Re-roofing My House - 10 Steps to Success

Do I need a new roof-min
February 16, 2015 at 12:00 a.m.

The day has come, you know you can’t go another year with that tired old roof. Where do you start?

  1. Before you start making calls to local roofing contractors, you need to be organized. Get a binder with pockets so you can slip brochures, contracts and proposals, addresses of roofs you like and papers with notes, phone numbers, etc.
  2. Think about your wants and needs for doing the roof. Write them down. Write down your concerns, protecting your landscaping, what do I do with my pets, time frame to getting the roof done. Include color and type of roofing you like.
  3. Take time to drive around your neighborhood and see the types of roofing you like. These can be colors and styles you won't be able to identify but creating a list of these home addresses you like, you can now provide your roofers your choices to bid the project. He will be appreciated the list and will or I should say, should know what types of roofs these are and be able to share the pros and cons of them.
  4. Do step 3 again during a different time of day since the lighting will change the look of the roof. A roof in the morning can look totally different in the evening.
  5. Finding a contractor can be a challenge. While doing step 3 and 4, be brave a ask the owners of the houses you like, who did their roof and ask if they were happy. Having a contractor that has worked in the neighborhood is a plus since they know the problems that the homes may have in your neighborhood. Most manufacturers have a website and offer a list of certified installers of their products. This means the contractor has gone to the effort of associating themselves with that manufacture which can sometimes be quite an accomplishment. Asking a friend or relative if they know a good roofer can be helpful. It is now you want to do a little due diligence and check out the contractor. Calling the local building department can be helpful as to seeking proper licensing needed to perform the roofing you want.
  6. Set appointments for at least 5 contractors since 2 of them will probably cancel, be late or just not show up. It is a good idea to get at least three estimates to review and compare. Provide the roofing contractor with #2 and #3 when you first meet them and prior to the estimate. All contractor has the ability to prepare a scope of work and a proposal the same day if they want to. . . . . but some will choose to return at a later time. The reasoning could be for sales positioning. They know you are getting estimates and they are banking on you waiting for the last bid and then they try getting all the information they can and close the deal being the last roofer in. You cannot blame them for that since they are there to get business for their company. My advice is to get all the bids and not make a decision in front of the contractor but in private with no pressure so you can compare the different options presented to you. Chances are you will get a good vibe from at least one of them. It is tempting to pick the cheapest price but remember that all the contractors purchase the materials that are similar in cost, labor should be about the same and if they have if. . . . insurance is going to be close. The difference will be overhead and any extras you may want.
  7. After choosing a contractor and product line you need to have all the details in the contract. If it’s not in the contract, and a dispute arises, “he said – she said” can be difficult to sort out. It is hard to deviate from what is written in a contract. The payment schedule also needs to be in the contract. Lien Releases on materials and sub-contractors to be paid, should be detailed. A tentative start date should be included in the roofing contract along with the number of days it will take to complete the roof. Contact information for key personnel should be provided. For example, if something goes wrong in the middle of the night and all you have is the shop number which is closed.
  8. Safety for your family including your pets should be detailed. Keep both the kids and pets indoors or at another location. I have heard plenty of unhappy stories of a pet getting lost or hurt. Your home is going to be a construction site and can be very dangerous. Request a magnet sweep on the driveway every evening and the lawn for the final cleanup. Flat tires can be costly and hard to prove fault but more important hurt when stepped on. Keep windows closed since roof dust from 20 years plus will seek all opening and when wet on walkways can be very slippery. You may need to access the home during the project. Try to stay away from the ladder area. The old saying “walking under a ladder is bad luck” is a saying for good reason. The ladder area is a main access point for the roofers and tools, equipment in this high traffic area is affected by a thing called gravity and I am betting you don’t own a hard hat. Ask to go over these things with the contractor prior to the job starts.
  9. The crews that come to your home are there to work. Try to keep out of their way. Give them access to the driveway early before they arrive. Have your cars pulled out and parked two houses away. Provide your contact numbers on a paper easily seen on the job site in case you are not there and you are needed to be contacted for a change order like dry rot found after the roof is removed. A pot of coffee and disposable cups with donuts always makes the roofers happy along with a cold soda at the end of a hot summer day. Although not expected it shows the crew you appreciate their hard work and helps the crew step up and take that extra effort to please you.
  10. Have a final walk around the house with the inspector and your contractor or foreman and be satisfied before making the final payment. Never use cash when paying your roofer.

Now there may be a few contractors that disagree with these 10 points but there are plenty that will welcome your requests and are happy to work with someone who makes everything clear, easy to understand and a successful roofing project for both parties.

Have a question? AskARoofer HERE

Need a contractor?  Check out our list of Roofing Contractors HERE.



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December 2, 2020
I moved into an old house that has a pretty bad roof, so I want to have it replaced. It makes sense that getting a professional for this would be a good idea! I'll be sure to gather up information about different companies so that I can find the best one

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