Roofing Estimates, Proposals, and Final Decisions
Purchasing a new roof is a big decision. The educated buyer does research before making a decision. After you do your research, it is time to meet with prospective roofing contractors and move toward getting your roof replaced.
In Person Meeting
After a phone interview with a prospective contractor, schedule a meeting at your home. At this meeting, your contractor representative should be asking you questions about your roofing project – roofing products to consider, colors, budget, timeline and anything unique about your situation. During the meeting, expect the contractor to inspect you roof, which may include getting on the roof and potentially checking the attic and inside ceilings for water damage. Part of the inspection may include taking pictures of the roof, skylights, gutters and vents to get a better handle on your roofing project.
During this face to face meeting, ask questions about how the company handles weather delays, material shortages or other issues. Verify who will do the actual roof installation (the contractor’s employees or subcontractors) and that the company has insurance for both general liability and workman’s compensation. Make sure that you understand how the contractor will remedy any damage to your home that may occur during the roofing project. Ensure the contractor will clean the property when the project is completed. Find out if the contractor will place a dumpster on your property or if they have another method for removing the old roofing materials. Ask about the hours the crew will work and on what days of the week. Non-specific answers or non-answers to any of the above should raise concerns.
After the inspection, the roofing contractor or sales representative should draw up a written estimate detailing material to be used, roofing options and all the associated costs. They may include a proposal with different roofing materials or options to improve ventilation, water run-off and ice build ups. After reviewing each estimate ask questions - do not make assumptions. With your roof, lowest cost may not be the best option. Ask to see samples of each of the products presented. Do your own research on which roofing product may be best for your situation. If you know of a product that you may want to use, make sure to ask your contractor to see samples of that product and ask if they have installed it before. Before you sign a contract is the time to ask the questions above and/or receive feedback on any concerns you may have. Remember, a salesperson that is not willing to answer your questions now, may not be helpful after the contract is signed.
After reviewing the estimates, choose a contractor. Have the contractor prepare a final proposal for your signature. Here are a few items you will want to make sure are in any final proposal or contract.
Scope of Work
These are the important details of what the contractor’s commitments are. The scope of work should include:
Make sure the estimate is specific and includes the manufacturer of the roofing material that will be used, the product name, the color and the part number and dimensions if applicable. This should also include the underlayment, flashings, sealants, ice dams and any venting. The proposal should be specific and include the replacement and placement of flashings, ice dams and venting if necessary.
For all labor, materials, permits, and old roof removal and disposal. If sales tax is not a line item, ask if it is included.
Ensure the contractor details their responsibilities around permits, roof removal, and clean up.
Once the old roof has been removed, the contractor may find damage to the wood deck under the shingles. How will the contractor deal with the issue, what are the anticipated labor and material costs to fix the damage?
The start date and duration of the roofing replacement job should be communicated you in addition to the days of the week and the hours they will work on your roof.
Warranties and Expectations
Warranties for roofing products are typically provided by the manufacturer. The contractor may warranty their workmanship. This can be important as an improperly installed product can void the manufacturer’s warranty.
The estimate should include deposit dates, payment schedules, and accepted methods of payment. If an insurance claim is involved, that should be detailed here as well.
Before You Sign!
Before you sign the final proposal make sure the above items are all spelled out. If an item is unclear or not mentioned, you need to make sure it is in the contract - Don’t assume that an item mentioned in a conversation is a commitment unless it is written into the contract. Having everything written down in the contract, protects both you and your contractor by setting clear expectations, responsibilities and time frames. Clarity going into the project with your roofing contractor is key to a fruitful long-term relationship.
Once your questions are answered. Sign your proposal, write the deposit check and get ready for a new beautiful roof.