How best to guarantee quality in chosing a roofer?

So, I have gotten quite a few quotes and there are three roofers I sort of feel comfortable with from their quotes and explanations. My roof is fairly simple, but fairly large with I think it was a 4 or 4.5 / 12. I’m leaning towards one roofer who has been around for a long time, because he’s a bit cheaper and seems to do a quality job. But in the end that is my question. Since I am not up on the roof, what can I do/ask to make sure I"ll get a good job? Things like nailing straight and in the proper places, 4 vs 6 nailing, etc. I’ve tried to educate myself best I can but in the end, I don’t know for sure what they are going to do…

THe company I’m leaning on going with, was just going to use felt paper as the deck underlay (Shinglemate from Gaf). I asked them about using synthetic underlay as another company recomended it do to a somewhat lower slope, and they said they didn’t use it much and didn’t have much experience with it, but would do it if I wanted. I was surprised by this…should I be? Or is that an honest answer?

The company that is also supposedly reputable and around a while, is using BP shingles, and I"m a bit hesitant on that. Both companies recommended adding 4 exhaust vents (nobody suggested a ridge vent surprisingly). The third company suggested only 2 more exhaust vents (I currently have 4 already). So I was staying away from them because of that. Though I intend to try and do my own 1/300 calculation as I’ve read on here to get an idea of what I should have.

Anyhow, any suggestions on how to get a better feel for how good a job they will do would be great. They give references, but I get the impression they are all recent and what good is that, as I’ve figured, and read, you won’t see bad workmanship (unless really bad) for a few years.

All the quotes are using ice/water along the eaves, drip edge, replacing flashing around chimney and plumbing stack vents.

Thanks in advance for any tips/feedback or if I forgot anything important.

Charlie

You can’t know what a good roofer does. I think you are wasting time and money on things you may or may not need. We don’t work to give you bids, so please just get to the job, as several people paid money out for nothing. That is costly to us. No offense, but that is a common sense fact.

Decide who you trust, and let them do the roof like they want to do it. None of us has been on your roof, so we do not really know the details of what is needed. We can give rules of thumb, but every roof is different. The good roofer knows exactly what to do.

No you shouldn’t’ be surprised about the lack of experience with synthetic underlays. I have been roofing 12 years and have only put on about 100sq of synthetics. It’s not a big demand up here, nor is it necessary. Tar paper has been around for ages, and works just fine for its intended purpose.

4 vs 6 nails: This depends on your location, if you have lots of wind, the more the better, to a point. But on a 4/12 roof in a place with low winds, 4 nails is just fine.

Ridge vent: Nobody offered the ridge vent because they may have thought you won’t want to pay the extra for it. Or you may not have the ridge space for ridge venting. But generally speaking, ridge venting is an upgrade option.

There is really no way of knowing what kind of work someone will do by talking to them, you can get an idea, but you won’t know for sure until the work is done.
Try and pick someone you feel comfortable with, and if need be, get the job inspected afterwards.

Synthetic underlayment will not afford you better protection on a low slope area, what you want is to “double” the underlayment… ie. overlap the subsequent layers halfway up the previous layers.

It’s all about trust. Ask for a referral sheet. Any good company will be able to quickly provide you with a long list of local customers and job addresses.

Try telling your contractor that the final installation will be inspected by your building department for building code requirements.

You know typical stuff like nail pattern,sufficient nails per shingle,valley installations,flashing installation and placement,chimney and vent installations,counter flashing technique.

DO NOT have a building inspector inspect your roof. They are not as familiar with roofing and cannot gaurantethe roof will last the workmanship warranty period. Hire a waterproofing firm, company w/roof inspection experience…or your last choice…Hire another roofing contractor (never the ones who bid the roof).

My belief is that the Homeowners and the roofing owner **DEPEND **on the roofer to do the job as always ntended. ** NOT **always does this work. So an additional inspection will satisfy the homeowner’s interest and keep the contractor honest.

Oh…and the extra cost for the inspection??? Since you are getting an inspection to protect your interest, you can afford to go with the lowest or middle of the order estimate, pay for the inspection fee and still save money.

i dont think you have to hire any one extra or say anything to anybody. just climb up on the roof every few hours and be friendly while their working. they will see that you are watching and act accordingly.

No one mentioned warranty. Pick a roofer that is legit, been around for a while, and has a good reputation, and let them do their job. Make sure you get a good warranty. I have a 20 year workmanship warranty on my roof…that sealed the deal for me

[quote=“Roofer Gee”]DO NOT have a building inspector inspect your roof. Quote]

Come on Roofer Gee,It was not a directive as much as it was a spook tactic.,.,.,Those 40 hour certified inspectors would be my last resort,(if ever)[/quote]

Hey…I understand what your intentions were, but a customer reads that opinion…they may actually take stock in the information and seek a local building inspector. Are you now more comfortable with what you stated?

People (however smart they may be)take info differently than others, it is up to us to break thngs down succinctly and bring things down to their level.

This was the question…“How best to guarantee quality in chosing a roofer?”

Choose your roofer and leave the gaurantee quality to an alternative inspection service. That is the best way to gaurantee quality. Most of us on this site own their companies and operate uniquely. What about the other thousands of contractors who prop their business models with 10-20 yr warranties, who never inspect the roofs themselves, and have to return in a year to fix something.

We need to somehow protect the homeowners from them…

Thanks everyone for the tips, advice and info! much appreciated. Both guys i’m considering, have 10yr workmanship warranties and have been around for a while. I think i’m overly concerned lol.
I’m not opposed to paying more for ridge vent if it is better so maybe i will ask their opinions on it.
thanks again, I really like this site.

I hear this question a lot, and I always tell folks that their best bet is always to try to get a good referral from their friends and family. The benefit of doing that is friends and family know your needs (perhaps better than even you do!) and have likely had similar work done to their own homes. They also have less of an incentive to refer you to a contractor with whom they are friends, since they know you’ll probably find out.

Trusting most online reviews can be difficult because contractors will sometimes “pad” most review sites with reviews that are favorable towards their businesses. There are a lot of subscription-based review websites where things like that are less common, or non-existent.

Hope this helps!

I’ve heard that www.angieslist.com is a site like this.