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How Roofing Costs are Determined

Homeowners are often told to get several bids for roofing, and accept the best. It may be helpful, when making that decision, to understand just what goes into figuring up roofing costs. Without knowing what goes into a roof, it can sometimes be frustrating to see a big dollar figure plunked down in front you.  You are at the mercy of the roofing contractor to know whether or not it is a fair price. Additionally, you need to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples when reviewing bids from multiple companies.   Here are some of the costs that go into the mix.

Size of the roof: In order to purchase the correct amount  of roofing shingles, shakes, or tiles or and other materials, the roofing company must measure the roof. The roof’s total square footage is divided by 100, which gives the number of roofing squares needed. Three to five bundles of roofing covering is commonly needed for each square.

Difficulty of the roof:  Steep roofs require more effort than milder pitched roofs.  Likewise, roofs with numerous cuts and planes are both harder and require more materials that those with two simple gables.

Labor: Labor costs for roofing, any structural repair, loading, hauling, and cleaning fees are tabulated in the final bid.  Since so much is at stake with your roof as well as being dangerous, good roof installers garner better wages than many other construction workers.

Payroll Burden: Roofing is notoriously dangerous work.  Because of this, the liability and worker’s compensation insurance add a lot to every dollar of labor.

Disposal:  Old roofing material is both voluminous and heavy, both criteria that can result in high disposal costs.

Shingles/Shakes/Tiles:  This is where the greatest variance in cost can occur.  The difference between the least expensive 3 tab shingle and high quality concrete tile can be several fold.   

Underlayment:  The entire roof needs to have an underlayment, commonly felt, beneath the main roof covering.  The number of rolls needed is determined when measuring the roof.

Assorted Materials:   Flashing, vents, pipe jacks, nails, staples and other assorted items can all add up.  Often, they can end up totally as high as 20-25% of the total materials costs.

Profit:  Yes, profit.  A reliable roofing company that will be around in 5-15 years in case you have a problem needs to make a profit.  While some low prices might seem attractive, consider how you might feel if you were to get a disconnected number upon calling about a leak or other issue in a few years because the low ball contactor you hired was unable to stay in business.

Considering all of the expenses, a good bid is one which provides all of the above with a reasonable price, and also gets the job done in a timely manner. Roofing isn’t cheap, but we have provided the Portland area with quality services at a reasonable cost for many years now. Call us to get an estimate for your roofing needs.