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If you need to repair or replace your home’s roof, you’ll want to hire a competent and trustworthy pro to ensure the job gets done right. After all, the roof plays a fundamental role in keeping your home structurally sound and protecting you and your family from the elements. To help ensure you choose the right roofing contractor, consider these five tips from the experts at HomeAdvisor:

Talk to Several Roofing Contractors. Be sure to speak with several roofing companies before you make a hiring decision. This’ll give you an idea of fair pricing and give you the best chance of getting the roof you need at an affordable rate. You’ll also want to ask the contractors whether they use subcontractors for jobs and how they plan to prep and clean up the worksite.

Verify Credentials. Checking out your roofing contractor’s work history is the most important thing you can do to ensure a quality job. Always ask for proof of licensing and insurance, and request at least three references while interviewing pros. Take note if they delay in providing you the information you’ve asked for–it could be a bad sign.

Review the Contract and Warranties. It’s important to understand the terms of your agreement with a roofing contractor. So, be sure to thoroughly read any contract carefully before you sign. Also, check to make sure you understand the warranty (if any) that comes with your new roof. Some roofing contractors offer a guarantee on their work. A five-year guarantee on materials and workmanship and a 20- to 40-year warranty on the roof itself are standard offerings.

Cover Your Bases. Be sure to cover your bases before work begins. Ask your contractor whether you or the roofing company will be responsible for acquiring a permit for the project. Most roofing companies will pull permits for you, but it’s a good idea to double-check. And if you’re submitting an insurance claim on your roof, be certain that you’ve followed all the necessary procedures.

Never Pay the Entire Balance Up Front. It’s normal for a contractor to ask for a deposit or establish a payment schedule that coincides with completed work. But you should never pay the entire balance of your new roof up front. You’ll also want to avoid paying with cash. Using a credit card makes recovering money an easier process in the event that something does go wrong.

By following these five simple tips, you can feel confident that you’ve hired the right roofer for the job.

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