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Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Roofing Contractor

by Tara Pena

Do you have a roof that just started leaking? Do you need to get it fixed, but this is the first time that you've handled anything similar? Having a leaky roof can be extremely concerning, especially when you don't know enough about roofs and roofing to know what questions to ask potential roofing contractors. Fortunately, you don't need to know much about roofing in order to ask the right questions. Here are a few that you should consider before you hire anyone to fix your roof:

Does this estimate include everything? Different roofing contractors can have different ways of writing out estimates. For example, some of them may give you an estimate that includes just the cost of materials and then tell you how much it'll cost per hour to install those materials. Others will include the cost of materials and a certain amount of hours by default. While the first type of estimate can be attractive and appear like it's the lower one, the labor charge of the full estimate may actually be less and thus have the smaller bill at the end. Only by comparing absolutely everything can you be sure of which contractor is actually the lowest price.

Will you be replacing the flashing? In an effort to save money and put in the lowest bid, some roofing contractors will reuse the flashing on your roof. Flashing is made up of wide strips of thin metal that are installed beneath the shingles along the peak of the roof, in valleys, and around vent openings. It's an extra barrier that helps to prevent water from getting in. In order to install these strips of metal, nails have to be hammered through the flashing. Unfortunately, the holes aren't always reused, resulting in small areas where water is able to get through. This may not be a problem for the first time the flashing is reused, but the potential issues will increase every time the flashing is reused.

What sort of warranty do you offer on your work? Good roofing contractors will usually warranty their work as being free of defects for a year. However, you shouldn't settle for a contractor who doesn't at least offer a warranty good for a month or to the next rainstorm, which ever is longer. You can have a beautiful looking roof, but it can still leak at the first storm if one of the roofers inadvertently skipped something, such as the nailing down of a few of the new shingles. This is something that wouldn't be obvious until the first storm comes along.