Since your roof is one of the most important component s of your house, we wanted to share a few things to do before you purchase materials and hire a contractor.

While nobody likes having to pay to replace a roof, the critical and aesthetic function s it serves should help ease the pain of spending $8,000 to $20,000 on the work. (According to 2014 cost data collected by home improvement site Angie’s List, the average roof replacement job costs around $11,000.)

You need the job done right. Here are a few important things to have in order before hiring a contractor to replace your roof:

1. Find the Best Fit

Some roofers don’t worry much about customer satisfaction since replacing a roof is a once-every-few-decades job. They may hire low-wage workers so they can offer a better price – Beware of low cost deals ! Get references from Roof Supply Co, who have been working with contractors for over 10+ years , or neighbors, tradespeople or from lumber yards that you trust. Also check major roofing manufacturer websites (certainteed.com, gaf.com, owenscorning.com) for lists of certified installers. Finally, if they aren’t readily available on the contractor’s website, be sure to request client references from contractors.

2. Strip Away the Old

You’re permitted to have two layers of asphalt shingles on your roof . But if you are replacing more than 25% of the roof, inspection for structural compliance will be necessary as the building or house must be able to bear the extra weight. If you live in extreme weather, it may be necessary to remove everything so that other layers may be checked. With the new “cool roof” rules, if you happen to be in certain zones of California, it will be important to use the right materials. Check out all the facts HERE (Download for Jan 2020 SD Minimum Standards for Renewal of Roof Covering).

3. Higher Quality is Better

To make sure you don’t have to worry about your roof again—and to give you some selling points when you’re ready to move—go for top-quality products. That means investing in two things:

  • 50-year-shingles – These shingles have an “architectural” look. Their varying color and thickness create upscale character. They run anywhere from $250 to $750 more than regular asphalt shingles.
  • Copper Flashing – This is the most durable metal for sealing the joints where a roof meets a wall or another roof. It runs an extra $1,000 or more than the standard aluminum.

4. Paperwork Protocol

For such a quick job—two to five days, depending on the size and style of the roof—roofing involves a tremendous amount of liability and money. Three documents are essential:

  1. A building permit for a roofing project; this can help to ensure that your contractor follows building code. Plus, your roof warranty is likely void if you don’t get the permit.
  2. A written contract that specifies all of the agreed-to details, products, and costs of the project.
  3. A letter addressed to you from the contractor’s insurance carrier confirming that the specific project is covered under the roofer’s worker’s compensation and liability plan.

5. Don’t Pay Until You See the Magnet

If you’ve had old roofing stripped off, about 10,000 nails came with it—and most landed on your grass, mulch, and driveway. Contractors have a tool that makes it easy to pick these up—a giant magnet on wheels that they pass over the yard to grab the dropped fasteners so that they don’t cause any flat tires or injuries. But workers don’t always remember to bring it to the jobsite. So, if you’re seeing nails around (you’ll know), when your roofer comes by for the final payment, ask him to bring the magnet and do the honors while he’s there.