Choosing The Right Roofer
The UK is known for its inclement weather; on average it rains around 150 days a year in the UK. There’s nothing more depressing or frustrating than a leaky roof. This is why, as a property owner, you need to do your homework before you choose a roofing company or contractor. If you hire someone who does a poor job, you’ll end up with leaks and expensive repairs in the long term.
A competent roofer will be able to install, repair or replace the roofing material of your choice and ensure that it will last.
In this article, we will explore how to find a reputable roofer to make sure that your roof installation or repair is a job done well.
It should be noted as the property owner you are responsible for dealing with any planning permission that’s required. If 50% or more of your roof needs to be replaced, you’ll be required to inform Local Authority Building Control or hire a contractor who is registered with the NFRC Competent Person Scheme.
If a CompetentRoofer member carries out the refurbishment, they can self certify that their work meets building regulation compliance for England and Wales. If the roofing contractor is not part of the Competent Person Scheme for roofing to be signed off, the work will need to be inspected by a local authority surveyor.
How To Find a Good Roofer UK
Choosing the right roofing contractor shouldn’t be too difficult if you follow our advice, you’ll avoid the cowboys and have a roof that stands up to the UK weather for years to come.
Here are some tips on what to look out for.
Choose a Local Roofing Contractor
When choosing the right roofer to do business with, it makes sense to go local. Selecting a business from your own community will give you more peace of mind. As a local company, they will have a reputation to maintain. It will be easier to find out from friends, family and your local community if they are trustworthy and reputable. They’ll also have a local business office where you can easily find them if something goes wrong.
If you need to find a local installer, we have a database of the best roofing contractors available.
Just fill out the form on our recommended roofing contractors page here, so we can connect you with reliable roofing companies in your area.
However, you still want to carry out the checks before choosing a roofing contractor.
Before hiring any tradesman, you’ll want to make sure that they have a good reputation and to do this it’s best to start by researching the work they have carried out previously for other customers. You’ll want to hire a roofer with an impeccable reputation. Friends and family might be able to give you recommendations, but the best place to find reviews on a local roofing company is online.
You’ll find plenty of unbiased feedback online; there will be star rated Google reviews, social media reviews and other sites that provide reviews about local businesses. Bear in mind that you’ll likely find a negative review, here and there. Don’t expect them to have a completely impeccable record; it would be doubtful they will have one hundred per cent positive reviews. But if there are lots of negative comments and complaints about the roofing company you are researching, then check out some of their competitors.
You could also ask to see referrals from the roofing contractors previous customers though they might cherry-pick the best clients.
In most cases, the roofing company’s longevity is another sign that it could be worth shortlisting at least. For a roofing contractor to stay in business for any length of time, it is a sign that they are doing something right.
While a new roofer might still be good at what they do, they won’t have the proven track record of an established business. For something as important as a roof, it’s probably best to use the roofing company which is more likely to be around in the future. They’ll then be around to honour warranties and be available to fix your roof if something goes wrong.
Make Sure They Have The Right Credentials
Find out if your roofer is a recognised trade association member such as The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) or the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CRC). These are highly respected trade organisations. Roofing contractors who are members of the NRFC or CRC are checked every three years to make sure they are complying with legislation and meet British and European standards.
Quotes and Pricing
We’d suggest obtaining at least three quotes from different contractors before deciding on your final decision so as to have a range of prices to choose from.
Typically the roofing contractor will want to visit you and inspect your home before offering a quote. It can be challenging for them to price a job until they have seen the roof and the amount of work required to be carried out.
Once the contractor has inspected your roof, they will provide you with a quote on what costs will be incurred. This should include the cost of material, labour, removal and disposal of the old roof. If there are any charges on the quote that you don’t understand or are concerned about, you should discuss them before making any commitment.
Even then, keep in mind that for roof refurbishment the estimate might rise once the sub-structure has been exposed after the tiles have been removed as the job may entail more work.
Often, homeowners will go with the cheapest option, but this isn’t always wise; a low price can often equate with low-quality. Follow the advice in this article and check how long the company has been established, reviews, credentials, professionalism, and confidence in your choice.
When you have decided on a good roofing contractor to go with, ensure that you have a written contract. It includes such information as warranties, insurance, terms and conditions, materials and when the work will begin and the agreed end date.
Also, never pay the full amount upfront. The terms and schedule of payment should be agreed to in writing before the commencement of the job. It is usual to pay an instalment upfront, especially when installing a new roof. You should only pay the final amount once you are satisfied that the job has been successfully carried out well and you have received all documentation.
Roof Type Expertise
Look for a contractor that specialises in the roof type you need carrying out. For instance, you might find that the contractor has had lots of experience installing asphalt roofs but has limited or no prior experience with EPDM roofing. Most roofers will be familiar with the latest installation methods, tools and materials, but some might still be ‘old school’ and swear by outdated methods.
First Impressions and Communication
We make a decision about a person we have met in just a matter of seconds if something feels wrong; often our instincts are correct. First impressions are important, and if you feel uncomfortable hiring a particular person or company, there will always be other roofing contractors available locally.
If you find it difficult to communicate with the contractor or your questions are going unanswered, this could be a red flag.
Right from the get-go, you should have some indication if they communicate well or not. When you made any preliminary inquiries or asked for an estimate, did they promptly get back to you?
The roofing contractor you hire should be friendly and professional and offer complete transparency when answering your questions. They should be clear about the cost, time frames, options you have and any other information pertinent to the job. They should also be upfront about their licenses and insurance; if they are guarded about this, it’s a sign to look for the right roofing contractor elsewhere.
Verbal communication is important, but the written information you are given should also be of a professional standard. A hastily written quote or proposal that isn’t clear could also be a warning sign of future shoddy workmanship.
When it came to meeting the contractor in person, did he arrive promptly for your appointment? Did he give off a professional appearance? If he didn’t show up on time and arrived looking scruffy in a beat-up old van, this could be a sign that he’ll have trouble installing your new roof on time and might not be as professional as hoped.
Of course, sometimes there are genuine reasons for late appointments, and some contractors can be scruffy but still take pride in their work. However, if you have a gut feeling and questions are going unanswered, these traits could be fuel for the fire.
Questions to ask the roofing company or contractor could include:
- When will the project start and end?
- What material will be used?
- What hours will they be working?
- Who will clear away any debris or mess after the work has been completed?
- What are the warranty details?
- Do they have liability insurance, and what accreditations do they hold?
- What safety precautions will be in place?
There are two main factors to consider if you want a roof that will be leak-free for decades; it must be installed correctly and high-quality roofing materials used. Choosing the right roofing contractor is, therefore, essential.
We suggest using an established expert contractor with proven experience. They should have plenty of positive reviews, be insured, accredited and offer a warranty. If something about them doesn’t feel right or they can’t answer your questions regarding your roof project, don’t hire them. We hope our advice has given you the confidence to hire the best contractor for your roofing work. Good luck!