decking after they tear off the old roof!
Leave an Honest Review
Reviews help other homeowners choose their roofing contractor. If your contractor does a great job, be sure to leave them a great review. If some things were lacking, don't be afraid to share this as well. Honest feedback helps improve the industry, and helps to ensure that the best companies thrive.
Wait until after your project is complete and cleaned up to leave your review, so you have a full experience to give account of.
A little bit of research can go a long way in helping you choose a good roofing contractor! The most important things are to take your time, do a little digging, and to not feel pressured. Choosing the right contractor may save you a lot of hassle and thousands of dollars in the long run!
Allied Restoration Contractors has been in business since 2010, and we are proud of our reviews and BBB rating. We serve Tinley Park, IL and surrounding areas. Please consider letting us provide a quote for your roof replacement. Thank you for reading!