"Communication and planning are the keys to a successful roof project."
Re-roofing is generally a messy project. You will experience noise, dirt,
and a certain amount of inconvenience. There is nothing that can be done
about it and no way to avoid it - but with good communication, the
inconvenience and potential problems can be minimized.
- Invite at least three contractors to bid on your roof. RoofHelp
recommends 5, if possible. And remember, cheapest doesn't mean the best.
Go here for help with choosing a
- Ask about different roof types and the benefits of each. Request
samples of each.
- Demand a detailed proposal or bid. For an example, click
- Talk to the contractors who bid your roof. Ask them to explain
anything you have questions about. If the contractor uses a lot of terms
you don't understand, have him explain or, better yet, show you what
he's talking about.
Choosing a Contractor
- After choosing a contractor, ask about payment and don't make any
payments up front. Contractors should be able to finance jobs. If they
can't, there may be a problem with their credit.
- Walk the grounds around the building with the contractor and point out
items of concern such as lawn sprinkler heads, flower beds, bushes,
shrubs, etc. Request that all items of concern be protected.
- Hold a brief meeting with the contractor prior to the start of the
project. It can even be a phone conference. Ask the following questions.
- What is the intended start date?
- Will the contractors please notify the homeowner if plans change?
Notification should be a minimum of two days prior to start date.
- How long will the project take? Make sure you request that once the
project starts, the contractor will complete it without pulling his crew
off to do other jobs.
- What are the contractor's working hours and will they affect your
- SAFETY - The contractor should post a man on the ground to act as a
safety monitor when working over doorways or open areas such as porches,
etc. Caution tape should be present around all dangerous equipment such
as lift-trucks, fork lifts, tar kettles, propane or butane tanks, power
equipment such as power brooms, power spudders, etc.
- Noise from radios and voices should be kept to a minimum. If you
have objections to the use of profanity, inform the contractor. Most
contractors have strict guidelines about profanity but it's always a
good idea to let them know your feelings on the subject.
- Will the contractor store the materials on the roof or on the
ground? If he stores them on the roof, what precautions are necessary to
keep them from falling off?
- Got a clear skylight over a bathroom or bedroom? Get it covered up.
A lot of work has to be done to properly flash a skylight so the roofers
will be in those areas for extended periods of time.
- Where will the contractor and his employees park? If they need to
park in front of your neighbors' houses, is this going to be okay with
- What will the contractor's employees use for bathroom facilities?
- Is there a risk of pictures, mirrors, ceiling fans, and any other
items falling and getting damaged? Ask the contractor to please be very
careful and not to drop anything heavy onto the roof. Heavy items such
as bundles of shingles can knock pictures off walls and break ceiling
fans if dropped.
- Is the contractor aware of all lawn sprinkler heads? Pickups, tar
kettles and trailers can break a sprinkler when driven over it.
- Is the contractor going to protect all shrubbery, flowers, and other
vegetation around the house from falling debris?
- Is the contractor going to clean up the grounds around the building
on a daily basis?
- Is the contractor going to pay for a new driveway in case yours is
damaged by heavy equipment such as dumpsters or trucks? It's a good idea
to make notes and take pictures of all existing cracks in the driveway.
- Will the contractor be available by phone at all times when the crew
is working in case there are any questions or concerns?
- Is there an emergency phone number in case a storm comes up in the
middle of the night during the project, and you experience leaks?
Inspecting the Roof
- Make sure all materials delivered are made by the same manufacturer.
For example, you don't want some rolls of roofing materials to be made
by one company while other rolls are made by a different company.
- Make sure the materials aren't stored on a wet surface or directly on
the ground. They should be on a clean raised platform such as pallets or
on a concrete surface.
- Make sure the contractor is following the proposal. If you have any
questions about something you see, ask the contractor about it and take
a picture of it.
- Make sure the flashings around all pipes are new. It's proper roofing
practice to replace all pipe flashings.
- Progress payments are common. RoofHelp.com's advice is to pay 50% upon
50% completion and the rest upon 100% completion. Do not pay in full
until the project is 100% complete and YOU ARE FULLY SATISFIED. If there
is still some debris left lying around, ask that it be cleaned up.
- If you have any concerns, ask the contractor to meet you and walk the
roof with him and ask questions.
- Be prompt with your payment. If you need an extra month or two, call
the contractor and let him know. Don't leave him wondering whether or
not he's going to receive payment.