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Pittsville 09-30-2011 12:39 AM

Flat Roof Repair Costs
 
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We're remodeling an old Victorian fixer-upper. One of the areas that requires some attention is the roof. The roof reaches 34' at the peaks and has a 12/12 pitch with 7 gables. There is also a 10'x10' flat portion at the very top which we assume used to be a lookout. During Hurricane Irene, this portion of the roof took some damage and is now leaking. There appears to be metal flashing around the edges of this flat portion that has "lifted" allowing wind driven rain to get underneath.

The roof also contains 3 individual chimneys. When the previous owner had the roof re-shingled, they did not flash the chimneys. You can stand in the attic during the day and see daylight around where the roof meets the chimneys. As you can imagine, water finds its way inside during long rain showers. Now the question... (and this is mainly for the roofing contractors present...)

Since we're busy with the numerous other projects in the house, we opted to contract out on the roof repairs. We received an estimate earlier today and I'm curious how it compares to what others might charge for the same work. (House is in Maryland if market matters)

Counter-flashing the chimneys: 3 chimneys @ $250 each
Repairing the flat portion of the roof: $400
100 square feet of rubber membrane: $160

Total for all work/materials: $1310

The contractor noted that the work would take two days and that he would provide a warranty for the life of the roof. Normally I would do everything myself and the only cost involved would be materials. I understand that a fair rate is one that both the contractor/homeowner agree on, regardless of how high or low it might be. But do the rates quoted seem consistent with what you might charge for a similar service?

chrisBC 09-30-2011 02:18 AM

Get a few different estimates from reputable insured roofers.

Don't automatically go for the lowest quote, look for the quote that seems to have the most value for the dollar.

IE what you get for the money: you want a proper job, what exactly they will do/replace?, does one replace or install more than the other for slightly more money?, for one example.

tinner666 09-30-2011 05:45 AM

Counter-flashing the chimneys: 3 chimneys @ $250 each-- Counter-flash only???? Red flag!
Repairing the flat portion of the roof: $400---- I have no idea what this means.
100 square feet of rubber membrane: $160 -----Sounds like .045 EPDM. Super cheap material. Cost about $60., the glue would cost $30.. The flashing would be about $50.. The covertape another $50.00
Installing termination flashing at the top of the shingles, and under the widow's walk would run about $450. or so to do it correctly. Minimum!

I think this guy will be forced to take many shortcuts and obviously doesn't know his costs. I would have included a surcharge just for the widow's walk access and some scaffold on the roof so nothing gets damaged at that height. That's an awkward place to work.
I doubt seriously the chimney only needs counter-flashing.
I think you better shop around for a roofer that knows a bit more.

tinner666 09-30-2011 05:52 AM

I should have noted that any contractor should 'make/charge' $600.-above what his material and labor cost, per day just to cover expenses. Shop, Ins, etc.,etc., et-al. 2 days for a toatl of $1,300. sounds really insane to me for a legitimate contractor that would do anything approaching a quality job.
He sounds like the type I make 99% of my money on when I come in afterwards to correct things.

Pittsville 09-30-2011 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tinner666
Counter-flashing the chimneys: 3 chimneys @ $250 each-- Counter-flash only???? Red flag!
Repairing the flat portion of the roof: $400---- I have no idea what this means.
100 square feet of rubber membrane: $160 -----Sounds like .045 EPDM. Super cheap material. Cost about $60., the glue would cost $30.. The flashing would be about $50.. The covertape another $50.00
Installing termination flashing at the top of the shingles, and under the widow's walk would run about $450. or so to do it correctly. Minimum!

I think this guy will be forced to take many shortcuts and obviously doesn't know his costs. I would have included a surcharge just for the widow's walk access and some scaffold on the roof so nothing gets damaged at that height. That's an awkward place to work.
I doubt seriously the chimney only needs counter-flashing.
I think you better shop around for a roofer that knows a bit more.

In reference to the chimneys, the guy is talking about installing step AND counter-flashing. What else would be necessary? If my original post made it sound like it was just the counter-flashing, I apologize. Does $750 seem reasonable for all three chimneys?

The flat portion just needs to have a new membrane put down and the edges flashed/sealed properly. There is no other damage to repair. The guy is charging $400 to do the work.

As far as the EPDM, he's going to charge $160 for the rubber. (This is a material cost only. Installation would be covered by the $400) You mentioned .045 material and the fact that it's cheap. (Must be at that thickness) What would a good quality product look like for this application?

We haven't agreed to anything yet. The guy is providing a written estimate and we're talking again on Wednesday. This roofer was suggested to us by our electrician and seems to be cutting us some slack on his labor rate. We're getting estimates from two additional contractors on Monday and Tuesday.

tinner666 09-30-2011 12:34 PM

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$250. per chimney is about right for a walkable shingle roof, aluminum flashing, and 16' x 16-24" chimneys.

As for the EPDM, I've used several and the .045 is good for covering my material on the ground. That's all I use it for. .045 reinforced has even less rubber material due to the mat.
.065 will shrink too, like the .045.

The least I spec for any job now is reinforced .065. Nicer, fatter, easier to work with and less prone to impact or tearing damage.

Here's some .060 reinforced. In the one pic, not everybody is as anal as I am by adding a layer like termination flashing in case a slate or ice slides down the slate.

tinner666 09-30-2011 12:37 PM

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To properly put down the trim/flashing around an EPDM roof, the perimeter needs to be 'Picture-framed' with a good nailer to prevent any failure a few years later.

Windows on Wash 09-30-2011 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tinner666 (Post 738957)
To properly put down the trim/flashing around an EPDM roof, the perimeter needs to be 'Picture-framed' with a good nailer to prevent any failure a few years later.

That is nice work there.

ParagonEx 09-30-2011 07:03 PM

I'll throw a number out there. We recently replaced a 4 square rubber roof. Absolutely nothing in the way. One story house. We charged right around 2200 for it. Finished in about 5-6 hours.

www.paragonexteriors.com

Pittsville 10-01-2011 09:09 AM

tinner, thanks for the great info! As long as the flashing is done correctly, it sounds like the $250 per chimney is a reasonable deal.

Paragon, thanks for providing a basis for comparison! Since this job is about one quarter the size of the one you performed, I'll use one quarter the cost as my reference. $550. The estimate that I received was $400 for the labor and $160 for the material, or $560. This is pretty darn close to the reference cost, so assuming I get a quality install and a gaurantee to back it, I'd say the estimate is reasonable.

kiarajeckson 09-03-2012 11:50 PM

i agree with chrisBC. You first consult with some more insured and experienced roofers about repairing flat roof and then decide what to do. Don't go for the lowest cost but decide the most appropriate cost and then take the final decision.


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