Questions to Ask Your Roofing Contractor

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 1, 2024

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Hiring the right roofing contractor can mean the difference between a long-lasting roof that repels water for years and a shoddily installed roof that you can’t trust. But choosing from the dozens or even hundreds of roofing contractors in your area can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what makes them different. 

Once you have requested free estimates, call your prospective roofing contractors and ask them multiple questions. You can then discard contractors who seem unqualified, untrustworthy, or inexperienced. Use our list of questions to ask roofing contractors to help guide that conversation.

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Metal Roof

Metal roofs cost, on average, between $7,081 and $110,150.

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Tile Roof

The NRCIA reports that the average tile roof cost is $8,000 to $23,000.

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Shingle Roof

Shingle-style roofs cost, on average, $5,000 to $18,000.

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Importance of Hiring the Right Roofing Contractor

The right roofing contractor makes reroofing, roof replacement, or roofing repair projects easy. Along with high-quality workmanship, good roofers can answer questions about protecting your roof long term, give you evidence of insurance and certifications, and provide referrals from other homeowners in your community. Many reputable roofing companies can also coordinate with your home insurance provider on your behalf.

On the other hand, unqualified contractors may subcontract out to untrained laborers. They also may not have insurance and charge you far more than the original quote. By asking questions upfront, you can weed out bad contractors and choose a reputable roofing service.


Questions about Contractor Credentials

Asking the following questions about credentials will help you assess the company’s professional expertise and reputation.

What Certifications Do You Have?

Roofing material manufacturers issue certifications to roofing contractors with comprehensive knowledge of their specific roofing materials. One of the biggest distinctions is being a GAF-certified contractor. GAF is a major manufacturer of roofing products, and certification requires ongoing testing, classes about installation practices, and more. 

GAF-certified contractors can offer Golden Pledge warranties (the strongest roof warranty type). Additional certifications include CertainTeed and Owens Corning.

Do You Subcontract the Work?

Ask the roofing company if they subcontract the work. Subcontracting often means you’re paying extra for the company to locate a contractor, and you won’t know the workmanship standard. Ideally, the roofing company’s employees will handle your roofing work directly.


Questions about Experience and References

You need to know that your roofing company has an established history of providing high-quality roofs in your area. Ask these questions to filter out new, inexperienced, and poor-quality service providers.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

The longer a roofing company has been in business, the more trustworthy they tend to be. Young companies may have uncertified roofers, poor financials, and an unpredictable future. But with older companies, you know that poor performance, claims, and penalties haven’t put them out of business.

Older companies are also more likely to be familiar with building codes and local permitting processes, giving you more peace of mind.

Can You Provide a List of References From Recent Projects?

Companies that provide high-quality work may ask satisfied customers for reviews and future references. If the roofing service is unwilling to provide references or testimonials, you should be suspicious about their work’s quality or business acumen.

Do You Have Membership in Any Roofing Organizations?

You should seek out a roofing company that is active in the industry. Look for companies that are members of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) or comparable organizations. Membership requires participation in OSHA-compliant safety training, adherence to roofing best practices, and learning about new products. This is the knowledge you want your professional roofers to have.


Questions about Project Execution

Once you’re confident about your prospective roofing company’s reputation, ask questions about the specific job.

How Long Do You Expect the Project to Take?

Get a clear timeline for the roofing process. Ask about the wait time, the materials’ estimated arrival time, and the duration of the active project. These answers will vary based on how busy they are. Knowing the timeline will help you adjust your schedule or compare different providers’ availability.

When and How Many Hours Will Your Crew Work Each Day?

Your HOA or city may have strict rules regarding how early work can begin, especially because roofing is loud. Look for reputable roofing contractors who know and can adhere to those rules. This question can also help you plan out your schedule.

Will You Coordinate With My Home Insurance Provider?

When you need to repair or replace your roof, you may make an insurance claim to cover all or some of the costs. Ask your roofer if they can help manage the claims process and negotiate the funds with the adjuster so you maximize your savings with minimal inconvenience.


Questions about Insurance and Liability

Next, make sure you have adequate protection against any damage your roofer may cause.

Do You Have Insurance and Liability Protection?

All roofing companies should have business insurance that protects them against liability for accidents, such as damaging your home or landscaping, improperly installing the roof, or leaving gaps where water damage can happen. These are expensive repairs, and you don’t want to be in a position of suing a roofing company for funds they don’t have.

Can You Give Me a Certificate of Insurance for My Records?

As a follow-up question, ask your roofer for an insurance certificate. It should show the coverage levels they have in different categories. Once you have it, call the insurance company to ensure it’s real and active. Professional roofing contractors should expect this question and not push back. 


Discuss Pricing and Estimates

Roofing projects are expensive, even if your insurance covers a substantial portion of the cost. Ask these questions to make sure you’re getting a fair deal.

Can You Provide Me With a Written Estimate?

Most roofers will give prospective clients a free estimate for the cost of a new roof or repairs. Whenever possible, ask them for a detailed, written copy with line-item costs. This will help you compare different companies’ pricing and services. 

What Services are Included Within the Quote?

Some roofing companies’ quotes may include cleanup options for the roof and landscaping, gutter installation and repairs, and new decking, while other quotes only include shingle repair and reworking. Negotiate the included services ahead of time so there are no surprises.

Is the Quote Likely to Change?

Ask for clarity on how binding the estimate is. Some quotes only offer a rough estimate, while others are only valid for 10, 30, or 90 days. During peak roofing seasons, prices and availability can vary drastically.

The quote may also change depending on any damage or unexpected complications the roofer finds mid-project. Ask them their process in this case and the typical costs of some common complications.


Contractual Aspects to Consider

Finally, it is important to clarify all the details about payment, warranties, and claims. These details will have short-term and long-term implications, so ensure your preferred company has robust warranties and clear pricing terms.

What Is Your Warranty on Completed Work?

Ask your roofer about their warranties on labor and materials. If you are working with a manufacturer-certified roofer, such as a GAF-certified company, they should be able to provide robust warranty options. Some warranties may cost extra. 

Is Your Warranty Transferable?

This question is important for all major repairs and home improvements, such as roofing, plumbing, and foundation work. If you plan to sell your home anytime during a typical warranty term, you need the warranty to be transferable. This is an important detail that buyers look for.

Having a transferable warranty also matters if you want to rent out your home and transfer it to an LLC or if you want inheritors to have the warranty protection.

What Are Your Terms of Payment?

Some roofers require you to pay a portion of the bill before work begins, with the remainder due at the end of the project. As a general rule, don’t select a company that demands the entire payment upfront.

You should also ask roofers about their financing options. They may provide in-house financing or partner with a lender. You don’t have to use these options, but it can be helpful to know that they’re available.

Finally, consider that many lenders require a home’s roof to be insurable before signing off on a loan. If you don’t have the cash to cover a new roof, many roofing companies will do the work in advance and accept payment from the closing proceeds. This requires putting a temporary lien on your home.


Our Recommendation

Roof installations and repairs can be a big undertaking, and you need to be able to trust your roofer. Asking them multiple questions about their certifications, performance record, pricing, and insurance protects you and your property. 

We recommend asking prospective roofers all of these questions. They should be able to answer them thoroughly and promptly. Also, try to verify their answers online by looking up reviews or calling their insurance provider or membership organizations.


Roofing Contractor FAQ

What should I look for in a roofing contractor?

Look for these qualities in a roofing contractor: at least five years of business operations in your industry, fair and binding pricing in quotes, and the necessary insurance and certifications. Make sure your roofer can provide proof of insurance from the start.

What questions should I ask a roofing contractor before hiring?

There are many questions you should ask a roofing contractor before hiring them. Start by asking about their industry certifications, years of local experience, and liability insurance. Next, ask about the project particulars, such as the cost, the scope, and the provided services.

Why is insurance important for a roofing contractor?

Insurance is important for a roofing contractor because there is a large liability risk. Roofers can accidentally damage the underlying roof structure or the surrounding property, or accidentally injure people nearby. They can pay for any accidents or damage if they have sufficient liability insurance. 

If they don’t have insurance, they may be unable to pay for that damage, leaving you with the bill.

How do I compare estimates from different roofing contractors?

Compare estimates from different roofing contractors by looking at the total price and the specific services they provide. 

For example, you may receive a very low estimate for attaching additional shingles to a damaged portion of your roof, while another contractor gives you a higher quote but removes, assesses, and replaces all the materials in the damaged area. Different quotes may also include different warranties.

What should be included in a roofing contract?

A roofing contract should include the project’s scope of work, the payment terms, details about the materials, dispute resolution options, insurance details, and information about the warranty.