Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof - Roofing - Contractor Talk

Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof

 
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Old 11-02-2005, 05:33 PM   #1
 
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Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Hi everyone,

I'm a homeowner who really enjoys this forum. Really like seeing the contractors who are looking for customers like me -- who want a good job and good value, both.

My situation -- We have a Baltimore rowhouse built circa 1848, the rear half (5 squares) has a metal roof that I just recoated with 3 coats of Andek's elastomeric roof coatings -- very pleased so far.

Question re: the roof over the front half of our house. It has a built-up roof 15 years or more years old, which in leaking underneath a chimney and underneath a partition wall.

We're about to get an estimate from a very reputable roofer who has been quite meticulous in examining and measuring the roof, and taking up a sample to see how involved a tearoff would be. I have a feeling their estimate will be on the high side though, they usually work in the showiest neighborhoods in town.

Can anyone give me a ballpark on what to expect for the following particulars:

Complete tearoff of roof consisting of 3 layers of built-up roofs and the original metal roof -- size is 5 squares, slope is 1 in 12, height is 3 stories, cornice on west side (front of house), partition wall on north side, dropoff on south side, gutters on east side.

And then installing:

White EPDM .060
1-1/2 inches of insulation to create R10 level of insulation
White aluminum flashing and counterflashing on 2 chimneys
EPDM flashing continuing up sides of 2 site-built skylight curbs (built and installed by me).

Thanks for any information. I am sure these roofers are good -- they offer a 10-year parts and labor guarantee -- we've just been hammered with vet bills (!) for our elderly pets so times are tight and I want to make sure the estimate, which we'll get Friday, isn't 2x or 2.5x what is typical for our situation.

Thanks in advance, AmateursGuide
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Old 11-02-2005, 06:02 PM   #2
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Quote:
Originally Posted by AmateursGuide
Can anyone give me a ballpark on what to expect...I am sure these roofers are good -- they offer a 10-year parts and labor guarantee -- we've just been hammered with vet bills (!) for our elderly pets so times are tight and I want to make sure the estimate, which we'll get Friday, isn't 2x or 2.5x what is typical for our situation.
AG-judging by the level of roofing spec detail you're familiar with, your articulate presentation, your presence here in an internet forum and the fact that you seem genuinely concerned with properly maintaining your real estate investment, I'm guessing your some kind of professional. Even if you're not - what would you think of a client who's expectations for an appropriate fee structure (yours) was based on anonymous input they solicited on the internet? Would you want to be pigeonholed by such expectations?
Most people think a 'ballpark' is going to be +/- 5% when in fact it's more likely to be +/- 500%. It sounds to me like you think contractors are just a bunch of self-depreciating dolts, waiting around to trip up one another's prices the first chance they get. I hope the responses you get from roofers prove that picture wrong.
If you're earnestly concerned about being gouged then YOU need to spend the time it takes diligently solicit and analyze proposals from multiple vendors in your locale. Anything short of that is a crap shoot and exposes you to selecting a vendor who does not provide you the greatest value. Check here http://www.thebluebook.com/ for some local sources.

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Last edited by PipeGuy; 11-02-2005 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 11-02-2005, 06:22 PM   #3
 
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Hi Pipe Guy,

I'm flattered you think I'm a professional! I wish I was, I would do the upper roof myself, but it's a bigger tougher job than the lower roof job I completed successfully.

Let's see, I've called nine roofing contractors on this job. One guy didn't do tearoffs and quoted me $2,400 for slapping EPDM over 4 other layers (handwritten on a legal pad, pressured me to sign it right away) -- seemed very unprofessional as well as not to city code. The other eight have been a combination of not answering their phone, 2 said they were busy into the indefinite future, 2 don't work on rowhomes, another sent an estimate of $575 to put some roof cement around the flashings, another has about 60 complaints on the Better Business Bureau Web site.

This doesn't count the guy who set up three different appointment times and never made any of them.

I wish I had a nice folder with three bona fide estimates to compare but after working on this since June, it looks like here it is November and I am going to have exactly one legit bid in my hand this Friday!!!
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Old 11-02-2005, 06:52 PM   #4
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


I wasn't referring to a 'trade' professional rather one who is schooled and employed within a 'professional' field. That being said, the difficulty that you're experiencing in getting qualified bidders shouldn't be cause for throwing caution to the wind - it just means the 'due diligence' phase is going to take longer. Impatience with the process, and the market forces that allow good contractors to charge more, is what leads most to hire a disreputable contractor. Be patient and keep making phone calls. Knock on doors and ask around the neighborhood for references. Try the link I provided. If you put enough time into the proess you'll find the value you desire.
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Old 11-03-2005, 07:20 AM   #5
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Alot goes into figuring the price for a roof, more than just the roof details. Stories of the roof? Access to the roof (ladder or hatch)? Where can I throw my garbage? Is a garbage chute required? Will I have to errect scaffolding to block a thuroughfare (sidewalk)? What is the proximity of my dumpster to the roof? How can I get the materials up on the roof (crane, supplier, laddervator, or a bad back)?

Basically the point I am getting at is small jobs like this with a lot of detail as you described will always fetch a premium because they are a PIA. My roofers and I call it "Sex on the Roof" which is a clean term for "A very f**ked up roof!"
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Old 11-07-2005, 01:54 PM   #6
 
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Ha ha gotcha Grumpy!

I got a quote of $13,000 (!) for this job. Maybe it is you say -- 3 stories, may need a garbage chute and dump truck. I will also do what Pipe Guy says and get crankin' on getting quotes via the Blue Book link.

Thanks guys.
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Old 11-07-2005, 08:41 PM   #7
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Quote:
Originally Posted by AmateursGuide
I got a quote of $13,000 (!) for this job.
What causes you to think that the price is too high?

Baltimore City + rowhouse + 3 stories + no parking + pedestrian sidewalk below + ladder access only = $13,000.

Seems on target to me.
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:24 AM   #8
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


You no if its a row house it seems like accessability could be a problem. Meaning all kinds of special considerations need to go into place. Those are going to add up. I'm assuming when you say row house you mean like a row house in chicago. I bet grumpy doesn't go anywhere near those in chicago because there a major pain in the but. I say pay the 13 and been done with it. Also i thought 3 is the limit on a roof. You said 5 on yours.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:00 AM   #9
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Actually 747 I'd love to do 'em but my price is always too high. I bid 'em when ever called, but I am not going to do a job for a loss.

Most of the row houses in the city will have a very steep mansard in the front usually with Slates, and a flat roof in the rear. Most of the row houses have no parking in the front and no parking in the rear, in addition to alot of trees in the front. Also row houses in the city are usually right up next to the sidewalk which means I have to call a city licensed scaffolding erector to install scaffolding, over the sidewalk.

I usually lose those jobs to the guys willing to put another layer ontop even thoguh the building is already at it's maximum layers.
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:55 PM   #10
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


Thats my point exactly..Scaffolding and stuff like that. And in some places if that scaffolding has to go over a side walk well look out with all the city requirements for that.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:55 AM   #11
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


I lose jobs alot due to scaffolding. Customers can not understand why I am the only one bidding it. The reason is we used to gamble quite often and not use scaffolding and just keep a man on the ground re-directing sidewalk traffic, until we got a couple tickets. That's when we learned it is code to use scaffolding and scaffolding ONLY.

Do it right or don't do it at all.
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Old 11-10-2005, 03:15 PM   #12
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Re: Pricing Question For Baltimore Rowhome Roof


I would never use white EPDM. When the carbon black is removed from the sheet to make it white, alot of the UV resistance is removed as well. I have installed it when I worked for someone else. I would never use it again. Black EPDM .060 is fine.

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