January 10, 2019

Selecting a Roofing Contractor & Things to Consider

Finding the right roofing contractor will ensure you get quality workmanship and peace of mind. It’s important to vet your roofers!

Time to read:
4 Minutes
Written by
Nicholas Capobianco

Hiring a roofer or a tradesperson isn’t quite as easy as picking up the phone and punching in the first number you find online. You wouldn’t trust just anyone to work on one of the most important components of your home or business. For that reason, any professional would encourage you to carefully vet your roofer or contractor before letting them lay a finger on your project. Your home is your most important investment, and needs to be treated as such. This means finding and hiring only the most qualified professionals to complete any repairs or upgrades.

During the process of finding an installer, you’re going to see a variety of price differences. These can range from extremely cheap to fairly expensive. In most cases, we would suggest 2-3 separate quotes for your project. This allows you to compare and contrast the pricing and what each company offers. The key is to really compare “apples to apples” to see what quote is offering what, and how they compare to each other in pricing and material offers.

Vetting a roofer

Things to consider when hiring a roofer

  1. Only work off written quotes to make sure that you have a written record of the agreed upon work. Always look over these quotes, and include everything that you need or want done. It’s also important to make sure that they adhere to the Ontario Building Code (e.g. ice and water installation, etc.) It’s also a good idea to check the company’s reviews and to look for a good workmanship warranty.
  2. Fully understand the quote before agreeing and signing off on anything. Understand what work is included, and what isn’t (e.g. plywood replacement, what cost it would be, etc.). If in any way you don’t understand, ask questions until you do. Arrange the agreement using language that you understand, and build the answers to all of your questions into the body of the contract. When in doubt, include it. This protects both parties from costly misunderstandings.
  3. Make sure you get all necessary information before, during, and after the project. This means double checking the invoice that your roofing contractor gives you at the end of the jobs. Stay away from cash deals.  As appealing as they may seem, cash deals can leave you unprotected by both the workmanship warranty and manufacturer’s warranty. This also can leave you with no receipt and NO legal recourse should there be a major problem with the quality, materials, or services performed. No one wants to pay for goods and services twice if the job is left unfinished or poorly done. Always get a written account of all the contractor’s contact information before entering into any agreement. This should be included in the contract. Cash deals can be a sign that a business is not only avoiding tax laws, but may be avoiding consumer and worker protection requirements as well.
  4. Ask your contractor if the workers have been trained to work safely. Make sure the contractors are trained for working in an elevated setting, and have the insurance and WSIB coverage required by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. Safety is essential for everyone involved.
Vetting your roofer working on roof

Importance of checking safety and liability

Two of the most important factors to take into consideration are safety and liability. Although these seem like things that will only affect the company doing the installation, some responsibility will also fall on you as the homeowner. Take steps to find the right contractor and in turn protect yourself and your assets from unnecessary loss.

All contractors in Ontario are required to have:

- Liability insurance (get a clearance certificate from their insurance company).

- WSIB coverage (check their e-clearance number for free online).

- The Ontario Mandated Working at Heights Certification, employee safety awareness training, and depending on their work with compressed gases, WHIMIS training.

drilling in roof tiles

The dangers of working with installers with no insurance or WSIB

We can’t stress this enough. Do not work with any installers who do not have insurance or WSIB coverage! This can result in the following consequences:

Fines by the Ministry of Labour if they are caught working on your property without certifications and coverage.

Fines, and/or criminal charges if someone is hurt, or worse, on your property while not having certifications or coverage. This link gives a local example from 2002.

Understanding your responsibility as a homeowner and the risk associated with a bad hire

It is your responsibility as a homeowner to protect yourself, your assets, and the company that you're hiring. You can do this by making sure that they are compliant with the Ministry of Labours safety requirements. Most companies missing these integral certifications and coverages are able to charge much less than the covered and legal companies. This is due to their low overhead costs achieved by cutting out necessary insurance, WSIB coverage, and safety training.

Although the lower price may seem appealing, the risks far outweigh the rewards. Take into consideration the chances you are taking on the people doing your roofing project! You could find yourself dealing with:

Poor workmanship by poorly trained installers who don't care about the quality of their work.

Damage to your property due to lack of care or control over materials and installation.

Potential fines and charges to yourself, as a liable homeowner, for hiring a company without the proper coverage and certifications.

The possibility of work stoppage by the Ministry Of Labour, leaving your roof open to the elements.

vetting your roofer

These are important factors when hiring a contractor in any industry, and it's also important to find someone that you can trust with good workmanship and warranties. We at Roofr suggest that you get several quotes to compare and contrast.

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