Man installing roof shingles

Before the winter weather hits us, you may be considering replacing or repairing your roof. Before hiring the first company you speak with, here are some tips, courtesy of Consumer Protection Ontario, to help you make the most informed decision:

1. Do your homework: Before hiring a roofing company, check references and consumer resources like the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Consumer Beware List. Ask how many layers of old roofing are installed on your home. Building codes limit how many layers may be installed.

2. Ask for a written estimate: Have at least three companies view the job and provide written estimates with a clear description of the work to be done and an itemized list of products, services and prices. If a contractor says your roof is damaged and needs urgent repairs, ask them to outline the damages in your estimate.

3. Get a written contract: Once you select a roofing company make sure they include the estimate in your contract. Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, a company cannot charge you more than 10 per cent above the estimated cost, unless you have agreed to new work or a new price.

4. Understand your warranty: Warranties on roofing materials are often the responsibility of the manufacturer, not the contractor installing them. Some roofing products must be installed by certified or trained staff for the warranty to apply.

5. Be aware of common scams: Keep deposits to a minimum (about 10 per cent) and avoid tax-free deals. No receipt means you have no legal proof of purchase.

6. Before you sign a contract with a roofing company, make sure to see a copy of their current Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) certification and workplace insurance with liability coverage. By law, roofers must be trained in fall protection and also must wear fall protection equipment when working at heights above three metres.

Visit www.Ontario.ca/HomeRenos to learn about your rights and responsibilities before you get started.