Working with a roofing contractor is part of owning a home as homeowners have to deal with roofing installation, repairs and maintenance. You are also likely to replace a roof at least once in your lifetime. A roofing replacement is a considerable investment, and it’s a project that you shouldn’t take lightly. A huge part of it is hiring the contractor who will do the work.
When you choose a contractor for your roofing replacement, it’s a good idea to ask several contractors for an estimate. Reputable roofing contractors will visit your property and perform an inspection before giving you an estimate, so if a contractor sends you an estimate without meeting you or visiting your place at least once, that’s a red flag that should warn you to move on to your other options.
Don’t hire a contractor that approaches you after a storm hits your area either. During such times, contractors are busy with calls from their clients. A “contractor” that approaches you while you’re upset and anxious about roof storm damage is likely a storm chaser. These companies will offer you a sweet deal, take your money, go through the motions of installing or fixing your roof and then disappear.
To be safe, it’s always a good idea to hire a local roofing contractor, particularly someone recommended by a friend or a loved one or someone with a good reputation in your community. You can visit the contractor’s office, ask for a list of references that you can call, and do your research into the contractor’s past work and reputation.
After meeting with and receiving estimates from at least three reputable contractors, it’s time to review those estimates. It helps if you already have a general idea of what to expect. Here’s a rundown of what should be in a roofing estimate.
The Company’s Contact Information
A roofing estimate from a reputable contractor is likely to be printed with a letterhead. That letterhead should show the company name and logo, plus the company’s contact information, such as phone and fax numbers, physical address and email address. It might also include a website and social media presence. The estimate should also include the contractor’s insurance and licenses.
Description of the Job
Experienced contractors often include a detailed description of the work they will do if you hire them. This should tell you about the materials, the thickness and type of underlayment, flashing locations and even the measurement of supplies like nails and fasteners.
The estimate should also include the cost of old roof tear-off and other parts of the work before they can install the new roof, such as removing rotted wood. If you have roof penetrations (chimney, skylights, etc.), the estimate should cover the work involved as well.
Complete List of Materials
A huge part of the cost of roof replacement is the list of materials, so the estimate should show this detailed list along with the cost of each material. It should list the type of shingles, flashing, sealants and other major parts of the roof. It can also include materials for the gutters if you are replacing or repairing your gutter system.
Check the estimates against each other for the completeness of this list. If you find that an estimate is not detailed enough, that’s reason enough for you to avoid that contractor.
It’s not just important that the contractors include the start and end dates of your residential roofing project. It’s also important that they consider your schedule. You want to be present while they’re working on your roofing project as much as possible. You can also tell the contractor beforehand that you want a schedule that includes major milestones. An experienced contractor will have no problem doing that. The schedule will tell you how fast a contractor works.
Note that good contractors will include the date when they prepared the quote or when they gave it to you. This works for you and the contractor should you decide to postpone the project for a later date. If you do, ask the contractor for a new estimate as prices may have changed in the months after you received the first estimate.
Total Cost of the Project
For most homeowners, the total cost of the roof replacement is the first thing to look at, and that’s normal because you have to match your budget with your project. Compare the total cost printed on every estimate to get a feel of which contractor offers the best deal, but don’t base your judgment fully on which one gave you the lowest quote. Most contractors will work with you to find a deal that meets your budget without compromising the quality of the project.
Here is a list of the items you should find on an estimate.
Old roof tear-off
Installation of new underlayment
Installation of new shingles
Installation of flashings
Lead pipe jacks
Work involving the chimney
Ice and water barriers
Cleanup and disposal fees (talk to the contractor about who will be responsible for the disposal)
A contractor should provide warranties and guarantees. You don’t want to shoulder the cost of repairs or replacements if the roof fails almost immediately after completion. Shingles and other roofing materials from reputable manufacturers are backed by warranties, but they will only honor those warranties if you work with certified or qualified roofers. Make sure to read the type of warranty that comes with your materials. The best residential roofing contractors also back their workmanship with strong warranties or at least a good guarantee.
You can compare the durability of the materials as well as the confidence of the contractors by looking at the strength of their warranties and guarantees. The stronger the warranties, the better for the homeowner.
Choosing a roofing contractor takes some time, patience and diligence. Getting estimates from your prospective contractors can make the process a little easier.
Get in touch with Rojas Roofing for your roofing needs. Call us today at (317) 864-6193 to schedule an appointment and to ask for an estimate.