Compare More Than Just Price With Roofing Contractors' Itemized Quotes

by Diane Barnes

If you're having a new roof put on this summer, you'll want to get itemized quotes from multiple roofing contractors. Itemized quotes make it easy to compare different contractors' bids, and they go into more detail than just the price of a job. With itemized quotes, you can also compare the quality of the materials that will be used and the schedule that the work will be done on. Here's how.

Check the Weight Per Square

The weight per square of the shingles that a contractor plans on using will give you a good idea of how long those shingles ought to last and what winds they're suited for. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, shingles that weigh

  • 200 to 250 pounds per square typically come with warranties of 20 to 30 years and withstand winds up to 60 miles per hour
  • 250 to 300 pounds per square usually come with warranties of 30 to 50 years and withstand winds up to 70 to 110 miles per hour
  • 500 pounds per square can withstand winds near 130 miles per hour

You don't necessarily need the heaviest shingles available, especially if you don't live in a windy area and only want a roof that will last for a couple decades. By checking the weight per square, though, you can see whether all the contractors you received itemized quotes from are using the same quality of materials.

Check the Payment Schedule

Itemized quotes usually include when payment for the job is due. Depending on the size of your roof, you might be asked to pay a portion of the total costs up front, a portion once part of the job is completed and the remainder when all of the work is finished. Sometimes, contractors also include estimated dates when these payments would be due. If they do, these dates can help you compare how quickly each of the contractors you're considering would get the work done.

(If dates aren't included in an itemized quote, you can ask a contractor to write estimates in. Understand, though, that these are only estimates. The weather can delay work slightly, as roofing contractors often can't work in heavy storms.)

As you compare itemized quotes, you don't have to go with the contractor who uses the best materials or does the fastest work. If there's another contractor that you like but who is lacking in either of these areas, show them their competitor's quote that has better materials or a faster timeline, and ask them to match it. They may be willing to change their quote slightly in order to get you to hire them.