Roofing pricing....burst my bubble...and wallet

parkplazaJuly 26, 2010

We were considering redoing our shingles. Requires a tear off being it has 2 layers existing. The estimate we received from contractors were $8,900 and $8,850 for the tear off and 30 year Timberline product. And both have a line item that each piece of plywood will be $60 and $55 each respectively. So I am sure the cost will be $9000 plus when all is said and done. The one contractor said he would be done in one day, the other two days. Without knowing the price of shingles, I am thinking, WOW, how much profit is on this job. I live in NJ, but geesh. Maybe I am just clueless. Not to start a immigrant debate, but I have seen the one contractor hires day labor. Not sure what he pays them, but am guessing $200 per day cash for a long 10 hour day ($20 per hour). So if he brings say 5 guys to the job that is $1000 in labor? And the cost of product is ???? So I guess my questions are, does this seem reasonable for an estimate, does the hired labor cost seem correct, should I get additional quotes, and any other advice? Both contractors used the 30 year shingle saying that is what makes sense, is this stuff expensive?



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Do you know the sq. footage of your roof areas? If so, I can tell you what it would cost out here to give you a general idea, but prices vary by region. You have a pretty straight forward project without complicated rooflines, so it would go pretty quick. Stripping it will give a chance to replace any damaged sheathing,( which they gave you a price for), as well as inspect all flashed areas and replace if necessary as well. To guess at what they are paying the laborers is just that and only a guess on your part as most roofing contractors have a "by the square" price for labor + materials plus extras for sheathing, flashing, or any other extras that they might run into when stripping on a shingle replacement project. You might want to get more estimates, but you want to seek out the most reputable outfit by asking to sse their work, checking references, and asking for referalls from family, friends, co- workers. Go with the more reputable even if it means more dinero and make sure they are licensed, insured, and have workmans comp for their employees.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:02PM
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You want to get it all in writing that they will cover any damages incurred by them through their insurance and that they will back up the install coinciding with manufacturers install requirements to keep the manufacturers warranty intact as well. Most roofing contractors out here back their work up for one year despite the manufacturers warranty but heed to the manufacturers install requirements concerning underlayments, drip edging, flashings, etc. as well as the shingles themselves.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:07PM
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We had a really bad hailstorm in our area, and a lot of roofs are being replaced. The quotes are about what you have been given for roofs that are about your size or maybe a bit smaller.
They like to do a job in a day because, frankly, you wouldn't want to have no roof on your house for too long a time, so you might have a larger crew than 5.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:57PM
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In our area, shingles run about $1 sq/ft, install labor $1.25 sq/ft, tear off labor $.50 sq/ft per layer. Your steep slope would probably add 25% to the labor. Dumpster would run $500. I don't know any contractors they would consider it high profit work.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:27AM
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The roof doesn't look that bad from a distance. Why are you replacing it? If you find the 9000 too expensive you could always wait a year or two, unless I'm not seeing something.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:11PM
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I'd say you can get more years out of that roof. The front looks a little dingy from algae, but that can be cleaned and prevented.

For all I know, your quotes could be a bargain. Costs vary across the country. Ask your neighbors and friends what they've paid and who they've used.

Your roof has dormers, chimneys and flashings that will require someone with a skilled eye and hand. The lowest bidder might not have that guy on their crew.

If you can improve the roof's ventilation and insulation, now is the time.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:57PM
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I do not think they are paying day labor $200 cash. $100 to $150 tops. There is no taxes being paid here...just cash and carry so the $100 is worth more. By me you can go to the local train stations and they wait in the morning for work. The contractors have the one or two guys they hire "full time" and pay them more, but the rest are picked up for the day. In the past 10 years during the go go boom boom years of building with demand too high pricing got way out of hand. I do not think pricing has come down the way is should be in some areas. As the economy continues to falter things should turn in your favor at some point and become more competitive. The norm where I live is all illegals doing the hands on work hired by the american contractor. My neighbor just had a roof, and the owner was at the house to estimate, drop off the illegals, stopped by at lunch, and at the end of the day to pick them up. I keep telling my neighbors if they need work done to go pick up some and hire them yourselves. I think my neighbor may do this with his paver patio he want installed. None of this stuff is rocket science. If you insist on hiring a contractor, continue to get more estimates. High ball estimates are just ways for them to make a windfall if the homeowner does not do their homework and hires without mulitple estimates. If you live in an upscale area, they will charge you more. So get a couple of estimates contractors outside your immediate area.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:37PM
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You need to provide details of the job. " I need a roof", doesn't do it.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:49PM
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I wouldn't want uninsured day laborers on my roof! I would also like to think that the crew doing the work actually has some experience as it's not rocket science, but there is something to say about it being done right, clean lines, and professional results. You're not going to get that with unsupervised, low wage help and risk a lawsuit if someone gets hurt! Pay now or pay later!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Roof keeps everything else dry.

Why would you want to go cheap?

Ten grand for that much roof wouldn't be out of me.
I'm thinking ice and water, underlayment, all new drip edges, new stack covers and good shingles put on properly.

I'm glad, glad, glad I'm no longer having to do my own roofs. The day I finally started hiring a crew was very liberating for me. Its hard and uncommon work (unless you do it daily, I suppose)

Last roof I personally did was years ago but quotes were in the $6,000 range and I did it with a couple of friends, renting nailers, bin, etc. with top of line Elk for well under $4,000 including pizza and beer.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 11:28AM
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Live in Miami, just had my roof done, waiting for final inspection.

Ended up getting dimensional shingles, got them to go down a little. Cost me a little more than the regular tab shingles, not that I needed to spend more money, going to be selling soon, but they are better rated and just went with them.

Paid $10,200 - actually down a couple thousand from when I looked a few years ago. Would have been $9600 if I had got the 3-tab shingles.

Will have to put a new roof on the house we purchased in SC in the not-to-distant future, wonder how much THAT will cost up there!!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 11:01PM
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mag77 covered all the key points.
If you want it done right with no problems in the future, you want skilled labor up there.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:35AM
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FYI, we're in a rural Midwestern area and our estimates for materials including 120 bundles of 30 year shingles & other items (nails, gutter apron, underlayment, flashing, etc) were $5625, $6176 and $6450. If we went with a 50 year steel it bumped up to $10795 or $11765. Contractor said to add on $3000-3500 for labor. I prefer to go with the steel, but if we do the contractor says we don't need to rip off the old. I think we need to because the existing shingles are curling.

We've got a 14 year old roof with shingles currently under a class-action lawsuit. The shingles are pitted and curling (which causes them to blow off in the wind). We've had a leak already.

We haven't decided what we're doing yet.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 5:19PM
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Sounds about right. We live in upstate NY and paid $15,000 three years ago for a new roof (30 yr shingles) and chimney restoration, including a new liner in one of the flues. A friend told us we paid too much but others said it sounded about right (the roofing portion was around 10K) because our roof is very complicated with lots of places where different rooflines meet up (upstairs porches, bay window dormer etc).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 10:34AM
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I can't believe someone actually recommended picking up day laborers.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:16PM
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FYI. I had my home re-shingled with the same shingles this summer. It was about $8,500. My home is smaller and has two levels, one on the house and one on double garage attached, and small roof area on the bay window. They had to do some work on the flashing where the garage is attached to house to bring it up to code. Replaced a small section of plywood decking and re-did vent from bathroom, it was really messed up. They replaced the roof vents. Used lots of ice dam underlayment.

I think the price does not sound out of line, but, ouch I didn't realize it was so much. About 5 years ago some small contractor gave me a quote for 5,500 after there was hail damage in our area. He did neighbors house but just didn't do that great of a job, but it keeps the rain out.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:36AM
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The advices has been helpful. Had a 3rd estimate...came out to $11,200, wow, much higher??

The contractor started raising concerns, because much of the house does not have soffit vents, so he said he can extend the roof line and install an overhang and vent for $44 per foot.

I know technically a roof should have an intake in the lower roof so it can naturally exhaust off the roofline or power vents. But the house has been there for year and many homes do not have soffit vents, so I do not think I should be over concerned here? Not sure how natural ventilation works in this situation, but I am sure air gets in through gaps somewhere.

Because he raised these issues, I did some research on a product called smart vent which you install on the lower roof to allow air in. But again, I am sure the cost will be prohibitive.

Would it make sense to build an air intake...use PVC perforated with holes and run it along the lower kneel wall area (the room are finished above with your standard cap code kneel walls) so it allows fresh air in the bottom? And use a mesh over the outside to keep bugs out?

What is preferred, a roof line vent or power vents or box vent in the rear of the house. EVERY contractor says something different (from you cannot have a power vent with a roof line vent, to use box vents, to use power vents, not to use power vents because they will suck the air out of th house, etc).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Venting types depend on geographic location. An ideal venting system in most areas is a continous run soffit venting with continous run ridge venting with no other venting type to interrupt it, ( such as gable, power, or dormer vents). Here in the mojave desert, eave vents with either gable vents or dormers are common. In higher humidity areas as well as colder extrenmes, soffit/ridge venting is common for moisture control. Research your area by talking with reputable builders, architects, engineers for the venting system that works best in your area and describe your roofline, pitch, attic , etc to get an unbiased opinion on whats best for your application and just dont take the roofers word for it. It would be worth a consultation fee from a reputable outfit who knows what works in yur area. This doesn't exclude a reputable roofer as well , as they should know what venting works best in your area as roof life longevity can be dependent on proper ventilation.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:33AM
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My brother and his wife have a house that looks to be similar in size to yours and just paid $20,000 (in southeastern Wisconsin) to have the roof stripped and re-shingled. We are about to do our roof and it's going to be about $14,000. I'm not sure what our roof square footage is, but we have a very small house (1,200 sq. feet story and a half).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 11:04AM
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My house is somewhere between 1,200 sq. ft. and 1,400 sq. ft. Its roof has only a small front porch (over the front door) and a small back porch as complications.

Last November, I received a letter from my insurance carrier informing me that the insurance on my house would not be renewed unless I provided proof that the shingles on the roof had been replaced, and pointing out that it might be a good idea to get the chimney repointed.

Neighbors gave me estimates between $4,000 and $10,000 for getting the roof replaced. After a single shingle fell off, I called a local roofer. The owner of the company came to my house on a Saturday morning. I asked him what it would cost to replace the roof without compromise. Two layers of shingles needed to be removed, a ridge vent needed to be installed, and the chimney needed to be repointed.

The owner of the company told me that replacing my roof with GAF Timberline Presqtique shingles with the limited lifetime warranty, installing the ridge vent, installing GAF Leak Guard, installing an 8" drip edge, and repointing the chimney would cost $4,900. I could hardly contain myself, and asked the owner of the roofing firm why some estimates were so much higher. To my amazement, the owner told me that he is selling a service, and some roofers are selling a product. If he interviews 10 perspective customers, he sells 3 or 4 roofs. If people selling a product interview 10 perspective customers, they sell 1 or 2 roofs. Guess who gets to pay for all of the failed sales attempts.

For months, I cringled in shame whenever I saw my roof. Now, I have gone from having the worst one on the street to having the best one on the street, done by a roofer with a GAF Certified Master Elite certification.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 7:55PM
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That should be "10 prospective customers", not "10 perspective customers".

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:00PM
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I am still amazed how busy contractors are, despite constant doom and gloom on the news. I do not think the market is in the consumers favor by any means. With all the down turns, you would think contractors would be lowering prices to feed the family. I see quite the opposite. And I also think many are abusing day laborers. They grab 14 guys and dump them at a house and do a tear off and install in one day.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:36PM
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We had our roof replaced spring of 2009, height of the recession (stock market-wise) so we thought we would be in a position to get a good price.

Our house is 2800 square feet and it cost just under 20K. We went with the "longer lasting" shingles.

We got four quotes, 3 of them were within 2% of each other, in other words--very close, a few hundred dollars.

Home Depot was twice as much!

We went with a reputable company after having checked everything out and so far everything is great.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:07PM
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