How to Choose a Professional Roofer

How to Choose a Professional Roofer

Reroofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the roof on your own home. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the roofing contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is finding the right roofing contractor for your job.

That is why Pinnacle Roofing has developed in conjunction with CertainTeed this guide to selecting a roofing contractor. The questions contained in this guide are designed to help you determine the reliability, reputation, and experience of a roofing contractor; as well as his dedication to providing you with the best roof system possible.

A top-notch, professional roofing contractor will be happy to supply you with answers to these questions. And just as it makes good business sense to see several bids on your roofing job, it also makes sense to ask several different contractors these questions.

We’ve also outlined some important points to consider when you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract.

Being confident you’ve selected the right roofing contractor will help assure that you have a quality roof overhead and that your hard-earned money has been wisely spent.

Questions to Ask Your Roofer

1. What is the full name and address of the company?

Getting the complete address of the company can be an important factor in determining a company’s time in business. Try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby. The likelihood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home.

2. Does the company carry insurance?

A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificate of insurance.

Worker accidents. Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by worker’s compensation insurance. Hospital bills for serious accidents can be extraordinarily expensive.

Contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines on fall protection endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them.

Uninsured Contractors. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire ass they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Worker’s compensation premiums can increase wage cost from about 20% to as much as 100% depending on the state.

There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:

  • Not a full-time contractor
  • New in the business
  • Can’t afford insurance premiums
  • Doesn’t stand behind work.

It is up to you to determine, but it is usually not the risk to hire a contractor who does not carry insurance.

3. Is the company a licensed or credential contractor?

When you pose this question, you are, in effect, ask if the contractor is licensed by your state. Rhode Island requires contractors to be registered with the state. Beware, a contractor may also answer this question by telling you he has a business license. However, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor’s competence.

Several roofing manufacturers offer a variety of programs to professional contractors that establish their credentials as a knowledgeable roofing company. Homeowners can view a contractor’s credentials as another indicator of their degree of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication to the roofing trade.

4. How long has the company been in business?

Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere, so for newer business be sure to check their reviews or references.

5. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?

• Ask for photos of completed work, most are proud of their roof installations.

• Request names and contact info previous customers.


6. What is the company’s workmanship warranty? 

Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. That is best evaluated using customer referrals. Ask his customers specifically for information about these four things:

  1. Did he perform his work on a timely basis?
  2. Was he responsive when asked for information and changes?
  3. Did he act as if he cared about the customer’s interests?
  4. And finally, would you call the company trustworthy?

The roofer will warranty his workmanship while the manufacturer warranties the material against defects. Thus two warranties will cover the shingle roof system. Understand them both. Ask for a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty pertaining to the specific shingle products you are considering.

Usually, problems of either workmanship or material show up very quickly. Therefore, the near-term warranty given by the contractor or manufacturer is more important than the warranty coverage during the later years of the warranty. Even, if problems of workmanship arise after the workmanship warranty has lapsed, a reliable contractor usually will want to stand behind his work.

7. What is the company’s track record for solving customer complainants?

  • Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral that involved a complaint.
  • Ask the contractor if he has ever lost a job-related court case.
  • Ask if the contractor’s license has ever been suspended and why? Note: consumers can check a Rhode Island roofer contractor’s license history at
  • Check the contractor’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) listing to find out if any complaints have been filed.

Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. Ask how the dispute was resolved, to test your contractor’s reputation.