Flat-top roof resurfacing estimate a little...high?
September 17, 2023 11:02 PM   Subscribe

We have a carport with a flat-top roof/deck on top of it, with a vinyl-ish surface. It's leaking, and I had a roofing company come out to give me an estimate to replace and resurface it. They said ~36k

It's about 900 sq ft, there will be ~30 feet of flashing against the house and ~90 feet around the edge to reinforce it.

The estimate is to replace the all the plywood and then resurface it with a new surface (called IB Deckshield). There's a bunch of other associated work involving doors, hauling materials, inspecting/remediating rot, etc. The estimate came in at ~$36k, which is about 2-2.5 times what I was expecting.

This is the first estimate I've gotten, and I'm working on others, but I was a little stunned when I saw the number. I'm sure most people here are not professional roofers, but have you recently had work like this done? Does that price seem high to you?

As an aside, if you have recommendations for contractors in Seattle, I'm looking for them.
posted by Gorgik to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
We had our entire house reroofed in Queens, NYC, 7 years ago. Not sure of the square footage, but it's a good-sized and fairly complex roof with at least 6 different pitched surfaces. They had to remove many layers of old asphalt shingles, and ultimately they also removed cedar shake from when the house was built in the 1920s and replaced it with new plywood. The estimate had been something like $16K, but they ended up charging us $24K because of the cedar shake issue.

I know that the prices for construction materials went up a lot during the pandemic, and perhaps they haven't gone down due to ongoing corporate price gouging. Still, for what you describe, $36K still seems kind of high to me, even in Seattle. But I'm no expert.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:55 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]

We had a more simple job done last summer in Providence RI- replacing the rubber roofing on a flat garage (about 400 square feet). It cost 10K. That was the lowest of three quotes we got. 36K does seem high but not wildly so these days unfortunately - I'd get quotes from at least two more companies. Our neighborhood Facebook group has been very useful for getting recommendations for these types of renovations and repairs.
posted by emd3737 at 4:16 AM on September 18

I think you just need to get more estimates. Without them it's difficult to impossible to know if this is the going rate for this sort of roof in your area, if this is a "fuck you/fuck off" quote, or if it's just on the high end but not entirely out of order. If the job is complex (addressing the rot and work on the door, e.g.) be sure the quotes are equivalent and specifically include everything you expect to be done.
posted by pullayup at 6:05 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]

I'm with pullayup, this is a blowoff quote. I'd believe you could rebuild the entire carport for 36K.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:56 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]

It's a large carport and deck from what I'm reading. Materials are very expensive now. Depending on the actual scope of the project this might be a reasonable number. It might help to ask the company to break down labor vs materials and do the same with other bidders. Also be really clear on what is included and what isn't. It's possible the bidder thinks you want more than you do, and on the other hand, it's possible they know exactly what you want but you don't understand what it will take to get you there. For instance, hazardous materials abatement, painting, how much of the existing structure likely has to be repaired or replaced, will you need new handrails/fencing around the deck, is there electrical work involved, etc.
posted by happy_cat at 7:39 AM on September 18

People here are talking about regular pitched roofs or flat roofs which are not designed to be walked on. If your roof was either of those, your price would be less than half.

You are building a pool on your roof -- it has to be completely water-tight -- which is also exposed to freezing and hail and sun and high heels and chair legs. It's not cheap.
posted by flimflam at 1:47 PM on September 18

You are building a pool on your roof -- it has to be completely water-tight -- which is also exposed to freezing and hail and sun and high heels and chair legs. It's not cheap.

A pool? The OP said a deck, but not a pool.

Sure, it has to be water-tight -- like any roof.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:47 PM on September 18

Sure, it has to be water-tight -- like any roof.

Not like any roof! Spray a hose upward a pitched roof and most will leak. Not a lot, but a little, enough that it doesn't matter because gravity means the water usually won't go up. That's why some people's roofs only leak during big windstorms. It's also why the shingles overlap and you're only allowed to nail in places where they'll be covered by the next course of shingles. A flat roof is more like a pool: every surface is wetted.

Read this old Ask about how un-intuitively complicated it can be to have a roof that you can walk on.
posted by flimflam at 3:00 PM on September 18

We just put a new membrane roof on our house and paid around around $35 per square foot- not too out of line with your quote. That included new insulation, some new sheathing, and replacing all of our fascia boards, but it’s also just a roof and not load-bearing for a deck. Flat roofs are expensive, if you can even find a place willing to work on a dinky house project!
posted by rebeccabeagle at 10:10 AM on September 21

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