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This is a sample of what a proposal may look like. I could also ask the contractor to line item these pieces if I think it’s necessary.

If your roof is in bad shape, you may be looking to get some roof estimates so you can replace it. Learn tips for getting great roof estimates and finding the perfect contractor to work with.

As many of you may have noticed, I’ve slowed down the extreme pace of DIY/renovation for a chance to actually enjoy my new home. It’s nice to just relax and get settled in my new place, have friends over for dinner, or even watch a TV show… hooray!

Plus, my partner-in-crime (dad!) is recovering from an injury and I really want to wait for him to feel better before we start working on the house again. I love working on everything with my dad, so continuing without him wouldn’t feel right, or be as much fun. Get well soon dad!!

However, a slower pace doesn’t mean I’m not planning for the future.  So, we decided while he’s healing that I’d work on getting estimates for some work that we’ll need to hire out for, specifically roof replacement and window replacement.

Getting the Best Roof Estimates

Review your Home Inspection Report

My home inspection noted some observations about the roof. The front part of the roof has shingles that are deteriorating a little bit. The back looks better, but still not great, as the shingles are a bit uneven and don’t look like they are staggered properly. The report stated that the roof has the potential to leak of the shingles aren’t replaced.  They really try to scare you in inspection reports. My best advice is to get a professional to look at anything that comes up in the report.

Get a Roof Certification (if necessary)

What I did was hire a roof contractor to take a look at my roof and give me a certification that it was not actively leaking and that it was in sufficient condition that it would last at least 2 more years. Turns out, my contractor didn’t even make me pay him for this, and it really helped to give me peace of mind, as well as pacify my lender and the insurance company underwriter who were concerned about the condition of the roof. So, it was definitely time well spent, and money… well… not-spent. Make sure if you pay someone to come to the house, that you get their results in writing. If you don’t, it will come back to haunt you.

Use a Trusted Contractor

When getting estimates for work on serious parts of your house, like your roof, it’s important to use a trusted contractor. How can you find a trusted contractor?

  • Ask your friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations.
    Most times, if they’ve had a good experience they are delighted to share it, and if they had a bad one, they are even more delighted to tell you how horrible it was. Take this advice to heart, and choose a contractor wisely.
  • Use an Online Database.
    There is also a Home Improvement Consumer Information Database available. Not only can you find specific contractors, but it also gives you information on crimes associated with the business, if they’ve ever had a licence suspended, went bankrupt, etc.  After I get recommendations from my friends and colleagues, I usually will check them out in this database to make sure they are free and clear of any problems.

Get [at least] 3 Estimates

This has always been my dad’s advice. No matter what type of project you are working on, it’s best to get 3 estimates from contractors. This doesn’t mean you have to choose the cheapest or most expensive. It’s good to have a range to determine if something just looks… off. And if it looks off you then have some information so you can ask the contractor about it.  After scrutinizing over every detail of the multiple estimates you get, the rest of the process should go smoothly for you.

Get a Written Contract

Another tip for getting roof estimates is documenting everything on paper. They may be able to measure/estimate things for you right on the spot. DEFINITELY ask them for a written contract. It protects them, as well as you. It also gives you a clear idea of what they are doing, what’s included, and what may have been missed. Make sure they include a start and end date along with their proposal. You can also asked the contractor to itemize the pieces of the contract to better understand their costs. Sometimes they aren’t happy about it, but too bad. Do what you need to do to feel comfortable. If they are giving you a hard time before you’ve even signed a contract, imagine how difficult the process may be when your roof is completely torn off and they decide not to show up, or install drip edges, or proper ventilation? Getting things on paper is key.

Document Every Detail & Take Photos

If things start to go wrong with your contractor, I would also document EVERY detail. Write things down while they are fresh in your mind. Include a date, time, phone number, person you spoke with. If it’s physical damage to your home, such as a leak, include where a leak started happening, take a photo (before you clean up the mess!!!), date it, and file it away. You may be stressed out while it’s happening and not feel like you have time, but it’s important to keep an accurate record for the future.

Wrapping Up

Doing the work to get complete and clear roof estimates from multiple contractors will help you to avoid a disaster later. Start by reviewing your inspection report and making notes of what was written. After this, you may want to ask a trusted contractor to do a roof certification for you. This was required by my mortgage company, but even if it isn’t this will give you some idea of how bad your roof is. Don’t have a trusted contractor yet? Ask friends, family, and coworkers who they would recommend for the job. Don’t forget to check the contractor in an online database to make sure that they have proper insurance and no complaints.  Once you get some names, try to get at least 3 roof estimates and get clearly documented contracts so that it’s easy to compare your options. If you run into problems later, make sure you keep diligent documentation when you remedy the problem. Take photos before and after any repairs have been done. Make sure that you document the date, time, and circumstances. Even write down who you spoke to on the phone. This will save you time and headaches in the future.

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