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Top 10 Cedar Shake Roofer Hiring Musts

Top 10 Must-Know Tips for Hiring a Cedar Shake Roofer

If you live in Barrington, Inverness, Kildeer, or many of the other northern Chicago suburbs you have a good deal of roofing contractors to choose from. As a well-respected cedar shake restoration company, we know this product, how to install it properly, and what homeowners need out of their roofer to get the job done right every step of the way. The following list of our top 10 cedar shake roofer hiring musts are the best pointers you’ll find to lead you to your perfect service provider.

Top 10 Cedar Shake Roofer Hiring Musts in Chicagoland

  1. Localization.
    It’s best to always look close to home to find roofing pros. A 25 mile radius is a great place to start. If you have to extend further, try not exceeding 60 miles as the roofers may have extra charges for travel time. Do make sure that the roofer has a permanent address in this area as many outfits showing up after storms may be from out of the area and have a virtual office. Out of state companies need to be fully scrutinized for legitimacy. This leads into #2…
  2. Legitimacy.
    Be sure to look up your roofing candidates information such as their:

    1. Website – Look for a solid looking design and good information
    2. BBB – The Better Business Bureau accreditation score should be no lower than an A- and there should be no less than 10 solid customer reviews.
    3. Other Solid Reviews – Look for Google, Facebook, or Yahoo reviews. Avoid Yelp as it is notoriously light on reviews outside of restaurants and can be a soap box for those with bad experiences rather than the good one.
    4. State License – Not all states have them but Illinois sure does! This is a must.
  3. Free Inspections & Consultations plus Free Estimates.
    Not all roofing companies actually offer these free, as they are time consuming for smaller outfits that deal in low volume. Some roofing companies may specify charges on these items because they see cedar shakes as being a “specialty roof”. Payment for these items is a telltale sign your candidate isn’t a cedar roofing expert.
  4. Appearance.
    A professional roofing company is your best bet for cedar shake roofing installations and repairs. Single-off contractors and handymen are not the best solution for a handful of reasons we’ll go into next. The point here is that a company will look the part. From the appearance of the sales staff to the folders, business cards, and website, all visuals should be branded and say “trust and quality”. Why is this so important? Shake Guys is of the opinion that cleanly and clearly showing who you are is a translation of what your services will render.
  5. Company Specializes in Cedar Shake.
    Finding the right company is hard. First, you’ll have to bypass smaller outfits where the owner also is the lead roofer. There’s not a whole lot of quality control or value in this type of operation. Secondly, the company should be a specialist that only works with cedar or specialty roofing (slate and synthetics). There are a lot of finer points that general roofing companies will miss and you’ll be left with a roof that isn’t built to last. This is especially true when considering roof maintenance, treatments, or roof power washing.
  6. Cedar Quality.
    When it comes to cedar shakes and shingles, there is a narrow selection of products yet most roofers opt to make money on up charging mid or even low grade wood. Top grade cedar should always be used. Make sure that your roofer only uses the best edge grain possible (also known as vertical grain). All slash grain is not acceptable. And if a contractor is trying to push flat grain they have no idea what they’re doing. These other grains are prone to cupping and curling. They will last half as long as edge grain and provide less insulation value.
  7. Fastener Type and Quality.
    The debate of nails vs staples has been going on for decades. Luckily, most will tell you the truth of the matter is that staples just don’t hold up the same in areas, like Chicago, that can have severe wind storms. High quality thick shakes are weighty especially when wet. If a wind gust is strong enough to budge it, the stables will bend. Nails on the other hand are simply far better. Staples were used primarily to save time and because they’ve always been good for getting driven to the perfect depth while nails had to be done by hand. Nail guns were a no-no until they came equipped with depth setters. Nails do cost more but they’re worth it as long as they are non-corrosive.
  8. Property Protection.
    During any major repairs or a new roof installation you’ll want your roofing company to be thorough on safety and cleanup. Most homeowners only think about the mess and overlook the rest of the picture. A build site is a fast paced, high traffic zone. Plants/landscaping, windows, and decking are susceptible to damage from this and the debris that gets tossed off roofs. The pros at Shake Guys go beyond the norm by tarping and using protective boards to protect all elements that may be in harms way. We also use cones to section off danger zones and show walkways for homeowners that need to come and go. When it comes to clean up, we do our best to leave no nails or scraps behind. Look for companies that say they’ll do the same.
  9. The Right Price.
    When getting a new cedar shake roof installed it is wise get 2 or 3 bids. Each estimate should be thorough and mention items like “Cedar Breather” and all other facets such as flashing. Going with the least expensive may not always be the best choice as they may be sacrificing cedar quality or perhaps they’ve underbid just to close the deal. The problem with this is that a roofing company that underbids is likely passing along insufficient funds to the labor crew or may be looking to do a rush job and the laborers suffer still. Compare apples to apples and choose the company that’s giving you the highest quality for the best price. After all, a cedar roof is a large investment and the ones that last the longest are those that were installed correctly with top-notch products.
  10. Warranties Provided.
    Be sure that you’re getting a manufactures warranty as well as a 5-10 year labor warranty from your installer.


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