What should I be asking my roofing contractor?

I have a complete re-roofing project coming up…happily, with an insurance check now cashed and deposited in the bank for essentially the entire job…and I find myself wondering what kinds of general/specific questions I should-have-asked/should-be-asking my contractor.

FYI, I have verbally accepted a proposal…though I’ve yet to put pen to paper, nor have I made a material/color selection. I do have what I consider to be a reasonably good Scope of Work in hand, but I’m sure there are any number of additional things I’d be well advised to try and confirm ahead of time to…if not necessarily guaranteeing…at least better the odds of my getting a good installation that won’t void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Can you folks give me a few ideas…and also the kinds of answers to those questions for which I should be looking ??? FYI, I live in suburban Cincinnati; and at this point, it is not 100% confirmed if I will proceed with the project now or wait until the Spring.

One additional question in advance; speaking in general terms, is it worth another $15/square (on a 40 sq project) to “upgrade” from a 30 year shingle to a 40 year shingle ??

While I attempt to find the post that lists the things you should ask/look for in a contractor I will inform you that it is not worth the cash difference to upgrade to a 40 year shingle. Majority of guys on this forum will agree. The major difference is between the 30 and 50 year. That is where you will see the best value for the extra money.

As a side note, one of the guys is selling his house. Had a buyer bring at an inspector in a ragedy van, informed the homeowner that he needs a new roof as the one that is on their has few years left. Little did the inspector know that the guy is a roofer and we did his home two years ago with a 50 year shingle. When shown the documentation he quickly changed his mind. Just the nerve of some people.

Ok this will be a 2 part message. Check the insurance they have call them to see how many people are on the policy make sure it is valid. ask if they use sub contractors. As for referances 6 are not. Ask how many years in business and compair to the bbb and that will tell you almost everything about the company. What shingles they are using, you want to see the warranty. read the fine print so you know what you are getting into. Dont get pressured into signing untill you do your homework unless the sales person well has it all laid out for you. Make sure you know the building codes for your area if not i can send the boca codes to you.And the most important 2 things are they a stable company money wise. ask for supplier referances and call them to make sure they are responsible and pay their bills in a timely manor. When looking over the bids compair apples to apples, a cheap price someone is leaving things out that are needed, mid priced companied normally do the whole job correctly.

The high priced company does everything on the planet and show you everything from a to z. So make an educated decsion based upon value, quality record, stability and apples to apples. Hope this helps. God bless and good luck with your roofing project.

I just looked and couldn’t find it.
It is written by Ed the Roofer and is very good.


How did you get the check?

Thanks…but I know much of that. I happen to have some contracting experience, and am aware of many of those items to which you refer. What I am NOT experienced at is roofing per se.

I’m trying not to get bogged down in the crap that most homeowners do; whether GAF or OC or Certainteed is the best product. While I realize that many have their opinions (good and bad) on specific manufacturers, I’m of the belief that a good and professional install will largely overcome whatever minor differences there happen to be between manufacturers.

In other words, what can I ask the contractor about their installation methodology that might differentiate one from another.


How did you get the check?[/quote]

If you’re directing that question to me, it was actually quite easy.

I simply initiated a claim with my Erie Insurance Group agent, and an adjuster reviewed the roof’s condition (including climbing on the roof and doing whatever it is that adjusters do). He prepared his own re-roofing estimate; and after the deductible, I had a check for the actual cash value (the depreciated amount from replacement cost, but which apparently payable upon project completion) of the project in hand within 5 days.

I’d submitted one proposal to my Agent to initiate the claim, which I’m not sure was really required. But the adjuster’s estimate actually came in ever-so-slightly higher than that of the contractor in question.

FYI, the basis for my claim was wind damage to my roof from the remnants of Hurricane Ike which blew through my area in mid-September 2008. The present roof is the original; a basic 3-tab installation from 1993.

I don’t want to step on toes. My main concern would be who is putting the roof on. If it is sub contracted you are drawing straws. I personally would want the in-house crew . Not some one who subs out the work to any old crew. ( You see the adds on craigslist all the time, needed roofing crew to start work on Tues. morn. Posted on Sun. ) Then CHECK the references. That is the only concern I would have as a homeowner. If this crew has performed in the past they should perform for you.

Hi wvuguy

I would ask questions like this-
What kind of valleys are you going to install? Open/ Closed.
What kind of underlayment are you using in the valleys?
Are you replacing all the vents, soil stack flashings Etc. with new?
How far up the roof from the eave are you installing Ice and Water shield?
Do you run starter strips up the rake edges?
If you have vented ridge are the roofers hand nailing the ridge caps or gun nailing?
My crews only hand nail the ridge caps on a vented ridge.
Do you have any areas on your home that need kickout flashings? If you do did the contractor include them in his bid? Did the insurance adjuster include them?

Ask if the contractor ran a ventilation calculation on your home to see if you have enough ventilation. Did he look in the attic to see if he could see any sheathing problems, rot or mold? Did he check to see if your soffit area was plugged with insulation or where the baffles installed properly to allow ventilation from the soffit area?

You can have your roof installed in the winter but if everyone in here was honest they would all agree it is best to install a roof in warm weather for several reasons. I work in Minnesota and Wisconsin so I know all about cold weather application of shingles.

One other thing I would mention is I do not want any shingle packages bent over the ridge after they carry them up. All packages should be kept flat before and during installation.
As a homeowner are you sure the adjuster included all the items on your roof that should have been paid for? Are you sure the adjuster measured everything correctly and is not short on anything? I’m sure you know the insurance company will reimburse you for the cost of the building permit if one is needed when you send in the proper paper work.
If you have any questions on the insurance paperwork PM me.
Good Luck

Thanks to all…and to Stormer in particular.