Top Questions to Ask a Roofer

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Most homeowners don’t know the type of questions to ask a roofing company they’re considering hiring. Installing a roof is an expensive and complex job. You want to make sure you have the right people, otherwise it will just end up costing you more time and money . There are many things to consider including 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 of how much your roofing project will cost.
 
Here are some questions which you should ask a contractor when they present you with a roofing estimate.
 

1. Are you licensed?

 
A roofer is not required to carry a trade certificate or to have a 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. Ask what sort of training the roofer has had.
 
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. At one time employers with three or fewer employees didn’t have to offer workman’s compensation insurance. Now 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, shingling 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 shingles. If 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. Always check 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, 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. It may not happen often but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
 

6. Do you bring a container for refuse material?

 
Scrapes from the old roof, such as shingles, will need to be placed somewhere as it comes down. The company you hire should bring a container to the job site to contain the scrapes. You should not be required to supply this container, nor should you have to deal with the scrapes 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 come back 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 Jobsite at the End of Each Day?

 
Your roofer shouldn’t strip more of your roof than necessary each day, making sure your home is protected from nature’s elements. If there are any open areas remaining in the event of an emergency, the roofing crew should 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’re looking for roofing services, remember that they’re not all created equal. It’s important to find one with the experience and knowledge to repair or replace your roof – helping it look and perform its best for decades to come.

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