So How Do Roofers Come Up With Their Numbers?
Hiring a roofing contractor can be a somewhat confusing process. Homeowners who’ve done a little bit of research will know it’s probably a good idea to get estimates from more than one contractor and this often leads to the confusion. If you ask 3 different roofing contractors to bid on your roofing project you’re going to get back 3 different cost estimations.
Now which roofer do you choose? Certainly not the lowest priced, he’s there for a reason, and the highest priced contractor might be including many extras (or his own overhead) you might not need to pay for either.
Let’s Talk About Roofing Estimates and What’s Included
It’s safe to assume that when you hire a roofing contractor you’re going to be paying them for the following.
1. Labor and Wages.
2. Your Roofing Materials.
In addition to their time and the materials… You are also paying your roofing contractor for their expertise and knowledge of the roofing trade. You are paying them to be mindful, thorough and careful with your roofing project because it’s probably the most important home improvement project you’ll ever do, this protects your home and everyone inside.
What To Look For In A Roofing Estimate
This should be obvious but is the roofing contractor you are about to choose insured and licensed? Many roofing contractors do not renew their licences (or even get them to begin with) and usually those are the same contractors who are lacking proper insurance to protect you, your property and their own workers. Roofing puts a tradesman in precarious positions and there are many injuries (even deaths) that occur in the roofing trade annually so it’s important you’re working with a roofing contractor that plays by the rules.
Proper licensing, insurance and workers compensation are significant business expenses that a legitimate roofing contractor must pay for and these will be reflected in the estimate. Licensed and insured contractors are proud to show they’ve put in the effort to set their company up properly.
Does your roofing contractor have a great crew? Good roofing contractors make sure their crews are paid fairly and on-time. They also take care of their workers and make sure they are well trained, equipped with the proper tools and briefed on safety on every single job.
Old Roof Tear-Off and Disposal
You’d think this would be a given on a roofing project but there are many roofing contractors who will charge you separately for your roof tear off and disposal, some might not even include this on your estimate. Make sure it’s included on yours and the roofing material will be disposed of properly in accordance with local by-laws. A good roofing contractor will also go over your gutters and surrounding area on the ground with a magnetic roller to collect any roofing nails that may have been dropped. They will also clean up any debris that might be left over so you are left with nothing but a beautiful roof. This all takes time and may or may not be explained on your estimate, if it’s not you can probably count on it not being done.
Thorough Roof Decking Inspection and Repairs
It’s not uncommon during a roof tear-off to find minor damage to roof decking, usually from water intrusion. Sometimes the damage might be known about before hand so we can be prepared but does your roofing estimate include a thorough inspection of the existing roof decking? Does it include any additional time for minor repairs? Your contractor would have a good idea what to expect based on the age of your home, your roofing material and their visual inspection of the roof but it’s always nice to know if your contractor is prepared for these surprises that could occur.
Installing Proper Roof Ventilation
On most modern homes this isn’t an issue because they already have adequate ventilation in place. however if you have an older home you might not have proper ventilation in place and it could be contributing to any problems you might be having such as ice dam build up, or condensation in your attic. Has your roofing contractor addressed the need for proper roofing ventilation? If your contractor hasn’t spoken to you about the ventilation on your roof and whether it’s going to be necessary you need to consider another opinion, it’s very important.
What About Your Roofing Materials?
Your choice of roofing materials will greatly affect your estimate. Asphalt shingles are obviously the most economical choice for homeowners but even then, they have varying grades of quality, texture and color that can affect the price. If you’re looking at architectural shingles, or designer shingles than price is obviously going to be significantly more expensive but you are getting a much higher quality roofing material both in build, appearance and available warranties. Ask your roofing contractor to provide with an estimate on more than one choice of roofing material. Go for a good, better, best scenario and see where your budget stands.
Do You Get Any Type Of Roofing Warranty?
Does your contractors roofing estimate include an actual written warranty? Verbal agreements are not sufficient for a warranty agreement between a homeowner and a contractor so if that’s the case you need to be watching that red flag. Most roofing contractors should warranty their workmanship for at least 1 year. Which is very fair considering our work is up against mother nature. Contractors with a lower bid, likely have not factored a warranty into your project and even if they say they have, they are often priced too low to actually provide any service should something go wrong.
Beyond the warranty on workmanship, you want to make sure the contractor you are choosing will be around to provide warranty service should the roofing material itself fail. Roofing materials carry warranties from 5 – 50+ years so make sure your contractor discusses this with you and provides it in writing.
Who Provides Accurate Roofing Estimates in Wisconsin?
Generally, it’s always a good idea not to hire the roofer who has priced themselves the lowest… They are the priced this low for several reasons and you probably don’t want to find out why. If you’ve been given several roofing estimates from contractors in your area you should choose the one who is the most thorough, can articulate their knowledge to you in a way you can understand, and provides good value with their service.
With a little bit of research it’s not hard to see how a roofing contractor comes up with their numbers and if you really look into the estimate and ask the right questions you will be better armed to make this fairly substantial financial decision.
Brad’s Construction is a full service roofing contractor serving the Beaver Dam, Fond Du Lac, Hartford and Waupun areas of Wisconsin. We specialize in roofing inspections, roofing estimates, roof repairs and roof replacements. If you’d like an honest and fair estimate for your new roof replacement than give us a call or fill out one of our online forms today.