Reroofing bid - Is this as hinky as is seems?

A month ago, a passing hailstorm did damage to our roof, and the insurance inspection puts it at about 40% damage. Not enough to replace the whole roof, but the insurance checks will certainly cover more than half of the work.

We had 2 companies come out and take a look, to give us a bid. The first bid is back and I am boggled and wary of it.

First comment - Yep, we will do the work that the insurance company says is needed, for the value that the insurance company put on it.

Second comment - We will do the rest of the work for labor cost + materials cost + 30% markup.

Ok, I understand markup. They have to cover a lot of other stuff, (insurance, tools, vacation time, taxes, other overhead + profit).

The weird part - they won’t actually give us a dollar amount bid. Just time+materials+30%. So I’m supposed to just magically trust the materials cost they give me, and that they had 5 guys on my roof for 20 hours each, and that they really are paying $22.31/hour to those guys?

Does anyone have experience in the home repair contracting business, and is this a common way to quote an insurance job?

Hinky, hell. It’s outright ridiculous.

I would ask them if they are licensed, then search your state’s on-line licensing bureau to see if they are.

And use someone else. Someone who tells you what they will do and how much it costs.

I’d run from that bid.

You might consder joining Angies list. I’ve heard their contractor reviews are very good. They cover most of the bigger cities and even some towns.

I have good luck with Angie’s List. I recently gave the guys who did my kitchen an A review.

A similar storm tore up what seemed like every roof in Phoenix a few years back. People got into problems when they:
A) pocketed the money without repair (obviously stupid and the property won’t be insured going forward); or
B) had “lesser” contractors do the work and then the insurance company wouldn’t accept the repair (and again won’t be insured going forward).

Me? I called my insurance company and used their partnered and approved general contractor. Our repair went smooth as silk while everyone else had all sorts of drama.

Never, ever, ever, EVER use a contractor that you haven’t used extensively in the past (and even then I wouldn’t suggest it) on a time and material basis. 99.9% of the time, material costs magically increase 75% and 1 hour lunch breaks turn into 3 hour lunch breaks, with you paying for the other 2 hours while the contractor’s workers are at the local strip club or home sleeping.

Get 3 firm bids and choose the best of the bunch. Note that “best” doesn’t necessarily mean the least expensive.

The standard way of estimating roofs is by measuring the roof and calcuating the “squares”. My insurance adjuster did that and gave me my check. Then the contractor measured to confirm the squares and gave a price.

They’ll charge more if you have more than one layer of shingles to remove. Some roofs have two or even three layers. Never let any roofer reshingle without removing the old shingles first. Thats always a bad idea.

Note that the term “square” means 100 square feet of roof surface.

Can anyone confirm or refute this advice?

I’ve heard the same, mainly because it can change the pitch of the roof. One extra layer of shingles could be okay but going beyond that could be trouble. I won’t claim a ton of roof experience though.

The roof’s wood needs to be inspected for rot. Roofers will replace any bad areas. I had a few bad spots on mine they patched.

Adding a second layer of shingles just covers everything up. Theres no way of inspecting the wood or replacing the underlayment (roofing felt).

I did some roofing work to pay for college. Enough that I paid someone else to do my roof twenty years later. I hated roofing. Dirty, hot work.

That’s the fun part. We did get the name of this contractor from our insurance company. So much for that idea.

Been there, done that. Insurance estimate found less than 50% damage, so they don’t cover the full repair. The extra charge is for the work of doing 100% replacement, not 47.5% (or whatever the number). We figure since they will be up there, we might as well have the whole roof done.

Thanks for everyone who confirmed my gut feeling of “No way! I don’t know you well enough to do that.”

My ex-bil was a roofer.
He said two layers of shingles is the max and it’s ok if the first layer is in good shape.

He never said anything about it changing the pitch but that more than two layers is too much weight.

It does not change the pitch. The pitch is the angle of roof. The only thing which will change the pitch is modifying the trusses or rafters to raise or lower the peak or eaves.

Under your shingles you have a layer of roofing felt. It is a water resistant membrane of last resort. It is not a permanent product, it will break down over time and it should be replaced when the shingles are replaced. Several extra layers of shingles are also a lot of dead weight which could stress and damage the structure of the roof.

How? Geometry says no.

My next roof will be one of the newer metal shingles. Typically they are aluminum with a outer coating that looks like traditional shingles. Hail, wind and so forth shouldn’t damage them as easily.

It’ll be another 10 or 15 years before the roof I replaced in 2002 needs replacing. Hoping the prices will go down for the metal shingles as they become more commonly used.

several companies make them. This is just one example.

I’d agree with stripping off the old shingles. It’s done with a scraper and doesn’t take all that long, so labor cost is minimal. If you live in a climate that has any significant rain/snowfall, you need to have the sheathing inspected, and the only way to do that is to remove all the old shingles and felt, as noted above. Areas near the eaves and near any penetrations are especially vulnerable. Some roofers will give you a sheathing allowance for free. It will usually only be a few sheets of OSB or ply, but if the damage is minimal, that will cover it. It can’t hurt to ask them for it.

I am the son of a life-long roofer and worked for my dad for years growing up, so I know quite a bit about roofing. I’m as close to an expert as you can be on this topic without actually being my father. That being said, here are my opinions on your situation and various questions that have come up here so far:

Contracts for work should always be for a given amount, never for Materials+Labor or whatever you are talking about. That’s absurd and I’ve never heard of it. Definitely scammy sounding.

Metal roofs simulated to look like composition are great, last a long time, and are practically invulnerable to all but the most powerful winds and storms. They also help during a home fire by not really adding to the problem like other roof types do (especially shake, yikes).

A tear-off (removing the existing roof and felt) is usually recommended but not strictly needed as long as your old roof is still holding together pretty well, and is a flatter style roof (like 3-tab as opposed to dimmensional). My father would often give two quotes to customers, one for a tear-off/re-roof, the other for a re-cover (where a new roof is just installed right on top of the existing roof). For your average-sized home, the tear-off usually added about $800 to the cost if I remember correctly. As mentioned before, this can only be done so many times before it becomes a structural liability. I believe my father’s own personal policy was he would only do a recover for a house that had 2 roofs (making a total of 3), but I do remember during a few tear-offs coming across up to 5 layers of roofing!

“Do the work for the exact amount of the claim” = contractor will keep any money left over from the work, so they’ll do it as cheaply as they can.

“Do it for x% etc. etc.” = contractor may try to angle you into getting a bit of cash on the side, still do the work as cheaply as they can, and hopefully pocket a bit more as long as it all comes in at claim.

In essence, they’re not going to put 100% of the claim into your roof no matter what, some percentage is going into their pocket on top of expenses. The question is, do you want any of it?

Mn roofing contractor. Been doing it for 14 years. Against state code to put on more than one layer. Lots of comments and advice, but I’m on my phone, and I hate typing on it. I’ll pm you tomorrow, give you info, you can ask me anything.