What to look for in a roofing contractor
The success and value of any home improvement project is dependent upon three main factors: the quality of the building materials, their proper installation and the attention to detail of the construction. Given the important role your roof serves in maintaining a safe, comfortable home, you should look for roofing contractors that meet all three criteria.
Find Roofing Contractors in Your Area
You have several options to locate qualified, licensed roofing contractors. First, your local Chamber of Commerce maintains listings of roofing contractors who service your area. You can check these listings against information on file at the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any unresolved or outstanding complaints against any contractors on the list. Red-flag any contractor with multiple complaints on file.
You can also check with the National Roofing Contractors Association, a trade association that requires members to adhere to a strict ethical code. Roofing professionals who are members of the NRCA are generally trustworthy and high-performing.
Also, while you've probably heard horror stories from homeowners about nightmare contractors, remember too that just as many contractors have had problems with unreasonable homeowners. Be fair and polite, or you may find that contractors will show little interest in the work you're offering.
Negotiating Your Roofing Contract
When dealing with roofing repair contractors, you should know the difference between an estimate and a formal proposal. An estimate remains very general, listing generic products with few (if any) options and a single price. Proposals, on the other hand, give you a wide range of roofing products to choose from, typically covering "good," "better" and "best" quality ranges.
Check that the proposal is thorough and specific. Contractors who spend time making detailed proposals are more likely to put that same attention to detail in their work. It is the contractor's responsibility to procure any and all necessary building permits.
Do not "take the contractor's word for it." Put it in writing. The final contract should contain an exhaustive list of all the terms and conditions of the contractor's employment on your project. Make sure your contract specifies start and finish dates for the project, the brand names and colors of the materials you've agreed to use, work hours, product and installation warranties, and payment terms.
Also, you should be advised that, in some U.S. states, contractors who perform work on your home may be entitled to put a lien on your house to protect themselves from the possibility that you default on your payment. Find out whether or not this applies to you before you sign any contracts.