If you think about it, the roof of your home performs a very basic, but very important task. It keeps you and your family safe from the outside environment. It also has the duty of protecting your home as an investment, making sure its value doesn’t diminish through years of rain, sleet, and snow. So when it comes time to replace or repair your roof, you want to make sure that the people you hire not only understand the unique environment of roofing Seattle and Snohomish roofing the Northwest but also the importance of the home and roof that they will be working on. So it pays to do a little bit of homework when you start narrowing down your choices for a roofing contractor. Here is a few questions that we recommend you ask when hiring a roofing contractor.
Who Are You, Really?
While a license isn’t required in the state of Washington to work as a contractor, registration with the Department of Labor and Industries is required. By making sure you know the roofing contractor’s official name, or what they are doing business as, also known as DBA, you can easily determine if the company is legitimate or not.
Who Have You Done Work For?
Nearly everyone knows that it’s a good idea to ask for references, especially if the roofing company is going to do work on your home. The trick is to specifically ask for three different types of clients. The first type is the most recent clients of the contractor. Most find it beneficial to ask for the last three clients. If provided, and if the clients are willing to speak with you, this information will give you a general idea of how the company is working right now. How are they while they are onsite? Did they stay on budget? Do they offer financing? And did they actually do the job they were hired for?
The second type of client is an older client, or one that the roofing contractor had at least six months to a year previously. Checking up on this type of client will indicate if the roofing contractor has good follow through. Do they check in on the customer? Is their work still holding up even during the infamous Seattle rain? Would the client still recommend them?.
The third type of client that you want to find out about are those who had a similar style roof to yours. Each roof is different, but there are similarities between the different types, and it’s a good idea to compare experiences based on your particular type of roof.
What Type of Insurance Do You Carry?
Roofing is dangerous work. There is absolutely no denying that. Because of the nature of the work, and how much damages can be caused if the job is not completed properly, most states require that roofing contractors carry some sort of liability insurance as well as workman’s compensation insurance. You want to make sure that the roofing company that you’re dealing with has both of these, and the can produce proof of said insurance easily. If they say they don’t have insurance or hesitate to provide it readily, you might want to consider looking elsewhere. The reason why this is so important is two-fold. First, if something does go wrong, you’ll have a recourse to try and get the problem fixed. Second, if they offer workers compensation, there is less of a worry of their roofers taking unnecessary short-cuts or risks. In addition, the roofing contractors who have good benefits are often better trained and use proper safety equipment. This means that there is more of a chance of the work being completed on time.
Will You Provide a Written Estimate?
This question may seem to be a requirement that goes without saying, but it’s still an important one to ask each roofing contractor that is under consideration for the job. While it’s important to remember that these written estimates are only that, having something written can make it a lot easier to compare offers and make a good decision. But there is a catch.
When you ask for a written estimate, make sure that the roofing contractor is willing to sit down with you and talk it over, and to answer any questions you have. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure the contractor wants to actually see your roof and your home prior to making the estimate. Simply put, a good roofing estimate cannot, and should not be given without getting specific details about the home. Without a visual inspection, a roofer can’t tell if the shingles on the one side are chipped and letting water though. They can’t tell if your soffit or fascia has been eaten through by animals, and a simple square footage doesn’t tell them about that steeper slope on the western side. All these are factors that need to be considered when making an estimate.
What Will You Do, Exactly?
In truth, this question is often answered in the estimate provided by the roofing contractor, but not always. And it’s an important one to ask for a number of reasons. First, you’ll want to know what you are paying for. Second, you’ll want to make sure that there are certain tasks included in the job, things that less than reputable companies may not do, or charge extra to perform. These tasks can include removal of the old roof, disposal of old or unused material, transportation to and from the site, and the cost of hiring additional workers if necessary. So take the time and ask specifically about what the estimate is for. If the roofing contractor is vague about his answers, or they are different from what the estimate indicates, you may want to consider other options.
These are just some of the basic questions that you’ll want to ask a roofing contractor before hiring them. And it’s important to remember that each interview you do is a conversation, so if concerns are raised, don’t be afraid to address those specific ones as well.