Do you need a roof repair or perhaps a total roof replacement?
Did a recent hail storm, rainstorm, tornado, or other major weather event damage your home’s roof or other property?
Then you’ve likely begun the search for a licensed roofing contractor in your area who can solve your problems.
Chances are that you’ve started by doing a standard Google search – but there is so much more to look at and check out before you actually hire a roofing contractor.
You want to make sure that your roofing contractor is insured, that they are licensed, and that they have experience in your area with your specific type of roof.
If you’re getting your roof completely replaced, then you also need to check with your licensed roofing contractor to see if they have experience with your particular climate and location, along with any other potential restrictions if you live in a historic home or have a homeowners’ association that has specific requirements for the type of material, color, and style of your roof.
Ask your friends and neighbors who they have successfully used for roofing repair work.
Most of the time, if a roofing company has completed similar projects in your neighborhood or town to the property owners’ satisfaction before, they can provide references and perhaps most importantly, they are established in your community.
You should always seek a variety of options and get multiple estimates before you pick your roofing contractor and ask all the questions that we’ve covered below before picking out the roofing company that will do your roof repairs or replace your roof.
How to Choose A Roofing Contractor
What to look for when you’re searching for a licensed roofing contractor, there are a number of things you should look for – beyond just a basic Google search.
Ask your friends and family, look at reviews online, and perhaps most importantly, ask your public adjuster.
The latter might be the most likely to know a contractor with local experience who has built a long-term relationship with homeowners and others in your community and can provide references, which might be the most aspect of finding a licensed roofing contractor.
You can find plenty of information online, but nothing compares to a real-life recommendation.
One of the most important things to look for in a roofing contractor (or any kind of contractor really) is the status of their insurance.
They should be licensed and have workers’ comp and liability insurance that will cover them in case any accidents happen; what’s more, you should consider the cost of your contractor’s insurance as part of the cost of your overall estimate for roof repair or replacement.
After all, you want to make sure that they are safe and covered in the case of an incident – and remember that with their insurance, they are also protecting you as the property owner from being sued or billed for any accidents or injuries during your roof replacement or repair.
You also want to make sure they are licensed by the appropriate boards and associations for where you are located.
You can likely check up on this online, but you can also ask them to provide details and ask the references they provide as well.
In addition, you should look at their Google reviews, Better Business Bureau reviews, Yelp reviews, Trust Pilot reviews, and other similar sites.
See what comes up when search for their names and look at Facebook and NextDoor reviews as well – not everything comes up in your initial search!
Key Questions to Ask Your Roofing Contractor
Before you hire a company to repair or replace your roof, there are many questions you should ask before you sign off on an estimate for roofing repair or replacement services.
Depending on the extent of the repairs required, you’ll want to ask a lot of questions before you decide to sign off on the estimate – or even send it to your insurance company!
Finding the right contractor – and even a reliable contractor – can be easier said than done, but it’s definitely possible and even relatively simple if you follow the right steps.
Look for the checklist at the end of this article and use that as a template for your interviews or meetings with potential roofing contractors and you will be ahead of the game.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to get different types of repairs done depending on the type of damage that has been incurred.
For example, if you have hail damage from a recent wind storm or thunder storm you’ll want to find a licensed roofing contractor who specializes in those issues and understands the various repair techniques that you’ll need for those particular problems.
For example, repairing hail damage requires different skills than other projects, so if you’ve recently dealt with a hail storm, you’ll want to find a licensed roofing contractor who has experience fixing hail-damaged roofs.
The same advice applies to many different kinds of roof repairs or even replacements.
If you’ve had an ice dam form, for instance, then you’ll want to find a contractor who understand the unique issues that presents.
An ice dam – or a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of your roof and thus prevents water (melting snow and ice) from draining can cause that water to back up behind the ice dam and leak into your home, damaging your ceilings, walls, and insulation.
Ice dams are unique problems that require a roofing contractor who understands the damage that they can do to your house or other property.
You also want to make sure that your roofing contractor knows how to respect your home and property in general.
Repairing or replacing a roof can result in a mess and some debris in your yard or on your property, so you want to make sure that the roofing contractors that you hire will make sure that any nails, construction materials, or anything else is removed.
This is a good question to ask anyone who recommends a licensed roofing contractor to you as well! After all, it’s your property – you want to hire a roofing company that will work clean and make sure that your home looks even better than they found it.
You should also ask roofing companies about their process for after a repair has been completed – what kind of warranty do they offer and how they follow up if you have issues like roof leaks.
Keep in mind that roof replacements or roof repairs are a major aspect of your home or property so you need a clear route to discuss your questions, get them answered, and, ideally, fix any potential problems before they happen.
Does the Roofing Contractor Have Insurance?
One of the first things you’ll need to ask is whether your contractor has workers’ compensation and liability insurance.
They should be able to show you their certifications and even allow you to call their insurance carriers in order to confirm their insurance is valid and up to date.
Part of the cost of your roof repair or replacement is the security of the team providing it – and therefore ensuring that they are insured is essential.
You should also be able to call or go online to confirm if their insurance is current and covers the type of work – and the number of employees – that you need performed.
Roofing companies or roofing contractors who do not allow for you to do this kind of background research are not an ideal choice to work with – you should always be allowed to check out the background of the roofing company – or any other general contractor – that is doing work on your property.
Moreover, you’ll want to ask if the roofing company uses subcontractors and if they are licensed and insured as well.
Many contractors bring in outside help – especially if a job requires outside expertise – so you should always ask about that and check on their credentials as well if you are bringing people in to work on your home or other property.
They should have a subcontractor lien release or subcontractor lien waiver in place for any team members outside their own roofing company.
Does Your Roofing Contractor Have Experience with Your Area or In Your Neighborhood?
One of the most important things to consider when you’re looking for a roofing company is if they have experience and good reviews in your area and with its climate, along with any other specifications such as working with your homeowners’ association or even requirements for historic homes if yours applies.
A licensed roofing contractor and one who has been successful in your area will understand the unique climate challenges, the damage that might have been done to your roof, and any other concerns you may have.
The Cost of Getting Your Roof Repaired
Is the damage to your roof relatively fixable?
Then you may just need some simple repairs – which may also be covered by your insurance, particularly if you follow these basic steps.
You should start by mitigating the damage to your roof with tarps, plywood, or other coverings once it is considered safe for you to start repairs.
Note that after a major storm or fire you’ll want to wait until professionals can assess your roof and property in general before you go in and start putting up tarps or plywood, or doing any other minor repairs and coverage in order to make sure everything is safe.
Your property is not more important than your physical safety!
Or you can hire a roofing company or contractor who has experience dealing with clean-up after major storms, ice damming, or other problems.
There are a variety of weather issues or other natural issues that can occur, so you want to make sure your specific roofing contractor has experience combating those issues.
Hiring a local roofing contractor can go a long way towards making sure that you get the right type of fixes that are perfect for your particular climate and environment – and that could save you a lot of trouble in the long run!
Of course, you should also make sure that you have a contractor who has experience dealing with your specific issues.
Make sure to detail the problems you are having with your roof, the damage done by any storms or weather events, and any other concerns you may have with your potential roofing contractor and get everything in writing before you sign a contract.
The Cost of Getting Your Roof Replaced
Do you need to get a completely new roof? Then you’ll definitely want to ensure that you have an experienced licensed contractor working on your property.
They’ll understand what type or types of materials you’ll need for your home or building and what works best in your particular climate, and they’ll also be able to work with and understand any rules or regulations that you have.
For example, if you live in a community with a homeowners’ association (HOA), you’ll need to make sure that your new roof meets any rules or requirements that they have.
If you are not sure about what type or color of roofing materials you are allowed to use, you can and should get that in writing from your HOA president or board.
It’s important to get these things covered in advance and to ensure that you have things in writing in case of any future disputes.
What’s more, it is likely that your HOA can recommend a licensed roofing contractor in your area who does good work that will be approved and up to their standards – and who most likely has the proper insurance – but always check for yourself!
If you live in a historic home that is subject to various rules and regulations as far as the type and color of roofing materials that you can use, you also need to find local roofing companies that has experience dealing with similar projects.
It might be costlier, but that’s the price of having a historic home – which, of course, you knew before you purchased it.
If you live in a home or own a property that’s designated as historic house or building, then you want to look for roofing companies or roofing contractors who understand the restrictions and what it means to work on a historic place.
In any case, when you’re hiring a contractor, keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not always the best choice – you’re looking at experience, the cost of quality materials, licenses and insurance for the workers, and everything else that goes into repairing or replacing your roof.
Don’t have an HOA?
Then you might have more freedom in regard to choosing roofing contractors, as well as general contractors for any other repairs or construction that you might want to do, as well as selecting the colors and materials for your new roof.
Last but certainly not least, the lowest price might not actually be the best price in the long term.
Lower cost contractors might be lacking in insurance or experience – or both – and you should be wary of “storm chasers” coming around after a major weather event.
While a storm chaser sort of contractor might be legitimately skilled and could still be a good choice, they are often opportunistic and aiming to take advantage of people who need roof repairs or even complete roof replacements as soon as possible.
Will Your Insurance Cover Your Roof Repair?
There is a good chance that your homeowners’ insurance will cover your roof repair.
Working with a public adjuster can help ensure the whole process goes smoothly, you get all your questions answered, and you get the best possible results – including a maximum payout on your claim.
If your roof is out of warranty, or if you’ve recently experienced a major storm or other weather event that damaged your roof, you might feel the pressure to hire the first roofing company you can find – but that might not be the best choice.
Keep reading for our checklist of questions you should ask roofing companies before you sign the contract.
Your roofing company should be able to work with your insurance company as well and provide you with the type of estimate that they need in order to understand your insurance claim and process it properly.
Will Insurance Cover Your Roof Replacement?
There’s a good chance that your insurance company will cover your roof replacement or repair, but you need to take the appropriate steps and make sure that you’ve done all the things that you need to do as a homeowner in order to make sure that you get your roof replacement covered by your insurance.
Working with a public adjuster who’ll be your advocate and who can make a claim on your behalf to your insurance company will help you make sure that you get the maximum insurance payout for your new roof.
Your licensed and insured roofing contractor can also help by providing the type of estimate that your insurance company and public adjuster need in order to process your claim and ensure you get what you are owed.
How to Find A Roofing Contractor in Your Area
Finding a great licensed roofing contractor or even a great roofer in your area can be complicated.
While in the vast majority of cases you’ll see tons of results when you do a Google search for licensed roofing contractors, you might be better served by going old school and asking friends and family, your neighbors, and even asking the employees at your local hardware stores or places like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
The employees at those stores most likely know their regular general contractors and roofers who purchase supplies at their stores and they know who is easy to work with and has a solid team, and also who visits regularly – which means they have a regular work load of customers in the area.
In this case, a busy roofing contractor is a good choice because it shows they are in high demand and therefore probably do excellent work.
How to Choose A Roofing Contractor After A Storm
Avoiding storm chasers and determining who is legit and who might be just taking advantage of the situation is important, especially if you are stressed after a severe storm, hurricane, or other major weather event.
After all, if you are in a situation where you need to repair or even potentially replace your roof immediately, you might not be in the best place to make an informed decision.
This is why you should follow the checklist below and take some time to do some research on potential roofing contractors in your area before you hire them.
Storm chasers are often described as opportunists who post their ads (online and in the real world in your area) or even knock on your door after a storm.
While these roofing companies might actually be legit, at the same time you should remember that roofing is a relatively low cost of entry business – you just need a ladder and some basic tools and knowledge to get started.
Which is why you should be a stickler for checking out their qualifications and ensuring they have proper insurance covered.
Always ask to see their licenses and insurance paperwork, make the calls to ensure that it is legit, and look at the reviews on Google Business, Yelp, Trust Pilot, and similar sites.
Ask your neighbors (in person or on NextDoor) for their recommendations and if they have ever worked with a particular roofing contractor or roofing company before.
Your community might be the best source of information and quality assurance when you are choosing a contractor to work on your roof – or any kind of general contractor when you need work done on your house.
Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Roofing Contractor – A Checklist
When you’re hiring a roofing contractor, there are some key questions that you should always ask.
You can use this checklist before you hire a roofing contractor or even a general contractor.
Hiring someone for such a big job can be nerve-wracking, so here’s what you should ask potential contractors – and yourself – before you sign on the dotted line for them to do the work as well as what you should do before picking a winner from the array of estimates you’ve gathered.
You should also ask similar questions to your friends, family, and neighbors about roofing contractors that they have worked with in the past.
- Do you have insurance? Do you carry insurance and if so, what kind? Can I see the certificates and do you mind if I verify the information?
- Are you licensed for roofing work in my city or state? Can I see your license and do you mind if I verify it?
- Can you provide references and examples of previous work?
- What do you do if a roofing client calls you for a repair or a fix to roof leak that resulted from a roof you repaired or replaced?
- Do you or your roofing company have a designated project foreman or leader available who is available to answer any questions or fix any problems?
- Are you as my roofing contractor willing to supply any and all estimate details and costs or fees in writing and help work with my insurance company?
- Is my public adjuster okay with this estimate and willing to work with me as far as getting this claim paid for?
- Ask the roofing team about the product warranty for the materials they are using. What is the length of the warranty, what manufacturers do they work with, and where are they sourcing the materials from?
- What kind of training and certifications does this roofing company provide for their workers?
- Do you have a written contract with the roofing company? (If they don’t have this, you should move on to the next option).
- Does the roofing contractor you offer a warranty for your work? (another reason to move on to the next option if they don’t offer a warranty or similar guarantee).
- Have you gone over the details of the written contract and warranty?
- Are you satisfied with the terms of service?
- Do you feel like you’re covered in the event of an accident or any kind of problem with your new roof?
- What kind of clean up does the roofing team perform after a job and will they make sure there is no debris, leftover nails, or equipment left behind – and will you come back to clean up if there is a problem?
- What’s more, does the roofing company that you’re considering cover cleanup costs? They should be able to work as clean as possible, but you should know who is responsible if there is anything to clean up.
- Does the roofing company you are hiring use any subcontractors?
- What are their names and are they licensed and insured as well?
- Do they have subcontractor lien releases or subcontractor lien waivers in place?
- What’s your system or plan for communication if there any problems?
- What is their follow-up process? What happens if their clients have an issue with your work? What if they have roof leaks, or any other problems within the first couple months or even the first year after the work is performed?
- How does your warranty system work?
- Has your roofing company ever done work in my neighborhood or community before?
- What problems or issues have you encountered and how have you fixed them?
- Is there anything else you can share about this neighborhood’s climate and environment, style, or any other details that you can share that will promote confident that you’re the best people for the job? (hopefully they have relevant experience and references if it’s a local roofing contractor and you’ve followed all the previous advice about finding someone near you).
If your contractor (and you and your insurance company and public adjuster) can’t provide positive answers to these questions, then you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
That said, we’re happy to supply answers to these questions and more…which is why you should definitely consider working with us.
Never be concerned about being too high maintenance or asking too many questions when you’re hiring a roofing company.
After all, it’s literally the roof over your head!
Looking for a licensed roofing contractor in the Illinois area and beyond?
We’re here to help.
We’re a licensed provider that offers both residential roofing and commercial roofing services.