New roof - how to evaluate estimates?

Hello all -
I've got an old house in Connecticut which needs a new roof.
It currently has at least 3 layers of old shingles on it, which includes the original wood shingles over (what I guess are called) batten strips on the rafters.
Reconstruction will involve: - stripping off old layers of roofing down to the rafters - installation of plywood sheathing and underlayment - new shingles - new trim
I will be getting estimates, but need some help as to pricing.
In the northeast, when a roofer gives a price, how is that done? By "the square"? (which I -assume- is 10'x10', is that right?)
I know it's impossible to give an exact price without seein the job involved, but could anyone offer ballpark or baseline prices per square?
Thanks, - John
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Make sure estimates are based on exactly the same work. Shingle quality, flashing items, deck repair at least. T
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John Albert wrote:

Well, you are asking one question in the header, and another in the body. If you want to evaluate the estimates, then you would write up a scope of work which you give to each contractor for them to bid on. Then you get references from each one. Look at the previous work that they did and ask the references about them. Throw away the lowest bid and then choose from the rest according to price and your trust level in their work history.
If you want to know how much it is going to cost, then I would say about $20 per square for tear off, 1.00 per sf for decking (1/2" OSB, and about 75 to 100 bucks a square for 30 or 40 year architectural shingles (that price includes all "trim").
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Hey Robert -
We are a good distance apart, as I am in WI. I just want to ask a couple of questions, out of curiosity.
Here, a roofer would typically charge $25 per square PER LAYER of tear off. Can you actually get a 3-layer tear off done for $20 / square?
Also, roofers generally charge $65 - $100 per square for installation here, but that wouldn't include the cost of the shingles. Just by the wording of your post, it seems that your numbers might have included materials.
Just wondering.
JK
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Big_Jake wrote:

I have to pay about 15 bucks a square for tearoff, 18 to 20 for 2 or more layers. Put back on runs about 35 bucks with increases for steep roofs, cut up roofs, etc. So I charge (as a GC) about 130 per square for everything for 25 year, and up from there. It is higher if it is an insurance job, which is what I do mostly.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Before talking to any roofers, sit down with a competent architect and draw up some specifications. It is vital to define the work since you will be paying for something you expect to last many years. Some pitfalls in your area, for example, are ice dams which can seriously affect OSB sheathing. That will affect the price since plywood would be preferred. You may want to consider metal roofing, long popular in the NE and very durable, although somewhat pricey. Take your time, get as much help as the budget will permit and don't get stampeded by bargain roofing...in the trade, there ain't no sech thing. Good luck.
Joe
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You are off to a good start knowing the amount of work to be done. Be sure that all the roofers are quoting at least the minimum specifications to do the job right.

No. You buy shingles by the square, but putting on a new roof involves much more work than just nailing down the shingles. There are ridge lines, valleys, dormers, flashings, ice dams, pitch, gutters, sheathing, scaffolding, and a bunch of other stuff to consider. It is also not possible to see the condition of the deck. Competent roofers will specifiy "it will cost $X.xx per square foot of deck if it needs replacing."
Talk to at least two or three reputable roofers that have done work in your area. If it is a complex job, you don't want the guy that owns a 20 year old pickup, a hammer, and a ladder. That may be fine for the garage, not for a complex job.

No chance. In the past few years I've replaced about 60,000 square feet of roof and have another 15,000 foot project to get started. The cost difference and specifications for each varies to much to ball park. You may be $10,000 or $20,000 or more. On one job, I had bids ranging from $110,000 to $154,000 for the same job. (I gave it to the guy that was $145k because of his reputation and details of his quote)
Read the details of the quote carefully. When I had a metal built up roof being replaced, one guy quoted how much it would cost to replace any wood sheathing. Since there was none involved, I judged him to be incompetent for the job. Another offered to tear off only part of the layers but I could see deck damage from the inside and he should have too. He was not considered.
If you are in the eastern part of the state, I'd recommend starting with M Weisman Roofing in Rhode Island. 401-737-1940 http://www.weismanroofing.com/
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One area you can get taken on is chimney flashing, cheaply done and sure to not last is it is caulked to the chimney, best is copper and recessed into cuts into chimney mortar, mortared then caulk. Ive also had roofers try to not replace rotted wood, sneak up a cheaper grade rubber roofing use the wrong nails and leave a mess. Also consider your venting issue seriously, since the old construction allowed air to breathe and sheeting closes that up a bit, a few more vents cant hurt if its an open attic.
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"John Albert" wrote

I'll add to what the others said. Had my 1100 square foot house done, about 50% of the plywood replaced, in 2001. I live south of you and ice dams are not an issue.
It was 5,500$ as part of a package deal that included siding so was cheaper due to that. I have also a large garage and a huge back porch which would have added at least another 200 square feet. (The siding was a separate price, not part of that 5,500$).
A key item was how much each piece of plywood would run. I recall that was 70$ per panel and 150$ labor. I do not have a bunch of fancy dormers to work around but do have a fireplace. The gutter work was part of the siding job so not added in here. I had 2 layers of tiles to remove.
Roof looks great. Neighbors who waited are paying 40k and up now for the same job, due to waiting too long so rafters now damaged and they too have to be replaced.
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"trim" is called roof edge. You will also want to spec ice and water shield. Also, whether chimney flashing is to be replaced. Also, a grade of shingles, just for comparison sake (30 year would be a good middle of the road). Also, venting if any.
The best specs in the world won't help you if you get a hack. To me the number one priority is getting someone good. Ask around--nothing like word of mouth.
Although roofers speak in terms of squares, most roofers will bid by the job.
I just had an 11 square roof torn off and replaced for $4,400. It is two story 12/12. It was a hail damage job, so that was the amount the insurance company allowed.
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<< I just had an 11 square roof torn off and replaced for $4,400. It is two story 12/12. It was a hail damage job, so that was the amount the insurance company allowed. >>
The house I need the roof done on is a smallish rectangular 2-story (1500 sq. ft. total). It has a single gable roof, no dormers. One small "bay" on the side. A "lean to" type back porch roof. And a standalone 1-car garage with a peaked gable roof.
Only had one person look at it so far, before I could mention it to him he came back down from taking measurements and mentioned loose bricks on the chimney (which I knew I had). He did say he'd get that fixed, copper sheathing 'round the chimney, etc. I expect to hear back from him soon....
- John
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Also despends on what quality (price) roof you want. After a hail storm about 8 years ago I looked and looked. Would have liked tile but clay tile was too heavy. Cement tile too brittle. Didn't want shake. Then a guy came along with the Gerard metal roof.
http://www.gerardusa.com /
Still looks like new. However, from what I heard recently the cost of metal roofs has gone way up.
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John Albert wrote:

In your estimates, I'd also have a regular GC, versus just a roofing contractor, look at it. If the roof system is down to the bare bones anyway, that is an ideal time to do any needed structural repairs, upgrades. or modifications. A roofing contractor will just want to slap OSB over the skip sheathing, and will not likely have any interest (or the skill set) to make the eaves, fascia, and gables look right, and maybe vent right. They ain't carpenters. Not a slam at roofers in general, but I have seen some real fubars out there. I had a reputable roofer do my place, and even they screwed up some stuff, like the vent cans. Be aware that the tearoff will likely cost as much as the new roof- that is nasty work even without a deck change. Make sure whoever does the work has more than enough tarps on site to tent the whole thing if rain starts moving in. Plan on parking in street for several days- they will spot that 10-yard rolloff right in front of the garage. Make sure the cars are out of garage before that happens. :^)
Not sure what usual practice is in NE- here in great lakes, it is bid as a package price for the job, with the usual caveats about hidden damage not found till the roof is opened up. You can swag numbers based on how many squares, roof pitch, how far off ground, ease of access, etc, when you are trying to get them on site for the real estimate. (I had to talk to 3-4 companies before one sent out somebody that actually used a hammer, versus a damn salesman with slick brochures. Once we established that I actually knew what I was talking about, from having grown up in the business, we got along fine.)
aem sends...
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John Albert wrote:

Here in Florida, the bids I have seeen are rather general. Each step of the process and each product should be stated specifically.......deck, underlayment, shingles, drip edge, fascia (if applicable), disposal and CLEAN-UP. Ours was a reroof, and the deck was estimated at a dollar amount per sheet. I also have run across lien release, in regard to payment made by the contractor before work begins to make sure you aren't liable if he doesn't pay his supplier.
It would be good if you have a neighbor with a similar roof who has experience and can rec. a contractor. I have seen contractors advertise the use of a magnet thingy to make sure all nails are picked up when it is all done. We didn't have nails left around ....just lots of chunks of old concrete roof tiles. They don't do the mower much good. If fascia or edging need work, I would sure do it before the roofing if it will interfere with drip edges by doing it later.
That is all I know about roofing :o) Mfg. websites have good info about installation, which is the basic minimum any homeowner should know in advance so's you can discuss intelligently and make sure the job is done right. I would also be there every minute that they are working.
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Something I forgot to mention, the brand of shingle is not that important amongst the major brands. They re all similar in the 20 year line, the 30 ear line etc. Certaineed, Owens Corning, GAF, Bird, etc all make a good and reliable product. Roofing companies may prefer one brand over another only because they have a good working relationship with the wholesaler.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Some companies, I believe, have "certified" contractors whom they refer to. We had a similar situation with a paint company when our condo was painted. Perhaps it isn't for single-family homeowners, but I was impressed. The paint company rep came out to inspect the building after the prep was done, and again when the job was complete. We were very fortunate in having the paint contractor that we had, as it was a tough job and the results were great.
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More than likely, most estimates should be in a similar range.
What you're really looking for is reputation Reputation REPUTATION !
I don't mind paying the $$$ as long as the job's done right !

<rj>
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Another idea against a hack job is pull a permit and get the inspector out during the job to be sure its being done right, this is their job to be sure the job is done right, also call his insurance broker dont just accept his insurance papers they can be forged or expired,[ I had a guy forge his]. In the contract have Full Payment After City Inspection. You would be amazed at what can be missed on purpose by the roofer.
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clipped

Good idea, but inspections probably vary wildly. We had a really, really bad reroof of our condo. Loads of shingles not nailed properly. When I got records on the permit, the work passed inspection but one worker had expired license. The SAME imspector inspected seawall work three years later ...... 13 tiebacks with new concrete anchors for the seawall. The inspector "red tagged" the work because there was water in the holes when he inspected. Now, we have two high tides on most days so it was irrelevant. Contractor couldn't work the following day, and it was mid-morning the next day when he showed up. Probably had more to do with race than any aspect of the work.
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