Q I am about to reroof our house and have gotten a variety of price quotations based on a variety of measurements. How does one protect oneself against overcharging? Also, how does one get more knowledge on this infrequent procedure? George W. Sabre Westfield, Mo. Put yourself in the driver's seat by informing yourself about what is to be done. Then you should prepare a short ``request for proposal'' form, which outlines the project on which you want a bid.
First, specify the quantity. Roofing is expressed in squares (100 square feet). Measure your house area, plus the overhangs, and add about 5 to 10 percent for the pitch of the roof. Second, select a material by visiting a local roofing supplier.
If you want specifics on the proper method of installation, write to a manufacturer or talk with a local manufacturer's representative. Either way, you should be able to get the names of reputable local roofers as well as the approximate installed-per-square prices.
Get some good competitive prices from several roofers and then begin the process of negotiation.
If you have a question about designing, improving, or maintaining your home, send it to the Real Estate Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.