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A Homeowner’s guide to replacing your roof

Calculating home costs

So, it’s time to replace your roof. What are your first steps?

You need someone to come and estimate the work. If you get more than one estimate, you’ll see different costs as well as different verbiage about what is included or excluded.

We’ve assembled this quick guide to know how some shady roofing companies might sneak costs into their estimates without you knowing.

I recommend you reach a final price “promise” before beginning, including any caveats that might need to be included. This way, it’s not your word vs your contractor when you are well into your roof replacement project.

Here are a few of the most common missed costs when doing a roof replacement. Pro Home Improvement prides itself on identifying all potential costs for each of these at the quotation stage, before any work begins. This leads to higher satisfaction and happier customers overall.

Roofing checklist to ensure you get the best deal

  1. Permits – This is required by your local municipality – you can’t skate by on this. Permits are important because it protects future homeowners against shoddy craftsmanship. But, as the consumer, you might not be aware of what to do. Your contractor should pull all the permits necessary. If not, this is a big red flag! Permits are a known cost and should always be included.
  2. Tear off – Unless you’re seriously strapped for cash, a tear off must be done to ensure your roof will last more than 5 years. Pro Home Improvement will not embark on a new roof project that does not include a full tear off because of the quality implications that come with roofing over old shingles. Without doing a tear off, you can’t determine if any roof boards, shingles or flashing have failed and it can lead to very unhappy customers. Tear off is also a known cost and should always be included.
  3. Roof board inspection and replacement – After the old shingles are torn off, the wood decking must be inspected to be sure it will hold nails and not leak soon after your new roof is installed. Pro Home Improvement will give you a per board price for swapping these out incase any are rotten and need to be replacement. This is the only way to ensure your roof deck is solid and ready for quality shingle to be laid on top. Contractors know their per board cost and should quote you what it will take if a new board is needed and how many new boards could possibly be required. If you don’t have a cost included for a “per board” replacement, be sure to ask.
  4. Ice & water shield – To meet building code requirements, this thick & sticky-back felt paper must be installed from every eave up to 24″ inside the exterior walls of your home, and in all valleys. Trying to add this on later after the quotation stage should be a red flag, as it is not something that you stumble upon during the project. Ice & water shield is a known cost and the length & distance options will vary depending on which options you select.
  5. Building code requires the installatin of ice and water shieled

  6. Felt paper – Pro Home Improvement strongly recommends a high-quality synthetic felt. Pro has their own proprietary variety that is best for laying down between the roof deck and the shingles.
  7. Starter Shingle – Specialized starter shingle with a tar strip. This may not be identified on your proposal, but you can ask about it.
  8. Shingle – Minimum of an architectural style shingle with a limited lifetime warranty. Ask to see documentation regarding the warranty of the materials they are using.
  9. Certification – The roof installers working on your roof should be certified by the manufacturer so they know how to install it properly – Improper installation will void your warranty. Pro Home Improvement only uses workers that have passed the certification for the materials we install, so you never have to worry about your manufacturer warranty being voided.
  10. Fastening – Manufacturers require at least 4 nails per shingle in the proper location. We recommend 6 properly placed nails to help ensure there are no problems with blow-offs in the future.
  11. Drip metal – Drip metal (also known as drip edge) protects fascia and guides water into the gutters where it belongs. Ice shield must be installed over drip metal to prevent water getting into the soffits.
  12. Valleys – Most areas require a minimum of 1 layer of ice shield to meet code – we strongly recommend a layer of valley metal also to keep your valleys structurally sound.
  13. Pipe flashings – Pipe flashings should be replaced when the roof is replaced. Since metal flashings with a rubber gasket tend to wear out in 10-15 years, we recommend using an all metal flashing.
  14. Wall flashings – Most leaks (81%) occur where flashings are installed due to poor installation and maintenance. Flashing should be completely replaced when the roof is redone, so if your contractor is trying to exclude that, be sure to ask why.
  15. Ventilation – To ensure the proper life of your roof, ventilation should be updated to meet or exceed code requirements. Roof cans should never be reused and most attics have some ventilation issues that can be resolved with continuous soffit venting and a ridge vent.
  16. Proper roofing ventilation helps prolong the life of the roof.

  17. Ridge cap – A cap to cover the vent at the ridge of your roof – if this is not included, something is up. Be sure to ask.
  18. Workmanship warranty – This is a big one. What the warranty covers and for how long should be clearly stated in writing. Do not take verbal promises. It will be your word against theirs if there is a problem.
  19. Manufacturer warranty – Even though many new manufacturer shingles have “lifetime” warranties, they can be quite limited. Find a credentialed contractor (like Pro Home Improvement) that can offer a 100% lifetime manufacturer warranty to ensure you don’t get the short end of the stick if something happens.

If any of these items are packaged together or not listed on your written project quote before you begin working with a roofing company, be sure to get clarification. You don’t want to be caught without a clear understanding of what you’ll be spending and what you’ll be getting for your money.

If you have questions about hiring a quality roof installer in Michigan, be sure to call the Pros at 888-776-1998 to get your questions answered. We can also be reached via our simple web form.