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5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Roofing Contractor

Amy Hayden

Every homeowner has heard horror stories about hiring contractors who then disappear in the middle of the night--or worse yet--leave them in the lurch just when the project has reached a critical stage. And there are few things more critical than getting your roof fixed when it's been damaged or it's leaking.

Choosing a Contractor Who's Reliable

How do you pick the right contractor? What do you need to know? Here are five questions to ask a prospective contractor to help you avoid hitting the roof once you've hired someone and the job is underway:

  1. Do you have any references?

    While a roofing contractor may balk at giving you a long list of former clients (some customers want their privacy respected) you should be able to get at least two or three names of former customers who can vouch for the contractor's work and quotes.

  2. Will you give me a written quote and contract with payment terms and a total price, including deposit requirements?

    Beyond a roofing contractor abandoning your job, the worst scenario is having the final price balloon to an unexpected and unaffordable rate. Make sure the contractor quotes you an accurate and comprehensive price, and make sure it's in a contract that includes payment terms.

  3. Are you licensed and bonded?

    While you might be able to score a great deal having your neighbor's cousin fix your roof, it's important to know when to hire a roofing contractor. And having one that's licensed and bonded--or able to be bonded--is extra assurance that your roof will be fixed properly and on time.

  4. Who will handle the permits and clean-up?

    A good roofing contractor will be able to handle obtaining permits for you as part of the contract as outlined in a quote, and he or she will also make sure the job site is cleaned up accordingly. Be leery of contractors who say you're responsible for the permits. They should know the rules and regulations as part of their licensing.

  5. Will you furnish me with a warranty and/or maintenance program for the new roof?

    Most roofing contractors don't offer maintenance programs or regular inspections to ward off problems before they get too major--but it doesn't hurt to ask. Warranties are usually available in the case of a defect, especially from the manufacturer of the materials. Don't forget to inquire whether labor costs are covered, too.

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