Conventional wisdom dictates that whenever you need major work done on your home, you should get more than one bid from contractors. This is a successful strategy when all bidders use the same information, such as the square footage of your roof, and base their figures on the same level of service. However, due to different perceptions and different business practices, this is rarely how it actually works.
You can try to keep all of the bids on equal terms by providing some defining parameters; these might include the precise square footage to be reroofed, special requirements particular to your structure and the exact roofing materials you elect to use. You could specify whether the new roof should top the existing roof or whether the bid should include the cost of a tear-off. You could even set specifications for the underlayment, or moisture barrier, and the flashing.
The problem with this approach is that, unless you are a roofing professional yourself, you may not have the background to determine many of these factors in advance. Instead, you may be seeking advice from those Marlton roofing contractors who will be bidding.
Your alternative is to compare bids closely when you receive them. Look for language that is unclear or questionable. Ask the estimator to clarify any parts you don't understand. Pay particular attention to the following areas.
Compare the specific tasks each contractor includes in each of the bids. For example, all of them may mention preparing the roof in advance to a smooth, level surface. However, one contractor may mean tacking down any old shingles that are torn before applying the new materials.
Have a question regarding roofing, roof leaks or shingles? Please ask Fortified Roofing of Marlton NJ today!.
Another contractor may intend to completely tear off old materials. Obviously, these two methods involve a considerable difference in labor cost. Ask each bidder to clarify.
If the contractors bid on laying a new roof over the old, clarify whether they intend to survey the old roof for moisture leakage prior to covering it. If not, this could create big problems for you down the road. In addition to the damage that trapped moisture will cause to your structure, it could compromise your new shingles and fasteners, causing significant repair bills.
The bids should include flashing materials and installation, but ask each bidder for specific details on how the roofers will install the flashing. If the bid includes pitch pans or pitch pocket flashing, ask the estimator to rework the bid for a higher quality system. Pans and pockets are inexpensive but often do not last as long as other types of flashing.
Finally, get the straight story about the roofing contractor's warranty. In addition to the warranty from the manufacturer on your shingles, reputable roofers stand behind the quality of their work for at least two years and often longer.
Being a particular consumer when comparing bids takes time and patience. You may have to go through each bid line by line with the contractors until the specifics for each item are clear. However, by asking lots of questions and comparing bids on equal terms, you can make the best decision possible for roofing your home.
Term & definition explained by Fortified Roofing, Marlton NJ:
As part of a roof's flashing system, a pitch pocket is a metal, flanged component filled with pitch or roof cement that makes a waterproof seal around roof penetrations such as pipes or chimneys.
Question and answer courtesy of a Marlton roofing contractor:
What if the contractor is too busy to answer my questions?
A roofing company that provides a high level of customer service and cares about client satisfaction will make the time to clarify your bid. A company representative who is "too busy" to speak with you now may give you the same excuse when you find problems with your new roof and call the company for repairs.