What To Look For In A Roofing Estimate

So, your roof has more holes in it than a whiffle ball. It’s not just leaking; it looks like you have an indoor sprinkler system. It’s turning the inside of your home into the set of Water World. If only Kevin Costner was around to help fix the thing, at least then it would be interesting, rather than just absurdly frustrating. Not to fret, my friends, what you should look for in a roof estimate is exactly what this article is all about.

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Roof Estimate Introduction

Do you know what most roofing contractors have in common with most car mechanics? They realize how clueless we are and try to take advantage of it. Doctors could do the same thing, and maybe they do. But when a doctor tells you your new heart is going to cost you $150,000, you don’t question his or her honesty.

There’s another problem with estimates because even when they aren’t overly inflated in the beginning, they tend to be by the time the project is finished. I’m sure you’ve had this experience. You take your car in to get it fixed and the day you go back for it, the mechanic starts telling you a story like he’s Mark Twain.

Well, we had to use more ramjugglers than we previously thought and when we removed the bufferstraddler, we noticed the noodleganger was just about shot, so we had to replace that, too. You’re lucky; we actually did you a favor.

They know that we can’t tell the difference between a ramjuggler and a noodleganger. Always the same old “sheet”. And roofers can be the same way. (Obviously not us, mind you. And that’s why we’re pulling back the curtain and letting you see the little man tugging on all the levers that makes the Land of Oz run properly.)

At the very least, this kind of practice is dodgy and sketchy. At its worst, it’s downright criminal. And it shouldn’t be like that. Getting a roofing estimate and having it done right ― on time and on budget ― should be stress-free and above board. At least that’s the way we do business.

The Roof Estimate Walkaround

This is the portion of the estimate when a roofing contractor will walk around the outside of your house. Hopefully, he’ll break out his ladder and actually get up on the roof. You might hear him walking around up there, but you have no way of knowing what he’s actually doing. He could be checking his Facebook feed for all you know.

A roofing estimate takes time. The inspection must be done thoroughly and the only way to do that is to invest time in the process. If you visit a doctor and two minutes after you walk into his office he tells you that you need a new heart, how would you react?

Repairing or replacing a roof is serious business. The roof is the most important part of your home. And when repairs are not done right, not only do you waste money, but it can cause more problems and money in the future. So, if you encounter a roofer who spends two minutes walking around your house and never even inspects the roof up close, I’d consider pretending that you don’t speak English. That’ll confuse him enough to leave.



The Roof Estimate in Writing

Always get an estimate in writing. You want to see a breakdown of the shingles, underlayment, and flashing that will be used if replacing these items is part of the job.

The important takeaway is that you want to look at a detailed roof estimate, not a piece of paper with an amount of money written in crayon. What is the cost of cleanup? Are they’re any extras? What is the cost of extra plywood?

And lastly, you want to see a summary of the project details, including the start date, the projected completion date, and who is responsible for what. And just like heart surgeons, it’s not always a good idea to choose the person with the lowest price.

Pro Tip: Always ask yourself, why is the price so low? It could be because the roofer is planning on jacking up the final cost or because he’s not good at his job. If you’re not sure, just ask him why his price is lower than others. And it’s not a bad idea to get a second or third roof estimate if you have a bad feeling about the first roof estimate.

Roof Estimate Communication

Any true professional who is good at his or her job will be a great communicator. Half of professionalism in 2021 is simply about communication. I’m sure you’ve had experiences where a contractor became impossible to reach or seemingly disappeared on you. This is a bad sign.

You deserve status updates on your roof repairs. If something is going to take a little longer, you want a roofer who isn’t afraid to tell you that. You just want to be kept in the loop, no matter what is going on. 

What you really want is someone to be completely transparent, which will eliminate surprises, and these are surprises that aren’t nice, like surprise, your car needs a new engine.

Bonus Tip: Always ask if the roofer or contractor is insured. If you get any answer other than yes, as in some lengthy explanation that sounds like BS, guess what? It’s BS. At the moment, run away. (Except, since it’s your house, you’ll have to chase away the roofer.)


Common Roofing Problems

There will be some common problems that lead you to seek a roof estimate, such as:

  • Missing or damaged shingles: If you replace shingles immediately, it’s a relatively quick and easy process; just don’t let the problem linger.
  • Deteriorating flashing: Flashing is the sealing around your pipes, vents, and chimneys. If it’s not installed correctly or if it starts eroding, it will quickly result in leaking. Again, take care of this as soon as you notice it.
  • Ponding: If you have a flat roof where water pools up instead of draining, you will have a ponding problem. This can cause serious damage to your roof’s integrity.
Roof shingle

At Rapid Restore, the one thing we can promise all of our neighbors in Suffolk and Nassau counties, Long Island, and the Hamptons is that we are always forthright, honest, and transparent. (So, really that’s three things.) We have more satisfied customers than India has people… OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But seriously, if you need a roofing estimate, we’re the folks you should call.

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Picture of Joseph Elshazly
Joseph Elshazly
Joseph Elshazly is the President and Chief Marketing Officer of Rapid Restoration Group. "Skills are cheap, passion is priceless" is the motto he lives by.

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