How to Pick a Roofing Contractor: A Step-by-Step Guide

by | Jun 2, 2024


Introduction: How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

A good roof is crucial to any home. It protects against rain, snow, and heat, ensuring safety and comfort. Investing in a high-quality roof means ensuring your home’s longevity and value. However, choosing the right roofing contractor can be challenging. Here’s a quick answer if you’re short on time:

  1. Check local recommendations and reviews.
  2. Verify qualifications: experience, licensing, and insurance.
  3. Ask for multiple quotes and compare.
  4. Ensure detailed contracts and written estimates.
  5. Look out for red flags: pressure tactics, unwillingness to provide references, or lack of professional demeanor.

For a more detailed explanation, keep reading.

Understanding Roofing Contractor Qualifications

Choosing a roofing contractor involves more than just picking the first name you find. It’s crucial to understand what makes a contractor qualified. Here are the key qualifications to look for:

Experienced, Licensed, Insured, and Bonded

Experience: Look for contractors with a solid track record. Years in business often translate to reliability and expertise.

Licensed: Ensure the contractor holds a valid license in your area. Licensing requirements vary by state, so check your state’s specific qualifications.

Insured: Contractors should have both liability insurance and workers’ compensation. This protects you from any potential liability if an accident occurs during the project.

Bonded: A bonded contractor means a bonding company holds money available to you if you need to file a claim. This adds an extra layer of protection.

References and Written Estimates

References: Always ask for references. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide them.

Written Estimates: A detailed written estimate helps you understand what you are paying for. It should include a breakdown of costs, materials, labor, and any other expenses. Avoid contractors who only provide verbal estimates.

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

Choosing the right roofing contractor is crucial for ensuring your roof is durable and well-installed. Here are key steps and questions to guide you through the process.

Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor

1. Are you licensed and insured?
Always ask if the contractor is licensed and insured. This protects you from liability in case of accidents and ensures they meet local regulations.

2. Do you use subcontractors?
Some contractors hire subcontractors. While this isn’t necessarily bad, you want to ensure subcontractors are also insured and qualified.

3. How do you handle unexpected issues?
Roofing projects can uncover hidden problems. A good contractor will explain how they manage unexpected issues and any additional costs involved.

4. Do you offer a free home assessment?
A reputable contractor will provide a free assessment of your roof and a detailed estimate. This helps you understand the scope of work and the costs involved.

5. Can you provide references?
Ask for references from jobs completed in the last 3 to 6 months. Contact these homeowners to learn about their experiences.

Evaluating Roofing Contractor Proposals

Once you have gathered proposals from different contractors, it’s time to compare them. Here’s what to look for:

1. Cost Breakdown
Ensure each proposal includes a detailed cost breakdown. This should list materials, labor, permits, and any other expenses. Avoid estimates that only provide a lump sum without details.

2. Materials
Check the quality and type of materials each contractor plans to use. They don’t have to use the same brand, but the materials should be of similar quality and durability.

3. Labor
Labor costs can vary. Ensure the proposal explains the labor involved and the experience of the crew. You want skilled workers on your roof to ensure quality installation.

4. Permits
Verify that the proposal includes the cost of any necessary permits. The contractor should handle obtaining these permits as part of their service.

5. Debris Removal
A good proposal will include cleanup and debris removal. Confirm that the contractor will leave your property clean and safe.

6. Warranties
Check the warranty details for both materials and labor. A solid warranty indicates confidence in their work and provides you with peace of mind.

Roofing Contractor Evaluating Proposals - how to choose a roofing contractor

Pro Tip: Look out for red flags in proposals such as hidden fees, vague descriptions, or a lack of warranty information. These can indicate potential issues down the line.

By asking the right questions and thoroughly evaluating proposals, you can choose a roofing contractor who will deliver quality work and peace of mind. Next, we’ll cover some additional tips for hiring a roofing contractor.

Tips for Hiring a Roofing Contractor

Red Flags to Watch Out For

When hiring a roofing contractor, it’s crucial to be aware of potential red flags. Here are some key things to watch out for:

Interviewing Contractors

Always interview multiple contractors before making a decision. This helps you compare their responses, prices, and professionalism. If a contractor seems reluctant to answer questions or provide details, consider it a warning sign.

Background Checks

Perform background checks to ensure the contractor is qualified and reputable. Ask for their legal business name and address, and verify their license and insurance. A reputable contractor should have no problem providing this information.

Written Contracts

Never proceed without a written contract. The contract should outline the scope of work, materials to be used, project timeline, payment schedule, and warranty information. Avoid contractors who are unwilling to provide a detailed written agreement.

Payment Arrangements

Be cautious of contractors who demand large upfront payments or the entire fee before starting the work. A reasonable down payment is common, but it should not exceed 15% of the total project cost. Paying with a credit card can also provide an extra layer of protection.

Cleanup Strategy

Discuss the cleanup strategy before the project starts. Leftover debris like small nails and asphalt can be dangerous. Ensure the contractor plans to tidy up the work site each day and schedule a final sweep-through of your property.


Outline a clear timeline for the project. Discuss milestones, estimated completion dates, and any preparatory work needed. A professional contractor will acknowledge that delays can happen but will work to keep the project running smoothly.

Unnecessary Repairs

Be wary of contractors who suggest unnecessary repairs. Some may try to upsell services that aren’t needed. Always get a second opinion if you’re unsure about the recommendations.

Pressure Tactics

Avoid contractors who use high-pressure sales tactics. Reputable contractors should give you time to make an informed decision without feeling rushed.

Lack of Contract

A lack of a contract is a major red flag. Without a contract, you have no legal protection if something goes wrong. Always insist on a detailed written agreement.

Poor Communication

Good communication is essential for a successful roofing project. If a contractor is difficult to reach or unresponsive, it could indicate future communication issues.

By watching out for these red flags, you can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure a smooth roofing project. Next, let’s address some frequently asked questions about choosing a roofing contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing a Roofing Contractor

What to Ask During a Roofing Estimate?

When getting a roofing estimate, ask about experience, whether they are a local business, and for job references. Here are some questions to guide you:

  • How long have you been in business? Experience matters. A contractor with a long history is likely more reliable.
  • Are you local? Local contractors are familiar with local codes and weather conditions and are easier to reach if issues arise.
  • Can you provide references from past customers? Speaking with past clients helps gauge the contractor’s quality of work and professionalism.
  • Who will be on the installation team? Knowing who will be working on your roof ensures they are qualified and trained.

What is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing is a crucial component of your roofing system. It’s made from materials like galvanized steel and is used to direct water away from critical areas of the roof. Flashing is installed around vents, chimneys, skylights, and other protrusions to prevent water from seeping into your home.

Proper flashing is vital for the longevity of your roof. Incorrect installation can lead to leaks and water damage, so ensure your contractor is skilled in installing it correctly.

What Does “Roofer” Mean?

A roofer is a professional who specializes in roof construction. Roofers replace, repair, and install various types of roofing materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Replace: Removing old roofing materials and installing new ones.
  • Repair: Fixing damaged areas of the roof.
  • Install: Setting up new roofing systems on new or existing structures.
  • Shingles: Common roofing material made from asphalt, wood, or other substances.
  • Bitumen: A type of roofing material used in flat roofs.
  • Metal: Durable roofing material often used for its longevity and resistance to elements.

Understanding these terms helps you communicate better with your contractor and ensures you get the right services for your roofing needs.

Next, let’s dive into some tips for hiring a roofing contractor.


Choosing the right roofing contractor can make all the difference in your roofing project. At Heritage Exteriors LLC, we understand the importance of making a well-informed decision. A good contractor not only ensures quality work but also saves you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Why Choose Heritage Exteriors LLC?

With over three decades of experience, Heritage Exteriors LLC has built a reputation for excellence in the roofing industry. We are a family-owned business dedicated to delivering high-quality installations and exceptional customer service. Our team is fully licensed, insured, and trained to handle a wide range of roofing services, from inspections and repairs to complete installations.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Contractor

A reputable contractor ensures your roof is installed correctly, adheres to local codes, and stands the test of time. This attention to detail prevents costly repairs and potential damage to your home. As Chris Sanservino, owner of Able Roofing, advises, “Choose a reputable contractor—look at references and ratings—and make phone calls to multiple companies.”

Saving Time, Money, and Stress

By following our step-by-step guide on how to choose a roofing contractor, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure you hire a contractor who meets your needs. This proactive approach helps you avoid unnecessary repairs, pressure tactics, and other red flags, ultimately saving you time and money.

Ensuring Quality Work

Our commitment to quality is evident in our certifications and affiliations, such as being a CertainTeed ShingleMaster™. This ensures that we use the best materials and provide solid warranty agreements. As Sonny Rabdishta from Albana Roofing puts it, “Find someone who is going to exceed the code requirement.”

Choosing the right contractor is crucial for the longevity and integrity of your roof. With Heritage Exteriors LLC, you can rest easy knowing your project is in capable hands. For more information on our services, visit our roofing services page.

Thank you for considering Heritage Exteriors LLC for your roofing needs. We look forward to providing you with the best possible service and ensuring your home is protected for years to come.