A new roof is a big investment, and the materials are only a small portion of it.. Most of your money actually goes to skilled labor. Hence, you have to be smart when picking someone.
Sounds easy, right? Not always. Anyone can be like a roofer, but that doesn't mean they're automatically qualified.
Seeking Good Prospects
You can scan the yellow pages but only if you can't obtain personal referrals from people you know. You should have at least two or three prospects, and each one should have been in business for a minimum of five years. In such a competitive industry, only good roofers usually last that long. Begin by inquiring about availability. Also ask for a few client references, and forget anyone who hesitates to give you any. Click link to learn more about this.
Then do some drive-by inspections of some of their newest projects. While alternating shingle rows, water gaps, or those spaces in between individual shingle tabs, should line up laser straight. The shingles should also be trimmed in a clean line down the valleys. Shingles should be nicely trimmed too so they line up with the roof edge. If you see any ragged lines, that means the roofer has done slipshod work. Even the flashing at roof valleys and eaves should be as neat and tar-free.
If you like what you've seen, start calling the references, making sure to ask crucially relevant questions. For example, did the roof leak? If so, was the roofer prompt in responding to your call? Was the budget fairly accurate or did you end up spending more? Most importantly, would you work with the roofer again in the future? Check this for more info.
What to Look for in a Roofer
After finding some really good prospects, see if they carry workers' compensation insurance and at least $1 billion of liability insurance. If they tell you they're insured, ask for copies of their proof-of-insurance certificates. Then get a quote, which should be totally free. Because roofing is a one-time project, divide the total amount into two parts - typically, you have to pay one-third of it upfront (this will be used to purchase the materials) and the remainder will be settled as the project rolls on to your satisfaction.
Certainly, you have to get a warranty - a minimum of one year - on all labor-related defects, such as leaks, flashing failure, etc., and it should be in the contract, including the type of shingles to be used. Go for the most durable, highest rated shingles that you can afford. Warranties could be voided if shingles are put above existing shingles, so you may have to tear off that old layer at an extra cost. Asphalt roofs are generally good for about 13 years, so a 20-year warranty would be just great. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roofer for more info.