What Information Should Be in a Roofing Estimate?

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Subject: Roofing Contract

Dear Angie,
I am currently under construction doing home improvements. One of the items in my contract is to have a new roof put on my garage. My contractor is behind schedule, but that's the least of my worries. The contract was written as a one pager general contract with a calendar of payment and work schedule. When asked when the facia will be complete, in his answer, he excluded the facia adjacent to my neighbor's property. I asked what about the back side of the garage and he told me that he wasn't planning to replace that facia. With the amount of termite damage it was a no brainer on my behalf to think that if you are replacing the facia on the other 3 sides one would think the 4th side would be done too. He is now telling me that he didn't figure that into the estimate. With that being said, and knowing how vague (in hind sight) a general contract is, does this give him cause to charge me more to do the facia on the back side of the garage? In his general contract he did not specify that only 3 sides of the structure's facia would be replaced.

Anita Spencer

Subject: contract signed but work never done

I called 4 roofing companies last summer in the Buffalo, NY area to get estimates on a new garage roof. It would be a complete tear off since the bottom layer is shake shingles. Out of the four only two companies actually came to the house and sent me written estimates. The one company I went with was referred to me by a co-worker and was the lower of the two. $2400.00 compared to $3300.00, after signing the contract and sending it backing I checked to make sure they received it and was told they did and someone would bring out the shingle samples for me to pick a choice of color. They finally did that and I notified them of my choice and asked when they would be coming to do the job and was told someone else would be giving me a call. Never did anyone call and schedule with me, but I kept calling with the last call in November of 2015. Still no one has called not even to pick up the samples. I don't recall any clause about canceling the contract, but I can take it out again and read it over. How long would someone typically wait to have work done though once a contract has been signed ?

Scott Adamson

Subject: Work Never Done

Not sure about NY but here in Arizona we typically have the roof done within 2 weeks of signing the contract.

Did you give them any money? If so you should complain! In Arizona we have the Registrar of Contractors that handles issues like this.

In Ny I think it's the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Good luck!



Subject: Roof problems

In 2011 we had damage to our roof due to storm damage. Our insurance company agreed to replace our roof and we used one of their approved contractors. However, just 3 months after the roof replacement we had another leak. Called the contractor he sent someone out to look at it and repair. It did fix that area however 6 months down the road another new leak and this has been going on ever since. Frustrated I called the insurance company and basically was told nothing they could do. Really??? I was always under the impression of you use one of their approved contractors they stand behind the work. Not the case. So now we have basically got to pay out of pocket to get the issue resolved. However, as most people are we are financially challenged at this time and well I'm concerned if this is not fixed soon it's going to create major damage or fear that it could cause harm to us. As one of the leaks is near a light fixture and this was not a problem before the new roof. So folks be aware that insurance will not help you and always check out the contractor even if insurance approved.


Subject: contractor bid

We received the first big on roofing for a small porch. The bid came in and he wants all the materials and half of the labor up front with no scheduled date to do the job. Is this reasonable?

Ryan haynes

Subject: Up front payments

I am not sure where you live but I would recommend that you check with the appropriate contractorslicence board for your state. There are provisions for how much of a deposit a contractor is alowed to ask for.
Here in California it is %10 or $1000 which ever is less. Money's should never be handed over with out a proper contract and estimed or confirmed start date spelled out in such contract. Deposits and payment schedules should be spelled out in such contracts.A lic contractor is bonded in California as a state requirement. This gives added protection something to go after if he defaults.
Be very scared of anyone who asks for more than this up front

Jay Pollack

Subject: Deposits?

For a project this small, I am surprised that he is asking for ANY deposit.
Any good contractor, worth his salts, has Credit with his suppliers.
More than likely, the labor gets paid a min of 7 day after work is completed.

It is always best to stay behind your contractor, never in front.
Pay for work that has been completed, not work to be done.

If he needs some reassurance, offer to pay him for the material AFTER it is delivered.
Maybe, offer a progress payment, after some work has been completed. (This sounds like a 1 day job)


Subject: Contractor Bid

A licensed and experienced roofing contractor usually asks for 25-35% down payment, with reasonable terms of payments.
Terms of payments should be based on the phases of the work, to make sure work is progressing well and materials are being paid timely. Additionally, if your home is located in a municipality that requires inspections, I would make sure they get paid based on their PASSED inspections, not on their attempt to pass an inspection.

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Wow, i aum surprised you didn't get 10 answers already with roofers say X was the best or N was the best or A was the best. In reality you are focusing on the WRONG THING!

5 estimates? Why 5? Why would you do that to yourself? Normally if you are dealing with reputable companies you don't need more than 2 estimates. I advocate to people to always get at least two estimates and if the roofers are saying something very different or if the roofers are way way way off in price, get an equalizer, get a 3rd.  Obviously if you don't trust a roofer disqualify that roofer immediately.  I beliee you have now fallen into "Analysis Paralysis" which is what happens when you have too many opions.

But back to the topic, I said you are focusing on the wrong thing. Why did I say that? Because you can take the best shingle in the world and if installed wrong is compeltely garbage. i can take the worst shingle, known to fail, and if installed properly will last some ammount of time. So you should focus on the roofer, not the product. The roofer is more important and a good quality roofer will only want to install good quality product.

The roof is a system comprised of many components, not just the shingles. You have the water proofing underlayment such as ice shield, the water resistant underlayments such as felt. You have the shingles, the ventilation and the flashing details. All of these things add up to equal one roof. Neglect one and your roof is doomed to fail.

But the roof is more than just product it is detail, know how and heart. Heart? yes heart. It takes the utmost CARING the utmost DESIRE to want to install a good roof. It's hard work and easy to fall into the train of thought as to do what's easier, instead of what's faster.  Faster and easier seldom ever equals better. At the end of the day you ened a roofer that cares about your roof.

So what product is best? That's hard to say. Each manufacturer has multiple plants and it seems each plant puts out varying levels of quality. I will tell you in my area Atlast is known as a cheap commodity shingle. I have Tamko Heritage on my house but I stopped using it because I was having seal failue issues and at the time they offered no contractor certification program, but I hear they started up one. Ownes corning is a decent product backed by a great company. I don't install very many OC's though. I primarily install CertainTeed Landmark shingles and my feeling is that they are the best on the market in my area. I'm sure others will disagree with me.

But don't miss the point, the roofer is more important than the shingle.
I appreciate the fact that with homeowners like you who want to beat the insurance co out of deductibles, so then my rates and every other homeowners rates can also go up just to save you.....Thanks for NOTHING..[8o|]

Any roofer worth using should be able to do the roof with NO MONEY DOWN.


The only scenario I would ask for a deposit is on a crazy odd ball shingle that had to be special ordered.

The question was, Can it be done? The answer is yes. The real question is "Should" it be done? The answer is, no, not unless it is an emergency.   But also let's clarify winter, because we are having a pretty mild winter, so there's kinda not a problem this year so far. I'll refrence "below freezing" from this point forward.

As a certified and licensed roofing contractor, my reputation is on the line. I debate this topic quite often with other roofing contractors who seem to care more about profit than a job well done.  Well, I can tell you from past experience having been a professional roofer for 14 years as of the time of this posting, that the chance for failure increases exponentionally when installed below freezing.  It's better just not to risk it.

Personally I will not, unless absolutely necessary and the customer signs a disclaimer of limited liability, install a roof below freezing and really really want to install the roof at 40 or above. The shingles need to seal, and will not seal unless they warm to about 70 degrees F ambient temprature. This does not mean it needs to be 70 outside, because the shingles will warm from the sun.  

So what can be done to install the roof below freezing? Well first, the roof should not be gun nailed below freezing. This is because the shingles become brittle and it's easier to "blow through" with your nails. It's also harder to regulate air pressure when it is cold, I speculate because of barometric pressures, but I am just guessing.  Therefore the roof should be hand nailed. This takes more time. Furthermore since the seal strips will not seal, they must be manually sealed with proper compatible adhesives. This will also take more time, and more material. I once spoke with a roofer in Alaska who builds tents around the houses he is working on and covers them with tarps and heats with propane heaters.  Now that takes real time!    The question is, are you prepared to pay for this extra time? Can you wait a few more weeks?