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5 Questions to Ask Your Maryland Roofing Contractor

12/12/2014

Category: General

roofing

The roof is one of the parts of your house most heavily abused by the elements. That’s why at some point roof repair or replacement should be expected by any homeowner. Winter is also not the best time to deal with roof problems, such as leaks or drafts. And in a rush to get it fixed, you risk skipping some important questions when hiring your Maryland roofing contractor. No matter how urgent your roof repair is, take the time to interview your potential hire and ask them at least these five questions before you make your decision.

Are you local?

If you found your roofing contractor through a referral or a local business directory, it’s likely they are local. But sometimes contractors will travel out of their way to locations that are more profitable than their primary service area. That’s why you can usually find roofers, plumbers and electricians from all around the region in the towns hit by a natural disaster. While an out-of-town contractor may be just as skillful, you want someone with a local phone number that you can easily reach if there are any issues down the road. Look for a roofer that has established himself in your area—if he has a website or an office, that’s a bonus.

Are you licensed in Maryland?

This is another reason why you want a local contractor—to ensure that you are hiring a person licensed to perform the job in your state. Each state has different building codes with their own nuances, so being licensed in Virginia doesn’t allow you to work in Maryland. In Maryland, roofers have to have a home improvement license issued by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). You can easily look up your contractor by name or verify the license number they provided.

Are you insured?

The two main types of insurance you are looking for are workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. The first type of coverage will protect you in case a roofer’s employee gets injured while working on your roof. The second type of coverage will cover any damage the contractor might have accidentally caused to your home. The general liability policy is required at the time of application for a license, while the workman’s comp is not as strictly regulated. Many roofers forgo the workman’s comp due to the high expense of ensuring people in such a high-risk profession. If your roofer operates through a trusted network of sub-contractors, each of them would have their own insurance, rather than being covered under your contractor’s policy.

How will you protect my home during the job?

You might get a nice new roof at the end, but will it be worth torn-up landscaping and damaged gutters? Be sure to ask your contractor which measures they are going to take to minimize damage to the rest of your property. A few things to mention:

  • Will they take care not to damage gutters with their ladders?
  • Where will they place the dumpster for old shingles?
  • What is the plan in case of rain or snow?

Any roof job will require contractors to put up ladders or lifts to get to the roof. When heavy ladders are placed against the edge of the roof, they may scratch, bend and otherwise damage the gutters. If you are not replacing the gutter system as a part of your roof remodel, be sure to ask how your Maryland roofing contractor is planning to protect your gutters. One of the most common ways to do it is by using ladder stabilizers or standoffs that help redistribute the weight of the ladder. Similarly, asphalt driveways may crack from the heavy dumpsters used to collect old shingles, so verifying how your roofer plans to address these issues won’t hurt.

Do you offer written estimates?

Getting an initial estimate over the phone is fine, but once you are ready to sign the contract, don’t forget to review the written copy. A detailed written estimate will not only help with cost expectations, but will allow you to spot any potential unaccounted for expenses before you enter the contract.

Ready to interview your first roofing contractor? Archway Remodeling will be happy to answer any questions you might have. To get started, contact us to request a free estimate.

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