Choosing a Contractor

As you research the options for your new metal roof, please feel free to consult the checklist below. The questions will help guide you to a contractor who will offer quality when it comes to installation, materials, and working relationship.

  • Is the company licensed and registered with the state?
    Always ask for a copy of the General Contractor’s License prior to signing an agreement. Keep in mind that a General Contractor’s License is different than a business license.
  • Do they carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
    Only hire contractors that carry worker’s compensation insurance for their installation crew. If a worker gets hurt on your property, you could be personally liable and sued if they are not covered by their company.
  • What type of safety equipment does the company use?
    OSHA now requires all roofers to use safety equipment including an anchor point, and OSHA compliant safety lines and lanyards.
  • Does the contractor carry General Liability Insurance?
    Ask to see a copy of their General Liability Insurance. This will protect you financially if the installation crew causes property damage.
  • Is the contractor giving you an “Exact Price Quote” or a “Written Estimate”?
    An estimate, whether verbal or written, is risky. To eliminate expensive surprises, always ask for an “Exact Price Quote” that provides fixed cost per unit variables.
  • Can the company secure the proper permits?
    Make sure you do business with companies that are able to secure the necessary permits for the job.
  • Does the contractor have a physical location, such as an office or showroom?
    To find a reputable contractor, check to see if the contractor has a physical location. Take some time to visit if possible. A business with sound financials and an office outside their home is more likely to have the capacity to make a costly repair or offer a replacement in the event of an improper installation.
  • Does the company have a reference letter from their financial institution?
    This important document from the contractor’s bank illustrates their financial stability, along with the bank’s judgment of the company. Insist on a copy of the letter to ensure that you’re working with a company that is reputable and financially stable.
  • Does the company have a Supplier Letter?
    Supplier Letters are written documents from the supplier that the contractor uses for their products. These letters are easy to obtain and ensure that the contractor will be able to get the products they’ve presented to you. Asking to see the Supplier Letter protects you from receiving inferior product.
  • Does the company have solid references?
    Ask for references and take the time to contact them. Talking to past customers can be an enlightening experience and it’s a critical step when choosing a contractor.
  • Do company representatives communicate clearly?
    When you speak with the contractor, everything should be communicated in a clear and concise manner. You should never feel pressured, and you should always be treated with respect.
  • What are the company’s policies regarding changes to the agreed work order?
    Does the contractor document all changes on a change order form? When updates aren’t properly recorded, you run the risk of receiving a surprise on your final invoice.
  • Is a complete attic inspection conducted as part of the sales process?
    A complete attic inspection is critical to determining an optimal service plan. A thorough inspection may minimize future problems and unwelcome expenses. Simply inspecting and measuring the roof’s surface is not adequate and is risky to the homeowner. During an inspection, a professional roofing contractor will conduct the following:

    • Ventilation Analysis: This inspection evaluates the interior attic’s ventilation. A trained contractor will understand venting code requirements and ensure that the quote will be accurate. Proper attic venting will prevent mold and reduce energy consumption throughout the seasons.
    • Ventilation Inspection: Vents should be inspected to ensure you do not have open can vents and gable vents used in unison with a ridge vent.
    • Moisture Inspection: Professional roofing contractors will use a moisture meter to determine if there is a moisture source that may cause issues in the future.
    • Infrared Temperature Evaluation: Using an infrared heat gun, attic temperatures are checked and recorded at the eave and ridge.
    • Soffit Inspection: Soffit venting is checked for blockage. Since soffit is needed for intake of air, solutions should be recommended in the event of obstruction.
    • Exhaust Venting Inspection: Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents are inspected to see if they are venting properly through the roof or gable wall and not into a soffit.
    • Structural Inspection: A visual inspection of rafters and sheathing.
    • Heat Source Evaluation: Ductwork and pipes in the attic should be inspected to ensure that there is no evidence of heat build-up or ice.
  • Does the contractor use permanent roofing materials?
    Using appropriate roofing materials ensures that the roof will not succumb to premature failure. You want to work with a contractor that doesn’t cut costs by using inferior roofing materials. Check to make sure your contractor uses the following:

    • Premium Ice and Water Shield: On a project that requires a tear off, a premium non-granulated ice and water shield is needed six feet up from all eave edges, around all protrusions, and in all valleys.
    • Woven Synthetic Underlayment: Woven synthetic underlayment should be installed with plastic cap nails, not staples.
    • Interlocking Starter: Interlocking starter is necessary for high-wind certification.
    • Open Valleys: Closed valleys will allow ice to freeze around them, and will rip apart when ice and snow shift. Open valleys that are self-cleaning are vital.
    • Baffled High Volume Ridge Vent: They should contain 21 square inches of venting per lineal foot. (21 NFA)
    • Premium Sealants: The contractor should use premium sealants only. When used with modern ceramic finishes, silicone sealants will fail.
    • Non-Corrosive Metals: Steel will rust, regardless of what many contractors may tell you. The use of non-corrosive metals such as aluminum or copper are a better solution.
    • Energy Saving Finish: Heat reflective finishes such as Hi-R Kynar will provide you with maximum energy savings and longevity.
    • Hidden Fasteners: All installation methods should use hidden fasteners. Over time, fastened metal roofs with neoprene screws or rubber washers will fail and leak due to the UV light attacking the washer.
    • Four-Way Interlock: Metal roof panels should be four-way interlocking. These panels prevent debris and wind from getting underneath them. Overlapping panels collect unsightly debris.
    • Permanent Finishes: Select only metal roofing that has permanent finishes. Steer clear of inexpensive steel products that try to mimic asphalt by gluing granules to the surface. These granules will come off over time.
  • Is your new lifetime roof backed by the following warranties and guarantees?
    • Limited Lifetime Non-Prorated Product Manufacturer’s Warranty: This type of manufacturer’s warranty covers 100% of labor and material and is non-prorated. The limits are mostly due to acts of God.
    • Manufacturer’s 40-Year Transferable Product Warranty: This warranty should be non-prorated with no limit on the number of transfers.
    • 10-Year Non-Prorated Installation Warranty: A contractor’s installation warranty is covered at 100% and is non-prorated for a period of ten years. The limits are mostly due to acts of God.
    • Chalk and Fade Warranty: Look for a manufacturer’s 30-year chalk and fade paint-finish warranty.
  • Does the company have a good reputation?
    Does the contractor have a good Better Business Bureau rating? Are there reviews from real customers online for you to read? Do a little research before you choose your contractor.
  • Is the company a member of any professional industry organizations or have they won awards?
    Membership in the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) or other professional organizations and earned accolades or awards are good signs that the company is a respectable one.
  • Does the company offer a “respect agreement” with their sales team?
    A respect agreement is designed to prevent salespeople from deceiving or pressuring customers. Look for a company that ensures their customers are treated respectfully by requiring their sales team to sign this agreement.
  • What are the contractor’s job site clean-up standards?
    Do the installers sign a written agreement pledging to do daily job site clean-up and a thorough clean-up of the entire work site when the job is completed?
  • Does the company have a Worker Conduct Agreement?
    All workers should sign a compliance agreement that outlines expectations for worker conduct.
  • What type of training and/or certification does the installation crew have?
    Focus factory certification and continuing education programs are crucial. All installers should receive certification from the manufacturer, and you can ask to see a copy before making your decision.

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