You’re a homeowner and determined your home’s roof needs fixing or needs to be improved with a replacement roof. You’re all set to get moving. What’s the optimal way to get a high quality roofer who will accomplish a good job? What could you look for in a roof contractor or contractor to obtain this work? Eaton
When homeowners choose to repair a roof or replace that roof with asphalt during the cold winter months, they’re often plagued by worries that their family will freeze before the job is completed. In the same vein, those starting a roofing job in the sweltering summer months worry that they’ll be facing heat stroke. These concerns are perfectly normal and common among many homeowners looking for roofing fixes or roof replacement contractors.
EatonYou've decided you need a new roof. Several contractors have given you estimates. How do you know which is right for you? It is important to understand exactly what the contractor is proposing when making a decision on your roof replacement. There are usually several products/services included on most re-roofing quotes.SHINGLESThe primary item on a roof replacement estimate is the actual roofing material. The estimate will list the manufacturer and type of shingles the contractor intends to use. It will also show the style of shingle. Architectural or dimensional shingles are the most popular. They create more interest and often mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or tile. It may include color choice or options if design was part of the initial discussion. The estimate will also indicate the length of the manufacturer's warranty for that type.FLASHINGIf your roof has chimneys, dormers, and walls, then you will see flashing on your estimate. Flashing prevents water from seeping behind and under shingles, causing water damage to the structure.Flashing is usually thin sheets of aluminum or galvanized steel. Many professional roofers will fashion their own from sheet metal. Flashing is installed over joints in the roof & wall construction. Possible areas are valleys, chimneys, dormers, windows, pipes, skylights, porches, decks and edges.New flashing is often installed with a new roof. If flashing deteriorates or comes loose it can cause severe damage to your home. It is important to make sure it is installed properly to avoid unnecessary damage.UNDERLAYMENTOne item that should be included on every roof replacement estimate is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of protective material between the roof deck or plywood and the shingles. Often called felt paper, it is the first layer of waterproofing for your roof.Manufacturers reinforce the underlayment with fiberglass to strengthen and resist tearing, make installation easier and improve its waterproofing effectiveness.Manufacturers are constantly developing new underlayment technology. Newer synthetic underlayment further increases the effectiveness, ease & safety to install and increases longevity. Some manufacturers have developed organic and green underlayment products.It is usually recommended to use underlayment from the same manufacturer as your shingles as they are designed to work together. It may be required for a valid warranty.A contractor will choose the best type of underlayment for your roof replacement based on the type of roof and climate in which you live. If you have any questions regarding their choice, they are the best resource for your specific project. DRIP EDGEDrip edge is another important and sometimes overlooked part of a roofing or re-roofing job. Even though manufacturers recommend it, and some require it for a valid warranty, some contractors do not include drip edge on their estimates.Drip edge is metal strips applied along gutter lines, eaves and some rakes. It stops water from getting under the shingles and damaging the deck plywood and protects fascia. Properly applied drip edge will lengthen the life of the roof and further protect the home from water damage.Drip edge is not expensive to include in a roof replacement project and the benefits greatly out way the cost.ICE & WATER SHIELDThe purpose of a roof is to protect the home from the elements; wind, rain, ice, etc. In most climates, ice and/or water are a concern you can't ignore.Ice and water protection should be discussed for almost every residential roofing project and will likely appear on your estimate. Ice and water barriers allow proper water flow preventing damage caused by high wind and rain storms and ice build-up known as ice dams. It strongly adheres to the plywood roof deck providing a second line of defense to the underlayment. The barrier is applied to the most vulnerable parts of the roof. Depending on the type of roof this could be the valleys, eaves and rakes, or the entire deck surface. Contractors may also suggest applying it around chimneys and other areas where leaks are likely to occur.VALLEYSA valley is the angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff. Because of the amount of water passing through that area of a roof, it is important to consider how the area will be protected when replacing an asphalt shingle roof.There are different methods for shingling the area with dimensional asphalt roofing material. Closed cut valleys are most popular aesthetically. In a closed cut valley application, shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed back a few inches from the valley centerline. Any flashing is not exposed. When using the open cut valley roofing method the flashing is visible. Open cut valleys may be used to create visual interest or enhance features on some design styles.Some contractors will use ice and water shield under the shingles, others will choose to install metal flashing. Further, some contractors will install both for extra protection. A professional roofing contractor will consider many factors and make a recommendation as to the best method and style for the specific project. A detailed estimate will include these recommendations.RIDGE VENTAll roofs need to be vented to allow moisture to escape and prevent damage to the roof and the entire home. There are several types of roof ventilation systems. The most popular are ridge vents. They are installed along the ridge or peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape and draw cool air in the soffit vents.A detailed roof replacement estimate will include which type and style of vent is going to be installed. Ridge vents come in several styles to match the home, shingle design, and homeowner's preference as to how much they stand out or blend in with the rest of the new roof.CHIMNEY CRICKETIf the home has a chimney, a professional roofing contractor may recommend installing a cricket if there isn't one already. A cricket is a peaked construction at the back of a chimney to help prevent snow and ice build-up and to deflect water around the chimney.PIPES AND FANSPipes and fans on the roof should be addressed in the estimate. These are vents that allow air to escape the home from the attic, bathroom, or other household needs. A contractor will indicate how they will treat these during the project. Will they keep the same ones, replace with new pipes or recommend a different type of ventilation or fan.GUTTERSWhen replacing a roof, it is a good time to consider replacing gutters as well. Either on your request or their recommendation, an option for gutter replacement may appear on the estimate. It may specify the length in feet, type of material, the type of construction (seamless, sectional), the size or width in inches and the size of the downspouts that will be used. Gutter estimates may include leaf protection, which is a covering that allows water to flow and keeps leaves and other debris from causing clogs in the gutter and downspouts.SOFFIT & FASCIAOften replacing soffit and fascia will be recommended.Fascia - Connects the roof to the soffit, where gutters are attached.Soffit - Covers the underside of the roof overhang.Both of these play a large part in protecting the structure of the home.PLYWOOD & SHEATHINGUnder all the underlayment, ice & water shield and shingle material is the decking. This is the wood that makes the solid structure of the rooftop. During a roof replacement project, it may be discovered that some of this decking has been damaged and needs to be replaced. A roofing contractor may indicate this expense in different ways. If they see obvious damage they will note that in the estimate and the type of material that will be used. This could be plywood, Luan or other coverings. However, sometimes this damage is hidden until the replacement project has begun. Some contractors will also include the additional costs that may be incurred if a problem is found. WARRANTIESMost roof replacement estimates will mention warranties and guarantees with limitations and for a specific number of years.Manufacturers' warranties usually offer coverage when there is a defect in the roofing material that causes leaks under normal conditions. A manufacturer's coverage will typically cover the cost of replacing the materials, not the labor to do so. They also do not cover replacing the entire roof, just repairing or replacing the defective areas.Manufacturers' warranties often exclude damage due to pre-existing conditions of the roof. If the shingles were installed improperly or the roof structure and gutter design was faulty, coverage may be denied. Many warranties are prorated, meaning the longer the roof is on your home the less coverage you have.Manufacturers may recognize quality professionals that they trust. These contractors may be able to offer additional or extended manufacturers' warranties.Be sure to understand the coverage and limitations of a manufacturer's warranty before using it to make your roofing decisions.While a good warranty to cover defects is important, choosing your roofing contractor is as much so.Manufacturers' warranties do not cover problems arising from installation. This is where a workmanship guarantee comes in.A workmanship guarantee is offered by the contractor and covers all defects related to installation work only. A qualified contractor will know what type of material to use on your roof and how to install it properly, reducing the possibility of roof leakage. Your contractor will also recognize potential problems such as structure, drainage and ventilation issues and address those ahead of time so they won't damage your new shingles in the future. A reputable contractor will offer a labor warranty to cover any issues that may arise for additional peace of mind.When considering your new roof investment, be sure to look at the coverage warranties offer and especially the quality and knowledge of the company installing them.CHOOSING YOUR CONTRACTORAfter reading and understanding the estimates, it is time to make a decision as to who will do the work. Make sure to check out each contractor's qualifications and experience. Online reviews are an excellent source of information.
Flat Roofs and Hail DamageOne of the most important parts of your roofing business marketing strategy is knowing how to price a roofing job. Roofing has traditionally been one of the top paying jobs in the construction industry and therefore you will most likely have the ability to command good prices for your work and materials.In this article we look at a roofing business pricing method and we also offer some tips on estimating roofing prices that are accurate and profitable.Estimating a Roofing Job - Our MethodYou have to do some research into your local roofing business before you can get an accurate idea of market prices. Once you have a fair idea what other roofing contractors are charging then you will have a fair idea of what people are prepared to pay for your services. Talk to some of your competitors on the phone and call some out to bid if you have a suitable roof for them to inspect.Once you get a lead, a good way to start is to sit down with a prospective client and really listen to what they want. Try to get an idea of their budget and any specific requests that they may have. Get a feel for what the customer is prepared to pay. You might decide to go for lower pricing for a family in a working class neighborhood but push the price a little higher for a professional couple in an upper class suburb.Pricing by the square is the method used by most roofers. Under this system one square equals 100 square feet. Start out by taking accurate measurements to get an understanding of the basic size of the roofing job and the volume of materials that will be required. Then you can make adjustments for how difficult the job will be for you and your crew. Take into account the pitch of the roof, height above ground level, the number of obstacles such as chimneys or skylights and any other difficulties associated with the job.Contact your supplier and get an updated price on the shingles and other materials that you will be using. Then you can calculate the total cost of materials.Next, estimate your total labor cost in terms of the man hours that you estimate will be necessary to complete the job. Don't forget to allow for your own time if you will be working on the job yourself.Then you can add an allowance onto each job to take into account the fixed costs that your business has such as depreciation on equipment, vehicle costs, insurance, workers compensation and other expenses. If your company is working on an average of four roofing jobs a month then you would add a quarter of your total monthly expenses or overheads to the price for each roofing installation job.Finally you can add on a suitable amount of profit, make some final adjustments to bring your price a little closer to market rates if need be and finally take the price estimate to the client. Some roofers have a standard markup that they set as a percentage added on top of the total costs and others set profit levels on a case by case basis.How to Price a Roof Job - Tips and IdeasRoofing has its low ballers, or those that try to compete by offering insanely low prices, like any industry does. When you quote a price to a new client they will often respond by mentioning some of the other cheaper bids that they have received. Be ready to counter their argument by letting them know that there is no way that you would be able to do the job for that price and still ensure a quality replacement or installation. Don't criticize your competitors too much in front of a prospect but make it clear that with workers compensation, OSHA requirements, your liability insurance and expenses it would not be possible to do the job professionally and legally for a lower price.Smart customers will also get satisfaction by knowing that your business is a professional company that will be around for the next ten years or so to honor their warranty if need be. Those that charge cut throat prices are usually cowboys that often don't last long in business.Avoid pricing too low. You will be doing damage to your local roofing industry and be resented by other market players. There are many other ways that you can be unique and competitive without focusing on having the lowest price.Pricing too high can also be a mistake unless you can back this up with a solid brand reputation built over many years or first class salesmanship. Your customers will always get multiple bids and if yours is way higher than the others you have to be ready to justify this. The right price point is that one that makes you the highest profit at the end of the day so don't be scared to try pricing at different levels until you find the one that works for you.Don't be tricky with your customers. Contractors in some industries have a reputation for being sharks who are out to gouge as much money from clients as possible. This strategy is only beneficial in the short term and won't win you the referrals that are necessary to build a business in the long term. Set a clear price for the client right from the beginning and resist adding on additional charges. If you do find work that is necessary but not quoted for, such as replacing a rotting timber board on the roof deck, then let the client know beforehand. You can also collect evidence such as photos and receipts to prove to them that you came across necessary repair work and went ahead with it without asking them.Many of your clients will expect a discount or want to negotiate for a lower price. A roofing package is a major purchase and you will leave them with a good feeling if they are under the impression that they got a good deal. Set your prices in a way that will allow you to drop them by five percent if the situation calls for it.