If you were to hire someone for a job, you’d interview them to assess their experience and skills, right? So why wouldn’t you do the same when you’re hiring a Seattle roofing contractor to take on a big ask such as installing a completely new roof or making minor repairs?
When you’re researching roofing contractors, you don’t necessarily need to jump into a game of twenty questions. You do, however, need to do some due diligence to make sure contractors are reliable, trustworthy, and experienced. Why? Because getting a roof installed or repaired incorrectly not only requires a second round of work that costs both time and money, but it can also leave detrimental damage to your home if the mistakes were caught too late. Here are nine questions to ask your Seattle roofing contractor when you’re doing your research
1. Are you licensed?
Each state has their own laws when it comes to roofing—some states require a roofer to be licensed, while some don’t. As for Washington state? Roofing contractors are required to be registered with the Department of Labor and Industries.
To verify your contractor is legally registered as a contractor in Washington State and that their license is up to date, you can use the Department of Labor and Industry’s online verify tool.
2. Do you carry general liability insurance?
When you’re making repairs to your home, many things could go wrong. And that’s where liability insurance comes into play. This insurance covers your actual property. So if your contractor accidentally breaks a skylight while repairing your roof and they don’t carry general liability insurance then you’ll have to dish out your own money to make those repairs.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t just take “yes” for an answer. Ask for the exact amount they’re covered for and have the contractor send their liability policy via email so you have proof. Also, don’t forget to ask for the contractor’s insurance certificate, which will list your name and address, which means that if anything happens to your property on the job then you’re covered.
General liability insurance covers your property if the contractor damages it. Workers’ comp coverage, on the other hand, covers the employees working on your roofing job. Be weary that some roofing contractors will either skip or skimp on this coverage and are willing to take their chances. Without this coverage, the liability could fall squarely on your shoulders.
On a job like roofing where there are ladders and walking on top of roofs involved, anything can happen. And if a worker injures themself while working on the job, but your contractor doesn’t have workers’ comp coverage then you’re most likely going to be stuck forking over money for the medical bills.
4. How will you protect my gutters when you’re installing the roof?
To get on the roof of your home, your contractor is going to most likely use a ladder. However, if they’re using ladders alone, you may end up with a roof that looks fantastic, but broken gutters. That’s because extension ladders with a roofer standing on it can weigh a few hundred pounds, and you can only imagine what that amount of weight can do to your gutters.
You’ll want a roofing contractor who uses stabilizers (also called standoffs or other types of gutter protection) to protect your gutters. Stabilizers are mounted on extension ladders and have wide arms that grip walls or roofs, keeping the ladder away from the front of the gutter. These are essential for preventing heavyweight ladders from leaning directly on your gutters, but also help in the safety of the workers by providing stability.
5. How will my landscaping be protected?
You put in a lot of time and effort into that curbside appeal, and the last thing you want are mangled bushes and a damaged lawn after a roofing job. We’ve already gone over how contractors should protect your gutters, now let’s talk about landscaping.
Ask contractors specific questions about what equipment would be used to protect your landscaping, where they’ll store heavy equipment such as ladders, and where old shingles and refuse will go? Ask what the company will do if one of their employees damages a tree or a bush.
What you want to hear is that bushes, decks, and patios will be covered for protection as needed. Old shingles or roofing refuse will be either placed on a tarp then deposited in a dump truck or just straight into the container truck from the roof. And make sure your contractor brings a container dump truck for refuse material. You don’t want to end up hauling it all on your own.
6. What will you do if there’s bad weather during the job?
We’re in the Pacific Northwest, and rain is always on everyone’s minds. And when the rain comes, you want to make sure the interior of your home is protected from the wet weather.
Before you hire a roofing contractor, ask them what their plan is for bad weather. Make sure your contractor will cover the roof with some type of tarp or underlayment, not plastic sheeting, to keep the water from getting inside. We also never know how long the rain can last in Seattle, so ask the contractor what their plan is if the rain lasts for days or weeks. Will the company swing by from time to time to make sure the covering is still protecting your home? Will someone come by to secure the covering if a windstorm is approaching? Do they have a 24-hour emergency line? A homeowner should never be responsible for taking care of these on their own.
Prior to choosing a material, you should understand the warranty because they vary greatly. While asphalt shingles can last up to 25 years, metal roofs can last well over 50 years. Also, make sure your contractor has experience installing your chosen roofing material. All manufactures will void a warranty if the material hasn’t been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8. Do you provide a written estimate?
The last question you need to ask your Seattle roofing contractor is whether they provide a written estimate. Before you sign a roofing contract, make sure the estimate encompasses all of the activities you’ll need, including the cost of removing the old roof, installation of the new roof, material for the new roof, and any other details such as plywood that needs to be replaced. You don’t want to be surprised that the cost you agreed to doesn’t include needed services.
Looking for a Seattle roofing contractor to take on a job requires a lot of research and interviewing. You’ll want to make sure both your property is taken care of but also that their own employees are taken care of. Because in the end, you never want to have the same roofing job done twice, costing you additional time and money. Give State Roofing a call at (360) 205-3100, and we’ll be more than happy to answer any of these questions for you.