Although roofs are typically built to last for years, over time they may require repairs and even replacement. Roofing is a dangerous job that requires expertise. In 2019, a total of 111 fatal occupational injuries were recorded amongst roofers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 93 of these fatal injuries were caused by falls, slips, and trips. During this time, the Bureau of Labor also recorded 3,850 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses amongst roofers.
Hiring a professional roofing contractor nearby instead of attempting to fix your roof yourself protects you from becoming a victim of the numerous hazards associated with working from heights and operating power tools. It also ensures that your roof is installed or repaired in line with the local building codes, the industry standards and the national occupational safety regulations.
Before you hire a near-me contractor to install a new roof or repair an existing one, you should ask the following questions:
Are You a Licensed Roofing Contractor?
Roofing contractors are generally required to obtain government-issued professional licenses. The requirements for obtaining these licenses differ by location. In some areas, specific roofing licenses are issued at a state level. Examples of these states include Michigan, Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, and Illinois. Some areas require roofing contractors to obtain state-level licenses only if the cost of the project exceeds a particular amount. For example, contractors in North Dakota must obtain a license before they can engage in any project that exceeds $4,000, while Georgia and California require licensing for contractors that work on roofing projects worth more than $2,500 and $500, respectively. Finally, some states like Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana and Missouri do not issue state-level roofing licenses. Note that in these states, roofing licenses may be required at the city, county, or municipality level.
You can contact the consumer protection agency located in your state of residence or the local building authority office near you to find out the licensing requirements for your area. You can also obtain licensing information on roofing contractors by contacting the National Roofing Contractors Association. This association also lets you locate licensed and certified roofing contractors in your area of residence through its member directory webpage.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Roofing Contractor?
Roofers have the fourth-highest work-related death rate in construction, 54 deaths per 100,000 workers as of 2019. It is estimated that there are over 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries and 300 ladder-related deaths annually in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls from roofs accounted for approximately 34% of all the fall-related deaths recorded in the construction industry between 2003 and 2013.
When you need to hire a near-me roofing contractor, it is important to hire a professional contractor that is insured and bonded. Even though many licensed roofing contractors are typically insured and bonded, it is always a good idea for you to verify this by yourself. This is necessary because, without adequate insurance, you can be held liable for any work-related injuries that occur as a result of your roofing project. Likewise, if your contractor is not bonded, you may not be duly compensated if the job is left unfinished or if it is not done according to the terms of your agreement with the contractor.
You can request copies of the contractors' certificates of insurance to verify their insurance status. When you do this, make sure that the insurance includes general liability and workers' compensation insurance covers. Also, contact your local consumer protection agency to find out the bonding requirements for contractors in your state of residence and ensure that your roofing contractor complies with these requirements.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Roofs come in various shapes and styles and are made from a wide variety of materials. These different roofing systems can be grouped under two classifications: Low-slope roofing and Steep-slope roofing. Low-slope roofing systems typically involve installing waterproof or weatherproof roof membranes on slopes that are either less than or equal to 14 degrees. On the other hand, steep-slope roofing systems typically involve installing water-shedding roof coverings on slopes that are more than 14 degrees.
When hiring a roofing contractor near you, it is important to find out whether the contractor is capable of working on the type of roofing system that is best suited for your house.
In addition, some roofing contractors specialize in a particular type of roofing material. The most commonly used roofing materials are:
- Asphalt shingles
- Tile shingles
- Wood shingles
- Slate shingles
- Metal roofs
- Green roofs
- Synthetic rubber slate tiles
- Solar tiles
- Built-up roofing
You should find out the type of material your roofing contractor is adept at handling, and whether it is also the type of material that you want for your roof.
Who Will Do the Work?
When you want to hire a roofing contractor, it is always important that you ask how many workers will be needed for the job. The scope of your project usually determines the number of workers that will be needed. Minor roofing repairs and replacements can be handled by just one worker. However, roof installations typically require more than one person on the job. Find out the exact number of workers that will be involved in your roofing project, and make sure that they are all licensed roofing contractors. Also, make sure that each of these additional workers is duly covered by the contractor's insurance and bond.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Professional roofing contractors typically offer two types of warranties at the end of a project, a manufacturer's warranty and a workmanship warranty. The manufacturer's warranty covers the roofing material and any defects found. While the workmanship warranty covers the installation, repair, or any other related issues. Manufacturers' warranties typically have a coverage period of at least 20 years, while workmanship warranties typically have a coverage period of one or two years.
Refraining from hiring any contractor near you who hesitates to provide you these warranties before you begin your roofing project. It is always a good idea to get these warranties in writing. This way, the items that are covered and the conditions under which the warranty may be voided are listed.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
A permit is a government-issued approval that allows you to carry out certain home improvement projects. The types of projects that require permits vary by county, city, and municipality. Nevertheless, a permit is usually required for projects that involve a structural change to your home.
Whether or not you need to obtain a permit for your roofing project depends on the size and scale of the project. Minor roof repairs do not generally require permits, while roof installations and replacements do, especially if your home is located in a high fire-risk or high wind area. The specific requirements for obtaining permits differ. For this reason, it is advisable that you hire a professional roofing contractor near you that is also conversant with the permit requirements of your area of residence. Note that you can find out what these requirements are for yourself by contacting your local building department.
Will You Provide References?
Per the recommendation of the Federal Trade Commission, you should always request a list of at least three verifiable references from any contractor that you wish to hire. It is a huge red flag if a contractor near you is unable to provide you with this information, and you should consider hiring a different one. In addition, you can search for contractor reviews online through websites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Review.
Do You Have a Business License?
Firms that have fewer than 500 employees make up 99.9% of all registered businesses in the United States. Part of the registration process for these firms is obtaining a business license. A business license is a government-issued document that allows an individual or a firm to conduct business in an area. Hiring a roofing contractor that either owns or works for a contracting firm with a valid business license provides you with a certain level of confidence in the contractor's professionalism. These roofing contractors are usually licensed, insured, and bonded, and they tend to be more thorough than other contractors. Note that this does not mean that you should make these assumptions. Always verify your contractor's insurance, bonding, professional license, and business license. You can verify business licenses through the Office of the Secretary of State in your area of residence.
What Are Common Roofing Problems?
Some common roof problems that require the attention of a professional roofing contractor are:
- Pooled water
- Holes and punctures
- Moss growth
- Cracking and blistering
- Bird, small animals, and insect damage
- Shrinkage and splitting
- Damaged flashing
- Loosened or damaged shingles
- Poor initial installation
How Much Does Roofing Cost?
The average cost for installing a roof in the United States is $7,000 - $8,000. Depending on the size of the house and the type of roofing material that is used, this cost can go as low as $4,000 or as high as $15,000.
Listed below are some common roofing cost estimates:
Cost of materials per square feet:
Cost of installation by roof type:
Cost of repairs and replacements:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Roofing?
The type of roofing project that you wish to embark on and the size of your house are the main factors that affect the cost of roofing. Reroofing your house or installing a new roof costs more than repairing or replacing some sections of an already existing roof. The type of roofing material that you wish to install or repair also affects the cost of your roofing project. Asphalt and metal roofing materials cost less than concrete and slate roofing materials. Therefore, installing asphalt shingles or metal roofs will cost less than installing concrete tile or slate shingles roofs. Though the extent of the job will determine the number of labor required to complete it, hiring contractors near you may help save some cost due to proximity.
What Qualifications Should Roofing Contractors Have?
Roofing does not generally require any mandatory educational qualification. Most roofers receive on-the-job training. This training usually involves more experienced roofing contractors teaching the new roofers how to handle roofing materials, tools, machines, and equipment. Many professional roofing contractors undergo certification from trade associations like the National Roofing Contractors Association. Some contracting firms also provide their roofing contractors with training and certification courses that are in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's standards.
It is estimated that there are over 129,600 employed roofing contractors in the United States as of 2019.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Roofing Contractor?
You should always hire a professional roofing contractor to handle any issues that you have with your roof. This is because professional roofing contractors are trained and properly equipped to handle these types of issues. On the other hand, handymen do not have any training in a particular field. Instead, they handle a wide variety of small household jobs. As such, even though a handyman near you may be able to do some minor roof repairs like replacing missing shingles, they are not trained to notice whether these minor problems are symptoms of a much larger problem. Hiring a professional roofing contractor ensures that your roof is thoroughly inspected, and all underlying problems are properly addressed.
What Are Common Post Roofing Expenses?
A common post roofing expense is the cost of installing gutters. Roofing usually requires you to remove your existing gutters. After your new roof is installed, you may need to replace the gutters, especially if the old ones are not compatible with your new roofing system. Many roofing contractors either also provide gutter installation services or recommend reputable gutter installation companies. Installing a new gutter can cost you between $1,000 and $1,500. Note that this amount depends on certain factors like the type of gutter you wish to install, the cost of the materials needed, and the amount of labor required for the installation.
Another common post roofing expense is the cost of pruning overhanging trees to avoid roof damage from overgrown or falling tree limbs. Tree pruning costs an average of $100 - $400.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Roofing Expenses?
Yes, your homeowner's insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your roof as long as the damage was caused by a covered peril. This usually includes fire, lightning, wind, and hail-related damages. It is estimated that more than 91% of homeowners' insurance claims are caused by wind, hail, fire, and lightning damage. The specific coverage of an insurance policy depends on the insurance company. As such, it is always a good idea to find out the type of perils that an insurance policy covers before you purchase one.
Note that if the damage to your roof was caused by lack of maintenance, negligence, or normal wear and tear, then your insurance claim may be denied.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Roofing Contractor?
More and more small businesses in the US today, including roofing contractors near you, are willing to accept pay via digital channels. Payments made through digital channels are considerably faster and more secure than checks, money order, or cash payments. They are also easier to transact and document for book-keeping purposes. However, you should let your contractor know that you intend to pay for the roofing project digitally before the project commences. If your roofing contractor is not comfortable with receiving payment this way, you can either hire another professional roofing contractor that is, or pay via traditional transaction methods. Note that if you make any payments via cash, you should always collect a receipt of payment.