The anatomy of a roofing estimate

September 30, 2022

The anatomy of a roofing estimate

Have you ever wondered how the cost of a roofing estimate is calculated? Roof replacement is a costly endeavor, so it’s best for you to understand as much about the process as possible. If you know what to look for in a roofing estimate, you can prevent misunderstandings, confusion, and headaches down the road. Here’s a look at the components of a roofing estimate.

How labor is included in a roofing estimate

Roofing estimates can be constructed one of two ways, either with the labor factored into every line item in the estimate or as a separate line item. Either way, you’ll want to take a close look at labor costs, as they can vary greatly from contractor to contractor. Materials, on the other hand, are going to cost the same if you’re comparing apples to apples.

Removing the old roof

How many layers of existing roof the contractor plans to remove plays a big role in your estimate. For example, if the contractor plans to remove one layer of shingles, but two layers need to be removed, the cost will increase. That’s why it’s important to confirm how many layers need to be removed. Otherwise, a contractor could claim there’s only one layer to be removed, in an effort to submit the lowest bid, and then charge you more later. Make sure to choose a reputable contractor who will be upfront and honest with you about all aspects of your estimate.

Property protection

A good contractor will leave your property better than they found it. A good roofing estimate explains how they will do that, including safeguarding your property’s landscaping and amenities, such as swimming pools. 

Decking replacement

There’s no way for a contractor to know if your roof’s decking is rotten and in need of replacement. However, your estimate should include a line item stating how much it would cost per sheet of decking if needed. Sometimes, contractors include replacing decking in the estimate regardless, meaning you pay for the new decking whether they use it or not. Be sure to ask how decking is handled when talking over the estimate with the contractor.

Roof system components

Every roof system component that needs to be replaced should be included in the roofing estimate, including but not limited to:

Underlayment: The estimate should be specific on the size, type, and manufacturer of the underlayment—or protective felt—used on top of the decking.

Ice and water shield: The estimate should state what type of waterproof membrane will be used to prevent ice and water damage to your roof’s valleys.

Starter shingles: The estimate should include the manufacturer of starter shingles and whether or not they’ll be installed on both the rakes and the eaves of your roof. 

Shingles: The estimate should specify every aspect of the shingles used on your roof, including style, color, and manufacturer.

Ridge capping: The estimate should note which material and manufacturer will be used for ridge capping—the trim installed at the peak where the two slopes of a roof meet.

Note: Many roofing contractors cut up three-tab shingles for starter shingles and ridge capping in an effort to reduce costs, so the estimate won’t include line items for either.

Other roofing components

Other roofing components that should be included in an estimate are ventilation systems, pipe boots and roof flashing. You’ll need to choose if you want active vents that move air or passive vents that allow air to be moved by wind. The color, style, and number of vents should be included in the estimate. Your estimate should also state how much flashing and how many pipe boots are needed. If existing flashing is in good condition, it can be reused, but the estimate should include what type of flashing will be used if it’s needed.

Clean up fees

How will all the debris be cleaned up and disposed of? What is the cost of labor associated with that process? All of that information should be included in the estimate.

Warranty information

The estimate should state your warranty options. For example, Keyprime offers a unique True Lifetime Warranty™ that covers both the materials and workmanship. Learn more here.

Deadline for you

The estimate you receive should include a deadline for you to act on it. Roofing material costs change, so the price of your job will change if you don’t accept the proposal in a timely manner. Usually, estimates are good for 90 days. If you decide to sign a contract after that point, it will be updated with the new material prices.

Deadline for the contractor

The estimate should include a projected start and completion date to ensure that your project is completed in a timely manner. Project dates should line up with the amount of work included in the project description. It’s best to have details like this in writing.

Your right to rescission

Minnesota law states you have three days after signing a contract to back out of it. This is called the right of rescission, and it should be included in the estimate. Make sure there is no fine print that states you are required to pay anything if you back out of the contract.

Reviewing the estimate

A reputable contractor will review the estimate, explain it, and answer any questions you have, line item by line item. We can’t speak for other contractors, but that’s how we do business at Keyprime. It’s important for you to understand exactly what will be done to your roof and how much it will cost. That’s what we believe and that’s how we will treat you when you trust us with your project. 

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