Roofing Shortcuts that Can Cost You in the Long Run

Removal of old roof and replacement with all new shingle

Installing a new roof can be a substantial investment that presents temptations to cut a few corners in attempts to save a couple of bucks here and there. While there is nothing wrong with trying to make the installation as cost-effective as possible, there are several areas where taking money-saving shortcuts can end up costing a lot of money, including:

1) Skipping the tear-off – Doing a tear-off adds approximately $2 per square foot to the cost of the project, which presents a meaningful level of savings if it can be avoided. In the vast majority of cases, however, doing a tear-off is the best way to ensure both the structural integrity of the roof deck and that the new roof provides maximal protection for as long as possible. The problem with this shortcut is that the savings that may be realized by overlaying a new roof can be lost many times over if the existing materials are already deteriorating. In these situations, the weakening foundation that sits under the new roof will likely require repairs long before materials that are installed on a clean deck.

2) Ignoring the attic – The importance of controlling the environment in the attic is often underestimated with the installation of vents and insulation being perceived as costs that can be avoided to reduce the overall price of the project. The problem with ignoring the attic is that it creates a space through which heat can be lost through the roof deck during the winter months, moisture can be trapped, and heat can radiate into the structure in the summer, resulting in higher energy costs, the potential of developing roof dams, and humidity that supports the growth of mold and mildew.

3) Going with an abnormally low bid – If you have collected several estimates for your roof installation, there is a good chance that the bid prices will be pretty close to one another. With several bids in hand, beware of any estimate that is substantially lower than the others, as there is a high potential that the work is rife with shortcuts that may include subpar materials, inexperienced labor, and/or a lack of insurance coverage, all of which can quickly become very expensive problems.

When it comes to the installation of a new roof the saying, “You get what you pay for” almost always applies. Using the above examples, doing a tear-off will put the new roof on a solid foundation, venting the attic will control moisture in the space, adding insulation will control the transfer of heat, and working with a contractor that charges fair prices for quality work will result in the installation of a roofing system that needs minimal repairs and lasts for the long term.