Homeowners probably have a checklist of the things they need to ask before choosing a roofing company, such as the length of time they have been operating, proof of their insurance, information about the type of warranties they offer, and their references. However, roof installation is a complex and rather complicated project. When you are working with professional roofers, you want someone who has the right skills and experience to do the job right.

Before hiring a roofer, we recommend asking these ten critical questions:

1. Do you have to remove my old roof?

One of the oldest tricks that black-hat roofers do to earn more is performing a visual inspection of your old roof, then installing shingles over it. While this may seem acceptable from an aesthetic point of view, failure to inspect underneath the shingles may not reveal problems such as soft spots that could lead to leaks later. If these spots are not fixed immediately, they could cost more to repair months or years down the line. A reputable roofer will perform an inspection, take up the old roofing, then place a new set for the best protection.

2. Are you going to install a metal or drip edge?

Metal or drip edge is installed under the shingles, extending slightly outward. They are often made of aluminum and used to direct any runoff to the eavestroughs. This helps take the water away from the fascia, soffits, and decking. The edge is necessary to prevent water damage. Unfortunately, some roofers will not install the drip edge unless the homeowner specifically asks for it. Before hiring a roofer, always ask if this will be done. Otherwise, negotiate or find another roofing contractor.

3. How many nails will be used per shingle?

On standard jobs, every shingle should have a minimum of four nails to secure it. This will work for homes in most areas, but for homes located on high-wind regions or for steep-sloped roofing, the contractor must apply six nails per shingle to keep it firmly in place.

Shingles have what is known as a nail line. This can range from 1.5cm to 2.5cm. This is the line where the nails are best placed. If the nail is positioned higher, it will not secure the shingle below because this will compromise the strength of the roofing. If the nail is attached too low, it will expose the nail to the elements and result in corrosion. Changing temperatures outside cause the roofing to contract and expand, and when nails are corroded, they will create gaps in the roof. Failure of the roofer to follow that nail line will also void the manufacturer’s warranty. Shingles that are appropriately nailed down will also protect your roofing from damage due to storm and strong winds.

Another key consideration is the proper driving of nails into the roofing material. If the roofer drives in the nail too hard, it can cause the shingle to tear. If it is too loose, a space between the shingle below and above will result in a gap, leaving the roof vulnerable to driving rain and high winds. If the nail is driven in at an angle, it could cause a rift in the roof and allow water in.

4. Are you going to install new flashings or reuse old ones?

Getting the flashing replaced is not simple. To perform the job, the roofer has to remove the existing flashing, measure it, then custom-bend the new ones so these can be installed properly. Unscrupulous roofers often do not consider new flashings a necessity. This is terrible news to homeowners. Old flashings are meant to work well with the type of shingle and dimensions of your old roofing. Flashings, like everything else in your home, will age. If they are not replaced when they have to be, they can cost you some serious bucks in the future, especially once they start to corrode and leak. If and when this happens, expect to contend with more damage to your roof and likely, to other parts of your home.

5. Are you going to use steel for the valleys or weave the shingles?

Be wary of roofers who will only weave the shingles and not install metal underneath. If valleys are woven, they are not only easier to install; they are also cheaper. However, they do leave you, the homeowner, disadvantaged. Woven valleys tend to be more susceptible to early wear-and-tear since shingle granules are prone to this problem. Make sure your roofer uses metal valleys because these are more durable and more pleasing aesthetically.

6. How far is the overhang?

The shingles of your roofing should have an overhang of between 6mm to 2cm, depending on different factors, such as whether drip edge flashing was installed or not. However, take note that overhang should not extend beyond 2.5cm. Too much overhang and the shingles will be in danger of getting blown off in case of strong winds, or they could suck water in from the eavestroughs. Too little overhang and water could seep into the fascia boards.

7. How will you cut my shingles?

A reputable roofer will never make a perfunctory estimate when it comes to cutting your shingles. They have to be able to cut the shingles using a hook or straight blade in a straight line.

They also have to create a chalk line to use as a reference before the installation of your shingles. This will ensure that the shingles are aligned vertically and horizontally, especially when viewed from a distance. This will ensure that shingles are straight and aligned and prevent waviness and short exposures. Alignment does not only keep the integrity of your roofing, but it will also avoid aesthetic issues.

8. How will you protect the eavestroughs?

If you hire an inexperienced roofer, they could cause damage to your eavestroughs if they fail to take the steps necessary to protect them while the work is being done to your roof. Reputable roofers will be using supports such as ladder stabilizers or trough to ensure that the eavestroughs are adequately protected. This extra step will prevent your roof from tearing and your eavestroughs from breaking.

9. How much is the cost of plywood if you find soft or rotten decking?

Once the roofing is installed, it will be tough for you to dispute the costs of fixing any soft or rotten decking with plywood sheets. Always ask your roofer how much you will have to pay for every plywood sheet if there is a need for replacement.

10. How will you leave the job site every workday?

Just because your roofer will be working on and stripping your roof does not mean that you will be left unprotected at night. Any open areas must be covered by a tarp at the end of each workday. They should also clean the work area and check the surrounding area for any nails and sharp or protruding items. A reputable roofer will always ensure their client’s best interest.