Is his roofing bid fair, and how can he be sure?

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Q. My old Victorian house built in 1881 is huge, with an enormous attic and a turret, which I bought in 1975 and had the roof re-shingled. So the roof is 37 years old. A roofer offered to do a new roof for $17,000. Is that fair, or reasonable?

LEE MONDALE, Marblehead

A. Considering the size and intricacies of the roof, including that turret, I think that price may indeed be fair. Because the roof is not seen from the yard, I suggest you get plain shingles with a 30-year or 40-year life expectancy. Don’t bother with fancy shingles because you can’t see them. As a final note, those shingles that lasted 37 years and counting, are remarkable. One thing you can do to see if the offer is fair is to invite two more bids.

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