When you call a roofing company because something’s wrong with your roof, you’ll most likely receive an estimate. Your estimate should include a significant amount of information so you can make the right decision about roof work on your home or business. However, many contractors submit estimates that don’t contain enough detail, or that fail to clearly outline the scope of work necessary, which prevents people from making the right choices. This guide explains what to expect from a roofing estimate, so you know what you’re looking at when you receive one.
What to Expect From a Roofing Estimate
A reputable roofing company will provide you with plenty of information on a roofing estimate. An estimate isn’t always reflective of the exact final price that you’ll pay, but it’s based on all the information the estimator has at the time. Even a basic roofing estimate should include the following six elements:
- Company contact information
- A complete description of the work to be performed
- A start date and completion date
- List of materials the roofer will use
- Your total cost (including tear-off, labor, materials and other costs)
- Warranty information
Here’s a closer look at each.
Element #1 of a Roofing Estimate: Company Contact Information
You can tell whether an estimate is professional or not simply by looking at its layout. Company contact information is the most basic information any estimate should have, including direct contact information for the person you’ll primarily deal with at the roofing company. That way, there’s never any question about how to get in touch with the person you need to talk to about your project.
Related: All about roof replacement
Element #2 of a Roofing Estimate: A Complete Description of the Work to Be Performed
A solid estimate includes a complete description of the work that the roofing company will perform for you. Whether you’re having an entire roof removed and replaced or you simply need new flashing around your chimney and a few new shingles, there should be a full description so both parties know exactly what to expect from the project.
Your estimate should also include information about the tear-off of the old roof, if applicable, and who is responsible for removing the debris left over after the work is done.
Element #3 of a Roofing Estimate: A Start Date and Completion Date
Though there is usually some flexibility in start and completion dates for roofing projects thanks to unforeseeable circumstances, your estimate should include an approximate start date and completion date. This lets you know how long the project will last so you can plan your life around it.
Element #4 of a Roofing Estimate: A List of Materials the Roofing Company Will Use
The materials you choose will affect your bottom line, so they should all be included in your estimate. Whether you are picking out designer shingles, roof tiles or another type of roofing, a good estimate will specify exactly what you’ve chosen. It will also include a list of the materials necessary to get the job done, such as underlayment, wood and fasteners.
Related: Could maintaining your roof now save you money over time?
Element #5 of a Roofing Estimate: Your Total Cost
A good estimate will include a ballpark range of your total cost. That includes labor, materials and other costs, such as the rental of a dumpster to remove an old roof and cart debris away from your property.
Although your total cost may end up changing a bit, an estimate should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re likely to spend. (Naturally, if you choose different materials or change the scope of the project, your costs will change as well.)
Element #6 of a Roofing Estimate: Warranty Information
Many roofing materials come with warranties, and if those that you have chosen fall into that category, you should see warranty information in your estimate. The information should include what’s covered by the warranty and how long your warranty will last.
When is it Time to Get a Roofing Estimate?
If you know your roof is damaged or old, it’s time to get a roofing estimate. Typically, that starts with a free roof inspection. Your inspector will climb up on your roof and check out every square inch to locate issues or trouble spots. If your inspector finds anything that you need to repair or replace, they’ll let you know.
Signs of Roof Damage You Can’t Afford to Ignore
- Water damage
- A sagging roof
- Damaged, bald or missing shingles
- Dark spots on your roof
- Shingle granules in your gutters
- Exposed nail heads
- Damaged or missing flashing
- Increasing energy bills for no clear reason
Here’s a closer look at each.
Water damage never gets better with time. In fact, it can get a lot worse very quickly. If you see signs of water damage, such as stained ceilings or walls, mold or mildew growth in your attic, or an active water leak, you need roof repairs immediately.
Related: Warning signs of an aging and failing roof
If you stand at the street and look at your home, your roof lines should be straight. If it appears to be sagging in any area, you most likely need roof repairs. A sagging roof can spell disaster because it means your roofing materials are failing.
Damaged, Bald or Missing Shingles
Your shingles should be in reasonably good condition so they can protect your home from the elements. However, if your shingles are damaged, bald or missing, they need to be replaced. (Bald shingles are those that are missing the tiny granules that help them shed water. We call them bald because they have empty patches where the granules should be; shingles like this look like they have bald spots.)
Dark Spots on Your Roof
Dark spots on your roof are a sign that you have mildew growing there. Although mildew in itself is not necessarily harmful to your roofing materials, it means that moisture is building up in the area.
Related: How to choose a reputable roofing company
Shingle Granules in Your Gutters
If you find tiny shingle granules in your gutters, near your downspout, or on the ground near your home, it’s a sign that your shingles are starting to fail. They need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Exposed Nail Heads
You shouldn’t be able to see exposed fasteners on your roof. All the fasteners should be covered so they are protected from water. If you do see exposed nail heads, you need roof repairs.
Damaged or Missing Flashing
Flashing is the material used around things that stick out from your roof, such as your chimney or your skylights. Flashing helps keep moisture out, but when it’s damaged, it can’t do its job.
Increasing Energy Bills for No Clear Reason
If your energy bills are skyrocketing and you haven’t used your air conditioner or heater more than you normally do at this time of year, it could be a sign that your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. That’s because a failing roof doesn’t help regulate the temperature inside your home or business.
Do You Need to Get a Roof Estimate?
Now that you know what to expect from a roof estimate, let us give you one. Call our office or contact us online to schedule a free roof inspection with an experienced inspector who can scour your roof for damage. We’ll be happy to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.