In the modern roofing industry, fly-by-night contactors are less plentiful than past years. Nevertheless, a little caution may save you a lot of aggravation. If you have any doubts about the contractor, call the Better Business Bureau and find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. If laborers are needed, make sure the contractor has workers compensation insurance.
Before any work is started, get a contract in writing that clearly spells out every aspect of the job -- from hauling away the old roof if necessary to replacing any landscape damage that may occur. Make sure you understand all warranties and guarantees: Some cover only materials, others include labor as well. Specify not only roof type, but brand and premium as well so there is no confusion about exactly what roof you're getting. All contracts should include a schedule for when the work is to be completed.
Finally, you may request a condition waiver and material release upon completion of the job. Contractors pay only a portion of the material cost up front. Once you pay the contractor in full at the end of the job (most contractors require 10-percent up front), it is the contractor's responsibility to pay the material supplier in full. With the waiver and material release, suppliers cannot make you responsible, or put a lien on your property, should the contractor neglect to pay his materal bills.
With some diligent planning and careful shopping, a new roof can add significant value to your home both financially and aesthetically. Be sure to print out our 10 Point Checklist for reroofing your home!