Sunday, November 27, 2005

Planning for a New Roof

I have no experience in these matters, so I'm turning to my readers in the hope that you can offer some advice!

I've been told that it's about time to replace our home's roof. I don't know how old it is; we've been in this home for almost 10 years and this roof is the one that "came with the house" back then.

Anyway, I got a reference from a coworker, and called the guy he recommended. Below is his estimate and the accompanying text:

Remove 2 layers of old roofing. Check over all deck; replace up to 1 square if needed. Renail any loose deck. Install new valleys. Plumb vents. Install new dryer vent and 2 attic vents. Install 30-pound felt paper. Recover with 30-year laminated shingle. 3-tab ridge caps. Paint all vents to match roof. Remove all trash. Keep job clean. 7 year warranty on labor. TOTAL: $3300

Frankly, this amount is less than I was figuring on. The house itself is ~1200 sq. feet, one-story. Anything I need to look out for? Does this seem like a fair price? Any comments or guidance at all?

— Posted by Michael @ 3:11 PM


I'd recommend that you put "architectural" shingles on. 3 tab is the low end type roofing. You'll get a longer life with architectural as well. Price seems fairly reasonable. Whenever I have work done, I get a minimum of 3 bids and I make sure that they all know that I'm getting bids and then will decide from there. That keeps the pressure on them to keep their price down. If they think you aren't getting any other bids, I guarantee the price will be higher.



Make sure your roofer has appropriate licenses for your state. In California, for example, I believe the firm should have a current contractor's license for his specialty, property damage insurance (or a bond equivalent), workman's compensation for injuries, etc. Make sure they are in good standing with the state contractor's licensing board. This means you must check with the board to verify the license number and standing. Finally, get references and see some of their work. I had a situation where I was new at all of this and I came close to hiring a roofer only to learn that he had a suspended license and two judgments against him (for which he needed to make payments on). His references checked out, but there was no way I was going to enter into a contract with him. When you are dealing with someone who is going to do the work, make sure they are fully qualified and problem free. I recommend that you also find out the suppliers of the material so that you can confirm the creditworthiness of your roofer. You may also want to pay the suppliers directly to avoid problems of liens.


Is it "about time" chronologically? or due to actual current wear and tear level? As long as the current roof is still functioning and not causing an damage (like by letting moisture in) you might as well wait until you need to get it done, just set aside the money now ;)

When we bought our house the inspector said the roof would need replacing in about 1-3 yrs. About 9 months later we sprung a small leak so obviously we replaced it ASAP.

My point is, only replace the roof if you need to (I'm not saying wait for a leak though) and not only because an average roof lifespan (for your type of roof) has passed.

Just my 2c and maybe not even relevant to your situation, just thought I'd mention it.


You might be able to determine the age of the roof by checking your local city hall.

Many areas require a contractor to file a permit for roof work (probably to check that they have workmen's comp).


Cross check with other roofers please.Also try to get the confirmed information on the existing roof if it can withstand wear and tear for few more years.You can keep aside the provisions to be made for roofing.But there is no need to hurry.


Did he actually see your roof, or did he give you that estimate based on your description? Sometimes the pitch of a roof can make the price higher. I would also make sure that you and he are on the same page regarding "clean-up". I've seen people with yards full of nails after having their roof done.

I would also get the very best shingles you can afford, and make sure you have a building permit and the guy is licensed. Also check with the BBB and check at least one reference. Also, make him sign a contract stating the start and completion date and when he will be paid in full (upon completion of a mutually satisfactory job).


Thanks for all the great advice!

I am updated the insurance coverage on our house. (This will save me ~$400 per year on my homeowner's insurance.) In order for this to happen, the ins. co. sent out an inspector, and the inspector says the new policy cannot be written until the roof is replaced. Visually, to my eye, the north-facing side does appear wind-worn.

The estimate was given upon a visual inspection of, and tromping-around-on, the roof.


I just replaced a roof myself. Well not really, I had a company do it. Went with Landmark 30 (algea resistent). 3 layer tear off and 5 sheets of plywood were replaced as well. I was happy with job for the price at $4,800. Company I chose did the most thorough on site bid, had the most reading material, and had the most choice in shingles. Hate to say it was the cheapest too, but it was. Usually you get what you pay for, but it worked out this time. Flashings are what messed up the prior roof, so make sure you quiz them on these.

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