Comparing Roofing Estimates: Essential Tips for Homeowners
Finding the right contractor is crucial to any roof replacement project. That is why you should take your time in getting to know your prospective roofers and verifying their information. But apart from the painstaking process of learning more about the business that you are going to work with, you should also pay close attention to the roofing estimate contractors give you.
Make sure that they provide you with a detailed account of the project expenses. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar is going to be spent. Be meticulous in checking the prices - make sure that they match or are close to the industry average. If a markup seems excessive to you, or you think that the numbers don’t add up, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and make the necessary clarifications.
It’s normal for roofing companies to mark up some products since they would have to take overhead and other business expenses into account. In the case of services, higher prices could mean greater convenience or an enhanced warranty. In any case, find out what the prices cover if it’s not explicitly stated in the estimate sent to you.
Feel free to compare quotes from different companies as well. While this can seem like an overwhelming task, doing it would allow you to have more clarity about which business can offer a better deal. Of course, the best deal does not necessarily mean the lowest bid. Read the inclusions carefully, and make sure that you will really be getting the most bang for your buck with the prices offered to you.
To help you compare estimates from different roofing contractors, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:
What to Look for in the Estimate
It can be easy to get lost in the details included in a written estimate. So, to save you time and to help ensure that you are able to check the essentials, here are four main categories that you need to look into when assessing and comparing roofing quotes:
Ensure that all the necessary materials are itemized in the estimate. From crucial components like roof shingles to supplementary materials like sealants, these things should be properly identified with their costs. Some contractors may leave out certain materials like plywood replacement boards. These boards aren't really needed unless the existing ones are already rotting. But sometimes by the time that the roofer finds the material in bad shape, the tendency is to charge customers with an exorbitant fee for the boards that they need to replace. That said, you might want to know the potential cost of supplementary materials like this before signing your name on any contract.
Apart from having a list of the things that you will be paying for, an itemized estimate can also give you an idea of the kind of quality you can expect from the materials. Felt underlay, for example, is available in standard weights of 15 pounds and 30 pounds. The 30-pound variety is usually more expensive because it's thicker. So, while one contractor may offer a cheaper rate for the felt underlay, you might want to check the specific type of material that's being quoted.
Labor expenses should also be itemized so that you can determine which contractor is able to give a better service for the price. It's not uncommon to think that the cost of labor is the same across the board. But the fact is that there are several factors that could make labor expenses cheaper or more expensive. That said, you shouldn't shy away from higher labor costs too quickly because these could mean that the contractor has more skilled workers, or their laborers are more experienced. Of course, for any roofing project, you’d surely want to have reliable and experienced professionals on your team.
Most roofing systems come with a manufacturer's warranty. But apart from this, you would also want to have a guarantee on your roofer's workmanship. Contractors that stand by their work usually offer their own warranty to cover the installation and materials. Furthermore, their warranty can also feature a similar validity period as the warranty on the roof shingles.
Incidentals usually refer to services like cleanup and waste disposal. So, if you don't want to handle the post-construction mess and to deal with the disposal of old shingles, you should look for this item in a roofing estimate. If you don't see anything about incidentals in the quote sent to you, make sure to ask a few questions. Otherwise, the contractor might end up charging you for these services at the last minute.
What to Ask
Below are a few more questions to ask a potential contractor to further help you make the best choice:
Will You Remove the Existing Roof?
This is an important question to ask because it can significantly impact the cost of your project as well as your timeline. But while removing your old roof is usually an expensive add-on, re-roofing on top of the existing roof isn't always the best thing to do. Remember that adding a new layer of roofing will make your roof heavier, and it won't necessarily fix the structure itself. That said, it is really important to hire a good roofing contractor as this person will be able to tell you the appropriate action.
Will You Obtain the Permits?
If your roofing contractors haven't broached the process of getting permits, you should definitely ask them about it. Find out if it's needed in your area. And, if they are going to take care of it for you, make sure that the cost of that job is included in the estimate.
What Type of Insurance Do You Have?
Look for at least two forms of insurance, namely workers' compensation and general liability insurance. Workers' compensation covers any injuries that the workers may get while working on your roof. If the contractor doesn't have this, you will be the one to shoulder the medical bills in case someone gets hurt while on the job. Meanwhile, general liability insurance protects you in case something happens to your home while the contractor is working on your roof. So, if they accidentally cause damage to your home, the repairs would have to be paid for by them.
Will You Be Hiring Subcontractors for This Project?
Find out if the contractor is planning to use subcontractors for any part of your project. Hiring subcontractors is not necessarily a bad thing, but make sure that you are aware of the disadvantages of this kind of setup. For one, you won't have control over the subcontractors, and they are likely to raise your costs. Make sure to ask the contractor about this matter. If you're going to pay a contractor to find someone else to do a particular job, you might be better off doing this by yourself. And, it might probably cost you less money.
With over two decades of experience in the industry, A1 Quality Roofing, Inc. has become a trusted name for various roofing needs. We offer a range of services, including roof repair, replacement, maintenance and more. Call us at (951) 877-4406, or fill out our contact form to request a quote.