The Devil’s in the Details: Understanding a Roofing Contract

Posted on September 28th, 2016 by

Contract Signing

You’re ready to make your decision. You’ve narrowed it down to a handful of local roofers, scoured the estimates, and made your choice. Before you sign on the dotted line to have your roof repaired or replaced, make sure you give your contract a thorough read to make sure it’s up to snuff.

Check out our guide to understanding roofing contracts to find out what to keep an eye out for:

Make Sure Your Contract Has All the Details

Your roofing estimate needs to be detailed. If all it says is “replace existing roof with new underlayment, flashing, and shingles,” that simply won’t cut it. You need to find out more.

Details you should pay attention to include:

  • The number of layers that need to be stripped. Some roofs only have one or two layer of shingles, while others have three. That subtle difference can make a cost difference in the contract.
  • Applying ice and water shields in the valleys. Valleys – the areas where two roof planes meet – need to be properly sealed to ensure water can’t penetrate the roof deck below. Your contract should contain specific information about the type of ice and water shield your roofer will use.
  • The type of underlayment used. Pay attention if your roofer plans to use synthetic underlayments, as most don’t breathe. If moisture becomes trapped underneath, it will be unable to dry and can lead to mold problems down the road. GAF Deck Armour is a synthetic underlayment that actually does
  • Installation of drip or metal edge. Drip or metal edge should be placed under the shingles where they come off the roof, helping direct water away. Some less reputable roofers, though, won’t install drip or metal edge unless the homeowner asks.
  • Whether or not new flashing is to be installed. These pieces can be time consuming for roofers to make, but it’s important they be replaced. Old flashings aren’t designed to integrate with new shingles, and they’ll also wear more quickly than the rest of your roof if not swapped at the same time.
  • How many nails they’ll use. Your roofer should use at least four nails, though they might need to use six if your rope is significantly sloped or you’re in a high-wind area. It’s also important that nails be put in on the nail line and driven straight.
  • Shingle Type and Brand: Your roofer needs to specify the brand and type of shingles they’ll be using.

Do you know the ten questions you need to ask your roofer before hiring them? Read our blog to find out!

roofingClarify the Schedule Your Roofer will Follow

It’s worth acknowledging that a precise schedule might be difficult to pin down ahead of time, since start and end dates can be easily affected by fluctuating weather. Make sure your roofer will be transparent with you, though, taking steps like calling you the week before they’ll be able to come to confirm details.

Confirm the Right to Terminate or Rescind

Your contract should outline details about when you can cancel your contract without incurring a penalty. 48 hours is common, but it will vary between roofers. Don’t forget to pay attention to the details about what happens if you cancel after that window. Some roofers will opt to hold your deposit, while others will ask for a certain amount of money – whether a flat fee or percentage of the estimate – for compensation.

Read Over the Payment Terms Your Roofer has Outlined

Most roofers require a deposit, whether a consistent amount or a percentage of your estimate. Be sure you’re clear about the details of the deposit and other relevant information, including how you’ll need to pay.

Find Out How Your Roofer Will Look After Your Property

  • Inspecting Your Property: Before beginning any work, your roofer should take time to assess the property’s condition and find out if there are any areas they need to be cautious around. Remember to be realistic in expecting any roofing project to produce debris, including some that might land on your lawn. By highlighting sensitive areas, however, your roofer can be extra careful when and where they need to.
  • Taking Caution while Working: Your roofer needs to take steps to protect your home – especially eavestroughs using tools like ladder or trough stabilizers. They also shouldn’t strip more than they need to. If there are any areas left open, your roofers need to cover them before leaving for the day.
  • Cleaning Up After the Job is Done: Your roofer needs to remove all tools, supplies, and debris to leave your property looking just as it was (if not better with its new, improved roof!) before they arrived.

Study the Warranties Your Roofer Includes in the Contract

When push comes to shove, the right warranty makes a big difference. There are two kinds of warranties your contract should include:

  • Workmanship Warranty: Offered by the roofer themselves, this warranty covers the work they perform.
  • Supplier Warranties: These warranties are offered by suppliers to cover defects or issues that arise with their products. They’re typically valid for anywhere between five to fifty years.

Don’t forget to read the fine print to find out if the warranties are transferrable. Alongside a quality, reliable roof, this can be an excellent selling feature if you need to sell your home.


Herb Lodde & Sons Roofing has been providing quality roof replacements and repairs since 1964. We stand behind our workmanship and are committed to delivering superior results using the best materials. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation!

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About Dave Lodde

Dave Lodde is the President and Owner of Lodde & Sons Roofing. With over 25 years of hands-on experience in roofing and siding, Dave leads the company with a thorough knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the industry.

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