Choosing a Roofing Contractor
How to Choose a Roofing Contractor
Do you have damage to your home caused by a severe hail, ice, rain or wind storm? Minor leaks occurring with the season’s first rain? Or maybe just have an old roof that needs to be replaced? Whatever your roofing needs, large or small, you need a professional licensed roofing contractor you can trust. A roofing contractor who will provide you with sound advice use quality products, provide a reasonable explanation of procedures, and most importantly – solid results.
It’s difficult to determine the capabilities and reliability of a roofing contractor. That’s why this information was created and placed on our website – a simple, step-by-step guide designed to help you find the contractor who is right for you.
Step 1: – Where to begin
A roofing system is a complex combination of elements, the success of which depends on the quality of shingles, installation and overall construction. There are many ways to start your search for the roofing contractor who meets your individual needs. Referrals are obviously the best source for names of credible companies. Ask friends, neighbors and family members who they have used in the past. Contact your local roofing supply center about roofing contractors who are active in the community. Internet searches using the Google search engine will show you the results of local roofing contractors that service your area. Social media such as Facebook is another way to find trusted roofing contractors in your neighborhood.
Step 2: – Meeting and Evaluating Potential Contractors
After you have compiled a list of possible roofing contractors, take time to evaluate each one carefully. A professional contractor will be happy to provide any information you require. Many homeowners have been mystified by the plain lack of interest and response from contractors they call. To get a roofer to respond to your call, tell them you are shopping around, but are only interviewing three contractors, not ten. A contractor is shopping for good jobs that will make a fair profit and result in future referrals.
Many contractors have had experiences with unreasonable or dishonest homeowners. Therefore, they look for warning signs of customer problems during the initial job interview.
Set up a meeting to discuss your needs and their qualifications, and be sure to pay close attention to the attitude of the company representative. Good contractors take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of helping you with your roofing problems. If you feel confident that the contractor is truly interested in your project, asked for the company’s vital statistics – specific business information which will help you make your final decision.
- Business Name and Address – A good professional contractor will provide the company’s permanent business address and telephone number. These are essential when checking on the company’s previous business dealings.
- Experience – The training and experience of a contractor, as well as the age of the company, will help you determine their ability to successfully complete your roofing project.
- Licensing – Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (D.C.), as well as other states, require special licensing for roofing contractors. Ask for business license numbers and make sure the license is CURRENT and VALID. It is highly recommended that consumers avoid contractors that cannot provide you with this important information.
- Insurance Coverage– A contractor should carry worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. Request the name and address of the insurance carrier, along with a copy of the company’s insurance certificate. Beware of low bids which are a result of incomplete insurance coverage and workers’ compensation.
- Professional References – A contractors past can help determine your future. Ask for credit references, banking information and a list of completed projects in your area.
- Company Philosophy– Discuss application techniques and workmanship guarantees. Does the contractor stand behind his work?
Step 3: Utilizing the Contractors Product Knowledge
Your contractor should have up-to-date knowledge of quality products for your project. He is the best source of information, but it’s also important that you play an active role in the product selection process. Ask lots of questions about different shingles such as brand names, lifespan, thickness, design, available colors, and warranties. Selecting the right products is as important to your roofing project as selecting the right contractor.
Step 4: Consider Enhancements
Whether you’re repairing a portion of your roof or replacing it entirely, now is the time to consider related projects. Maybe you need a new power roof vent or bigger gutters and downspouts. Even more aesthetic additions, such as enhanced high profile hip and rage shingles, add new skylights, or even replace an old skylight should be considered. When done in conjunction with a roofing project, all these enhancements are more convenient and many times can be less expensive.
Step 5: Understanding and Negotiating the Contract
Prior to drafting a contract, most roofing contractors will provide you with either an estimate or proposal.
**Note: If your project consists of covered insurance restoration work, you should still be concerned with colors, brands, warranties, etc. However, you likely won’t need to be too concerned with the pricing aspect of covered repairs. This is because the contractor typically works directly with your insurance company to reach an agreed upon price for the repairs covered by your policy.**
An estimate typically provides a single price, a generically described product, a color, and no options. A properly prepared proposal should offer more detail with the choice of products by brand-name, prices, services, and designs. A proposal will normally offer several options – and include product samples and literature. A contractor who takes the time to prepare a good proposal will most likely do a more thorough roofing job. All items to be accomplished should be written as part of your contract. Get it in writing. Beware of verbal promises.
When a contract is presented, it should spell out the proposed work, prices and estimated completion date. Read the entire contract very carefully front and back. Misunderstandings are the most common cause of contract disputes so ask questions. Pay special attention to be certain the following points are covered in the contract.
- Building Permits – What permits are necessary if any? Consider local ordinances, HOA rules, costs, posting requirements.
- Start and Completion Dates – Does the contract include a plan of action in case of weather delays?
- Products / Materials – What materials will be used? (i.e. brands, colors, etc…)
- Project Inspections – Number of inspections, completion timetable.
- Site Procedures – Work hours, clean-up procedures on the roof and around your home, safety precautions, etc…
- Warranties – Including both workmanship and product warranties.
- Terms – Detailed method of payment to include a lien waiver upon final payment.
- Liens – You should be aware that under the laws of most states, a contractor who does work on your home, or a supplier of materials for such work, has a right to place a lien on your property. Before paying in full, obtain a Waiver of Lean from your contractor. This important document ensures that your contractor has paid all their labor and material bills relating to your project. Without it, your contractor’s suppliers can issue a lien against your property. A waiver of lien can protect you from financial risk.
- Write-to-Rescind – Providing the right to cancel the contract without penalty within a set period of time (usually three days).
Step 6: Relax and Sit Back
A little well-planned research upfront could undoubtedly save you a lot of time and trouble later on. Once you feel confident that you have the best contractor, the best products, and the best value– simply relax and let your contractor do his job. However, it is important to monitor the progress of your roofing project to be certain your contractor lives up to his superior reputation.
Hopefully, the information on our website will simplify the task of choosing a professional roofing contractor and that you will consider us Metropolitan Design/Build to be your roofing contractor!
Metropolitan Design / Build offers EMERGENCY storm damage service. Call now for assistance! (301) 870-2145.
Metropolitan Design/Build serves the following counties, cities and communities in Maryland, DC & Northern Virginia
Counties: Calvert, Charles, Fairfax, Loudon, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Prince William, St. Mary’s
Cities: Alexandria, Bethesda, Boyds, Bowie, Chevy Chase, Camp Springs, Clarksburg, Clinton, Columbia, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Germantown, LaPlata, Mt Airy, Olney, Potomac, Washington, DC, Rockville, Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro, Waldorf, Wheaton, White Plains, Woodbridge
Communities: Leisure World, MD
Metropolitan Design/Build is a home improvement contractor with over 26 years of experience. We serve clients in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northen Virginia. We are committed to total quality for every project! We are licensed, bonded and insured in Maryland, DC & Virginia: MHIC#: 28162 Virginia # : 2705039332-A District of Columbia #: 420212400040