Installing a new roof is one of the most important and expensive home improvement projects that you will come across as a homeowner. Given this, and the fact that your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, it is important that you hire a qualified, licensed professional for your roof repair and installation projects. There are a number of roofers that you can choose from. Therefore, it is helpful to follow some basic rules to ensure that you find, select, and hire the best professional for the job.
Talk to multiple contractors
Speaking to several roofing companies can help you determine an honest and reasonable price range. You probably don’t want your final hiring decision to depend on the few hundred dollars difference for a project costing several thousand dollars, but you should be wary of remarkably low or excessively high bids. Of course, this also gives you the opportunity to gauge your relationship with each contractor as you work your way through the rest of the rules for hiring a qualified roofer.
It’s also important to research the different companies you talk to – especially those that stand out after your first few conversations. Reputable contractors should be licensed and willing to provide you with at least three references that attest to the quality of their work. Confirming that a contractor is licensed and speaking to previous clients who can verify their credibility and qualifications can give you peace of mind.
Carefully review the contract and guarantees
Never sign a contract without reading it carefully. Professional contractors won’t fret that you take the time to understand the terms of your agreement – and most are happy to sit down with you and explain parts you don’t understand. Also, make sure you understand the warranty that comes with your new roof. All materials and workmanship should be guaranteed for at least five years, and the roof itself should be guaranteed for 20 to 40 years.
Cover your bases
Before starting work, make sure you cover your bases. Check with your contractor if you need a permit (most roofers handle this as part of their services) and confirm that their employees are also covered by employee insurance. When filing an insurance claim on your roof, make sure that you have followed all required procedures and obtained all necessary permits before starting any work on your new roof.
Never pay the entire balance in advance
Never pay the entire balance of your new roof in advance. This applies to all large projects. If your contractor asks you to do so, end your relationship and make sure you don’t sign a contract. It is common practice to require a reasonable down payment and a payment schedule that matches the job. In no case should you ever pay with cash. Using a credit card increases the likelihood that, in the worst case scenario, you can get your money back without expensive litigation.
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