When you need a new roof or a repair to an old one, you have a roofing job and you need to find someone to do it. Before you ask a roofer to come over and give an estimate, you need to understand the roofing job description you are asking that company to do. If you understand the description, you can compare the estimates and find a roofer that will give you a solid roof repair or replacement.
A roofing estimate should always include a breakdown of materials and the labor involved with the installation. If a roofer provides a single amount that combines all the costs you need to ask for a breakdown. If the roofer refuses, find another roofing contractor. You need to know what you are getting before you give that roofer a deposit and get the work started. Finding out you have the wrong materials or roofer half way through the job can cost a great deal of money.
For this article, the roofing job description will consist of a replacement job on a pitched roof asphalt shingles. For any job, the components are almost always the same.
The Roofing Process
When putting on a new asphalt shingle roof, the process goes something like this:
Remove old roofing materials.
Repair any damage to decking.
Lay down waterproof membranes at eaves and in valleys.
Lay down builder’s felt (tar paper).
Install any flashing.
Do starter row of shingles.
Lay shingles in rows up the roof, integrating skylight membranes and pipe vent boots along the way.
Top off the roof with a ridge vent and shingles.
Clean-up the site.
When you are getting estimates for your roofing replacement, you need to keep this process in mind.
When you get an estimate from a roofer that does not include a breakdown, this is a major red flag. In order to save money on the job, a roofer will often substitute lower cost shingles and underlayment materials. That is why a breakdown is critical. Here are some things to consider:
Waterproof membrane is a must in valleys and along eaves, especially in cold climates.
Flashing is necessary around chimneys and walls coming up out of the roof.
Pipe vent boots are not optional.
Tar paper, also known as builder’s felt, offers good protection to the deck.
Make sure the roofing material is of good quality. Cheap shingles will break down quicker than quality ones.
Do not let a contractor cheap out on materials.
Most roofing contractors have crews that normally work together. The crew can consists of a master roofer, one or two journeyman roofers, a couple of roofing apprentices, and general laborers.
The master roofer may be the owner of the company and may not be on site all the time.
The journeymen are experienced roofers with three or more years of experience.
The apprentices are usually less than two or three years on the job, but learning the trade. They can also function as general labor on small jobs.
General laborers do the unskilled work like cleaning, lifting, and hauling materials.
Depending on the size of a roof, most crews will number between three and eight men. While an estimate will not detail the crew members, knowing the make-up of a crew will tell you something about the company.
The details of the roofing job description make all the difference the quality of the results.
Make sure clean-up is part of the estimate.
Triple check the roofing materials being used are in the style and color you want.
Deck repairs may end up higher than estimated once the roof is off. Build in a bit extra for cushion.
Keep communications open with the roofing contractor.
Keeping all of this in mind, you’ll be ready to call a roofing contractor and be sure you’re getting everything you need, and nothing you don’t!