“How much does an Ecodur roof coating project cost?”
If I told you, “It’s a complicated question to answer,” you’d probably think I was being intentionally coy. I assure you, that’s not the case. The truth is, many factors affect the cost of any roof coating project. These range from regional differences like distributor pricing, labor and other overhead costs, to more project-specific differences. So, to accurately price a job, we first need to understand the level of impact these factors wield. I’m going to walk you through some examples that illustrate both the complexity involved in determining a final cost, and the conditions that can either raise or lower it.
REGIONAL LABOR COSTS
Let’s start by looking at the effect of regional labor costs on our project. We’ll use the example of an entry-level worker in City A vs. another in City B. The worker in City A earns $15 per hour, which is a decent wage in their state. Workers’ comp costs are low in this state, at only $24/100. So, for a single 10-hour day, the worker in City A has a wage of $150 in hours and $36 in workers’ comp, for a total of $186. (To keep things simple, we’re not accounting for payroll taxes or other related costs.)
City B, however, is in a high-wage area that also has high workers’ comp costs, such as in Southern California. An entry-level roofer in City B will likely earn closer to $21/hour, but the workers’ comp costs will be $80+/100. For that same 10-hour day, the City B worker will cost $210 in hours and $168 in workers’ comp, for a daily cost of $378. Now, most projects will have anywhere from 5 to 8 workers, and the wage gap will grow with skill level. With a difference of $192 for just one entry-level worker, it is easy to see that labor costs will vary greatly between these two sample cities.
A smaller but still important factor affecting our project is distributor pricing. While Ecodur Roof Coating is sold to all our distributors at the same price, there are a variety of factors that affect distributor pricing. The factor with the greatest impact is shipping costs. This year has seen giant fluctuations. I’ve watched the cost to ship a single pallet to Southern California range from under $500 to over $900. Sometimes these types of swings occurred within just weeks of each other! In addition, you’ll find that the cost of leasing warehouse space, as well as labor costs, also have an impact on distributor pricing.
Like distributors, contractors have overhead costs that need to be accounted for in their pricing structure. One of the big variances from region to region is the cost of warehouse/industrial space. At the time of writing this, LoopNet listed the price of a warehouse in Indiana as low as $0.33 per square foot, while listing the same type of space in Los Angeles at $1.53 and higher per square foot. Other factors such as state taxes, material costs, and gas prices also fluctuate between regions. This all must be considered when comparing pricing.
SPECIFIC PROJECT FACTORS
Now let’s look at factors that impact specific projects. These differences can range from the level of prep required, to how detailed the project is, to the amount of trash that will be generated.
We’ll begin with two sample projects, both located in the same city, and both with 10,000 square feet of commercial roofing. Project A is an asphalt and gravel roof that has hundreds of penetrations, some soft spots in the sheathing, and is 4 stories high. Project B is a single-ply roof on a relatively featureless building, and the deck height is only 12 feet.
EXAMPLE: PROJECT A
For Project A, scaffolding will likely be required due to its height. The first step will be to remove approximately 50,000 to 90,000 pounds of loose gravel. Yes, you read that right. That’s a lot of gravel! Sometimes, it can be even more. The roofer may contract this task out to a gravel removal company with a vacuum truck. Often, they will manually remove the gravel through chutes. Either way, the cost for removing the loose gravel can be $1 per square foot or more.
After removing the loose gravel, some areas will need to be scraped. Depending on how heavily the gravel is embedded into the asphalt, some or all areas may even require spudding. Once everything loose, brittle, or requiring removal is gone, repairs can be made to the sheathing. To repair the sheathing, the roofer will cut out a section of the built-up layers larger than the sheathing to be replaced to expose access to the wood. Once the wood is replaced, the section can be put back in place and cleaning can resume.
At this stage, the contractor will run a power broom to loosen anything that should be removed and collect any remaining loose gravel. Low spots and anywhere with caked-on dirt will be scraped with a wire brush. When the roof is nearly clean, a powerful blower will be used to collect and dispose of any remaining small debris. This step could take anywhere from 3-5 days depending on the size and skill of the crew.
Finally, the roofing crew can begin detailing the project. Because Project A has hundreds of penetrations, it may take an additional 2 days to detail and perimeter. Depending on how heavily the gravel is embedded, field application may take an additional 1-3 days. Plus, coverage rates may vary as well. Overall, Project A will take the contractor anywhere from 5-10 days to complete. Because of the surface, it will require a large amount of product.
EXAMPLE: PROJECT B
Let’s move on to Project B. This single-ply roof with few features can likely be prepped and detailed on the first day, but no later than the second. All that will be required is running a power broom and blower over the entire roof, scrubbing any particularly dirty areas. Coating the field will likely take 1-2 days. Because of the smooth single-ply surface, coverage rates will be much better than with Project A.
Now, these are extreme examples, but both are based on real projects. Project A will likely take 5-10 days, will require renting scaffolding, will use a lot more product, and will understandably cost more. Project B will be an easy project by comparison, with lower costs and less material, and can be completed in just 2-4 days.
ECODUR ROOF COATING COST
With all the factors that directly affect pricing, you might think the chasm between cost differences would be larger than it is. In truth, most Ecodur Roof Coating projects are completed at a cost between $4 and $7 per square foot. This is a pretty small gap considering all the factors at play. Of course, there are outliers on both ends, and we don’t see the bids on most projects that Castagra provides Ecodur for. But this information comes directly from the field, through conversations with many of our Certified Applicators.
When it’s time to consider a contractor for your project, it’s helpful to remember that there are considerations more important than price. First, you should be looking for a reputable roofer with good references. You’ll want a fully qualified professional who not only understands the project, but also the roofing products they recommend for it. It’s also important to look for a roofer who has been trained by the roofing product manufacturer.
Here at Castagra, we’re more than happy to put you in contact with our network of Certified Applicators. They are expertly trained in applying our versatile, cost-effective, and VOC-free Ecodur Roof Coating.
By: Jef McCurdy
National Training Manager – Castagra Products, Inc.