9 Details To Cover Before Signing A Roofing Contract

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

Homes can be difficult to upkeep, and minor issues like leaks or fallen trees can leave you without a roof over your head. Roofing contingency contracts come at great expense and require more forethought than one would think.

Before signing a roofing contract, homeowners must consult contractors on their insurance, licensing, and references. They must read contracts carefully and request any changes before they sign as this will protect them and their effects from liability charges in case of accidents or property damage.

Repairing or replacing a roof is timely and expensive, so obtaining as much information on the nuances of the project and the contractor's duties is essential. If something goes wrong, contracts legally bind you to the contractor; before signing, you should investigate and interview the roofing contractor.

What To Consider When Signing A Roofing Contract

Contracts are legally binding; proposals and invoices are not. Contracts can seem intimidating to someone inexperienced in the legalities. Still, it is necessary to protect you and your property and ensure the required work gets done. Be sure you are reading the documents carefully and doing your research. 

Here are some key details when finding a roofer for your home improvement project.

1. Figure Out A Price Range

Determine the price range for hiring a professional roofer at the very start of the project. Companies' prices may vary wildly and affect your choice pool. Gather quotes from upward of three roofing companies to compare the estimates. Roofing can cost $ 6,700 - $ 80,000 depending on the size and design of the roof, necessary labor, materials, and roof pitch.

When asking for these quotes, ask for a detailed analysis of all project factors, including labor, insurance, transport, and materials. Also include detailed information on the project's scope, including the presence of chimneys or skylights, the size and slant of the roof, and whether it is a partial repair or a complete replacement.

2. Verify The Contractors' License

Besides business licenses, roofers should have a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) or a contractor license issued by a state or government Contractors' Licensing Board. As the client, you should ask any contractor for their license number to verify their standing with a state agency. You will also be able to see whether the license is up to date and if it has outstanding violations.

This step is crucial to ensure any business completed by the contractor is legal and that business is conducted safely with access to contractor guidelines and a review board in case of complaint.

Expert Tip: call the issuing body to confirm that the license is in good standing, and that you have not be provided with false or inaccurate documents. 

3. Check References

A great way to determine if a roofing contractor is reputable is through references. Provided the contractor has been in operation for more than a year, they should have a selection of references from prior clients. Contact these references and ask about the contractor's performance and any problems they may have had with the team.

4. Ask About Warranties

Roofing comes with warranties like many other home improvement projects or substantial financial investments. A warranty from a roofer can include standard manufacturer's warranties, craft warranties, and extended manufacturer's warranties. 

Ask your roofer for details on the company's and manufacturer's warranties and obtain a physical copy. Be sure to check the length and coverage of the materials and the work completed by the roofing contractor.

Expert Tip: Review the actual warranty documentation for specifics.  Expect documentation from both manufacturer and contractor.

5. Make Sure The Contract Holds All Details

Homeowners should read all paperwork thoroughly and with intent. More than a signature on a piece of paper, contracts signify parties accountable to each other. The contractor must finish the work, and the client must pay as outlined in the contract. 

What should be on the contract from your roofer:

  • The materials they will use.
  • The time frame of the job.
  • Installation methods.
  • Itemized breakdown of all costs.
  • Time at which the client is liable for payment.
  • A termination clause.
  • A note on the warranty for the work and materials.
  • The contractors' and clients' physical addresses.
  • Any applied insurance policies.

If any of these items are missing from the contract, ask the business to rework the contract and add missing items before signing.

6. Ensure Insurance Policies Cover The Project

Homeowners insurance usually covers roof damage and replacement; however, it is always best to check with your insurance company whether they will cover the project's costs. Insurance companies will likely ask for several quotes or may have a pre-approved home improvement contractor on standby. 

The roofer should also have insurance, and the client should ask for the details of their plan before work begins on the property. Contractor insurance should include worker's compensation and liability. If the company does not have insurance, the homeowner may be responsible for any damage to the property or injuries that occur on-site.

Check with the contractor on their method for securing the site for safety and damage prevention.

Expert Tip: Request an insurance certificate with you (the property owner) named as a certificate holder.  This does not cost the contractor anything, and should be a regular course of business on any larger project.  It give you additional piece of mind that the certificate is valid at the time of the project.

7. Work Out A Schedule

You should meticulously schedule all projects of this scale. Before the project begins, check whether the roofer has established contingency plans for weather issues, tool malfunctions, material shortages, and employee availability. 

Consider setting a 'no later than' limit to the work to ensure everything gets completed on time. This clause ensures the homeowner can contact a new company to finish the work if time runs out.

Also, compile a payment plan, including when the first payment installment is due (usually a third of the total before the project) and when the final payment is due (usually on project completion).

Expert Tip: Always stipulate a deadline for completion.  Roofing contractors don't like deadlines and may not want to contract with it but it is necessary.  Be flexible and allow the roofing contractor to choose the deadline. It doesn't need to be a 'quick' deadline, but any deadline is better than getting stuck in a problem project for years on end. 

8. Check If They Use Subcontractors

Ask your roofing contractor whether they outsource parts of the project. Outsourcing to subcontractors may be in the best interest of the contractor or homeowner when the team isn't specialized in an aspect of the work or if they are experiencing a shortage. Make sure to find out why the company needs to outsource work.

If they hire subcontractors, check whether they are licensed and insured – the outsourced contractor should also have a registered name and physical address. Check for reviews or ask for references. While it may seem drastic, these actions ensure a safe and efficient work site.

Expert Tip: it is generally best if they do not use sub contractors and self perform all of their core operations.  Roofing companies that do not sub contract tend to have higher quality, customer satisfaction and remain in business long enough to honor their warranty.

9. Check Their Refuse Policy

Roof repairs and replacements are messy work. Tons of trash, cut-offs, and packaging are left over from the process and can quickly create a mess in your space. While we hope our contractors will clean up after themselves, it is not a given, and being left to clean up after a project is not fun.

Check with your roofing contractor whether they have a refuse plan or policy, either carting away debris or installing a large dumpster (removable once the project is complete) for the project's duration. Check whether this cost is included in the contract.


A roofing project's scope and financial weight can cause even the most experienced person stress. Finding the right contractor and seeing the job finished should be manageable. And giving the benefit of the doubt is not an effective strategy when signing a contract.

Those stressors should melt away by interviewing your roofer beforehand, contacting references, and establishing a baseline expenditure. Be clear and firm on your requests, as it will put a roof over your head.

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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