The outcome of a roof installation is as much about the company that will be doing the work as the materials that will be used in the project. Making sure that both aspects meet and exceed expectations of your installation requires several due diligence steps before making the final decisions on the company you hire and the materials they are proposing to use in the project.
- Ask for quotes from several companies – Getting quotes from multiple companies can give you a sense of the cost of the project as the bids from the most reputable companies will generally be very similar in terms of labor, materials, and dump/recycle fees for basic projects. In these types of projects, be wary of bids that come in well below the rest of the estimates you have collected, as low-ball bidders may be using cheaper materials and day laborers rather than trained roofing professionals to do the installation.
- Don’t eliminate the highest bidder for complex projects – The variance in prices tends to increase as projects become more complex due to the design of the roof and/or the expertise required for installing materials such as slate and tile. For example, an estimate for a project that requires master craftsmen to install slate tiles on a steeply pitched roof will likely be worth the investment to get the installation done properly the first time around.
- Ask for proof of insurance – Roofing is considered to be one of the most dangerous professions in the country, so you’ll want to make sure that the company that will do the installation has both workman’s compensation and general liability insurance to cover on the job accidents. If the roofer doesn’t have insurance, you’ll be responsible for injuries and any damage that occur during the project. A lack of insurance often accompanies roofing bids that are substantially lower than the others that have been collected.
- Get specific information on the materials that will be used in the project – To get the best performance out of your roof, it is essential to use brand name products such as EcoStar, GAF, CertainTeed, Atlas, and TAMKO. Another common practice for low-ball bidders is to use off-brand materials, which are often lighter and less durable than those manufactured by recognized brands.
- Ask for warranty information – There are two types of warranties for roofing installations; materials and workmanship. The warranty on materials will be offered by the manufacturer while the workmanship warranty will be come from the company that does the installation. Generally speaking, manufacturer’s warranties run from 20 to 50 years depending on the materials. Look for a workmanship warranty that lasts at least 10 years, preferably 12. Any company that doesn’t offer these types of warranties should be eliminated from consideration.
Start your process of installing a new roof by investigating prospective roofers and the materials they intend to use. A quality roofing company will be able to offer skilled technicians, insurance to protect the homeowner, brand name materials, and warranty coverage for both materials and workmanship.