We had a thirty year cedar shake roof that was at the very beginning stages of failing. We had discussed replacing the roof and reached out to those closest to the community to get some recommendations. Unfortunately, few were to be had. With little to go on we headed to the internet to educate ourselves and found an abundance of exceptional information on all aspects of roofing and roofing repair.
Substandard companies go out of business for obvious reasons then reappear with a new name and a clean slate, only to continue their modus opparandi on the unsuspecting. This was one of our primary guiding principles when interviewing potential candidates. We cannot be certain that we didn’t meet such a person/company, but given long and engaging discussions it’s amazing what can be learned. And, we had three such on-site conversations with the person we selected. Brad, and his team were far younger than what I had in mind, but his honesty, experience level for someone of his age was quite impressive, impeccable references and he purchased “the business” from the person he worked for nearly four years was what ultimately sealed the deal – not to mention he’s a devoted family man and generous to those in need.
Were we just fortunate to have an excellent outcome or did we approach our roofing project methodically – perhaps a little of the first and a lot of the second. Once we narrowed the field to three it then became more about chemistry, communication, repeated and thorough explanation of the process, finalizing material options, and completing a detailed checklist easily found on the internet – we combined several into a single list that best fit our Vermont needs. One needn’t write a treatise, however here’s what we learned….
Our New Roof Checklist
- References, Reference, References: get a list of the last three and not only discuss the job itself, but discuss the selection process and how they handled any post-installation communication.
- How Long Has the Roofing Contractor Been in Business? Longevity is a good indicator of quality and service.
- Proof of Insurance…
- Manufacturer Qualifications… the manufacturers of some roofing materials require special training and/or certification before they allow a contractor to install their products.
- Manufacturer’s Specification Sheets… ask the contractor if he supplies copies of the manufacturer’s specification sheets.
- Get a Copy of the Manufacturer’s Warranty… ask the contractor to provide a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty for the roofing materials.
- Contractor’s Warranty… does the roofing contractor offer an additional warranty?
- Scope of Work… what is the contractor’s scope of work? Can the company offer you a variety of roofing options?
- Will Subcontractors Perform Some of the Work? Some roofing companies handle the entire project, but other companies depend on subs to perform specific jobs. They require reference checking as well.
- Maintenance Program… Find out if the roofing company offers a preventative maintenance program.
- Worker Knowledge…how does the roofing company train its workers?
- Inspecting for Quality… how does the contractor ensure quality workmanship? It’s helpful to examine the entire process and continue to ask questions. I did every day!
- Industry Memberships and Affiliations… find out what trade associations the roofing contractor belongs.
- Is this Contractor a Safety Liability? Ask the contractor to see a copy of their safety records.
- Is the Roof Edge Metal Code-Compliant? If you’re installing a new roof system, you’re likely installing new roof edge metal too. Since the perimeters (edges) of the roof are most vulnerable to wind damage, it’s important the metal system you choose is ES-1 certified.
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