We’re having the roof on our house replaced this week. You might be wondering why we’ve hired a contractor – even our daughter asked why we weren’t replacing the roof ourselves – since we generally do all of our home improvement projects ourselves because it saves lots of money. The truth is, we replaced the roof on our garage ourselves (yes, that handsome roofer is my husband) a couple of years ago as a test run. We wanted to know if we would be willing to tackle the roof on our house. We thought – you know, it can’t be THAT hard – well, guess what? It is actually that hard. With the blazing heat, the dirt and the possibility of falling to your death, the answer was an emphatic NO, we would not be installing the roof on our house. Our garage roofing installation project was the end of DIY roofing projects.
Here’s how our roof became the diy project we did not do ourselves…
The garage was a relatively easy, straight forward project as far as roofing goes – low slope, one story, no dormers or anything sticking out of it, like a chimney. Roofing, which is very similar to sewing in a lot of ways, is hard, hot work. There’s also having the right equipment. We didn’t own a ladder that was the right height for one side of our garage and to finish the last row of shingles, our “this is our last roofing project revelation” became crystal clear.
As I was laying on the roof, stomach down, with my face at the edge of the roof, hammering the shingles in, my husband was at the peak of the roof, holding my ankles so that I wouldn’t slide off the roof onto the brick patio below. In between me holding the nails between my teeth and pounding them in with my hammer, I said, “Hey, honey, how about we hire someone to do the roof on our house?” Good idea.
How to hire a contractor
Follow these 6 easy steps to hire a roofing contractor or any type of contractor for home project.
- Ask around. Check with your neighbors and in your community. Our neighborhood formed a Google Group and service recommendations are always a hot topic.
- Get three estimates. Three is a good number. One isn’t good because how do you compare? Two is pretty good but get one more just to be sure. More than three is probably more of your time than it’s worth.
- Check credentials. Make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded, and fully insured. The Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are excellent resources for checking prior to hiring anyone.
- Don’t pay for the entire job up front. Most contractors will ask for a deposit. Our roofing contractor asked us to pay half the total invoice up front. Be leery of contractors or companies who ask for the entire amount up front.
- Get it in writing. Make sure your bid is in writing and is signed. I also checked that the phone numbers and addresses listed were correct on each of the bids.
- Think first. Don’t sign anything until thinking about it first. A deal today should still be a deal tomorrow without you being pressured to sign on the spot.
These are simple steps that we followed to hire a roofing contractor but the same method could be used in hiring a general contractor for a home project. I’m thrilled to hear someone else hammering those nails in up there and am so glad it’s not me!
Our most recent diy project: How to keep a house project sustainable