Gutters filled with granules, cracks in the shingle mat on the roof, leaks in the house—they’re all signs a home needs a new roof.
Brandon Schwierman, operator at Triple Nickel Roofing, offered up some tips on how to choose a contractor for a new roofing project.
One of the biggest mistakes he said people make is automatically going with the lowest priced contractor.
“Too many people base a job off of a price,” he said.
Instead of choosing the lowest bid, he recommended checking to see how long the companies have been in business and finding out what former clients have to say about each one.
Schwierman also said to check to see if the contractor offers a warranty.
“If you pick a certain contractor who has the certifications, they’re able to give you a warranty that basically covers a roof against any defects as long as the person owns the home,” he said.
An established company can more likely ensure they will be there if a warranty needs to be used, while he said shingle companies are less likely to certify a “pick-up truck roofer” to give these kinds of warranties.
Schwierman suggested trying to find out why a bid is low before choosing it. A low bid can indicate poor quality materials or work, but it also could indicate that the contractor has low overhead expenses, thus being able to offer services at a lower cost.
Schwierman said to find out the reputation of the contractors and that people can always ask the them how they arrived at their bids.
One way of finding out some information on contractors is by calling a local roofing distributor and asking them who’s one of their biggest clients as far as purchases go, he said. Also, ask the companies for references, as quality companies typically will be happy to put a potential client in contract with a past customer.
Since those references most likely would be from happy customers, the Better Business Bureau can be checked to see if any complaints have been made about the company and how they were handled.
Checking to ensure that the roofing company is licensed and insured is something else to look for when choosing a contractor, he said.
“You need to make sure whoever you’re hiring has the proper workman’s compensation insurance and have it faxed or e-mailed directly from the insurance company so you know it’s legitimate,” he said.
Knowing that your roofers are covered by insurance can protect a homeowner from a variety of risks, such as damage to property and liability for personal injury.
Also worth checking out is the type of training or skills the workers have, whether the company cleans up the job site, and whether that cost is included in the price.
As far as do-it-yourself roofing jobs, Schwierman a professional job will typically always yield better results.
“If someone wanted me to build them a garage, I have the knowledge to do it, but I don’t do it every day. There are certain things with any kind of job where when you do it every day you know to look out for things that other people don’t, even if they know the basics,” he said.
For those considering a new roof, Schwierman said September and October are the best months of the year to have it done.