Homeowners trust their roofers with an incredibly important job. Whether they’re looking for minor repairs or a full roof replacement, the quality of the work that goes into it will impact how well the home will be protected from the elements for years to come. That’s why it’s so important for homeowners to look beyond the basics to consider long-term value as well as upfront pricing if they’re looking for a good roofing job.
If roofers don’t have the experience required to get every detail right, it could lead to serious and expensive-to-fix issues down the road. Leaks and subsequent water damage, or even total roof failures, could leave homeowners on the hook for paying expensive bills. Even in a best-case scenario, a poor roofing job will lead to premature roof failure, which will also cost homeowners a bundle. Instead of accepting those risks, read on to find out about five things to look for in a contractor to ensure that the roofing job goes well.
1. The Best Roofing Materials
There is a huge difference between cheap and quality roofing materials. A less-experienced contractor might underestimate the effect that using poor-quality materials will have on the roof’s structural integrity and expected lifespan and think it’s okay to cut corners in order to offer a more competitive quote. An experienced roofer with a good reputation will never do that.
Experienced, reputable roofers know that all roofing materials are not created equal, and even seemingly minor differences in quality can have a significant impact on how long the roof will last. Of course, the quality of the installation, the overall roof design, and the environmental conditions all have a role to play. However, these factors are more difficult to control for than finding a roofer that only works with the best materials.
2. Licenses and Insurance
There’s no wiggle room when it comes to hiring only licensed, bonded, and insured roofers. Homeowners who hire unlicensed contractors to save on upfront costs will get what they pay for in the form of poor installation quality and potential risks to not just the roof but also the structure and the homeowner’s budget. Should something go wrong and the project gets derailed, homeowners won’t have any recourse beyond hiring a real roofer and paying for the same work and materials twice.
Licensed roofing contractors can prove they have invested time and money in learning their trade. Adequate insurance coverage protects not just the roofing company but also its customers in the event that something goes wrong. If an unlicensed, uninsured contractor falls from the roof, it will be on the homeowner to pay for medical bills since these disreputable individuals don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance.
3. Material, Product, and Work Warranties
Professional roofing contractors should always be willing to back up claims of quality. That includes not just installing roofing materials correctly to maintain the products’ manufacturers’ warranties but also providing workmanship warranties. As with the quality of materials, even licensed, professional roofers don’t always offer comprehensive warranty coverage.
Homeowners should read through contracts carefully. If the warranty contract excludes coverage for labor and installation work, that’s a serious red flag. It means the homeowner will have to pay for repairs or a premature roofing replacement if issues arise due to shoddy labor rather than product failures. Quality roofers are confident in their workmanship, so they never mind offering comprehensive warranties.
4. Certifications and Professional Memberships
Professional memberships and certifications indicate a commitment to ongoing education. Ongoing training is essential in many fields, but it’s especially important for roofers. Roofing systems change, as do industry best practices and safety protocols. Ensuring the best-quality roof repairs or replacements means checking that the contractors’ training is current by looking for certifications and professional memberships that indicate a commitment to the craft.
Homeowners who have or are interested in switching to less common roofing systems should be even more selective when it comes to certifications. Metal roofing systems, for example, require specialized knowledge to install, especially on residential homes. If no specific metal roofing professional organizations exist in the area, it’s also fine to ask questions before signing on the dotted line to make sure the contractors know what they’re doing when it comes to installing this specialized type of roofing system.
5. Plenty of Experience
Roofing has a low entry cost compared to most businesses, so it’s very common to see new companies starting out and closing shop in a matter of months. The reason this happens is that these inexperienced roofers pose as competent contractors until it becomes clear via references and reviews that they don’t have the level of experience they claim. At that point, they wind up closing up shop and moving on.
The best way to avoid winding up with an inexperienced roofer who’s only posing as a competent contractor is to work with a company that has at least a few years of history in the roofing business. It’s not just a matter of how much time individual roofers have spent learning the craft. Roofing companies that have been in business for a few years are more likely not just to do a quality job but also to stand behind it and to be around for the length of their warranties.
Get the Job Done Right
Homeowners need to be selective when it comes to roofing contractors. There are some areas of home improvement where a little bit of leeway can be granted, but installing a new roof is not one of them. One seemingly minor misstep can lead to serious leaks down the road, so take the time to vet contractors carefully now so the job is done right the first time. It’s not worth risking hiring an inexperienced contractor just because they offer a lower quote. That money will wind up down the drain in the long run when the roofing system fails prematurely or homeowners need to hire a different company to complete the job.