Estimating Repairs: Roofs

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 12 Comments

buckeling-composition-roofOver the next few months I’m going to be putting out a series or posts on what to look for when walking a house to help estimate repairs.  The goal isn’t to make you an expert, but to help you know when something needs fixing.  As a wholesaler you just need to come up with an rough estimate (most likely conservative until you gain enough experience).  Being able to spot some roof problems, or know what to look for when examining an electrical box should help you out in knowing if you need to replace, repair or leave alone an item on your check list.

I am not experience at all in estimating repairs and have only seriously done it once.  That being the case I’m going out and asking the questions and doing the research to come up with a quick check list of items to look for.  Each week I will take a closer look at a part of the house and let you know what I find.  Hope this is helpfull and if you have something to add, please do so.

Estimated Repairs: Roofs

Replacing a roof is a major repair and one you don’t want to miss on your estimate or it could make for some rough times ahead.  Many of us can spot a major problem with a roof, but some of the subtle warning signs that a roof is headed south can be over looked by newbie investors.
General Roof Facts.
  • Standard roof in the north east is Asphalt or Fiberglass Shingles
  • Roofs will last from 15 to 20 years
  • There can be a maximum of 3 layers of shingles
  • A poorly installed roof could last only 10 years

Pricing For Investor Estimate

  • Tear off and disposal: $75 per square per layer
  • New Decking: $34 per 4×8 sheet
  • New fiberglass shingles: $300 per square
  • Each additional story after 1st: $225 per square

What To Look For On The Roof

  • Algae Growth. Algae growth causes a dark discoloration on roofs. The algae is usually brown to black in color which results in a streaked, dirty looking rooftop. It can be mistaken for soot or dirt. It’s caused by the growth of air-borne algae which deposits on your roof. The good news is that algae growth does not affect the service life of your roofing material. It occurs most often in warm, humid climates such as the Southeast (where algae-resistant shingles are available).  [nggallery id=5]
  • Curling Shingles. Some of the causes of curling shingles are high nails, lack of back coating, lack of ventilation and improper number of fasteners.[nggallery id=6]
  • Blistering of Shingles.  This occurs when there is a buildup of moisture in the shingles which is then heated up by the sun causing blister spots.[nggallery id=7]
  • Damaged Flashing. Flashing can get damaged for a number of reasons but is usually caused by improper installation on a new roof.  Over time however, some flashing can dry and and begin to crack.  Other times it can just be dented by improper nailing or being struck by a falling branch.  Also settling of the house can bend or cause the flashing to pop up.[nggallery id=8]
  • Buckling.  Some causes of buckling in shingles are improperly applied felt, wrinkled underlayment, roof deck movement, spacers not used in between roof deck boards, poor roof ventilation or new shingles applied over old, rough shingles.[nggallery id=9]
  • Missing Shingles.  These are easy to spot I would imagin and probably most occur on the edges or near flashing.[nggallery id=10]
  • Missing Granules. Granules are the rough coating you see on asphalt shingles that give them the sand paper look.  Over time the granules can wear down or just fall off.  Normally a certain number of granules will be loose, especially after application. These granules are called “riders” and are a normal result of the manufacturing process. Granule loss does not affect the service life of the shingles unless granules can be seen missing on the surface of the shingles, thus exposing the asphalt or Fiberglas mat.[nggallery id=11]
  • Rotting. Rotting is caused by absorption of moisture by the mat at the core of the shingle. This is a common problem with organic-based shingles[nggallery id=12]
Other Signs of a roof problem
  • Cieling Spots. Take a look at the top floor ceilings or in the attack signs of water damage.  This can be a clue that there is something wrong with the roof.
  • Check the attack for moisture or mould.  Moisture and/or mold in the attack doesn’t necessarily mean there is a leak in the roof.  It can however mean that the attack isn’t ventilated well enough and the condensation from the air is making everything moist.
  • Roof Ventilation. Like I just said above, make sure there is proper ventilation in the attack.  This will help the humid air escape and create good circulation.  A poorly ventilated attack can destroy the roof from the inside out by rotting the roof decking.
The next time I go to a house I will carry a check list of these items and just make note of what I see.  Some of the above problems will only mean a roof needs some shingles replaced or flashing, but others could mean you will need to build into your estimate a brand new roof.
To read even more about roofs you can go

If you are a contractor out there, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on what I’ve found in my research above.

Scott Costello
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Comments 12

  1. These things should all be listed in the real contract as well.
    The contract should also state a guarantee for the shingles
    as well as the work itself. Best of all, you’ll have a roof that will stand the test of time,
    saving you a lot of money over the long run.

  2. I like how you not only list the price of roof repairs, but the things you need to look for to repair your roof. To be honest, I haven’t checked my roof for any of these things in years. I need to do it. I think that my roof may have some of the shingles blistered.

  3. There are a variety of issues that can occur after having shingles installed. Algae growth is a problem most do not expect, but is a common enough problem that homeowners in the South should make sure their shingles will be protected from it. Great tips!

  4. A very detailed and a complete checklist and you are absolutely correct about algae growth on the roof, lots of home owners think of it as a serious problem which actually it is not and if you attempt to get it cleaned, it may actually harm your roof.

  5. I always forget to consider how air might leak through the roof of a house. Most of the time I associate insulation with walls and I have never worried a whole lot about the roof.

  6. This is a great article, and I appreciate you taking the time to write it. I have been in the roofing business for a long time, and have helped many customers with their roofing repairs, roof replacements, and new roofs.

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