How to get an Accurate New Roof Estimate

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A roofing estimate is a price given to do a job and might describe one type of roofing system but with little additional detail. While a place to start, this should not be your only written document on the work to be done.

A proposal contains Good, Better and Best roofing type options with pricing on structural issues and roofing systems. The proposal should include choices of products, designs, prices, brand names and services provided by the contractor so that you know exactly to what you are agreeing and what is expected of both you and the roofing contractor. Financing options may also be provided.

Both estimates and proposals are forms of agreements and should be provided in writing by the roofing contractor. The two can vary considerably in the kind and amount of information they provide to help you make an informed decision. Further detail will be shown in the contract.

Whether you receive an estimate or proposal, it is just good business to read it thoroughly. Most problems come from misunderstandings about contract items that were in writing all the time. If you see something you don't agree with or don't understand, talk to the roofing contractor about it and get it resolved in writing before any work begins.

In addition to an agreement, the roofing contractor should also offer information on their company and samples of products should be shown as well as photographs of similar roofing projects they have done.

Summit Roofing always provides a proposal because it details exactly what you want and allows us to give you a price that you can count on.

About Our Contract

The contract is a document that answers all questions and resolves any issues. A good contract includes the final decisions from the proposal. The contract should include all agreements like starting and finishing dates (because of weather changes it is difficult for us to commit to an exact day, however, the contract can include a "no later than" clause), products to be used including all the manufacturer's brand names, color, specifics on structural work, current conditions of the home and grounds to assure that shrubbery and miscellaneous personal property, if damaged, is repaired or replaced.

The contract should also include terms of the agreement with all payment issues spelled out as to time and method, site procedures followed by the contractor like location of trucks and equipment, daily start and stop times and daily clean up and final clean up of all loose nails and shingles on the roof and lawn at the end of the job.

Is there a "right to rescind" clause allowing for a reasonable length of time to change your mind after signing the contract (most state laws allow three days)? Who is responsible for the cost and procurement of building permits and getting inspections done, if necessary? If subcontractors are used, will the general contractor give you a lien waiver with the final payment demonstrating that you have met your financial obligation?

About Warranties

The Manufacturer's Warranty will cover the materials and workmanship of the roofing materials. Each roofing style will have an amount of time it is unconditionally guaranteed, then often for a longer period of time it receives a limited warranty based on years in use. Look for circumstances in which the manufacturer assumes no warranty. Often this is where your homeowner's insurance takes over. Check to see if the warranty is transferable to a new homeowner should you sell your house.

The Roofing Contractor's Warranty addresses work done on your particular job. It will discuss those things that the manufacturer's warranty does not cover. Look for the length of time and circumstances that protect you. The warranty should be unconditional for at least one year, then offer ongoing preventive maintenance checks to assure you are given the best possible solutions to your roofing needs.

About Warranties

  • Carefully read over our proposal.
  • Circle the price of the desired type of shingle.
  • Circle any options desired (i.e. ridge vent or ridge vent II, etc.)
  • Indicate the shingle type and color in the space provided.
  • Sign the proposal and mail it in or bring it to our office.

When we receive a signed contract, we immediately place the order for materials. We normally deliver them straight to your residence in two to three days. Do not be alarmed if materials are loaded onto your roof. THIS IS NORMAL AND SAFE. Generally, within 2-7 working days after delivery of materials our roofers will be at your home to install your new roof. We can also arrange for a "pin-point" schedule. We cannot guarantee schedules due to weather or other delays beyond our control. However, when you sign and send in our proposal, you can generally expect a new roof in 7-10 working days.

If our men find any defective plywood or some other problem with your roof we will notify you. We do not replace wood unless it is necessary to ensure code compliance and more importantly to ensure a top-quality installation as well as protect your investment and your roof's warranty.

You do not need to register your product warranty with the manufacture, we do this for you. We send manufacturer's warranty information directly to the manufacturer and send a copy to you at the same time.

Important Considerations

Since you do not have a new roof put your home very often, you may not be aware of some of the key decisions that you will need to make. Here are the most important ones.

  • What style of roof do I want?
  • What roofing material do I want?
  • When does it need to be done?
  • What color roof do I want?
  • How much will it cost?

Know the answers to these questions before the project begins.


Your existing roof structure was designed to handle a specific type of roofing. If it cannot withstand the weight of tile or slate, we will need to strengthen the structure. This can be a major upgrade with increased costs.


Consider attic ventilation as well. Humidity and heat from the attic are enemies of your roof. You may want us to improve ventilation before new roofing is applied.

Your roof must be able to allow humidity and heat to escape. Proper ventilation will add years to your roof's life and even help your house cool itself in summer. Continuous ridge ventilation coupled with continuous soffit (at the eave) ventilation is the best system.

Old roof removal

If you are replacing an existing roof, you need to decide whether to put the new roof over your existing roof or start new. The roof structure and local building codes determine how much weight your roof can stand. A second roof over the first may save the cost and time of removing an old roof. Of course, the old roof must be compatible with the new roofing system.

Climate and weather

Consider our climate. We are in an area with year-round heat and humidity. This means we need to consider algae/fungus and ventilation. We also have wide temperature ranges. We sometimes have strong storms that require extra wind blow-off protection. Sun is always a factor and is the main cause of roof deterioration. The south side of your home with exposure to more direct sunlight is a factor for aging.

Fire ratings

The higher the fire rating, the more fire resistant your roof will be. A Class A rated roof will resist catching fire far longer than a Class C rated roof. Oddly, a metal roof is poor fire protection because it transfers heat directly to the wood below, which may cause the wood to ignite. Even the best wood shakes or shingle roofs offer only a Class B fire rating. You may want to discuss wood roofs with your insurance company before you make a decision.

Major Roof Material Types

There are numerous roofing materials you can use regardless of whether you are considering repairing the roof or putting on a new roof. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Tile is made of concrete or clay. Barrel and flat styles are most common and come in a variety of colors. They can be texture treated to give different appearances. Tiles require costly reinforced rafter bracing to hold their weight and require upgraded asphalt underlayment to do the real weatherproofing. They can break easily and discolor. Premium tile roofs can be very expensive.


Both architectural and structural types are available. The architectural style requires underlayment and is used on steep roofs utilizing an interlocking securing method. The structural type resists moisture on low slope roofs and does not require underlayment. There is high heat transfer and therefore a low fire rating is a problem with both styles. Metal roofs can be noisy during rain or hail.


Wood comes in various styles of shingles or shakes. It is attractive, giving a rich look with a custom appearance. It requires routine maintenance due to weathering. However, wood is wood, and it can easily catch fire. Check with your insurance company.


Slate is a dense durable rock material and is nonabsorbent. Slate can be smooth or textured, rough or uneven depending on the type and where it is mined. Nature provides us with fascinating colors. Weathering changes its color. Slate is heavy and, like tile, requires reinforced rafters. Slate roofs are very expensive.


Composites shingles are man-made materials (like fiber cement or plastic) configured to look like shakes or other shingle styles but with different properties. The materials offer unlimited shape and color options and vary widely in weatherproofing and fire rating.

Asphalt shingle/shake

Asphalt shingles are the most common and therefore the most easily installed and guaranteed type of roofing material. They are relatively light in weight. Higher quality shingle and shake designs offer superior weatherproofing for a relatively low cost and offer a great variety of styles and colors. Laminates are dual thickness asphalt shingles that offer increased protection from the elements and enhanced appearance. Some come with algae/fungus resistant copper granules. Fire ratings of Class A, the highest and best, are common.

Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Shingles are purchased in "bundles" and are calculated for quantity needed in "squares". A square is 10 ft. by 10 ft., or 100 square feet of roof space. Extra shingles must be ordered to accommodate the shape of the roof and the roof's characteristics (chimney, stacks, valleys, etc.), which all require special cutting and shaping.


Underlayment is asphalt-saturated felt sheet that comes in rolls and is placed over the roof deck and under the roofing material. This waterproofing step enhances the value of any roofing material choice. The right underlayment will be very important over the life of the roof. Underlayment validates most roof fire ratings.


Nails, staples, adhesives and interlocking designs are all variations used in different roofing materials to secure the materials selected to the deck. Asphalt shingles require that roofing nails be used to apply the product.


Flashing is the metal stripping, or other material, that when carefully and professionally installed, will prevent leaking at joints where roofing materials meet roof protrusions (valleys, chimneys, stacks, etc.).

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