Taking time to research metal roofing contractors in your area thoroughly is time well spent. After all, the contractor you hire will have a direct impact on the outcome of your metal roofing project, but how do you find the right one? Where do you start looking? How are you supposed to know if a roofing contractor is reliable?
Fortunately, it’s easy to find a reliable metal roofing contractor in your area once you know where to start, what to look for and what to avoid–which is why we created this guide.
Keep reading to learn how to find the perfect metal roofing contractor for your project, including:
- The importance of a professional roof inspection.
- Things to look for in a reliable metal roofing contractor.
- Red flags to look out for in a roofing contractor.
The Importance of a Professional Roof Inspection
While homeowners should interview and receive bids from at least three reputable roofing contractors, it’s extremely beneficial to schedule a professional roof inspection before meeting with any contractors.
An independent roof inspector can evaluate the integrity and condition of the roof before and after the installation. This gives both homeowners and their roofing contractors an unbiased evaluation of the scope of the job, and the quality of the installation.
The national average cost of a roof inspection is around $200, which is well worth the expense to ensure an accurate assessment of your existing roof and to verify it was installed properly.
Today’s roof inspectors rely on high-tech tools, such as drones and infrared sensors that detect leakage and damage points in the roof by precise variations in temperature. These advanced techniques can reveal problems that are much easier to fix when detected early.
Even when it’s not mandatory, a roof inspection can provide peace of mind for everyone involved in the roofing project.
Note: To avoid any undue influence, DECRA Metal Roofing cannot provide a list of preferred roofing inspectors. We can, however, point you to reputable roofing inspectors and certification services that are readily available through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA).
Once you’ve had a professional roof inspection, it’s time to find a metal roofing contractor. Here’s what to look for (and what to avoid).
4 Things to Look for in a Reliable Metal Roofing Contractor
1. License and Insurance
License: A licensed contractor is much more likely to have the skills and experience required to complete the job properly. Licensing for roofing contractors varies from state to state, so make sure to research and familiarize yourself with the licensing requirements for your state.
Insurance coverage: Accidents can happen to even the most experienced roofers, so it’s important to make sure your roofing contractor is insured. Always ask for proof of insurance from your contractor, as well as any subcontractors on the job.
Typically, roofing contractors should have two types of insurance coverage: general liability coverage and worker’s compensation.
- General liability protection covers property damage or injuries caused by the contractor or their employees.
- Worker’s compensation covers the medical bills and lost income of the contractor’s employees in the event they sustain injuries on the job.
The keyword here is experience. Homeowners should look for roofing contractors that have a well-established business, extensive portfolio of previous work and experience working with a variety of metal roofing products.
Ask for references and examples of the contractor’s previous work with metal roofing.
Reputable roofing contractors shouldn’t hesitate to provide at least three recent and local references to verify the quality of their previous work.
When speaking with references, try to ask questions that will give you a comprehensive understanding of the quality, character and professionalism of the roofing contractor, including:
- How satisfied are you with the contractor’s work?
- Were there any unexpected issues or costs? If so, how were they handled and resolved by the contractor?
- Was the job completed on time? If not, how did the contractor communicate with you that there would be a delay?
3. Speciality Skills
It’s important to choose your roofing contractor based on the type of roofing project you have in mind. Some roofing contractors specialize in repairs and maintenance, while others specialize in complete installations. Quite frequently, those different skill sets aren’t interchangeable.
For example, with new construction, the roofing contractor will need experience coordinating the installation timetable with other contractors on the job, and establishing with the general contractor who is responsible for overlapping work, such as installing the roof deck sheathing or any special energy-efficient underlayments specified by the architect.
Be sure your contractor is familiar and experienced with metal roofing installations. While metal roof installations aren’t difficult for experienced roofers, the installation process differs from other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
4. Clear Communication
Clear communication is indicative of an experienced and trustworthy metal roofing contractor. When vetting contractors, make sure they set clear expectations when it comes to the project’s timeline, pricing and follow-up policy.
Timeline: It’s important to know when your roofing contractor will start and finish the job. They should inform you of any circumstances that might alter the time frame, as well. For example, ask the contractor if they have other engagements that could interfere with the timeline. What happens if there is a weather delay? How do they intend to handle and communicate delays?
Pricing: Discuss the payment terms before the onset of the work and before signing any contract. You should also know the exact payment amount and when the money is due. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the payment schedule and deposit requirements. It’s also a good idea to ask for a breakdown of all factors that affect the final cost of the project.
Follow-Up Policy: Ask about their follow-up policy once the project is complete. Some may offer comprehensive repair services for all projects, whereas others may limit the time frame in which they’ll offer repair services after the installation. Some contractors may refuse repairs altogether.
4 Red Flags to Look Out for in a Roofing Contractor
1. Poor Online Reputation
Your research likely includes looking at several websites that post ratings and reviews of contractors in your area. This is a good starting point when researching metal roofing contractors in your area, but take review sites with a grain of salt since there’s no guarantee that every review is legitimate. Dive deeper into a roofing contractor’s online reputation by searching for their company name with words like “scam,” “rip-off,” “lawsuit” or “complaint.” If you notice multiple news articles or lawsuits, you may want to skip that particular contractor.
2. Low Bids and Upfront Payment in Full
While asking for a down payment is often required by most metal roofing contractors, it should be no cause for alarm and is a common business practice. Do be cautious of extremely low bids and / or metal roofing contractors that demand upfront payment in full.
3. Poor Communication
If a potential metal roofing contractor isn’t responsive during the bidding process, it’s not likely that communication will improve once the project starts. Be sure to look for a metal roofing contractor that clearly communicates and responds in a timely manner.
4. No Proof of Metal Roofing Experience
A legitimate metal roofing contractor will be eager to share references and examples of their previous work with you. For example, if they only offer examples of asphalt roofs they’ve worked on or they can’t provide any references from metal roofing customers, that’s often a major red flag.
About DECRA Metal Roofing
DECRA Metal Roofing products are engineered to withstand nearly anything Mother Nature has to offer. Manufactured at our state-of-the-art facility in Corona, California, DECRA’s line of stone-coated metal roofing products are tested above and beyond the requirements to uphold our reputation as one of the most durable and longest-lasting roofs on the market.
Ready to see and feel the DECRA Metal Roofing difference? Click here to order a free sample.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2020 but has been updated to include current information.