Replacing your roof is a big decision. It goes without saying that you want the best roofing contractor for the job. But how do you know what to look for? Most people will only replace a roof once in a lifetime. It’s a big investment, and you want to make sure you choose the right company. Here are 10 questions to ask before you decide on a roof installation company.
1. Ask How Long the Roofing Contractor Has Been in Business
You probably wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who has been on the job for two weeks. And you probably wouldn’t sign up for heart surgery with a doctor fresh out of school. So why pick a roofing contractor that doesn’t have a long track record of doing high-quality work?
In many cases, homeowners allow price to dictate the contractor they choose. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you go with a roofing company that can give you a bargain price but can’t provide a list of happy customers, you’re probably going to end up with a substandard installation.
Also keep in mind that it’s extremely difficult to collect a judgment against a contractor that simply closes its doors after a lawsuit. Unfortunately, fly-by-night contractors are notorious for disappearing to avoid paying damages, only to reopen months later under a new name. You can avoid falling victim to this type of unscrupulous contractor by working with a company that has decades in business and a solid reputation.
At Nu Look Home Design, we’ve been installing roofs for homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years. For two decades, we’ve built a foundation of trust with homeowners in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. Chances are, we’ve installed a roof for someone in your neighborhood.
2. Double Check Licensing and Insurance
Roofing is a dangerous job, which is why we never recommend homeowners take it on themselves. It’s important to have the right tools, materials and safety equipment. It’s also important to have experience. Reputable roofing contractors hold the requisite permits and licenses for every job they perform.
A high-quality roofing installer will also carry all required insurance for its workers, which will cover them in the event someone is hurt during your roof’s installation. As a homeowner, you should never work with a contractor that can’t provide proof of proper insurance for its employees.
3. Look at Past Work
For most businesses that provide a service, reputation is everything. Think about the last time you went to a new restaurant, or even visited a new hair salon or dentist’s office. In past years, you might have asked a friend or relative for the names of a good place to grab dinner or get your teeth cleaned. Today, however, the internet provides unbiased, third party reviews from people who have used a business’s services in the past. In fact, 81 percent of consumers say they research online before they make a purchase. Before you spend money, it pays to do your homework.
What do other homeowners have to say about the roofing contractor? You can ask the company if it has a list of homeowners you can call, or you can check online for information about the company’s past jobs. GuildQuality is an excellent third-party review site that lets homeowners leave real feedback for contractors.
You should also be skeptical about contractors that show you nothing but five-star ratings. While this might sound great, it’s most likely not an accurate representation of their work. Any company that performs thousands of roof installations each year is going to have a certain number of less than favorable reviews. At Nu Look Home Design, we enjoy a 94 percent satisfaction rate among past customers, which is unmatched in the industry.
4. Price Isn’t the Only Thing That Matters
If you’ve ever undertaken a home renovation project in the past, you may have been told to “get three estimates.” No one really knows where this so-called “three estimates” rule comes from, and no one seems to be able to say why three is the ideal number.
In fact, there’s no reason why you should limit yourself to three estimates — or why you should go beyond one or two estimates when looking for a roofing contractor. Rather, you should spend time talking to potential roofing companies until you believe you’ve got all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
5. Get Financing Agreements in Writing
Every aspect of your roofing installation contractor should be in writing, but it’s especially important to make sure you understand the financing terms. A good roofing company will appoint a knowledgeable employee to walk you through the contract and answer any questions you have about payment. No part of the agreement should be confusing or left “up in the air.”
6. Ask Who Is Performing the Installation
Will the roofing company send its own workers to your home? The last thing you need to worry about is waking up on installation day and seeing an unfamiliar work crew on your property. The unfortunate reality is that some roofing contractors outsource their jobs to third party independent contractors. When they do, the manufacturer of the roofing materials is quite likely to void the warranty that comes with the materials. Furthermore, you have no way of knowing whether the independent contractor is qualified to install your new roof. Be wary of roofing companies that use these types of bait and switch tactics.
7. Ask What Happens If You’re Unsatisfied with the Work
No matter how carefully you plan a job, there is always a chance that something won’t go exactly as planned. If an error happens, how will the company handle it? This is something you need to know in advance. Will you spend hours on the phone, trying to reach a representative? Will the company take your money and run?
At Nu Look Home Design, we don’t accept a single penny in payment until you are completely satisfied with your roof. And if you’re unsatisfied for any reason, we guarantee we will make it right.
8. Ask about Unplanned Repairs
Watch any home improvement show on television, and you know that unplanned repairs and emergencies are more often the rule rather than the exception. As soon as you start knocking down walls or ripping out cabinets, you’re likely to find additional problems or the need for extra repairs or work.
Roofs can work much the same way. In some cases, decking is rotten or damaged by moisture, or the crew discovers water damage that needs to be repaired before additional moisture makes its way inside a property. Ask your roofing contractor how it handles unexpected repairs. This way, even if you’re surprised, you know what to expect.
9. Will the Roofing Contractor Tear Off Your Old Roof?
Some roofing companies will install new shingles over an old roof. However, this is almost always a bad idea. For one thing, it adds additional weight to a roof that is probably already aging and due for new decking. Two, it doesn’t address any underlying problems, such as damage concealed by old shingles. Just because you can’t see a problem doesn’t mean it’s not there. And when it comes to your roof, a concealed problem can mean major repairs in the future.
In this way, slapping new shingles over an existing roof is a lot like putting a Band-Aid on an infected wound. You cover up the damage, but you do nothing to treat the real source of the injury. It can be an effective and cheap short-term solution, but it’s not a long-term fix. Worse, it usually ends up costing a homeowner a lot more down the road.
10. Ask if the Roofing Contractor Is an Authorized Installer
Is the roofing contractor a preferred partner and authorized installer for the shingle manufacturer? This is an important consideration, as manufacturers won’t honor their warranties when a roof is installed by a non-authorized installer.
Nu Look Home Designs is an Owens Corning™ Platinum Preferred Contractor, which is an invitation-only status held by just 1% of roofing contractors in the United States. When you work with us, you know you are in good hands. Best of all, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your installation is backed by our warranty, as well as the Owens Corning™ lifetime guarantee.
Call Nu Look Home Design for Your Free Roofing Estimate
Is it time for a new roof for your home? Work with the best in the industry. Contact Nu Look Home Design today!