Choosing a Contractor

Choosing a Contractor

Vanity Roofing is sharing these 15 important Ottawa Roofing Tips with homeowners to help them choose a reputable and trusted company to protect their home and their wallet. Whether we get the job, or not, we want to ensure that you will be in safe and capable hands


1. Does the company have liability insurance?

General liability insurance covers your actual property. For example, if a contractor accidentally burns your house down in the process of welding something on your roof (it has happened!), or massive leak incurs and the company doesn’t carry liability insurance, you could be responsible for covering the debts incurred by these accidents. When it comes to insurance, though, don’t simply take the roofer’s word for it. Ask to see an insurance certificate. This certificate will list your name and address as an additional insured, so if something happens on the job, you –and all of your hard-earned property – are covered. Most roofing companies have a 2 million liability, whereas Vanity Roofing carries a 5 million dollar liability insurance policy


2. Is the Company Certified by any Manufacturers?

Make sure the company is certified by at least one manufacturer to ensure proper installation of roof system. Certified Installers understand the importance of installing to specific manufacturer requirements

3. Does the company have WSIB clearance?

Some contractors and roofers will skimp out on this requirement. The reason? WSIB isn’t cheap, and some would rather take their chances. The problem, of course, is when the chance is taken on your property and an employee becomes injured, you might find yourself forking over thousands of dollars to pay. This is a loss no homeowner wants to incur.

4. What are the warranties on your new roof?

Today’s dimensional style shingles cost almost the same price as the older style shingles and also last longer. Homeowners should get at least a 50 year warranty on shingles and at least 10 year workmanship (labour). Vanity Roofing provides a 50 year warranty on shingles & 20 Year Full Warranty (Labour)

5. Will the Roofing Company use subcontractors?

Ask whether any part of the job will be performed by a subcontractor. Make sure you know your contractor as the law says homeowners may be liable if a fall occurs and the subcontractors are not insured.

6. Will the Shingles be “Racked”?

Racking, or vertical racking, is the process of installing shingles in a vertical line from the ledge to the top of the roof. Using this method, you would install a single column of shingles at a time, offsetting each row so the center of one shingle lines up with the edge of the shingles above and below it. Each shingle is installed so that the bottom edge overlaps the top of the shingle below it to create a smooth barrier against water. Although this method of shingling will not void the initial warranty, it may void the LIFETIME & Wind warranty. Why would some roofer use this method? It makes the job much faster.

7. What will your roofer do in the case of inclimate weather during the job?

Roofing requires good weather to complete safely and on time, so when it rains, snows, or the weather turns sour, work gets cut short. This means the roofers may have to stop midway and pick it up once the weather gets better, but there are a few issues that come up in that scenario. Ask the roofing contractor what they’ll do to secure the work, and what precautions they take in the event of inclement weather, to ensure that your roof, home interior, and belongings aren’t ruined by rain, wind, or an incomplete job.

8. Will the company install underlays? What will they use?

No shingles should ever be nailed directly onto the roof deck. Make sure the company is installing 6ft of ice & Water protector on all eaves and in vulnerable areas of roof deck. The remainder of the roof deck should be covered in a Synthetic Underlayment

9. Will the Roofer Remove Your Old Roof?

An easy way for black-hat roofers to cut corners is by visually inspecting the old roof and then shingling over it. If they don’t pull the old shingles up, however, they won’t know whether or not there are soft spots hiding beneath. If problems aren’t found and repaired early, you’re looking at costly repairs down the road. A good, experienced roofer should always take up your old roof before placing a new one down.

10. Will the Roofer Install Drip or Metal Edge?

Drip or edge metal is typically a piece of aluminum, which is placed under shingles where they come off the roof. It extends out and helps direct runoff into your eavestroughs to protect your decking, soffits, and fascia. If it isn’t installed, you can end up footing heavy bills for water damage later on. Some unscrupulous roofers will deliberately skip drip edging unless homeowners specifically inquire, which is why it’s always important to ask.

11. How Many Nails Will the Roofer Use Per Shingle?

Your roofer should use at least four nails per shingle for a standard job. If, however, your home has a steep-sloped roof or is in a high-wind area, they’ll need to use six nails for each shingle to firmly hold them in place.

Remember, though, that it’s also about how the nail is installed:

  • The Nail Line: All shingles have a nail line, which ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 centimetres, where the nail is meant to be placed. Putting the nail too high means it won’t catch the shingle below, compromising the strength of your roof. If it’s too low it leaves the nail heads exposed to corrode over time and cause gaps as your roof naturally expands and contracts with changing temperatures. Not nailing shingles on the nail line also voids warranties and makes your roof more susceptible to wind and storm damage.
  • Properly Driven Nails: If a nail is driven in too hard, it can tear and ruin the shingle. If it’s not put in tightly enough, it can cause the shingles above it to sit up – creating an air bubble that leaves your roof vulnerable to high winds.

12. Will Your Roofer Reuse Old Flashings or Install New Ones?

Replacing the flashing on your roof isn’t a simple job. Your roofer needs to remove and measure the existing flashing, and then custom bend the new ones before installing them properly. For some less reputable roofers, new flashings just aren’t worth the hassle. But for homeowners, they’re a necessity. Your old flashings are designed to integrate with the dimensions and shingle type of your original roof. Like other elements around your home, flashings also show their age over time. Not replacing them now can mean bigger repair bills in a few years – especially if they begin to rust and leak, causing additional damage to your roof and home.

13. How Will Your Roofer Protect Your Eavestroughs?

Inexperienced roofers can easily damage your eavestroughs if they don’t take steps to protect them while working on your roof. Tools and supports they can use typically include things like trough or ladder stabilizers. Ask your roofer before hiring them what measures they use, otherwise you could be looking at a torn up roof or broken eavestroughs after the job is done.

14. What Will the Cost be for Plywood if the Roofer Finds Rotten or Soft Decking?

Once your roof is up, it can be hard for you to backtrack and dispute overinflated costs for plywood sheeting to fix soft, rotten decking. It’s important to find out before you hire your roofer how much they’ll charge per plywood sheet if they find pieces that need replacing while working on your roof.

15. How Will the Roofer Leave the Jobsite at the End of Each Day?

Your roofer shouldn’t strip more of your roof than necessary each day, making sure your home is protected from nature’s elements. If there are any open areas remaining in the event of an emergency, the roofing crew should tarp them before leaving. They also need to clean any stripped shingles and check the lawn and garden for nails and other hazardous items.