What to Look for in a Roofing Estimate When You Are Comparing Contractors

Homeowner Learning

Author: Amy Freeman | January 4, 2024

You've been considering replacing the roof on your house and have started the process of interviewing roofing contractors. Now, you're likely wondering what to look for in a roofing estimate. Part of the process of choosing a contractor is to review the estimates provided by each company—but you'll need to do more than simply read over these documents. It's essential that you know what to look for in a roofing estimate and compare like with like.

Knowing how to navigate these estimates can help you feel confident about your final decision. As you begin to narrow down your contractor choices, there a few key items you'll want to examine closely.

A young couple (man and woman) reviews information on a laptop and looks at documents.
When choosing a roofing company, it's important to compare estimates to find the one that works with your budget and that meets the needs of your project.

Description of the Project and Products Used

Each estimate should describe the work that the company will do, such as replacing the roof or restoring damaged shingles. It should also detail how long the project might take, including an estimated start date and finish date, and explain who will lead the work and be your point of contact during the process.

Roofing materials aren't created equally. Some are of much better quality than others. When reviewing estimates from different contractors, examine the list of products they say they will use during the project. The product list should include a description of the item, including the brand, material, size, and other details as appropriate. If you have any questions about the roofing products included in the estimate, ask the contractor to give you more information.

Along with a description of the products, the estimates should detail any warranties that are included and their terms. If there's a warranty described in the estimate, it should ideally lay out exactly what it covers. A vague warranty can be interpreted in a way that doesn't serve you as a customer. You want to work with a company that stands by its work and is willing to make every effort to correct any issues with products or the quality of the work performed.

Breakdown of Labor, Materials, and Permits

The estimates you get from roofing companies should also include detailed breakdowns of the cost of materials, the cost of labor, the cost of pulling the appropriate permits, and the cleanup cost. The contractor should be willing to pull the right permits for the project, so be wary of an estimate that doesn't include that information. The same is true of the cleanup costs. If the estimate doesn't mention cleanup, you might be on the hook for removing any debris left behind.

Proof of Insurance and Licensure

Depending on what state or province you live in, your roofing contractor may need to have liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. The estimate you get from the company should include proof of both, as well as proof of registration with the state if necessary. If you get a contract that doesn't contain that information, follow up with the contractor about it. If they can't provide it to you, you're better off choosing a company that is all too happy to provide proof of insurance and licensure.

An estimate for a roofing project is just that: an estimate. The cost of the project might change based on external factors such as weather. But the more detailed and informative the estimate is, the better you can feel about trusting your home's roof to a contractor.