4 Tips for Comparing Roofing Estimates
Installing a new roof is one of the most expensive home improvement projects homeowners will undertake. It’s important it be completed by experienced roofers using the highest quality materials, otherwise minor flaws can turn into costly headaches later on. You should always secure at least three estimates before choosing a roofer, but what’s the best way to go about comparing them to make sure you’re hiring the best company?
Check out these four tips to help you choose the right roofer to work on your home:
1. Compare Roofers
No two roofers are made alike. Some concentrate only on roofs, while others provide a full suite of home renovation services. Others specialize in certain types of roofing like laminate shingles or cedar shakes.
When comparing roofers, make sure you consider:
- The suppliers they work with. You need to choose a roofer dedicated to providing industry-leading products, which will ensure the best outcome for your roofing project.
Really pay attention to reputations here, making sure the roofer you choose has a solid track record of paying all their supplier invoices 100% of the time. If bills remain unpaid, suppliers can come after you to recoup their losses.
- The amount of time they’ve been in business. The more years they’ve been operating, the more experience repairing and replacing roofs they’ll have under their belts.
Remember to really research each company’s history; don’t just take their claims at face value. When roofing companies who plaster flyers on every telephone pole in the city say they have 20 years of experience, what they often really mean is that they’ve been starting, ruining, and re-starting roofing companies for that length of time. That’s not the company you want to hire.
- What their customers say. Many roofers will publish customer testimonials on their websites. You can also turn to third-party sources like Homestars and investigate their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.
- Whether they’re properly licensed and insured. Any roofer you choose needs to possess both General Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance to protect you, your home, and the roofing crew if something is damaged or someone is injured on the job.
- Where they are physically located. A reputable roofer will have a real location like a showroom or an office out of which they operate. If they provide you with a PO Box or cell phone number, follow up with them to ask for their actual address.
An important point to emphasize is how important it is to pay attention to a company’s reputation and history. Roofing companies need to pay all their invoices from suppliers. If they don’t, your house can be liened. Also, research history; don’t just take it at face value. When that roofing company with a sign stapled onto a telephone pole says they have 20 years of experience, they might mean they have been starting, ruining, and re-starting roofing companies for 20 years. That is not the company you want to hire.
2. Ask About the Materials Each Roofer Will Use
Your estimate should go into detail about the materials involved. If it doesn’t, ask. The right materials can add years onto your roof’s lifespan, while the wrong ones can take them away – resulting in big bills for repairs and replacements.
Make sure you pay attention to:
- The types of sheeting and underlayments each roofer will use, making sure you have specific “Installing solid sheeting” and “installing 15/32” 3 ply CDX plywood” sound similar, but they can mean very different things. “Installing solid sheeting” could mean 15/32” 3-ply CDX plywood or maybe 7/16” OSB. You won’t know unless you ask!
- The types of insulation and sealants the roofer budgeted. Long-term cost differences between thinner and thicker insulation can be quite noticeable – especially when it comes to air conditioning and heating costs. Your roofer needs to make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated to keep energy costs in check.
Remember, if a roofer never measured your roof but tells you exactly how much of something they’ll need, that’s a red flag. Make sure they justify their costs to prevent unexpected hiccups down the road.
In addition to including all material costs, an estimate should also cover all labour and incidental costs like:
- Transporting supplies and materials.
- Cleaning up the site after the job is complete.
- Disposing of the waste safely and promptly.
- Covering costs for permits.
It’s possible there will be additional costs, particularly if your roofer finds problems after opening up your roof. It’s important they be upfront with you about what these can be so you’re not blindsided if something goes wrong.
4. Analyze Workmanship and Material Warranties
At the end of the day, the right warranty goes a long way. In comparing estimates, make sure you look carefully at both the workmanship warranty, which is offered by the roofer, and material warranties from suppliers.
You should take into account:
- How well established each company is. Remember, a workmanship warranty is only good as long as that roofer is in business. Choosing a reputable, established roofing company means you can depend on them if something goes wrong down the road.
- Details of the lifetime and other warranties offered by suppliers. In most cases, a lifetime warranty means fifty years. Other warranties – including those based on glazes and coats – can vary from five to twenty years.
- If it’s transferrable between homeowners. If it is, you can use this as a great selling point if you need to list your home in the future.
In your search for the right roofer, remember not to get hung up on price. In most cases, the cheaper roof isn’t the better roof. What really matters is the quality of the workmanship, materials used, and the roofing company standing steadfastly behind their job. Making the right investment in your roof now will help it continue looking and performing its best for years to come.
Herb Lodde & Sons Roofing has been providing quality roof replacements and repairs since 1964. We stand behind our workmanship and are committed to delivering superior results using the best materials. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation!
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