Top Questions to Ask a Roofer
Most homeowners don’t know what questions to ask a roofing company before hiring them. Installing a roof is an expensive and complex job. You want to make sure you hire the right people for the job so you’re not forced to spend more money if something doesn’t go as planned. When looking for a reputable company, there are many things to consider. This includes how long the company has been in business, references, proof of insurance and information about warranties.
These little things can make a big difference, which is why it’s important to choose an experienced roofer who really knows what they’re doing. The ideal time to gather all information is during the roofing estimate process. A qualified roofing contractor should be able to answer all of your questions and give you a fairly accurate estimate before starting any work. In this blog post, we will go over the top questions to ask your contractor during the early stages of your project.
1. Are you licensed?
A roofer is not required to carry a trade certificate or license to work in B.C. However, some experience and education is expected. Many employers prefer workers with a certificate. Some employers will train and sponsor apprentices on the job. This is why you should ask your potential contractor about their licensing.
In B.C., an individual can become certified as a roofer by completing the apprenticeship program through the Industry Training Authority (ITA). The duration of the apprenticeship program depends on how training is delivered. However, it generally takes about 3 years to complete the program through ITA.
2. Do you have workman’s compensation insurance?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask a roofer. Historically, employers with three or fewer employees didn’t have to offer workman’s compensation insurance. Today, they do by law. Still, some contractors and roofers will skimp out on this requirement. The reason? Insurance isn’t cheap and some would rather take their chances. The problem, of course, is when the chance is taken on your property and an employee becomes injured. If you hire a company that doesn’t offer employees workman’s compensation and someone gets injured on your property, you might find yourself forking over thousands of dollars to pay for medical bills. This is a loss no homeowner wants to incur. To protect yourself, make sure the company you hire insures each worker that will be present on your property.
3. Will you remove my old roof?
Some roofers will claim to save time and money by inspecting the old roof. And then, if all looks sturdy, they will just shingle over it. However, unless the old shingles are pulled up, you will never know if you have soft spots or rotten wood beneath the current roof system. If these bad spots remain behind, you will have larger, costlier problems in the future. Don’t let a roofer place a new roof on your house until they have taken up the old roof.
4. What is the warranty on my new roof?
There are many different type of roofs and each should come with its own warranty. Homeowners should get between a 25 and 50-year warranty depending on what materials were chosen. Always clarify this before starting any roofing project. You don’t want to realize down the line that you’re not covered and have to pay out of your own pocket.
5. Do you use a complete, matching system of roof components?
A roof is more than just shingles nailed to some plywood. It’s a complete system of components: synthetic underlayment, water protector, hip and ridge shingles, starter strips, flashing, shingles and vents which are all designed to work together.
Make sure all your roofing components come from the same manufacturer. Don’t mix and match to get the price down. It might be a little less expensive, but it could complicate elements of the installation. Be sure your roofer is using products as prescribed by the Vancouver building code.
6. Do you bring a container for refuse material?
Scraps from the old roof, such as shingles, will need to be disposed of correctly. The company you hire should bring a container to the job site to contain these materials. You should not be required to supply this container, nor should you have to deal with the scraps once the job is completed.
7.What will you do in the case of unexpected weather during the job?
In Vancouver, let’s face it: the weather person is not always right and the forecast can change daily, if not hourly. This isn’t too bad when you’re stuck in the office all day, but when someone is removing and replacing your roof it can be a major problem. If the prettiest of days turns into a rain storm, what will the roofing company do to protect the interior of your home? Make sure your roofer has a plan for this.
Your roof should be covered in some type of plastic sheeting or tarpaulin to ensure it, and everything beneath it, remains dry. Also ask what the plan is if the rainy days extend for a while. Will the company check in to ensure the covering is keeping the home dry? If there is a storm with high winds, will someone be available to come out and secure the covering if it appears to not be holding?
8. How will the roofer leave the job site at the end of each day?
Your roofer shouldn’t strip more of your roof than necessary each day. It is their responsibility to make sure your home is protected from the elements at all times. If there are any open areas remaining in the event of an emergency, the roofing crew must tarp them before leaving. They also need to clean any stripped shingles and check the lawn and garden for nails and other hazardous items.
Finding the perfect roofing company
As you continue your hunt for a reputable roofing company, it’s important to realize that some companies don’t have the values you’re looking for. We, the experts at Cambie Roofing have been in the industry for more than 75 years. We prioritize safety, quality and positive relationships with all of our clients. Interested in learning more? Contact us today.
Originally published December 2017.
Updated and republished April 2023.