The roofs on most homes last for at least 20 years. If you replace your roof today, there’s a good chance that, before you need to replace the roof again, you may have moved to another home or the roofing company will no longer be in business.
Unfortunately, the long turnaround time for roof replacement has attracted a few roofing companies who will cut corners or use lower quality materials, knowing that they will be long gone before the problems are exposed.
In an effort to protect Ontario’s homeowners, the province’s Ministry of Government & Consumer Affairs recently presented a news release outlining several tips for hiring a reliable roofing company, including the following:
- Safety First – By law, when working at heights above three metres, roofing company workers must have fall-protection training and wear fall-protection equipment at all times. To protect yourself, ask to see a copy of the roofing company’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) certification and workplace liability insurance coverage.
- Research Each Company – Ask for and check references for every company that you are thinking of hiring. You can also check the Ministry’s Consumer Beware List.
- Get Written Estimates – Choose at least three roofing companies and get written estimates from each one clearly outlining all costs and the work to be done, the materials to be used, including manufacturers warranties, and any other services that will be provided.
- Get a Written Contract – Many roofing companies will add hidden costs to the estimate after you agree to it. It is against the law to charge more than 10% more than the estimated cost, unless you have agreed to the extra charges. Make sure the roofing company includes the estimate you accepted in the contract you sign.
- Check the Warranty – Warranties on roofing materials are often manufacturers’ warranties, which means they do not cover the labour costs incurred by the roofer. In other words, a “25-Year Warranty” will most probably only cover the cost of materials, not the cost to install them.
- Look Out for Scams – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never give more than a 10% deposit. Avoid tax-free offers. Get a receipt.
The province received more than 400 complaints about roofing companies between January 1, 2014, and May 31, 2015. To avoid being the victim of a scam or not getting full value for your investment, make sure you take the time to ensure that you hire a reliable roofer.
For more information, visit the Consumer Protection Ontario website.