Before you begin searching for a roofing contractor, here’s what you need to know.
Before installing a new roof, be sure it’s necessary. Replacing your home’s roof is one of the largest repair investments you’ll make, and it can take upwards of 3 – 4 weeks.
In some cases, a roof can be fixed with a few patches and be just fine for another five years. It’s always best to seek-out a roofing contractor by way of referral to obtain a professional opinion you can trust as to replacing VS repairing.
So, the time has come for a new roof.
Needing to install a new roof is not all downside. Replacing your home’s roof can increase resale value more than most remodeling projects. You can expect to recoup at least half of the cost you shell out for your new roof. Nonetheless, for most, replacing a roof can be uncharted territory and stressful.
I find, more than half of homeowners I provide with a re-roofing bid to, have never gone through the process of installing a new roof.
The most difficult task for a homeowner looking to replace their roof is selecting a contractor. A contractor they can trust to complete the job correctly; at a fair price. As previously mentioned: nothing beats a referred roofing contractor. Knowing you can trust the contractor you select is key to a quality and lasting roof. With so many nightmare stories featuring shady roofing contractors, you want to insure the company you hire operates by ethical standards (also, installing consistent with the manufacture standards is important to avoid voiding warranties).
5 Tips to Understand Before Seeking Re-Roofing Estimates
First thing’s first: is the estimate an estimate, or is it an exact bid (including materials and labor cost)? There’s not much worse than spending a few grand, only to find that it will cost you more.
Does the estimate you receive include a breakdown of materials such as underlayment, flashings, etc? Does it include breakdown of labor costs? The more detailed the estimate, the better. When I conduct a bid, I try to factor in costs for unexpected labor/materials. It’s not an exact science, but any experienced roofing contractor should be able to foresee certain things that are obvious at first glance. For example, if shingles look to be damaged due to water, it’s likely that plywood underneath may need to be replaced.
You want your estimate to be as thorough as possible; while having the contractor explain it to you step-by-step to avoid surprises.
As with any other large purchase or investment: if it sounds too good to be true….
Know About a Roof and Its Parts
When you walk into Best Buy to purchase a television, it’s wise to be up-to-date with the latest advances in technology (Ultra HD, 4K, OLED). Without knowing the basics, you’re unable to make an educated decision when comparing the many choices. Purchasing a new roof, is similar.
Familiarize yourself with the basics of your roof to understand and compare bids accurately.
know your roof before hire.
Two things to understand:
- Flashing is used on most every re-roofing project, it is the metal (plastic in rare cases) used to connect roofing materials to avoid leaks.
- We measure your roof in what we call “squares”; this is not a square foot, but a 10” by 10” area.
If you opt to go with the cheapest underlayment, shingles, tiles…than you can expect your new roof will underperform its lifetime expectancy. No matter how professional the re-roofing installation may be, it’s only as good as the materials used.
A professionally installed roof, with quality materials, can last up to 30 years. Compare that to a roof installed with cheap materials, which can begin failing in as little as 10 years.
I always push for quality materials. However, I like to give my customers choices. Sometimes up-front cost is more important than the lifetime of the roof.
It’s important to know the difference between quality and generic roofing materials; if a contractor is pushing for lesser quality materials, it’s a red flag. This is a common tactic used by contractors to come in as lowest bid by cutting corners at the expense of your roof’s lifetime.
You may also want to consider upgrading those asphalt shingles for something more durable and aesthetically pleasing. Here’s a post I completed about hiring a roofing contractor and selecting the right type of roofing.
Re-Roofing Installation Process
Does your estimate include removing the current asphalt shingles before installing new ones? Answering questions like these help when comparing cost from multiple bids.
Speaking of installing new shingles on top of existing ones, it is a common practice in the industry; but it’s not always a good idea. When doing this, it’s hard to know if the plywood has extensive water damage without removing the old shingles. Not to mention, new shingles installed upon old shingles do not seal as well as they would if nailed down directly to the underlayment. Ice can take its toll on a roof’s underlayment, so in cold climate areas it’s a good idea to always remove the old shingles and underlayment. Luckily in Phoenix we don’t have this concern.
Liabilities & Warranties
Is the contractor you’re hiring insured? Do his roof installations adhere by the manufacture’s standards? If the answer is no, you may want to select another contactor. Unfortunately, the latter question is much more difficult to answer than the first. In most cases, the only way a homeowner will know if their roof is being installed according to manufacturer requirements is to check the manufacturer’s requirement and review them with the contractor. Top-tier roofing materials usually come with excellent 20 – 30 year warranties; however, they can easily be voided due to a shoddy installation.