6 Tips for Getting the Best Roofing Estimate

Rochel Maday
Written by Rochel Maday
Updated November 18, 2021
The exterior of a modern house with a pool
Photo: slavun / Adobe Stock

Whether your roof needs a simple repair or a full replacement, getting the best roofing estimate is the first step

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If your roof leaks during storms or has chipped or missing shingles, it’s likely in need of some professional attention. But what do you do when an estimate for a roof repair or replacement turns out to be through the roof? The average cost of a new roof runs about $9,000, but can vary greatly depending on size, material, pitch, and more. Don’t be blindsided by an over-the-top quote. Instead, consider the following tips for getting the best roofing estimate and move forward with the right professional for the job.

1. Choose Between a Repair or Full Replacement

If you have insurance and a covered peril—like fire, wind, or hail—has damaged your roof, replacing it is often the most affordable and effective option. But if it’s outside the scope of insurance and you’re financially responsible for any roofing improvements, you should always ask a contractor if a full replacement is necessary or if a repair will get the job done.

2. Get Multiple Estimates

When getting a roofing estimate, reach out to several contractors. You’ll also want to pool your candidates from different resources rather than just going with the first few that come up on an internet search. You can ask neighbors, family members, or friends for references. You can also search for roofing contractors near you.

3. Ask Each Contractor the Same Questions

A roofer climbing a ladder
Photo: vitranc/E+/Getty Images

Before gathering roofing estimates, write down a list of questions to ask each contractor. This way, you can accurately compare all of your estimates. 

You’ll want to make sure you ask for more than just a quote. Inquire about each contractor’s experience, whether they’re licensed and insured, and if they can provide any references.

4. Break Down Costs

When it comes to getting the best roofing estimate, pay attention to more than just the total price. Understanding labor costs is simple. Your estimate should also break down the price of materials. Then, you can compare an estimate’s pricing with what suppliers are charging. This ensures you're getting the best quality of materials for the best price.

5. Note Professional Qualities

A contractor with plenty of experience is important, but making sure they’re professional is equally essential. In addition, being present to answer the contractor's questions and discuss project elements during the initial visit can be helpful to both you and the contractor.

6. Ask About Warranties

A good warranty will include a manufacturer’s guarantee for each product, along with a craftsmanship guarantee from your contractor. Make note of warranty length and any fine print. Your estimate should include a warranty rather than it being an optional add-on upon completion.

What Should a Roof Estimate Include?

The average roof lasts between 20 and 30 years, depending on shingle material. If your roof falls into this age group, or you experience a symptom of a leaky roof, it’s more likely to need a repair or replacement. When getting multiple roof repair or replacement estimates, make sure they all include:

  • Complete names and contact information for all parties

  • Quote broken down by materials, labor, and any other fees

  • Full statement of work to be completed

  • Material list with prices

  • Payment methods and due dates

  • Complete work schedule and estimated completion date

  • Warranty or guarantee terms

  • Expiration clause mentioning the length of contract and specific termination terms for all parties

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