Getting a new roof is a major investment for any Tampa Bay homeowner. And the roofing contractor you choose will make all the difference in receiving quality workmanship and long-lasting results from your replacement project.
That’s why carefully screening potential roofers before hiring is absolutely essential. Asking the right questions upfront helps ensure you select the best contractor for your specific needs – one who is properly licensed, experienced, reputable, and will provide excellent service.
This comprehensive guide will equip you with over 15 must-ask screening questions to identify the ideal roofer for replacing your Tampa Bay area roof. We’ll explain what you need to listen for in the contractor’s responses, along with tips for evaluating their qualifications and approach.
With these key questions as part of your screening process, you can feel confident you’re choosing the right roofing professional to safely install and stand behind your new roof for years to come.
Why Careful Contractor Screening Matters
Hiring the wrong roofer can lead to problems down the road:
- Unexpected costs or change orders mid-project
- Delays that leave you without a roof during poor weather
- Cutting corners or using inferior materials to save money
- Safety issues endangering your home and belongings
- Poor workmanship shortening your roof’s lifespan
- Difficulty getting service if problems arise
“Taking time to thoroughly screen contractors prevents situations where you pay out of pocket later to fix mistakes or shoddy work,” says James Abbott of Protect Florida Homes. “Asking detailed questions now helps avoid regrets down the road.”
Replacing your roof is an investment in your home’s protection and value. But you can only reap those benefits if the job is done right. That’s why the Art and Science of Screening Roofing Contractors is so important.
Top 17 Screening Questions to Ask Before Hiring
Here are over 17 detailed questions to ask any roofer you are considering for your Tampa Bay roof replacement:
1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured? Can I see your certificates?
Proper licensing and insurance is a must. Don’t take a roofer’s word for it – ask to physically see up-to-date certificates proving active licensing, bonding, and adequate liability and workers compensation coverage.
If a roofer hesitates to provide documentation, it’s a major red flag.
Tip: Use Florida’s MyFloridaLicense site to double-check their license status is current and in good standing.
2. How long have you been in business as a licensed roofing contractor?
Look for established roofers with at least 5-10 years (preferably much longer) properly licensed as a contractor. They have proven their reliability and skills over time. Be wary of any brand new or evasive responses.
3. Can you provide references from recent Tampa Bay customers?
Reputable roofers should provide a list of local references who’ve used them recently for re-roofing projects similar to yours.
Take time to call 2-3 references and ask about their experience. Did the roofer show up on time? Was the crew professional and tidy? Was the project within budget? Would they hire them again?
Positive responses help confirm you’ve found a trustworthy contractor who delivers on promises.
4. Will you provide a detailed inspection and scope of work?
The right contractor will thoroughly inspect your roof and provide documentation outlining exactly what needs to be done – including quantities of materials and details of each service or repair required.
Ask for their inspection process and what you’ll receive in writing upfront. If the roofer doesn’t detail out the scope expected, it allows vagueness for inflating charges later.
5. What manufacturers’ roofing materials do you install?
Quality roofing material brands include:
- Owens Corning
Look for contractors who are certified installers of reputable, durable brands that also provide strong material warranties. Beware roofers who only use generic materials without manufacturer backing.
6. Will you provide a detailed itemized estimate upfront?
A detailed estimate lets you clearly compare bids apple-to-apple. Look for:
- Total cost (material + labor) broken down line-by-line
- Quantity and cost per item like sheets, flashing, vents, fasteners, etc.
- Labor rates per hour + estimated hours
- Any material discounts or coupons
Understanding exactly what’s included prevents surprise charges popping up down the road.
7. Do you offer manufacturer warranties? How long?
Quality roofing materials like GAF shingles or Owens Corning line come with manufacturer warranties when installed properly by certified roofers. Look for contractors offering warranties of at least 25-30 years and up to lifetime for premium materials.
8. What is your inclement weather policy?
Replacing a roof in Tampa Bay’s tropical climate means dealing with potential storms, high winds, and heavy rain. Ask about policies for:
- Securing materials ahead of predicted storms
- Delaying install if conditions unsafe
- Managing leaks/exposure if existing roof removed before install
This helps minimize risk of damage or a construction mishap leaving your home vulnerable.
9. When is payment due – upon project completion or upfront deposits required?
Reputable roofers will have terms where final payment is due only after the project is 100% complete and you have inspected the finished roof.
Avoid any contractor asking for large upfront deposits or progress payments before work begins. This indicates potential financial issues.
10. Who pulls the permit for roof replacement?
Permits are required in most areas. Clarify if the contractor handles pulling permits themselves or if this will be your responsibility as the homeowner.
11. How will you protect my home and belongings during the roof replacement?
There should be clear protections in place like tarps to catch falling debris and boarding up vents or chimneys. Also ensure the contractor will magnet sweep lawns for stray nails after completion.
12. Do you offer any repair, maintenance or storm damage services after installing the new roof?
Choose a roofer who can also handle any future repair needs. This ensures easy continuity of service and account history for your roof.
13. Are you willing to sign a service agreement spelling out the full scope of work?
A detailed service agreement protects both parties by spelling out the exact scope of work, timeline, warranty terms, and final price in writing. Refusal to sign an agreement is concerning.
14. Do you have enough crews available to install my roof in a timely manner?
Finding out install timelines upfront ensures the project starts and finishes when promised. Beware contractors overbooking jobs then leaving customers waiting.
15. Are you a member of any industry associations or groups?
Membership in respected industry groups like NRCA or FRSA shows a level of knowledge and commitment to quality. Lack of any affiliations should prompt further questions.
16. (For commercial roofing) Have you worked on buildings similar to mine before?
For a commercial roofing job, the contractor should have ample experience with buildings of similar size, structural needs, and use cases. Review past project examples that align with your property type.
17. Do you have safety training and supervision practices for crews?
Safety should be a top concern – ensure the roofer can explain their training processes, safety equipment provided, and supervision policies when workers are on your roof.
Listen Carefully to the Answers…And Trust Your Instincts
It’s not just about the answers they give, but whether you feel fully confident in the roofer’s expertise, professionalism and attention to safety based on your conversation.
Ready to Start Screening Roofing Contractors for Your Tampa Bay Roof Replacement?
Now that you’re armed with expert insights on screening roofing contractors, you’re ready to confidently begin the search for the right roofer to install your new Tampa Bay area roof.
Remember – take your time, ask lots of questions, check references thoroughly, and go with your instincts. Doing so now will pay dividends for years through exceptional service and peace of mind knowing your roof is in the hands of a true professional.
For further guidance or to discuss your specific roof replacement needs in the Tampa Bay area, reach out today for your FREE ESTIMATE.
About Code Engineered Systems
Code Engineered Systems is a family owned & operated roofing company in Tampa. We provide both residential roofing and commercial roofing services and have decades of experience in roof replacements and roof repairs on all types of roofing systems including asphalt shingle roofs, tile roofs, metal roofs, and all types of flat roofs. Our roofing company is owned and managed by Russell Dodson and Tim Hutchinson who together have a combined experience of over 70 years in the roofing industry building a strong reputation in Tampa since the 1970’s. Russell has spent nearly 30 years mostly in the commercial side of the roofing industry while Tim started his roofing career back in 1976 primarily working in the residential side of the roofing industry.
Our reputation in the roofing industry in the Tampa Bay area is extremely important to us. We understand that providing consistent professional and quality roofing work & customer service is the key to the long-term success of our family roofing company in Tampa. We rely heavily on word of mouth and customer referrals as the most effective form of advertising and consider every single roof replacement or roof repair we do as an investment in our company’s reputation. We have always felt honored when our customers choose us for their roofing needs and are dedicated to returning the favor by providing the best experience possible including being there for them long after the job has been completed and paid for. With decades of roofing experience and thousands of roofing jobs completed all over the Tampa Bay Area, you can feel confident that you are hiring highly experienced roofing professionals who care. If you would like to schedule your free roof estimate please give us a call at 813-373-9088 or fill out our FREE ESTIMATE FORM.
We provide roofing services for all of Hillsborough County & Pinellas County, including Tampa, Riverview, Apollo Beach, Brandon, Plant City, St. Petersburg, Largo, & Clearwater.