House with asphalt roofing - Copy

Calling the roofer down from your neighbour’s house may not be the best way to pick a residential roofing contractor.

The roof in a home plays a significant role in protecting everything underneath it from the weather, including you. By retaining a reputable residential roofing contractor, you access their knowledge and expertise, giving you professional workmanship with the best material for your budget. So it pays to shop around.

Choosing the roofer with the lowest quote may not be in your best interests. They may be cutting corners on materials, have no certifications, or they might not guarantee the work and products used on the roof.

So how do you choose a good roofing company?

First, you might want to write down the measurements of your roof. If you have existing shingles and want to stick with the same style, jot down the type. But if you’re going to switch things up, shop around and then ask the company about the different roofing material you want to use.

Some roofing companies have experience installing certain materials, but not all of them. That’s why researching the company beforehand is essential.

Many residential roofers will have samples of what they use, or you can check out building stores and home shows for ideas.

There are asphalt, tile, and shake roofing. Metal and solar roofing are also becoming popular options. Get as much info on these as you can, before making your choice.

Asphalt roofing installation

To repair or replace?

Before reaching out to a roofing company, you need first to decide if you want to have repairs done, or are looking to replace your roof. If you want your roof repaired, then you’ll be using to the same types of shingles already on the roof. A replacement is where shopping for a new look and shingles makes more sense.

If you don’t know, many resources can tell you when it is time for roofing replacement. Additionally, many roofing companies, including National Star, offer roof assessments to inspect the overall state of the infrastructure. Knowing how much life is left in your roof is a good question to add the list below. Make sure to compare answers between companies.

Now that you know what you want pick out three or four residential roofing contractors in your area and contact them.

Look for those with a permanent address. Having an ad with a phone number may mean the contractor is your local handyman looking for work. You can look at the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints against them. Their business license should be registered with your local municipality. You can check this by phoning the municipal offices. Another great option is to read Google Reviews. Here you can see what other home or business owners had to say about their experience with the company.

Some questions you might ask when you contact them:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they use subcontractors?
  • How soon can they start?
  • How long does it take to complete a residential roofing project?
  • Are the tradesman licensed, certified, and insured in Alberta?
  • Do they cover the costs of building permits for the project?
  • Discuss what type of shingles they carry?
  • Do they include the removal of existing shingles?
  • What warranties and insurance are on the product?
  • Can they provide references for their work?
  • How much does the average work cost?
  • Will they come out and give you a written quote at no cost?

If they cannot answer the majority of the questions, it may be a red flag to move on to the next roofing company on your list.

When they come to make a quote, make sure they give you a written copy that breaks down the various costs of the project. You can ask that they bring a copy of their license or certification when they arrive to give the quote. Make sure the quote clearly states the terms of payment and coverage on their work. Ask if the cost of cleanup and removal of materials is included.

Commercial and Industrial roofing

Many of the same questions apply for commercial or industrial roofing. Application and materials for commercial or industrial flat roofing are significantly different from residential roofing. There are a variety of processes and materials used. For built-up roofing using tar, asphalt, gravel or bitumen, choose a company with experience as the process can be complex to complete. Ask for references or contact other building owners in the area for commercial and industrial roofing companies they have used.

There are other types of roofing. Ask about single-ply membrane and liquid polymers or metal roofing, as these may be a better option for your commercial or industrial roofing needs. Sometimes the work can affect office or commercial areas with noise or smell of products used. Ask what measures they take to accommodate business as usual, or what you need to tell your tenants or customers while the work is taking place. Sometimes accommodations can be made for evening work, to minimize impacts to your building’s dynamics.