If the time has come to replace your roof, then one of the smartest things that you can do is receive estimates from multiple roofing contractors. Roof replacement is a complicated and expensive job, so it makes sense to collect a few competing bids before you move forward with the work. This process is not as simple as looking at a few estimates and choosing the lowest one, however. Different contractors take different approaches, and this variation can make an apples-to-apples comparison between bids difficult. Keep these tips in mind as you speak with contractors and make your final decision.
A Visual Check Won't Reveal Everything
Many roofers will want to get onto your roof to conduct a detailed visual inspection before providing you with a final estimate. This type of assessment is an excellent way to determine the overall condition of your roof, but it isn't fool-proof. While problems with a roof's decking can sometimes be apparent just from looking at the shingles, other decking issues only become evident once removal of the shingles and underlayment is complete. Some roofers choose to roll decking repair into their estimate based on the age of a roof even if they do not spot any problems since this type of work often becomes necessary once the replacement is underway. Be sure that any roofers you speak with clarify whether decking repair estimates are included in their estimate.
Not All Roofers Replace Flashing
Your roof's flashing is used to cover up joints and direct water away from vulnerable areas where it can make its way under the top layer of the roof. Most flashing is made from metal plates, so it tends to last much longer than other elements of the roof. Since flashing is durable, some roofers choose to remove and then reuse it during a roof replacement while other roofers will purchase and install new flashing. The material cost difference is usually not huge, but it can be enough to lead to some variation between estimates.
Complexity and Accessibility Matter
Does your roof have an unusual shape? Is your home unusually high, or is your roof especially challenging to reach for other reasons? Most contractors will take these factors into account when providing your initial estimate. Installing new shingles and underlayment on complex roofs requires more time and effort, so it can drive your costs up significantly. Contractors who submit drastically lower estimates may not be taking these factors into consideration. To ensure that you are getting the most accurate estimates possible, make sure that you ask each contractor about the impact that the slope, complexity, and accessibility of your roof will have on your final cost.