The roof over your head provides shelter and a high-quality slate roof can make a durable, long-lasting covering for your home. In fact, when properly installed and maintained, a slate roof can last around 100 years!
Choosing the right slate roof contractor is a key step when it’s time to install a new slate roof—whether for new construction or to replace an existing roof. As you ask for referrals or research home improvement websites, consider these ten criteria to help you choose your slate roof contractor.
Criteria for Choosing a Slate Roof Contractor
A legitimate roofing contractor is fully licensed and insured. This information should be prominently printed on any paperwork, on the contractor’s website, and may also appear on the contractor’s trucks.
Ask for the contractor’s workers compensation and liability insurance certificates to confirm how much insurance they carry and what and who the policy covers. In a similar vein, remember to ask about the safety precautions employees use, such as wearing safety harnesses hooked to anchor points.
Additionally, the slate roof contractor should have a verifiable and legitimate business address, website, and contact information, as well as a tax ID number.
The roofing company should be bonded, meaning a bonding company will reimburse you for any uncompleted work if you must file a claim against the roofer.
The company should provide references willingly—and you should check them. In today’s digital world, you should also look for Google and other online reviews. This will give you an idea of the types of roofs the contractor installs and the scope of its roofing projects. Experience counts for a lot with high-end roofing solutions; don’t be the roofer’s experiment!
While you’re researching, check the state Division of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no complaints, charges, or alerts about the roofing contractor.
An experienced slate roofer will do a full roof inspection and provide you with details. They will let you know if you need a repair or some restoration work done, as opposed to a full replacement. If the contractor isn’t doing this inspection, ask why not!
The contractor should provide a written contract for the full project scope and answer your questions about what is included. The formal contract should detail:
- The roofing materials to be used (brand and type of slate)
- The manufacturer’s warranty for materials and the roofer’s warranty on labor
- Start date and end dates
- How old roof removal will be done and how your surrounding property will be protected
- Cleanup (who is responsible for what)
- How any damages during the roofing process will be handled
In addition, ask for a clause stating the roofer will follow the installation guidelines drafted by the Slate Roofing Contractors Association.
Ask how the price for the work was derived—and expect a straight answer. For example, is your roof layout complicated or difficult to navigate? The type of slate being used, the manufacturer, and the quarry of origination will all factor into your price. So will the type of metal used for the flashing.
If your municipality requires a permit, legitimate contractors will not push back on having one for the work. Although it is generally the homeowner’s responsibility to secure the permit, the contractor may offer to get it for you. Make sure you have it in hand before the project starts.
Slate roof contractors often offer services beyond roof installation and repair, such as inspections for leaks or damage. Slate roofs are popular for older, stately homes, so other services to look for include repair and restoration work on chimneys and masonry, installation or repair of specialty Yankee gutters, and skylight installation.
For example, Slate Roof Professionals of New Jersey offers the additional services noted above as well as waterproofing, painting, window replacement, and custom carpentry. We provide this breadth of roofing-related services as a convenience and time saver for our clients.
Check certifications and qualifications.
- Has the roofing company and its employees been fully and properly trained to install your slate roof?
- Is it certified by relevant state agencies?
- Does the contractor belong to appropriate trade associations or business organizations?
If the contractor insists on cash payment only, walk away! Cash payments can’t be traced if you have a problem or the contractor abandons your job. (A cash payment should always be at the homeowner’s discretion.) Credit card, check, or online payments can all be traced.
Ask how and when invoicing is done. Depending on the cost of your project, the roofer will probably require a deposit; find out how the balance is to be paid and when.
Choose Slate Roof Professionals
Slate Roof Professionals of New Jersey has decades of experience with slate roofs and other roofing solutions. Based in Cedar Grove in Essex County, NJ, we serve residential and commercial customers throughout northern and central New Jersey, Westchester County, NY, and Greenwich, CT.
Contact us to arrange a consultation about your slate roof today.