Building Permits

January 3, 2014

How to Hire a Contractor

The signs are there. The recent winds associated with the heavy thunderstorm tore loose several areas of shingles from your roof. You have been noticing that the corners of the shingles are starting to curl up. While cleaning out your gutters you notice that you are removing more shingle granules than leaves from the gutters. Problems are apparent. They continue to grow before your eyes. It appears that you cannot delay the inevitable. It is time to replace the roof on your home.

Replacing your roof can seem like a daunting task. The goal of replacing your roof system has a lot of tasks involved that need to be addressed in order to have a successful project. Without addressing these tasks, you can compromise your project and ultimately put your home at risk.

The first question that you need to ask yourself is “Should I replace my own roof system or should I contract with a professional contractor to complete my project?” This question may be simple to answer just by walking out your front door and looking up at your roof. Depending on your answers to the following questions you may be able to come to a decision very quickly.

  • Do you have a fear of heights?
  • Is your roof complex?
  • Do you have the proper equipment?
  • Do you understand how to address some of the complex details on the roof system?

Even if you feel comfortable with the complexity of your project and have access to the equipment that you need to complete your project, you may not be able to complete your own roof replacement project. Certain states may prohibit homeowners from replacing their own roof systems due to building code requirements. It is strongly recommended that you check with your local building code official to determine the requirements for building permits and licensing if you intend on replacing your own roof.

If you decide that it is best that you have a professional roofing contractor complete your roof replacement project instead of attempting the endeavor yourself, there are some key points that need to be addressed. By looking into these issues before you choose a contractor to complete your work you will increase your chances of having a successful and quality installation of your new roof system.

1. Insurance Coverage

Ask prospective contractors about their insurance coverage. A professional roofing contractor will carry sufficient insurance to protect your home as well as their equipment and employees who are involved in performing the work. Insurance coverage and limits may vary. The standard coverage includes General Liability, Automobile and Worker’s Compensation Insurance. It is recommended that you request a copy of their Certificate of Insurance before you sign a contract with the contractor for your project.

2. Contractor License

Request to see the company’s or individual’s contractor license if applicable. Some states require contractors to have a state contractor’s license or to be registered with the state as a home improvement contractor. In some states licensing is specific to the roofing trade. In other states, the requirement is limited to registering with the state as a home improvement contractor. Each state is unique and it is
recommended that you research the licensing requirement in your area. Most states and municipalities have information readily available on the internet.

3. Manufacturer’s Certifications

Many roofing manufacturers now require their authorized roofing installers to be certified in order for the product warranty and system warranty to be valid for the installation of a roof system. Request that the prospective contractors provide copies of their manufacturer certifications for their proposed system.

4. Manufacturer’s Warranty

Most roofing manufacturers will issue warranties for their products and sometimes for the full system being installed on a residence or building. It is recommended that prior to executing a contract with a professional roofing contractor that you request copies of the manufacturer warranty for the product and system being proposed. Review the warranty and confirm that the warranty provides adequate protection for the finished project as well as for the extended life of the product.

5. Building Permits

In most locations building permits will be required for the replacement of a roof system. In most situations, the contractor completing the project will be required to have a license or to be registered with the local municipality. The contractor may pull the permit on behalf of the homeowner prior to the start of the project. In addition, if applicable, the contractor will coordinate all building code inspections as a result of the permit process. It is best to ask the contractor if they are willing to pull the permit for the project.

By addressing these key elements of a project as part of the overall process of selecting a professional contractor and choosing a product to be installed on your roof, you will increase your chances of having a safe and successful installation of your new roof system.

Jurin Christopher (2013 December) How To Hire A Contractor. Retrieved on December 21, 2013 from About.com