How to Choose a Reputable Roofer and Cut Your New Roof Costs over the long-term in Half

“A roofing system should last for decades, but a poorly installed one is often replaced within 10 years and needs frequent repairs”

Here is a guide you can use as a checklist to ensure you have a satisfying roofing experience and to disqualify under-insured, uneducated, non-certified low-ball bidding roofing contractors and have a new shingled roof installed with a 50 Year, Labor, Material and Shingle Warranty! 

  • Your roof protects everything below it which typically means it protects not only you and your family but everything that you own.
  • Money spent wisely today even though it may cost more today will in the long-run cost you less by not only doubling the typical 25-to-30-year shingle warranty period to 50 years which means those roof replacement costs will almost be cut in half in addition to the significant energy savings from the installation of a properly ventilated roof.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) “Quality and Knowledge not price should be the first concern when selecting a roofer.”

Most homeowners fail to take the time to critique a roofing contractor and are both afraid to ask the contractor questions in addition to not even knowing what questions to ask. This checklist is a list of “observations” that you may use to choose the correct roofer. If they fail to perform any of the items, we are about to discuss then they are at your home for their own self-interests and not yours. I have always relied on the saying that “God gave us two ears to listen twice as much as we talk” so listen to them and observe their actions based on the following list. If a contractor fails to perform “any” of these important steps without you asking it can be an indication they are there for their benefit – not yours!

  1. Did the contractor sit down with you to discuss your project to learn your concerns with your existing roof and discuss/learn your goals for the project?
    1. This step allows the contractor to understand any current problems such as the history of any roof leaks or any ice dam locations. This also gives you an opportunity to inform the contractor what to include in his proposal such as when you would like the project completed. Beware, of any contractor who fails to take the time to meet with you. This is an indication that they are only interested in your money and not actually solving your roofing problems that will protect everything that you own.
  2. Did you or any other decision-maker observe the contractor’s inspection and measuring process? 
    1. Roofing contractors are typically lazy and now use technology to become even lazier. They can now use software to measure your roof without even showing up at your home. They can simply email you an estimate.  Beware, of any contractor who fails to inspect your roof, gutters, soffit (overhang) and most importantly your attic. A roofer that fails to inspect your attic as required by all manufacturers and fails to install proper ventilation will void your roofs warranty. How can they include in their proposal how they will solve your unique roofing issues?
  3. If you requested a roof estimate, did the contractor inspect your attic and ventilation system? 
    1. All manufacturer’s including the building codes require that proper ventilation be installed to “validate” the new shingles warranty. Proper ventilation will save you energy 24/7 putting money back into your pocket while almost doubling the life of your roof! This means that over the long-term you even cute the cost of the current roof project by close to 50%. Beware, of any contractor who fails to inspect your attic as that will not allow them to validate your new shingles warranty or to even include those costs in their proposal.
  4. Is the contractor a member of the local trade association?
    1. When a contractor is a member of the local home builders association, they provide educational opportunities to learn how to run a proper legal business that follows the law and use proper building practices. Beware, of any contractor who fails to provide educational opportunities for their workforce to learn updated building codes and manufacturer requirements.
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions & Gutter Toppers are members of the National, State of Michigan/Indiana and Southwest Michigan Home Builders Associations
  5. Is the contractor licensed and did they provide you a copy for your records as is required by the local building department?
    1. All roofing contractors who perform work on your home “must” be licensed by the State or Local Municipality. These government agencies test contractors on their knowledge of proper building codes including requiring that contractors carry Liability, Workers Compensation insurance and if required be bonded in order to protect the homeowner. Beware, of any unlicensed contractor who fails to provide you a copy of their license. The license protects you!
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions License & Insurance
  6. Does the contractor have both Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance as required by law? Did they provide you a copy for your records?
    1. All roofing contractors must carry Liability and Workers Compensation insurance if there are more than 1 or 2 people working on your home. If a contractor damages your home Liability insurance will typically cover it however, if a contractor or one of their workers get hurt Workers Compensation covers the rehabilitation of the worker to get them back to work as quickly as possible. However, if a roofer fails to carry Workers Compensation insurance the homeowner may become financially responsible. Beware, and require the roofer to provide you a copy of their Liability and Workers Compensation insurance certificates.  Talk is cheap, make them prove it to protect you and your investment in your home.
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions License & Insurance
  7. Is the contractor Certified by the Manufacturer to install their roofing materials to validate the new shingles warranty?
    1. To ensure your new roof qualifies for a Warranty make sure the roofer is Certified by the manufacturer to install their products. Many roofing manufacturers provide training and even in some cases check a certain percentage of those certified roofing contractor’s installations. Beware, of any contractor who is not certified to install the manufacturers products.
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions Certifications
  8. Is the contractor’s workmanship warranty backed by the manufacturer?
    1. While any roofer can install shingles only roofing contractors “certified” by the manufacturer can provide you with a “real” warranty that may even include a separate Labor and material warranty. Beware, of any contractor who cannot provide you with a labor, material and shingle warranty that is mailed to you from the manufacturer. Handing you a preprinted warranty card does “not” mean you have an actual warranty.
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions SureStart Workmanship Warranty Certification
  9. Did the contractor provide references? 
    1. Any reputable roofer should be able to provide a customer with references however, with today’s internet much of this can be found on many business review websites such as Google, Angies List ( or Yelp where you can read in detail the experiences of other homeowners where the roofer has worked previously. Read those reviews on at least two different sites to get a clearer picture of what you can expect from that roofer.  Beware, of any contractor who only has a handful of reviews in order to ensure those reviews are not just from family and friends. 
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions & Gutter Toppers Installations in Your Neighborhood
  10. Did the contractor take the time to discuss your project with any of the decision-makers prior to submitting a detailed proposal?
    1. Studies have determined that a thorough review of a proposal with a roofer and all decision-makers to replace the one item that protects not only your family but everything you own under the roof and the roofer is the only way to ensure a satisfactory contracting experience. You need to have the ability to look that roofer in the eye and judge their trustworthiness. Beware, of any roofer who fails to take the time to review his proposal with all decision-makers as this typically means the roofer is only interested in winning the job and not what’s in your best interests. 
    2. Dennison Exterior Solutions & Gutter Toppers requires that all decision-makers be present for a thorough review of our proposals in order to not only provide the homeowners the opportunity to look us in the eye to judge our trustworthiness but also protect our average 5 Star Customer Review and Angi “A” ratings.
      1. Google Reviews
      2. Angi Reviews
      3. Yelp Review
      4. General Reviews