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Question DetailsAsked on 12/12/2014

How to interview a roofing contractor

What questions should I ask roofing contractors who will be coming to estimate a roof replacement?

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2 Answers

2
Votes

I would start with asking them to make you a certificate holder on their general liability insurance in the event something happens to your property while and even after they are working on your home. You will find that a lot of them do not even carry any insurance at all. (In Texas it is NOT a requirement to do business for a contractor to have ins)

I would do research on the company prior to the interview process. Check the typical things like the BBB, Angie's List reviews, and do a google search on the company and do a google search on the persons name from the company that you are dealing with. You can sometimes find out that you are dealing with someone you probably should run from. Ask for referrances of previous customers that you can talk to if they don't have a long list of good reviews, and even if they do if you have other reasons to be concerned. Find out what brand of products they intend on using to replace your roof with. If Home Depot or Lowe's sells that brand of product, find another contractor! If they solicited you by knocking on your door, BEWARE! Most fly-by-night gypsy roofers rely on door to door fishing as their only form of advertising, for a good reason, they're crooks. Mainly, use common sense. If it smells like you know what, It's probably you know what.

Source: 30+ years in the business.

Answered 4 years ago by Roofman1

1
Vote

Good comments from Roofman as usual - some more thoughts on the subject follow:

1) in addition to insurance, be sure you get proof of Workers Compensation coverage for his employees, and a certificate showing his Bonding as well - more info on that here -


http://www.angieslist.com/contractor/...


2) Roofman's comments emphasized contractor selection factors - a sampling of other job-specific issues to consider/talk about include the following list - which you can then use to create a written scope of work list from bidder discussions, telling the several bidders as their site visit that you are first looking for suggestions and info and for them to take the measurements needed to bid the job but not actually bid it yet, as you will then be providing a scope of work statement to all for them to actually bid from, after you have talked to several potential bidders:

- ask if there are any websites like AL where they know there are reviews/ recommendations on them

- specify must meet all applicable state and local building code requirements

- type of roofing being applied - brand, weight, color and any special ratings needed (arctic, hot-weather, high wind, hail-resistant etc.). You may have several brands/ you end up specifying as acceptable to you, with different bidders bidding diffearent ones - but I would specify those acceptable to you and let each contractor select which he wants to bid - this make it an apples-to-apples comparison

- warranty on product from manufacturer

- warranty from them on workmanship

- proposed schedule for work and their availability at that time - including any blackout dates from your standpoint (like you will be out of town and want to be there when work is being done), any time of day work restrictions from your standpoint, and specified number of days to complete work after work starts, especially noting that completion of roofing immediately after tearoff starts is essential to minimize exposre of unshingled roof to the elements

- any special care measures needed - plantings or greenhouse to protect, new walk or drive you don't want dirtied or scratched by dumpster or parked on (because new asphalt), deck you don't want marred or tar stained by tearoff materials being thrown on it, etc

- where they can and cannot drive and park - they generally want to drive truck or lift truck/forklift right to edge of house to lift materials up on, and to be right at house to throw debris into truck/dumpster, which may mean wheel track and tire imprints in lawn. Also show property line if near to work area, and identify to them any known condo or city rules about parking times or places.

- will they be overlaying with a new layer of shingles as a "roofover" (assuming this is shingle roofing) or is this a "tearoff" and replace job

- stipulate all debris are to be removed from site and properly disposed of as part of work

- does anything need to be done about fascia/rake boards (the vertical 2x6 or similar boards under the edge of the roof on gable ends and across ends of rafters on field edges, either in terms of replacement or repainting before gutters go back up

- do they intend to reuse or buy new vent hoods and pipe penetration roof jacks (the metal collars with rubber seals around pipes), and will they be installing ice and water shield aprons around the penetrations under the hood/flashing

- will they be reflashing around the chimney or be leaving flashing in place and interleaving shingles with it, and flashing weight (applicable for all flashings)

- type/width of valley flashing they will be installing

- installing metal drip edge on edges of roof (both/either field ends and gable ends, and color if prepainted - and size on downedge if needs to drain into a gutter there (and emphasize to be sized and installed to drip into, not behind gutter)

- ice and water shield - where will it be applied and for how far from edge, and how wide in valleys

- any thaw cable issues - R&R existing, or put in new, etc

- underlayment - type/brand

- type of valley shingling - California weave, Northeast weave, double-overlap, open valley, etc

- cost per sheet for replacing any deteriorated sheathing encountered, and is partial sheet replacement to be allowed. And specify if particle board/oriented strand board is OK with you, or if you require exterior rated plywood (my recommendation) for any replacement sheeets - and specify must match original thickness. This latter is important, because a thicker or thinner sheet will "reflect" through to the shingles as they conform to it, making a visible rectangle in the roof appearance.

- installing ridge vents ?

- how handling any current roof-top items - cupolas, antennas, etc - are they removing and reinstalling ?

- are they going to be removing and reinstalling gutters, or (if no fascia work needed) will that be working around them, and if so how protecting from ladder damage

- proposed protection measures if work has to extend more than one day or if rain/snow moves in

- cleanup provisions - pick up tearoff debris, magnetic sweep for nails, cleaning gutters and downspouts, etc

- emphasize shingles to all have same color code, and same production lot number to maximum extent possible (though commonly you cannot readily avoid two on a job as warehouse/store sell out most of one lot and start another), and all shingles need to be pre-shuffled between at least 3 bundles before application - to minimize patterning on the finished product

- quantity of matching shingles to leave as spares for future repairs. I normally recommend any leftover part bundle, plus one full bundle spares be left for normal house up to 3000 SF, unless in frequent high wind/hail area, in which case maybe 2-3 bundles. Note - generally, to prevent them from bonding together over time, you have to separate the shingles in the bundle and lay out waxed paper (if going to try to make usable in future) or saran wrap or plastic surveyor tape (which renders tab strips unusable in future but protects underlying shingles from staining better) between each shingle at the tar tabbing strips, then when they are used retab with asphaltic adhesive because the tabs will not bond after sitting maybe many years. Another good trick is to flip every other shingle over so tabbed strip is against tapped strip face, to prevent any chance of the tar marring the finish surface - but still need a waxed paper or plastic protector to keep them from sticking together.

- facilities available to them - power outlets and circuit capacity for their compressors, can they use garage or shed for materials storage before start of work, will they have access to bathroom in house, access to reefer to keep lunches/liquids cold

- emphasize you will be wanting lien releases from suppliers and subs before/at final payment

- deposit/payment schedule

- review their proposed contract, if any


Probably more I forgot - but add to list as you talk to the bidders as needed.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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