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Is There a Reliable Way to Determine Roofing Cost?

Is There a Reliable Way to Determine Roofing Cost?

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May 25, 2010

Probably the surest way to determine the cost of your roof installation is to hire a contractor. However, when you go the professional route, you typically pay a premium, so be prepared.

If budget is a concern, you can always roll up your sleeves and break out your DIY guidebooks. The disadvantage there, of course, is that the cost becomes much harder to lock down. There exist many online calculators that can tell you how much you should expect to spend on materials given the size, slope, and location of your roof, but these only provide rough estimates. What many of these calculators do not factor in are two unrelated costs that go into roof installation--namely, time and mistakes.

Roofing Costs: Factor in Time and Mistakes

  • Time. Time is money, and roofing requires both. Do you have the free time to devote several days to this project? Will you have to take time off from work? Is it going to rain before you are finished? None of these considerations represents an actual "price tag" for your roofing project, but they are very real costs nonetheless. Be sure to factor in the time aspect when calculating your roofing budget.
  • Mistakes. The best DIY roofing guides in the world cannot prevent you from making mistakes. This is especially true if you are a first-timer. An online calculator assumes that you will get everything right your first time around. Rarely will it factor in the extra materials, professional help, and time you must pay for if you make a wrong turn somewhere.

Lastly, remember that costs and benefits are two sides of the same coin. No online calculator can possibly estimate the personal satisfaction that you receive from a job well done. If you are genuinely passionate about DIY projects and want something to show to your kids and their kids, then even the most accurate online roofing calculator will overestimate the true "cost" of your roofing project.

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