What I look for when installing a new roof?

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Jan 2, 2021
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This is the first time ever that we are needing a roof replacement due to multiple leaks. I had a roofing contractor come out to see if the leaks can be patched but he suggested that we replace the roof as it would cost more to fix multiple leaks and also that the previous owners did a terrible (cheap) job when they last installed roof in 2012. Previous owners apparently just put new shingles on top of 40 year old shingles.

What should I be asking the contractors that would come out to bid? Are there any specific things that I should ask them about? What are some red flags I should be aware of? I live in Washington state so water proofing/protection is the most critical. When I spoke to the contractors on the phone they seem to advertise the following warranties:
  • 30 year warranty with 10 year labor warranty (Local mom and pop contractor. Unsure about brand of shingles) ~10K and requires deposit for materials
  • 50 year warranty with 30 year shingles and 15 year labor warranty (Gaf certified contractor) ~15K no deposit
  • 50 year warranty with 25 year labor warranty (Gaf certified contractor) ~25K no deposit
They all say they are the best and will install the best materials. Is it really worth paying more for higher warranty? The 2nd and 3rd contractor said that the warranty can be transferred to a new owner if we sell and that would either increase property value or atleast I can break even while selling. Is this true? Can I really ask for 20-25K more because the roof warranty can be transferred?



Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2021
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You may need to call 15 contractors to get five valid bids.
Each one will teach you something or raise some issue & so you can ask the next one about the issue brought up by the previous bidder.
I wouldn't tell them that you're getting multiple bids.

For me, warranties seem to be broken promises.

Everybody says they are the best & so there is no information in that sentence.
If one contractor says they are losers & drug-addicts and ask if your daughter is good looking and will leave your place in worse shape than before they came, that is news.

Get it all in writing, signed & dated.

It might pay you to cover the roof with a tarp to take the pressure off you.


In memory of
Jul 26, 2009
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Nashville, TN
-Ask for referrals. And call them.
-Ask for a copy of their certificates of workers comp/general liability insurance with you listed on the certificate.
-If they require a deposit, don't pay over a third if the contract price and don't release final payment till you are 100% satisfied.
-Contact their supply house and ask if their credit is good.
-A certified GAF Golden Pledge warranty will require a inspector to examine the roof. ask for it.


Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 30, 2006
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Generally, asphalt roofs have a specific allowable # of repeat layers allowed, so ask your building dept. what that # is, and while your asking, ask if reroof permits are required.

The estimater can tell you the # of layers, and can also advise you about the cost of removal and disposal, generally the charge for removal, is per layer.

Should you chose to have the existing removed, the estimater may have a condition in the est. that there will be an additional charge for any roof sheeting repairs.


Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2007
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You'll have to get specific about the materials they are using as the labor will be the same amongst most contractors. You may have to argue the cost of tear off with 2 layers unless they already realized 2 layers are coming off.
15#, 30# felt or synthetic?
3-tab or architectural?
cans or ridge vent?
nails or staples?
As far as cost, you haven't indicated the size of the roof.


Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2020
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I suspect referrals are of little value as even a poor contractor is going to have a few satisfied customers. I prefer reviews from places like Yelp and Google - recognizing that dis-satisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than happy customers. I also prefer recent reviews to older ones. Always check BBB. A warranty backed by the contractor is only as good as the contractor. In my smallish city where word-of-mouth and reputation are meaningful such a warranty has far more value than in an urban area.


Trying not to screw things up worse
Jan 6, 2017
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Oh Hah
My strategy when hiring contractors is to start with referrals. The first people I ask for referrals are friends in trades who've worked side by side with contractors. Then I move on to friends/neighbors/coworkers who've had similar work done. And hey it's a shot in the dark, but there might even be people on this forum who live in your area who can make specific recommendations for or against particular bidders!

Despite being quite thrifty in many other areas of life, I don't go by lowest bid hardly ever. I would rather pay more money and have peace of mind that the person I hire comes with, and will live up to, a good reputation. If a trusted friend in the trades strongly recommends a contractor, then it also saves me a lot of work because I don't feel so much like I need to second guess or follow up on everything that contractor tells me.

I suspect the quality of information provided by BBB varies from place to place, maybe even by type/size of business as well.

Anyway, thanks for starting the thread, @pagetrip. The information here is generalizable and valuable, even if it requires sorting.


Jun 7, 2012
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Central Florida here with my asphalt roofing 2 cents
Bought a house 10 years ago with NEW roof as a selling point. Developed a leak our first month.
Called in the roofer who gladly came out to the house. He had no shoes on and to call him a hillbilly would not be an unfair characterization. He said the roof he put on the was the cheapest one he had done in the neighborhood. He fixed the issue and I never saw him again. But here I am 10 years in and I have multiple issues that will require a new roof.

All bids from reputable roofers are in the same 20K ballpark.
None of them are hurting for business. I have to make an appointment for an estimator and follow up to get the quote. None have tried to upsell me, they give me two or three options in their estimate. None of them have chased me down when I am slow to respond. They have plenty of work. In my situation I would be suspect of anyone who doesn't have work lined up.

Since pricing is not a factor in my situation, I agree with @tomtheelder2020
Check the reviews. Yelp - Google - Nextdoor - Facebook

If the house is your forever home spend the money on the best shingles. The warranty is useless but better-quality shingles just last longer. Although.... in Florida insurance companies are deeming roofs old at 10-15 years and dropping customers unless they put on a new roof. So I'm not sure it makes sense to spend money on better shingles when the Insurers tell you your roof is out-dated.