A common way that people choose a roofing contractor is because they saw a crew in the neighborhood and decided to go with someone who their neighbor went with. Sometimes this makes sense, sometimes it does not.
The older I get the more I rely on the “gut check”. A good portion of what you need to do is follow your instincts but you need to tamper that with a reasonable amount of skepticism.
Good roofers are proud of what they do. And think about it — in your job if you do something that you know you can do well, you probably have a certain amount of pride as well, and you should. A good roofer will tell you how they are going to do the job, what underlayments they use, whether they use simply 1 or 2 layers of ice and water barrier, and even something as simple as how many nails are used on a shingle.
Listen to the roof being put on.
How many nails are they applying when installing a full shingle. Often you will find that a roofer who is using either 5 or 6 nails on their shingles really knows the importance of having more adhering power. I have seen roofs have have been flipped up on the corners because the shingles did not have the 5/6 nails and the wind got under the shingles and just flipped up an entire corner of a roof, exposing decking. The last thing you want is exposed decking.
Ask questions. If they don’t know, they should be able to call someone who does know.
Now insurance companies want you to get 3 bids. They always have. They do this so they can limit their loss. Consumer advocates do it because they think that if insurance companies want people to do it, and the insurance companies have the best interest of their client in mind, then they need to jump on board. Well, if your interest in just in getting the cheapest, you probably wouldn’t spend the time to read an article on choosing a good roofer anyway.
One of the first things you should discuss is identifying how long you will live in your house. If you have a spouses, then you should have that discussion before you even make a call to a contractor. Identify what your budget is. Know your maximum budgetary amount and have a discussion with your spouse about your priorities.
Understand that roofing is one of the more expensive home improvement projects that you could jump into.
If you are going to get more than one estimate, make sure that you receive a proposal that details what materials are being used and it wouldn’t hurt to include when the projected date of install is.
But understand also, that inclement weather can have a negative effect on the installation schedule. Excessive heat, rain in the forecast, the length of time the roof will have to be open… all of these things factor into a good roofers scheduling. A good roofer will tell you that these things all effect the installation.