Triskaidekaphobics — folks fearing the number 13 — will not like this entry. We have 13 great questions for you to use when you gear up to interview each of the three prospective roofers you pick for your Shingle Springs roofing project.

Street Wise

Some roofers have no permanent business address. Instead, they have a pick-’em-up truck and a special charm with homeowners. Honestly, we don’t know how they stay in business, but avoid asking them for bids. Instead, ask these two critical questions:  

  • Are you local to me? A positive answer goes right to the next: what is your local address?
  • How long have you been in business? A company who started five months ago should not be learning its trade on your roof. Find a well-established, local roofer for your residential project. 

Reputation is Everything

No company can remain in business trying to outrun a bad reputation. This question goes right to the reality of a roofer’s work.  

  • What past customers can I talk to? — We know, you don’t like to sound pushy. However, it’s your house, your money, and your peace of mind. Ask for references of recently completed jobs. Be suspicious if you just get a page of quotes, and not contact information. 

Who’s That Guy?

A sales representative may come to your house to sell you on roofing services, but they will not be the one pounding the nails. The work crew deserves a few probing questions: 

  • Who, exactly, will be installing or repairing my roof? —You need to know if a contractor is using its own employees, picking up day crews from the parking lot of a home improvement store, or handing your home off to sub-contractors.
  • What training and experience does the crew have? — Manufacturers provide valuable training for roofing crews. Be sure to ask if a prospective contractor’s employees have been trained by the manufacturer of my roofing?

Let’s Look at the Calendar

  • When would you be able to schedule my job? — This is a sneaky two-part question because you need to know the job will start and stop under roughly the same weather conditions. Also, different jobs will take different time lengths. Get the first answer, and then ask, How long will my project take? (Psst — the right answer is, nearly always under a week for a roofing project. A deck project could take up to two months.) 

Paperwork; Always Paperwork

  • Do you provide a written estimate? — Any major roofing project requires three bids from reliable, local roofers. These should not be cocktail-napkin scrawls. Expect a written estimate which details the “Scope of Work,” a line-by-line list of materials, tasks to complete, payment schedule, and services offered. 
  • Do you have all the proper licensing, certifications, and insurance for your crew, including Workers Compensation coverage?  — Ask to see proof of each of these; you are not being rude to ask for evidence. 
  • Is a building permit required for my project? —The last thing you want is the unpleasant surprise of a roof repair schedule thrown into chaos because of a lack of permitting. If a permit is needed, make sure you know who will be responsible for pulling one from your municipality. 
  • Do You Offer a Workmanship Warranty? — Just about every manufacturer warranties their materials against production defects. You want more; you want a workmanship warranty to protect against faulty installation. 

Safety First

  • What steps do you take for the safety of your workers? — A good residential roofer has all the right personal protective equipment (PPE), fall protection, hoists, and roof brackets. A level of training and personal conduct should also be evident in their work routines.  
  • What steps do you take to ensure the safety of my home and my family? — A project manager should be on site at all times, communicating clearly with you and your family and explaining potential hazards. At certain times during the work, you may be asked to stay indoors or vacate the premises due to intentionally falling debris. 

Tidy Up

  • Will you remove and dispose of the old roof? We always clean up our toys, don’t we? A roofer must keep your landscaping intact, run a magnetic broom around the yard, sweep, and make absolutely certain your home and property is how you want it. 

Look for line items in the Scope of Work showing carting costs built into the bid. This helps you compare bids fairly, apples to apples. 

Trust us, even though they’re not numbered, we have given you 13 excellent questions to help you select the right roofer for your home.

If you do suffer with triskaidekaphobia, here’s a 14th question for you: how can you be sure of getting an excellent roofer? By contacting us at Straight Line Construction, or telephone our offices at (530) 672-9995.