22 Questions to Ask Before a New Roof Installation in Birmingham Michigan

When you’re planning to install a new roof on your Birmingham Michigan home, no doubt you’re going to have a lot of questions. Most homeowners know very little about roofing, partly because our roofs are so reliable that we think of them very little. But when the time finally does come for new roof installation, suddenly you need enough expertise to hire a capable and accomplished local roofer who can get the job done right. The best way to do that is to know the right questions to ask.

So today, we’re here to share 22 key questions you will probably want to ask your roofing contractor both before you hire them and in the course of planning your new roof installation in Birmingham Michigan.


Getting to Know Your Roofer

This first set of questions should be asked when you’re choosing a roofer. It’s important to get to know your roofer on a professional level before signing any contracts. While most local roofers are upstanding and friendly businesses, there are also an unfortunate number of scam roofers who work out of a truck, and do cut-rate work with no accountability. Asking this set of questions will help you make sure you are working with a trusted local roofer.

1. Are You a Local Birmingham Michigan Roofer? What is Your Full Streed Address?

Answer You Want: Yes, our address is…

There are very few circumstances where you will need to visit the roofing office, but the full street address of your roofers will often tell you if they are truly local or a PO Box scam. Look for roofers with a real street address in Birmingham Michigan or a nearby town.

2. Do You Have a Michigan Roofing Contractor License?

Answer You Want: Yes. We’ve been licensed since…

In Michigan, roofers who do residential jobs worth more than $10,000 must get a roofer contracting license to operate. This requires tests in both trade skills and business law, ensuring that licensed contractors know exactly what they are doing and can guarantee you both good service and a well-managed contracting business. Licensed roofers tend to be more skilled and are always more reliable than unlicensed roofers.

3. Are You Insured?

Answer You Want: Yes. These are our types of business insurance…

There are several forms of business insurance that a roofing company should have, including liability and workman’s compensation. This ensures that if any accidents do happen while working on your roof, the business is fully covered and prepared to handle the situation without getting you involved. Working with an insured roofer ensures that your roofing team is well taken care of and your project is safer.

4. Do You Use Subcontractors?

Answer You Want: No (In most cases)

Subcontractors are not necessarily a bad thing, but they complicate a roofing contract because there are additional teams to worry about. Full-service teams that can handle every aspect of your roofing project without subcontracting are the ideal way to go. But if the best roofer in your region does work with subcontractors, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

5. Will You Remove My Old Roof?

Answer You Want: Yes, of course. Here’s the estimate for that.

You might be surprised, but not all roofing contractors include roof removal in their estimates. Some actually put down a new roof on top of the decaying old roof, which is a completely ridiculous practice. Always check with your roofer to ensure that they A) Fully intend to remove all old and/or decayed roofing material from your roof before the installation and B) Include the cost of that roof removal in your estimate.

6. How Long Have You Been In the Birmingham Roofing Business?

Answer You Want: 5+ Years

Roofing is a long-term business. A roofer who’s been working for 10 years still hasn’t seen the full life span of the first roofs they installed. It’s best to work with roofers who have been in the business for a long time, and who have several seasoned old hands on the team. You also want to look for roofers who have been in your region for a long time, as they will be familiar with the weather, neighborhoods, and the roofing needs of homes in your area.

7. Can I Talk to Your Local Homeowner Referrals?

Answer You Want: Yes! Here are some numbers or email addresses to contact…

Referrals are a roofing customer’s best friend. Especially if you live in an HOA, where other referrals are in your same neighborhood. Referrals can tell you more than roofers are able to about the job. A previous customer can tell you how easy it was to work with the roofers, how clean their yard was after the service, and how satisfied they are with the roof after installation.

8. Do You Offer a Warranty?

Answer You Want: Yes, here’s our warranty details…

And, of course, make sure to ask if your roofers offer a warranty on their work. All or most new roofs come with manufacturer warranty on the shingles themselves. But the roofing company may offer an additional warranty on the quality of their work. Warranties can also come with a maintenance deal to help you keep up your new roof, but not all roofers offer this.


Choosing the Right Roof

The next set of questions will help you determine the exact roofing installation service you need based on your home design, choice of shingles, and any potential complications that may arise. These questions don’t have ideal answers, as each roof and situation is different.

9. What Kind of Shingles Do You Recommend?

For most homeowners, you’ll want to listen to a trusted roofer about what kind of shingles to install. Shingle technology has not stopped progressing and there are new more advanced shingle varieties available every few years. And like tires on your car, shingles are designed to provide different qualities based on the weather and performance desires. Sturdiness, weather-resistance (important in Michigan), ecologic materials, and energy efficiency are all qualities in shingles, so your roofer may have a specific recommendation for your roof.

10. Can You Perfectly Match My Old Shingles?

Of course, HOA homeowners may have an entirely different concern: perfect -visual- matching. You can still upgrade your shingle materials, but many HOAs are very sensitive about the appearance of home roofs in the neighborhood. Updating your shingles visually, with a new color or shingle texture, can lead to conflicts about uniform neighborhood aesthetics. So if this matters to you, ask your roofer how closely they can help you to match your old shingles. And to help you get HOA approval if new-looking shingles are needed.

11. Will I Need New Flashing Or Can I Reuse?

Reusing roofing materials is always decided on a case-by-case basis. New flashing, underlay, skylights, and other roof features can ensure high quality and a perfect seal. But flashing and the like that is still in great condition and well-attached may not need to be replaced, which can save you a bundle. So ask your roofer whether or not it will be necessary to invest in new flashing and other details, or if your current flashing is in good enough condition to be reused.

12. Will I Need New Gutters?

Gutters are another thing that many people replace when they install a new roof. Gutters do get old and worn out, and they are unsurprisingly difficult to keep intact during a complete re-roofing. There’s a chance your gutters are still in top condition and can be protected, but old or rusted gutters are generally better off being replaced. Replacing the gutters also makes things a little easier for the roofers.

13. Do You Foresee Any Complications?

Never accept an estimate until a roofer has walked on your roof and looked into the attic. Only then can they tell you whether current damage or complications will add to the work and cost of your roof installation. Soft spots, rotted boards, or a roof that was improperly installed long ago can all be potential complications, as can dangerously overhanging tree branches or a lot too small for conventional debris management. So it’s a good idea to ask their roofer if they can foresee any problems before they occur during the work.

14. Is There Anything About My Roof that I Should Know About?

And similar to the last question, ask your roofer if there’s anything they think you should know. Every roofing project is different and your roofer’s expertise may offer some very useful insights. Like how your skylight plays into the roofing work, or an old DIY addition will need a different roofing approach.


15. I Want to Change Something About My Roof, Can You Do That?

This question stands alone because it is so important. Getting your Birmingham home’s roof reinstalled is the perfect time to make changes if that’s something you’ve been dreaming of. If you want a skylight in the kitchen because that would brighten every single day for you, ask. If you have a bathroom with no exhaust fan, now is the time to pipe one up through the new roof. If you want to add a little wood-burning stove to your garage workshop, you can run that chimney up right now easier than any othre time. But you’ll need your roofer’s support.

So if there are any changes you have been wanting to make to your roof, ask your roofer about it before the final quote and contract signing. Ask if they think the change is structurally a good idea, and then ask how much of that they can handle on their own. For big changes, like the skylight, be prepared to bring in additional contractors to do non-roofing related work.


How the Roofing Will Happen

Finally, we come to the questions you should ask about how your roofing service will go. Naturally, you want your home and your schedule to be well-prepared for this intensive construction project.

16. How Should I Prepare for Roofing Installation?

Roof installation is not like a little shingle patch. Roofers will be entirely removing your old roof and installing a new one. This not only opens your house up temporarily to the elements, it also comes with a lot of shaking inside and falling debris outside. As a result, you’ll want to make plans to live elsewhere during the roof installation and to prepare your home to be in a state of construction while the roofers are at work.

Your roofer should be able to give you a complete guide on how to protect the exterior and interior of your home during the roof installation. Chances are, this will include clearing the yard, moving cars, taking decorations off the walls, and putting down dust-covers on everything inside.

17. How Soon Can We Schedule My Birmingham Roof Installation?

You might be surprised just how much roofing is in demand, especially in harsh weather states like Michigan. Roofers can sometimes be booked out for months, but not necessarily. Always be sure to ask when the soonest roof installation window is on your roofer’s schedule, then work with them to find a time and set of days that works well for both of you.

18. How Long Will the Roof Installation Take in Days?

From there, you want a clear estimate of how many roofing days will be required to handle your roof from start to finish. Weather permitting. Professional roofers who have done a full inspection of your home should be able to give you an accurate estimate on how many days it will take not only to do the whole job, but also roughly break down the schedule day-by-day so you know what’s going on along the way.

19. What Happens if There’s Bad Weather?

But, of course, roofers can only do their work when the weather allows. And Michigan weather is not always cooperative. So you’ll want to know how your roofers plan to handle foul weather if or when that does occur. First, ask if they tarp up the house at the end of each workday, ensuring that night rains and surprise storms don’t put your house at risk.

Then ask how they will deal with delays caused by bad weather. Seasoned roofers will have a plan that works for them, and a schedule estimate that includes a few extra days of bad weather just in case.

20. How Will You Protect My Property From Falling Debris?

Falling debris is a big deal with roofing, especially in a full roof installation for your Birmingham home. Roofers have to rip up hundreds of shingles and the underlying surface material in order to put down a healthy new roof. Dropping that stuff is much safer than taking it down on a ladder, but falling debris can cause damage to a yard and outdoor items. So ask your roofers what their plan is to protect your property. Reputable roofers will have a dumpster, tarps, and a team strategy to make sure your prize flowering bushes are protected and debris is mostly kept to a concentrated easy-to-clean area.

21. Does Your Team Do Complete Post-Roofing Cleanup?

Speaking of cleaning areas, you also want to ask your roofers what their plan is for cleaning up after the roof installation. There are dozens of stories on the internet of horrified roofing customers with yards full of shingle-fragments and roofing nails. But a reputable roofer will schedule their last day cleaning up to make sure your yard is as spotless or even cleaner than it was when they arrived.

22. Will There Be Someone On-Site I Can Talk To?

Finally, make sure to ask if there’s someone you can talk to on-site. Contract work is notorious for communication SNAFUs unless there is someone the homeowner can easily find to discuss how the job is going. Most roofing teams will have a team leader on site who can give you all the information you need and answer questions while the roofing is ongoing so you won’t have to worry about losing track of what’s going on with your home.

Installing a new roof on your Birmingham Michigan home is a big decision, but also a necessary one. If the time has come, the best thing you can do for yourself and your house is to ask all the right questions. The answers you get will help to find your favorite local roofers, the best roofing solution for your home, and the right time to schedule your roof installation. For more information or to consult on your roofing needs, contact us today!