If you have ever found damage to your roof, bought or sold a house, dealt with a roofing contractor, or even bought or changed a property insurance policy you probably heard the terms roof estimate and roof inspection. Some people think that these terms are interchangeable, but they actually refer to two different processes. While both services are offered by reputable roofing contractors, they each involve different procedures and separate results. There are also separate situations that call for either a roof estimate or roof inspection. The information below will explain these differences to you and help you make the decision between a roof estimate and a roof inspection when it comes time to deal with your roof.
If you have ever seen an advertisement for a roofing contractor, whether on a billboard, the side of a truck, a tv commercial, a newspaper, a postcard, or anywhere else, you have probably seen the words “free estimate.” Almost all reputable roofing contractors provide free estimates as part of their marketing strategy. These are essentially a bid that the contractor offers for performing work on the roof ranging from a small targeted repair to full roof replacement. Just because estimates are part of a marketing strategy does not mean that they are frivolous or worthless. They are absolutely necessary before any work on the roof can begin. In fact, when you want roof repair or replacement it is recommended that you get an estimate, again usually free, from several reputable contractors in order to make the best decision for your home and your budget.
A roof estimate is targeted. The process gets started with a call from the homeowner to a roofing contractor and a request for either a repair or a replacement estimate. Usually there is a reason behind this call, such as a leak or visible damage on the roof. Once the call is made, the contractor most likely will schedule an appointment with the homeowner for a company representative to come out and take a look at the roof and the damage. Occasionally, roof replacement estimates may be given without anyone actually going up on the roof, using satellite imagery, but most often contractors like to take a look at what they will be dealing with. During the appointment, the roofing contractor’s representative will evaluate the roof and the damage and make an educated guess, based on material/labor costs and previous experience as to what it will cost to fix the problem or replace the roof. This is why it is called an “estimate.” The amount estimated is liable to change based on what is actually encountered by the roofers once they begin work. There may be hidden damages that are not visible until the uppermost material is removed. For this reason, the estimate provided by a reputable roofing contractor will most often have language in it that names instances in which the final price may change.
Now that you know what an estimate entails, let’s talk about what a roof inspection involves. A roof inspection, unlike a targeted estimate, is a full analysis of the whole roof system, including the rafters, the decking, and the roof covering. The inspector goes up on the roof to check all the pieces including the main covering (shingles, tile, metal) as well as other components like the vents, gutters, drip edge, and flashing. The inspector will also go up in the attic to check the wood that supports the roof and the roof deck that supports the covering. They also check for leaks on the interior ceilings. All materials are evaluated for efficacy, damages, and longevity. A roof inspection will detail any issues that your roof may have, potential issues that may arise, and how long the roof is expected to last. Unlike an estimate, a roof inspection typically does not provide a price for work to be done; instead, it details what work should be done for which you may want to get an estimate (or several estimates) in the future.
Inspections are most often performed before a house is sold, either by the buyer or the seller. They are also performed by insurance companies before granting a policy or when making policy changes. Finally, roof inspections are a good maintenance tool. Getting routine roof inspections, every two to three years, will keep you apprised of any potential problems and may save on repair or replacement costs in the future. Roof inspections can be performed by a roofing contractor or a professional property inspector or even an insurance adjuster. Because inspections do not involve actual work being performed on the roof and do not guarantee that work will be performed, they can be done by someone with knowledge of construction and roofing but without a roofing license. Unless the inspection is paid for by an insurance company, it will most likely cost you, usually somewhere around $100.00. The reason for this is that an inspection is more exhaustive than an estimate and it does not make an offer of future work to be performed.
To recap, an estimate is usually a free service provided by roofing contractors which targets a specific problem area or the whole roof replacement and provides the customer with the estimated cost that it will take to fix the problem or replace the roof entirely. An inspection is an exhaustive look at the roof which identifies all existing and potential future problems, as well as the longevity of the roof. It is performed by a professional, costs money, and can influence a house’s sale price as well as insurance coverage and premiums.
If you have any questions about roof estimates and inspections or want an inspection or a free estimate for your roof in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906!