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How to Gather and Compare Roofing Quotes

By Karen L Edwards

September 27, 2017

A contractor inspects a house's roof.

Your roof protects you and your home from the outside elements. And while a quality roof may provide this protection for many years, unfortunately, no roof lasts forever.

If your roof is in need of repair or replacement, it's time to gather a few roofing quotes to get started. Neglecting to fix your roof can lead to water damage and pest intrusion, among other challenges.

If you haven't gone through this process before, it can feel overwhelming. To help you feel confident and in control of this situation, here are some tips for how to find reputable contractors, gather quotes, and choose between the available options.

Finding Roofing Contractors

Choosing the right roofing contractor is essential. They'll be performing important (and potentially expensive) work, so it's crucial you find a professional you feel comfortable working with.

Recommendations and referrals play a key role here. You might also research local contractors online. Review each contractor's industry and manufacturer certifications, and verify that they're licensed (if required in your state). It can also be helpful to assess their reputation and read customer reviews.

As a general rule, it's best to contact more than one contractor. This will ensure you're able to secure at least two different estimates to compare before making your decision.

Gathering Roofing Quotes

Once you've contacted a contractor and requested an estimate for the work needed, don't be surprised if they respond with a quote quickly (or even on the same day). Thanks to modern technologies, roofing professionals don't necessarily need to visit a property to prepare an accurate roofing estimate. In fact, many roofing companies rely on tools that combine high-resolution aerial imagery with 3D modeling to develop precise estimates for the job.

Reviewing Roofing Estimates

You can expect each roofing quote to give you a line-by-line cost for every step of the job, including labor for removing the old roof and associated disposal fees, labor for installing the new roof, related material costs, cleanup costs, and any permitting fees if required in your area.

Estimates often vary from contractor to contractor, so pay attention to the differences. Some contractors will present "good, better, best" options, representing three different tiers of roofing systems. Manufacturers' warranty costs can also play a factor in price differences. Additionally, your roof's size and pitch can affect the cost. The more complicated the roof, the greater the safety costs may be. Plus, crews often receive extra money for working on steeper roofs.

Many factors go into a roofing estimate, so be sure you're looking at comparable roofing systems and materials when comparing quotes. Remember that the lowest bid isn't always the right roofing system or contractor for your home. You want to choose the system that will perform the best for your home based on your climate and unique weather challenges. Similarly, you'll want to choose the contractor you feel most comfortable working with based on your research and your experience during the quoting process.

Understanding Change Orders

Keep in mind that a roofing estimate is just that—an estimate of costs to give you an idea of what the project should cost. Removing a roof can sometimes uncover other problems that may need to be addressed.

For instance, if your roof has more than one layer of shingles, that can lead to additional removal and disposal costs. In some cases, parts of the plywood deck may need to be repaired or replaced, which is an issue that may not be apparent until the contractor uncovers the deck.

If your contractor discovers additional work or repairs are needed, they'll provide a change order for the job. This document will detail the work to be done, the materials needed, and the costs involved, giving you a more accurate understanding of the total price.

Choosing Your Contractor

Ready to get started? Now that you understand the process of obtaining roofing quotes, the next step is to contact a local GAF-certified contractor*.


*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products. Your dealings with a Contractor, and any services they provide to you, are subject to the GAF Contractor Terms of Use.

About the Author

Karen L. Edwards is a freelance writer for the construction industry and has a passion for roofing, having worked in the industry for 20 years.

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