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10 Tips to Help Homeowners Choose the Right Roofing Contractor

The biggest obstacle homeowners face when looking to fix or replace their roof is choosing the right person to do the job. After a damaging storm, they need to quickly get back to normal and perform the necessary roofing repairs. But that doesn’t mean they should just choose the first contractor who knocks on their door. Finding a contractor who is trustworthy, honest, and professional may sound difficult – but that’s where you come in. Contractors should share these 10 important tips with homeowners to show them that your company is reputable and can be trusted to protect their home and their wallet.

  1. Get local referrals. There is less chance of potential issues or scams when you choose a contractor from your community. They are more familiar with local rules and code regulations and have a relationship with area crews and suppliers.
  2. Look for manufacturer designations. Manufacturer designations are considered a badge of honor because the contractor must pass certain minimum requirements to be factory-certified (although, some manufacturers have more stringent requirements than others). GAF strictly enforces their top designation by only allowing 2% of roofing contractors per market to be recognized as Master Elite® Contractors. (Unlike other manufacturer designations, Master Elite® Contractors cannot use this top designation in another territory, only in the location of the storm. Find a Master Elite® Contractor near you.
  3. Research Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. Some contractors blow in (no pun intended) right after a storm looking for work, so it’s important to look them up on the BBB website and make sure they have a good score. Stay away from contractors who do not exist on BBB.org. GAF Master Elite® Contractors are required to maintain satisfactory ratings with the BBB in order to retain their certification.
  4. Get an extensive warranty. Not all contractors can offer manufacturer warranties that include coverage of the contractor’s workmanship. If a contractor installs the roof incorrectly, it may take months or years for the damage to show up—and insurance won’t pay for it. If the contractor won’t fix it (or worse, has gone out of business), your only recourse is to pay for their mistake yourself. A Master Elite® Contractor can offer one of the longest workmanship warranties on the market—the Golden Pledge® Warranty.
  5. Be concerned about safety. A contractor without a training or safety program may not be the best person for your job. GAF sponsors a unique national training organization called the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE), which has trained more than 200,000 professionals. GAF is the only roofing manufacturer with a dedicated team of trainers in the industry.
  6. Check for proper licensing and insurance. The contractor should have insurance for all employees and subcontractors and be able to provide a copy of their insurance certificate for validation. Not having adequate insurance could potentially lead to litigation between a contractor and homeowner if a roofing employee sustains an injury at the home. Most states require licensing for contractors, but that does not stop unlicensed contractors from attempting to do the roofing work. In states where licenses are required, make sure your contractor provides you with a copy of their license and confirm their status online. GAF Master Elite® Contractors must hold appropriate levels of Workers Compensation, at least $1 million worth of General Liability coverage, and have proper state licensing where they are performing the work.
  7. Pay your deductible. Any contractor who claims they can handle the repair without having the homeowner pay their insurance deductible is committing insurance fraud and endangering the homeowner. The insurance deductible is the responsibility of the insured, and the contractor should reflect that in the quote without inflating the estimate to cover all or part of the deductible.
  8. Handle your own claim. A contractor who says they are “a claim specialist” or can “handle your insurance claim” may be breaking the law. In most states, it is illegal for contractors to act on behalf of the homeowner when negotiating an insurance claim. Any contractor who opens the door to potential legal action is not acting in your best interest.
  9. Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for a contractor who pressures you to sign a contract before the insurance company has estimated the damage. Some contractors say they can work with whatever your insurance company settles upon, however the homeowner needs to ensure it’s not just any amount, but the right amount. The contractor should thoroughly examine the home and check that their insurance adjuster didn’t miss any damages.
  10. Know your material choices. A contractor who does not offer you different shingle options is not looking out for your best interest. The style and color of the shingles you install can affect the resale value of your home. If the insurance company is paying for a new roof, it may be the perfect time to make a change and upgrade to a more unique style that suits your taste. GAF contractors can offer extensive design and color choices for your home. Check out the choices now so you’re ready. Knowledge is power.
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  1. David

    Another question is : Ask how many nails they use per tab considering all I ever see companies using is 1 nail per tab which doesn’t even meet shingle warranty nor acceptable workmanship.

  2. Mark Henderson

    Note 7,8&9 are the major problems in the residential industry today although there seams to be “light ” being turned on now. There needs to be more information, like what we have being stated here. Thanks for a much needed post !

  3. Zach Thalman

    You never want to be looking anywhere but local for a roofing contractor. I don’t know if they will charge you more, but like you said, they will know the regulations and building codes better. I have never thought about getting a warranty for the roof. I would see if you actually need a warranty because my house for instance is in the desert so we don’t get very violent storms like other places.

  4. Casey Jones

    Thanks Liza for all the information concerning roofing. You make a great point about being careful of the style and color your choose. I didn’t realize it could effect resale value so much. I have also heard that the style and color of your residential roofing material can also have an effect on energy efficiency. Darker colors can cause your home to be warmer.

  5. Cheryl B

    I have a husband that won’t get a FREE estimate… We got slammed with Hail and a Bad storm.. All the neighbors are getting roof estimates and repairs.

  6. Eric Blaise

    Whenever possible, contact the roofing contractor that was responsible for installing the roof over your home, they would have intimate knowledge of how to replace or maintain your current roof. If that is not a possibility, you always have family and friends as references to some of the best, and most reputable roofing contractors within your vicinity. Do not hesitate to ask if needs be.

  7. Carter Michaelson

    We recently had a nasty storm run through our town here in Greeley, CO and it did some damage to our roof. There are even a few leaks that have sprouted from them and I know that moisture can do some real damage if not taken care of. Roofing repair is our number one concern right now and we want someone that we can trust. I will definitely be using these tips in my search of a contractor, thank you for sharing!

  8. Audrey Blakeney

    Last week, there was a terrible summer wind storm that tore many shingles from our roof. Luckily, there aren’t any visible holes yet, but I’m worried that may change quickly if it rains. That being said, I’ve been looking for a roofing contractor, but I haven’t found the right one yet. I think using your advice of local listings would be the best way to find a reliable contractor. Being able to have recommendations from their clients would likewise be very helpful. Either way, thank you for sharing these tips with me, so that I can be sure to find the right professional to fix my roof before the damages get worse.

  9. Brook

    Choosing a roofing contractor is a pretty big decision. Roofs are super important, so you definitely want to feel 100% certain about your choice. I love the tip about getting local referrals. That way, you’ll be able to know which professionals are popular in your particular area. Also, I love that this post points out the importance of safety. Don’t rush into a decision so quickly that you don’t check whether or not a company is professionally trained and certified. Great post!

  10. Kenneth R.

    I agree to beware of using an unlicensed contractor for your projects. The work you get done won’t be as good as the work a licensed contractor can give you. I’ll be sure to ask to see their licensed before I hire any contractor just to be sure.

  11. Drew

    Great idea to get local referrals. Someone who has used them before will be able to accurately describe the kind of work that they do. It’s also not a bad idea to get multiple quotes to be sure that you are getting the most for your money. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Rose Nickelson

    Finding a good contractor can be difficult because there are so many different ones out there. I really like the idea of asking your family and friends about who is good to to hire. That way you can have someone else experiences to base your decisions off.

  13. melody brown

    I like what you said about not giving in to pressure. I didn’t realize that some contractors have a problem with this. When I choose a contractor, I will definitely remember to make sure my insurance works before signing anything.

  14. Paul

    Don’t just accept a insurance certificate call and verify it is a valid insurance company and certificate.
    Do a drive by the roofing contractors office / shop / location and don’t be afraid to ask to see their facility. Some with no trucks or tools may not be roofing contractors. They maybe brokers.
    Don’t give a contractor any money up for any reason (materials, dumpsters, etc.). If they cant fund a residential re-roof project they are probably not a financially stable business. Have no credit line.
    Hold some money (retainage) at the completion of the job. Hold $500.00 or $1,000.00 for 30 days or 4 or 5 good hard rain events. Come to an agreement with the contractor up front before signing any contract or any paper work.
    Call some local distributors of roofing materials and ask them for references. They know who has credit and pays there bills. Avoid material leans on your home.

  15. Eric Blaise

    Usually, If you purchased your home built, you are given a document that contains the names of the companies you can contact if there is any issue with your home. This is often the best solution when it comes to roofing repairs as the company is well aware of what needs to be done to fix an issue with your home. Personally, you can go with a referral company, as their work experience permits them to work on different roof designs but that is totally up to you as a homeowner.

  16. Sara Adams

    This is such a great post! I cannot preach these things enough! I would also add “Get information about experience and levels of expertise per job (not just ‘on the average’).” And this doesn’t just apply to choosing the right Roofing Contractor, but choosing a contractor for any job/service to be performed at your home. Roofers, plumbers, floorers, whatever. Failing to do your research on any of these things can have really negative consequences. Save yourself the headach!

  17. Bryce Trout

    My roof has been leaking a little bit recently and I don’t have the time to repair it myself. I have been a little bit wary of hiring a roofing contractor but your article gave me some good information. I really like the tips about getting an extensive warranty. Thank you for your help.

  18. Alex Lane

    Thanks for the tips. I need to get some repairs done to my roof before winter hits. I didn’t realize that some states require roofing contractors to have a license. I should definitely check my state laws to see if that is the case here.

  19. Daniela Adams

    I haven’t heard about checking manufacturer designations, I really like this advice. We need to replace our roof as soon as possible. We are new in the area, so asking for referrals is challenging. I am going to use your tips for sure, thanks for sharing!

  20. Bryce Trout

    I am most certainly no roofer, so now that the time has come to replace my roof I need a little bit of help. I really liked your tip about getting an extensive warranty. I know that shingles are suppose to last about 20 years, but it will be nice to have that warranty in case something goes wrong. Thank you for sharing.

  21. bryan flake

    This idea of using manufacturer designations is so cool. I like the idea of using the most qualified people with the best products. When you need to get a new roof, this could be an important thing to keep in mind. No one wants shoddy work to be done on their home.

  22. June Robinson

    My husband and I just decided to get a new roof, so this is great information for us. I like that this suggests looking for a company that offers manufacturer designs to assure that their quality is top notch. I also like the suggestion to look into different materials so you know what it is you want. This will definitely come in handy as we look around for a contractor!

  23. Victoria Runda

    Your suggestion that homeowners check the Better Business Bureau was very important. Having a way to look at uncensored reviews will help you to find the right contractor. After doing this see if any of the top rated roofers in your area are also recommended to you by people in your area. Roofers that pass both of those checks will definitely be worth your time and money.

  24. Josh Summer

    These tips are very helpful. There are so many bad roofing business in my area. Your Top on #6 “Check for proper licensing and insurance” is really important and on tip that i think a lot of people forget to ask! Thanks and look forward to the next one

  25. Rose Nickelson

    These are some really good tips about roofing. I liked your tip about knowing what materials it can be made of. It can would also be good to talk to your contractor about what materials are best for your roof in your area.

  26. Cori

    Good info, and really not just for roofing contractors! I think there are a lot of “bad” roofers out there and the situation seems to have gotten worse recently, but if you can verify their work, check out their testimonials, and even drive by and take a look at some of their work you can usually weed out the bad ones from the good ones.

  27. Veronica Marks

    Thanks for the tip to get an extensive warranty. I didn’t ever think about the problems and damage not showing up right away if a job is done wrong. I’ll definitely talk about that possibility with my husband and make sure we get a warranty that will keep us protected. Thanks!

  28. Avery Grey

    I really like your first tip about getting local referrals. When it comes to hiring a roofing contractor, the hardest thing can be finding one that trust and want to work with. Working with someone that you know nothing about can be intimidating so finding out as much as you can can be really beneficial to the overall project. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that the project is exactly what you want it to be.

  29. Rob Benton

    I agree that it’s a good idea to already have in mind what materials you want for your roof. I think that this would save you lots of money because you wouldn’t have to pay the contractor to figure it out. I also think that this could save you from realizing in the middle of the contractor’s work that you are not satisfied with the materials he or she is using.

  30. Maglepie Grits

    I couldn’t agree more with your recommendation to ensure a roofing contractor is legitimized by the Better Business Bureau. From what I’ve gathered, the BBB knows their stuff, and they are not about to let a sketchy contractor seep through the cracks (to play off your pun). Thanks for reminding me of this because I may have forgotten to really do the research, and in today’s world of scammers looking to take your money, research is huge.

  31. Sam Wilkins

    I like what you said about choosing a commercial roofing contractors ratings through the BBB. A rating from the BBB is one I feel like I can trust, so it makes sense that finding a contractor through them would be smart. My husband and I need to replace our roofing, so I will make sure my husband check through them.

  32. Aria Wellington

    I really love your tip about getting referrals. Asking family members and friends if they have had any experience with a roofing contractor could save you time searching as well as money on someone that wouldn’t do the job as well. My sister and her husband have been needing to redo their roof for a few weeks and they are having a hard time finding the right person. I will have to pass these tips on to them so that they can get their roof done a lot sooner, thank you for sharing!

  33. Garrett

    To Aria Wellongton,in what area you live?I ‘m from Manitoba and this guys
    smileroofing.com/fl/jacksonville
    Done job quite well, it’s not advertising, but it’s my advice. I think they work not only in my state, you can check it.

  34. Luke Smith

    These are really good tips on how to find a good roofing contractor. I really like the referral about asking for referrals from local people. That is a smart idea, and I should do it when I need to hire a contractor.

  35. Sarah Smith

    I just moved into a new house and its roof is badly in need of repair. I didn’t know that roofers could offer warranties! I’ll keep that in mind while I look for a company to come and fix the roofing on my house.

  36. Sarah Smith

    My roof needs to be redone but I didn’t know what to look for in a roofing contractor. Thanks for the warning about handling your own claim, I didn’t know that it could be illegal for a roofing company to do the claim. I’ll make sure to follow your advice so that I can find a good roofing company.

  37. Sarah Smith

    I never thought to consider safety when it comes to a roofer. I’ll have to make sure that the roofing contractor that I get has a safety program and insurance. Thanks for the advice to help find a good roofer.

  38. Hannan Ahmad

    Roofing is one of the most important parts of your whole house and it impacts not only the durability but also the beauty. So it is crucial for you to choose the right roofing contractor to have your roof installed from, and these tips will surely help you out in that regard.

  39. Johnie Davis

    Now a day scam is increasing and people should take care about it because it is all about your dream home. You have to Check for proper licensing and insurance and before selecting roofing contractors, go for experts

  40. Roof&Go

    Thanks for the great article. I liked all the 10 points. The roof is the most vital part of a house. So, you have to choose only the professionals that i believe. Professional roofers are experts in working safely and perfectly.

  41. Izzy

    Some fantastic tips here. Of course, roof maintenance is a big job so you don’t want to hire a ‘cowboy’ contractor. Recommendations from friends is a good first port-of-call when looking for a roofing contractor. Testimonials on their websites can also be hugely valuable.

  42. Brenda Smith

    Choosing a right roofing contractor is very important these days. I like the point no. 7 about insurance, one must be really aware in that as it is a tricky area where general people can be fooled easily. Thanks to admin for bring all great points to limelight.

  43. CRS

    Thanks Liza for sharing such important information regarding roofing. Many contractors are infact not aware of such points regarding roof installations. Therefore it is very necessary to hire experienced roofing professionals. Recently I had my new house built in Tacoma. One of my friend suggested some professional roofing contractors in Tacoma who were really good at roofing installation.

  44. Martin Fuller

    Here are my some additional tips for ensuring that your roof installation or replacement is a success:
    1. Make sure you ask for references. If they can’t provide any, that’s a red flag. Roofing scammers won’t be able to provide any good references.
    2. Never pay all the money up front to ensure they don’t take the money and just run.
    3. Always have a copy of the contract in print. That way if you loose your original, you still have a back up.
    4. Don’t only look at their educational background but look at their life experience and character. A good roofing contractor should always handle their tasks with grace and honesty, no matter how difficult. They shouldn’t pressure you or make you feel nervous about the project.

  45. Jade Brunet

    The time has come for us to replace the roof of our house. Thank you for this information of how to start and carry out this process. I like the advice given about getting an extensive warranty. I am all about saving money. Another thing to consider is finding a contractor within my budget.

  46. Ajdak

    Wow..
    What a lovely post.Thanks a ton Liza for all the valid information provided with respect to roofing. I have an expert roofing contractor who has been assisting me for almost 15 years now.

    So, I trust his ability and judgement in taking care of the roof of my house. But still I will keep all these 10 useful tips in mind to keep myself updated. I was unaware of the warranty factor, which I will be discussing with my contractor in detail. Cheers

    Thanks for the share. Keep posting and Keep sharing.. 🙂
    Regards;
    Ajdak

  47. larissa

    Choosing the right contractor can seem scary and definitely overwhelming, especially when taking on multiple contractors. I think it is important to ask the contractor how they work, for example, what their management is like over many projects and how much trust they place on their employees. Thanks for sharing, definitely very helpful!

  48. Chris Hudson

    Great article! Very well organized and informative. For a newbie investor like me this is a great way for me to learn at a very basic level what all the terms mean that I hear get tossed around a lot among more vetern investors. I’m sure I’ll be refering to this often!

  49. Lauren Jones

    We have been losing shingles off of our roof for a while now and have finally decided to get it replaced. We are looking to find the right roofing contractor to get the job done. It is good to know that one should choose a contractor with a training or safety program. I am also glad to know that one should find a contractor who is able to provide a copy of their insurance. We will keep this in mind as we hire, thanks.


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