One of the most important home improvement investments you can make is having new roofing installed. The roof protects your home and everything in it from the elements while shielding you from the worst of the cold and heat year-round. A top quality job can last for decades while a poorly installed or faulty one can lead to leaks, mold, mildew and more after just a few years. To make sure you’re getting the best, get quotes from at least three roofing contractors and compare what they are offering. For accuracy, a reliable quote should contain several important elements, including:
A Materials List From Roofing Companies
Not all shingles are created equal and even materials such as slate can vary widely in cost and quality, so be sure that you get an itemized list of all the products they’ll use from the shingles themselves to the kind of nails they’ll install. Look for name brands, sizes, weights and other significant details so that you can fairly compare estimates. Roof decking materials, insulation and other factors can substantially change the price of an estimate, so ask questions if one estimate uses materials that are substantially different than those other companies recommended. Also ask about the manufacturers’ warranties on the products; those with longer warranties will generally last longer.
Don’t be afraid to ask roofing companies to itemize not only the materials themselves but the cost of each component. Rather than giving you one figure for everything on the list, they should break out each item with an individual price. If most companies list your slate tiles at similar prices but one lists the cost of the same brand, style and size of slate tile substantially higher, that contractor could be padding the price they paid for the materials.
Time And Labor Estimates
Even if two roofing contractors estimate that it will take four days to install your new roof, you may not be getting the same amount of labor out of them. Do they work 8-hour days or 10-hour days? Will they be splitting their time between different jobs? Ask whether they will be assigning professional, licensed installers to do the installation or if they will be subcontracting some of the work to temporary laborers. One is less expensive but may not do the job as well, while the other will have more experience and skill. Don’t forget that the amount of time and labor can vary widely from one job to the next, so if you’re getting quotes that are higher than your neighbors, take a closer look at your house. Do you have more gables? Is the roof steeply pitched? A more complex roof will require more time and attention from roofing contractors.
Clean Up And Disposal
The best roofing companies always clean up after themselves. If you come home to a gorgeous new roof but your yard is littered with wrappers from shingles or shakes, nails and old felt, call the installers and let them know the job isn’t done. To avoid this, make sure every quote includes the cost (if any) for clean up and disposal of all old materials and any scrap or excess new products left over from the installation.
If you’ve carefully compared quotes from several roofing contractors and still aren’t sure which to go with, ask for referrals and contact them. Also ask friends and relatives in the area if they are satisfied with their roof and who did the work for them. You’ll often discover that your neighbors can give you great recommendations.