Estimates are approximations – our best guess based on the knowledge and facts that we have. Professionals in every field use data to provide interesting and sometimes unexpected insights. For example, it’s estimated that your brain uses 20 percent of your body’s blood and oxygen supply. Scientists estimate that humans have been practicing dentistry from as far back as 7000 B.C. Estimates for the total number of stars in our galaxy are between 200 and 400 billion stars.
When getting an estimate for roof repair or replacement, your estimate might not be as surprising as those numbers, but it can still be confusing. Let’s examine what should be in a roof estimate so you know what to look for and can ensure there’s nothing unusual or unexpected when it’s time to pay your final bill.
The Rule of Estimates
Any estimate you receive should be in writing. It’s okay if your roofing contractor offers an approximate number after discussing details with you and looking at your home. But nothing is official until you receive a detailed, written estimate. Don’t allow work to begin until you have that. When you get that estimate, here are the details you want to make sure are included:
The materials you choose will make up a significant portion of the total cost of your project. Make sure that your estimate clearly states what products the roofers will use. The estimate should include the brand name, material type, and color of the products, as well as any other specifics you discussed. Not only does that ensure you get the quality materials you chose, but it also prevents nasty surprises, like the neutral gray roof you choose being accidentally switched for bright red shingles.
In addition to stating the specific materials, the estimate for roof replacement or repair should note the costs of those items.
Make sure your written estimate includes the total costs for labor. This is important as it helps you understand exactly where your money is going.
You need to know how long the product warranty lasts, whether it is transferable if you sell your home, and any other relevant terms and conditions. If your written estimate doesn’t include this information, ask your contractor about it.
The warranty covers the products; the guarantee covers your residential roofer’s work. Having this information in writing ensures you know what you can expect from their work and how they will handle the situation if you have issues ten days after they finish repairs or ten months after your roof replacement.
If permits are required, your estimate should include that information. It should also clarify the permits’ costs, whether that is included in the total price for your job, and whose responsibility it is to get the permits.
While weather, unexpected damage to the roof deck, or other surprises can affect the timeline, your roofing estimate should indicate an expected timeframe for the work. You want to prepare your home and yard for the job. Knowing when it will happen is vital to your ability to do so. Ensure you have details on when the roofers will perform the work and how long it will take.
Responsible roofing crews will clean up after themselves, but it is always best to have their specific responsibilities included in the estimate. Will they use a dumpster? If so, the estimate should include the cost for that rental and removal.
Other Details Specific to Your Project
Perhaps your HOA doesn’t allow construction work to begin before 8 a.m., or you’ve indicated to the roofing company that you absolutely can’t have workers present on a specific date. Maybe you have a prized rose garden and have told the contractor it will need to be covered, or you need to ensure that no work trucks park in a specific location.
You should discuss specifics like these during your initial meeting with your roofer, but they must also be included in the written contract. Otherwise, you may have no recourse if you get a fine from your HOA for work outside allowable hours or your roses end up underneath a pile of debris. Any important detail should appear in the estimate. In some cases, these things can change the overall cost of your project.
Peace of Mind
It’s essential to remember that occasionally, additional unforeseen expenses arise. Even the most thorough inspection of your property might not reveal damage to the underlying structure of your roof. Once workers remove the old roofing, problems that require additional materials, labor, or expertise may be exposed. That doesn’t mean your roofer didn’t do a thorough inspection or estimate.
Your roof repair or replacement estimate helps you understand what you are paying for and ensures that you get what you expect regarding the materials used, the timelines, special requirements, and anything else specific to your project. It’s worth your time to carefully review the written estimate, make sure you understand what it includes, and ensure everything you discussed is part of the plan.