What Questions Should I Ask When Getting A New Roof?

The majority of homeowners know the general questions to ask a roofing contractor they are considering. For instance, most people will ask how long the company has been in business, whether they are insured, references, and licensing. People also tend to ask for information about warranties. While these questions are definitely necessary, they are just basic questions you should ask any contractor. It’s important to also ask questions that are specific to roofing jobs. Installing a roof is a complex job, and it’s the little things that make a big difference. Here are some roofing-related questions you should ask.

Will You First Remove the Old Roof?

Black-hat roofers tend to want to cut corners and finish the job as soon as possible so they can get paid and move on to the next unsuspecting homeowner. As such, there are lots of fly-by-knight roofers who won’t take the time to remove an old roof before installing a new one, this is called a “roof-over”. All they will do is visually inspect the roof and then shingle over it without a thorough inspection. There’s one problem with that approach. It’s possible that there might be soft spots hiding beneath the roof, and both you and the contractor will never find out if they don’t remove the old shingles.

If your old roof’s problems aren’t discovered early, they can lead to costly repairs down the road. A professional, experienced roofer may even allow you to schedule a free inspection so they can see if there are any problems with your old roof and if so, do away with it before installing a new one. After all, the reason why you are looking to replace your roof is probably that something is wrong with the old one. If this is the case, then what will you gain from covering things up? This is definitely not a good use of your home remodeling budget.

Additionally, most major shingle manufacturers will not allow extended warranties on a roof-over.  There reason being- additional layers of shingles will retain more heat and heat is the enemy of most things, especially asphalt shingles.  The extra heat will bake the shingles longer and at higher temperatures, which reduces the life expectancy of the roof material and will almost always require a new roof sooner than expected. 

Are You Going to Install New Flashings, or You’ll Reuse the Old Flashings?

Flashing replacement is by no means a simple job. Your roofer will have to remove the old and determine best practice of re-installing the new.  In some cases this may require removing siding or stucco.  Other times a simple surface applied counter flashing may work.  Some less reputable roofers won’t want to go through all this trouble. However, as a homeowner, it is important that your flashing be thoroughly inspected and that high leak prone areas receive new flashing. 

Apart from that, like every other element around your home, flashings also suffer wear and tear, and they age over time. Failure to replace them when you replace your roof can lead to costly repairs in the near future. You should specifically advocate for flashing replacements if the existing ones are rusting. Not replacing can lead to future damage to your new roof and home.

How Much Do You Charge Per Square Foot?

Similar to the question above, the question of price can help you to uncover unethical, or inexperienced roofers. Some roofers just have their focus on getting your business regardless of the cost. It’s advisable to ask how the roofer prices their roofing projects. 

Some roofing companies will use a square foot pricing model that is based on an average price assumption.  The benefit to this is that it makes estimating the job easy and fast for the roofing company. However, the practice of averaging means someone pays more than they should and others pay less than they should.  In this situation you should immediately think to yourself, which customer am I? 

Another, more accurate, method would be to price your roof based on an actual take-off of labor and materials relating to the geometry and complexity of your specific roof and site conditions.  Some roofs have limited access to delivery vehicles or dumpster placement.  Others are steeper making the job progress slower.  Still others have intricate details requiring special installation methods or products.  What if your roof has several of these conditions? All these things will and should affect your price. 

You should stay away from contractors who charge prices that are way lower than what everyone else is charging. This is a clue that something is different and most likely forgotten.  If your roof starts malfunctioning and that contractor is no longer in business, the warranty will do you no good. It’s ultimately you who will be left with the burden of dealing with shady installations that won’t stand the test of time.

Ready to Schedule an Inspection or Installation?

These are some of the questions you need to ask before getting a new roof. A new roof installation is a huge investment, so it’s crucial to take your time so you can find the best roofer and get a roof that lasts. Are you in need of Roofing Company St. Augustine / Roof Repair services? Get in touch with us today to schedule a free inspection. We will also answer any questions that you may have for us.