You have some shingles missing. Or the flashing around your chimney is damaged. Or water is leaking into your attic. You know you should get a contractor to look at your roof and write up an estimate, but you are hesitant because you’ve been burned by less-than-outstanding roofers in the past. You are also worried about the cost and what else the contractor might find wrong with your roof.
Homeowners shouldn’t put off roof repairs—the potential for more damage to your roof and your overall property increases the longer you wait.
The repair process starts with the estimate, which isn’t just a slip of paper but should be a dialogue between homeowner and the contractor. Asking the right questions not only provides you the best idea of how much the job will cost, but also establishes the parameters of the repair. With this information, you can feel comfortable knowing the job will be done correctly—or that you should get an estimate from another roofer.
Here are several questions you should ask any contractor giving you a roof repair estimate:
Have You Inspected the Whole Roof?
Although just part of your roof may be damaged, a quality contractor will look for other issues while atop your home. After all, missing shingles might be a sign of a greater problem, and a leak may be trickling in several feet away from the actual drip. Asking “What else did you see?” should provide a basic assessment of the state of your roof.
How Long Will the Job Take?
Some repairs take longer than others. Unfortunately, some roofers take longer than others to complete the easiest of repairs, adding to your cost and inconvenience. Get a firm time frame from the contractor so you can plan around the repair and reduce any stress if the job takes longer than originally expected.
Are You Insured and Bonded?
A fully insured, licensed, and bonded contractor provides a layer of protection and added peace of mind to the repair. Any damage occurring to your home during the repair will be covered, of course, but perhaps more importantly, the liability for any injuries sustained by the contractor’s employees on your property will not fall to your homeowner’s insurance.
What If the Weather is Bad?
You need your repair completed soon, but unfortunately, the weather does not always cooperate. Be sure to ask if the roofer has a plan if bad weather postpones the job. A rainy day or two shouldn’t make you wait weeks before the contractor can finish the repair.
What About Unexpected Costs?
Unexpected roof costs understandably frighten homeowners—nobody wants to be quoted a price and be told, on the day of the repair, that the job will cost an extra grand. A quality roofer should provide a detailed and thorough estimate so that there are no surprises. If the contractor sees issues during the inspection that could increase the price, those costs should be clearly spelled out on the estimate. Don’t sign anything until you have a full understanding of every cost involved with the repair.
How Long Will the Repair Last?
Repairs could be temporary or serve you for the remaining lifetime of the roof. Knowing this information will better guide your decision on whether or not to make the repair and whom to hire for the job.
How Do You Stand by Your Repair?
If something goes wrong with the repair after the contractor leaves, what recourse will you have for the repair to be corrected? Asking a roofer how they stands by their work and what you can expect if a problem arises can prevent costly headaches later.
Should I Consider Replacing the Roof?
You might be apprehensive to ask this question because shadier contractors might jump on the chance for a more lucrative job by saying, “Yes, you need a new roof!” (Some contractors may suggest this before even explaining your repair options.) However, if your roof is older and/or continually causing problems, you should be asking if a replacement roof is a smarter option. The best contractors will walk through the pros and cons of each choice and never pressure you into a decision you aren’t comfortable with.