Choosing A Roofing Contractor for your Cedar Shake Roof

Choosing a roofing contractor, especially for homeowneers with cedar shake roofs, should be done very carefully.

It is a common occurence, from my experience, that homeowners with cedar roofs replace their cedar roofs far too early. Why?

The homeowners do not understand either the status of their roof or the economics of roofing.

How do roofing contractors make their money?
By changing roofs!

If you have an “old” cedar roof, many roofing company estimators will tell you your roof is finished and needs to be changed based on the belief that cedar roofs only last a specific amount of tme and therefore it is time to change it.

These contractors likely do not know or understand cedar roofs or your roof specifically.

They just want to change your roof because it makes them money. Too often I have seen perfectly good cedar roofs go to the dump because the homeowner did not know the reality of his roof.

Have your cedar roof inspected by a company that knows cedar roofs to get accurate information.

There are many different mini industries inside of roofing. Just because a company does roofing does not mean they know anything about cedar roofs.

So, choosing the right contractor boils down to this:

  • Find contractors who know cedar roofs and preferably specialize in cedar roof work
  • Check out their Better Business Bureau rating.
  • Get references from past and existing customers. The roofing business is notorious for fly by night operators since it is basically an unregulated industry.
  • Determine what the contractor is offering to you for the price.
    • What material is he offering?
      • Is it like what is on your roof now?
      • What grade is it?
    • If you are considering having the roof washed and treated,
      • what is the product and how good is it for the roof
      • How long will the product provide service?
      • Is the treatment cosmetic or does it help increase the longevity of the roof?
    • Does the contractors proposal follow the guidelines of the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau or your local Roofing Contractors Assn guidelines?
    • What is the time line for starting and completing?
    • Does the price include cleanup, portable toilets, bins, etc.
    • How much down payment is required?
    • Ask to view and read the warranty
  • Is the contractor insured with Workers Compensation? Ask for proof.
  • Does the contractor have the right WCB rating for your roof?
  • Does the contractor have adequate liability insurance? Ask for proof.

If the contractor believes that the roof needs to be replaced you might decide upon getting a second opinion.

A certified roof inspector is a good choice because they make their money up front as a fee so they have nothing invested in the answer, except their professional status. Be sure to determine his qualifications too. Even roof inspectors can have limited knowledge of cedar roofs.