How to choose a Slate Roofer? – A Consumers Guide

A new roof is a huge investment. As a consumer, it is important to know what slate you are putting on your house, and who is putting that slate on your house.

Having an experienced slate roofing contractor is very important. When you have an experienced roofer who knows how to install slate, your roof lasts longer, looks better, and is a higher quality.

Here are 10 Questions you can ask your roofer, to see if they are qualified to install your new slate roof.

Questions

1)      How long have you been installing slate roofs? What % of your total jobs are slate?
2)      Are you a member of the Slate Roofing Contractors Association (SRCA), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), or National Slate Association (NSA)?
3)      Where do you get your slate? Is it S-1 Slate? Do you have lab tests to prove it?
4)      What is your roofing Warranty after installation?
5)      Do you have state minimum insurance?
6)      Do you have any referrals , or past job sites I can see?
7)      Do you stock this same slate for future repairs?
8)      Have you ever had an Osha infraction?
9)      Do you know slate roofing code for this area?
10)   How often will you be inspecting my job site?

Answers

1)      The Slate Roofer Contractors association suggests that roofers should have 5 years of experience installing slate roofs. Someone who is experienced doing slate roofs is referred to as a “specialty” roofer. This means instead of doing primarily asphalt shingles, they install metal, slate, and tile. A real specialty roofer does their majority of work in specialty products.

2)      The SRCA, NSA, and NRCA are tightly run organizations. It is not mandatory that a roofer is a part of these organizations, but if they are members it is a good sign.

3)      The roofer should know where he is getting his slate. His relationship with the quarry or distributor is important, because down the road he might need to repair your roof. The slate on your roof should be S1-S3. If the slate is not S-Graded, do not put it on your roof. The roofer should be able to show ASTM lab results of the slate, these lab results are easy to understand.

4)      A slate roofer should have a 2-5 year warranty for repairs. This does not include acts of nature such as hail. If a roofer does not have at least a 2 year warranty, do not use them.

5)      A company should have 1-5 million $ of liability insurance, based on the area.

6)      A slate roofer should be able to show you jobs he has done in the past. Go to these jobsites, and see if you like the work you see. If the slate roof is in tact and looking good, this is a good sign.

7)      A roofer needs to have a consistent stock of your slate. If you buy Brazilian slate, and your roofer does not carry Brazilian slate, how will he repair your roof? Make sure your roofer orders or has a 2% back stock of your slate.

8)      Osha is a government run agency that has regulations for roofer work standards and safety. This includes harnesses to avoid falls. If a roofer has Osha infractions it is a bad sign.

9)      Every area has different building codes for slate, including headlap, slate type and color. Make sure you know your building code before installing a roof.

10)   Many roofers hire outside crews to do work. A good roofing contractor will have his own crew do the work, or will supervise the work being done almost daily. If the person you hire doesn’t personally oversee the work, don’t hire them.

If your roofing contractor passes all 10 of these questions you are on the right track. If your roofer fails any of these questions, you should evaluate their professionalism and look for alternatives. A slate roof is a very important investment, make sure that you keep this investment safe by hiring a true professional.

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