Oftentimes, homeowners see a leak, small hole, or other seemingly “small” repair job and get “sticker shock” when presented with the repair estimate. The average layperson will look at what looks like an easy repair and think, “Why should such a small problem cost so much to repair, all you do is get those little rectangle tile-thingy’s and paste them back together with that black, glue stuff right? How hard could it be? It’s not like it’s a machine with parts that wear out or even a computer with parts that burnout or die! It’s a roof, it shouldn’t cost that much! This is where the reality of a roofs complexity comes in.
Although it isn’t as complex as say, a modern car or rocket, a roof system is comprised of many different components that work together to protect your home from the elements. Having the expertise in knowing how these components work together and being able to repair them so they work correctly is crucial. Obviously hiring a professional is best in even the seemingly smallest repairs as in many cases these could indicate a larger problem that only an expert can identify. Having said that, when you are presented with the estimate, knowing what goes into it can help alleviate some of the confusion if it seems higher than it should.
Consider what goes into an estimate:
Along with everything else, material costs have been on the rise. In the past several years shingle costs have more than doubled. This is partly due to increasing oil costs and increased use of highway asphalt which depletes supply. Even materials that don’t use oil such as wood and basic components such as nails have risen and show no signs of going down. Even costs for disposing of the old materials have risen. Contractors generally have little control over these costs and they are simply the cost of homeownership.
Calculating labor costs is directly related to the effort it takes to repair or install the roof properly. Having a knowledgeable, experienced, roofing crew is not cheap. To maintain a consistent level of customer satisfaction and overall quality of service, hiring the best you can find requires paying more than entry-level wages. Hiring cheap laborers can have dire consequences as even the best materials are only as good as their installation. A poor repair or installation can lead to leaks, poor ventilation, even structural collapse. Basing your decision on labor costs, looking for the cheapest, is generally a bad idea, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
We don’t mean insurance for the roof itself for this instance but the insurance your contractor has to cover his employees and materials should something go wrong. Generally, the lowest bidder won’t carry comprehensive liability and/or decent workmen’s compensation insurance allowing them to undercut other bids by hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. However, this opens you, the homeowner, up to potential lawsuits and increased costs should an accident occur. It’s in your best interest to go with the higher bid that can provide proof of insurance to ensure they are properly covered and you are protected.
When the time comes to have your roof repaired and you are presented with the estimate, remember, there is much more to repairing a roof than simply plugging up the whole, get the job done right and consider the price vs quality aspects intelligently so you can have the piece of mind knowing it is money well spent.