Choosing a Roof Replacement Estimate: Is the Lowest One Always the Best Choice?
Roof replacement is an integral home improvement project. It is not a matter of making your home look better (although it accomplishes this also) but a matter of making sure that your home continues to be a safe and comfortable living space. Roof replacement is a project that most homeowners will undertake at least once, and perhaps even two or three times, depending on how long they own the home and what kind of roof is installed. Most roofs have a life expectancy of about 15 to 30 years, depending on weather conditions, which is especially precarious in Florida considering the frequency of tropical storms in our area.
While necessary, roof replacement can also be a confusing and expensive procedure. Even if you are well informed about the steps of roof replacement, roofing procedures, and roof types, you may be faced with a difficult decision when choosing a roofing contractor. Ideally, as a homeowner you will contact several contractors in your area and get a detailed estimate from each. At this point, it is up to you to choose which contract to sign.
Because roof replacement is an expensive process, costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars (depending on the type of roof and the size of the home), a homeowner’s first instinct may be to select the cheapest estimate and sign with that contractor. This is perfectly understandable, but you should know that the cheapest estimate may come with hidden costs. Here are five reasons why choosing the lowest estimate may cost you more in the long run.
Some contractors claim to be experts in just about everything. They might claim that they can do not only roof replacement, but also replace your windows, siding, remodel your bathroom, and throw in landscaping services. This may turn out well and good, but oftentimes it can be a red flag.
When replacing the roof on your home, you do not need a handyman, you need an experienced roofing professional. This is not someone who is just good with a hammer, but educated in the requirements of roof replacement and building codes.
The cheapest prices are often offered by companies or contractors with no office or physical location in your area. They may come up with a nice looking finished product, but you will not know if the roofing system underneath the top layer is of top quality. Be aware especially of anyone who tells you they can save you money by simply putting another layer of roofing on top of your old roof. A roof is an integrated system of layers from the sheathing to the cover, with roof-specific flashing and ventilation systems.
If your roofer does not check the lower layers of your roof, you may end up with a fresh roof layer covering rotting plywood sheathing, which will require repair or replacement within mere months. Then, if your roof develops a leak within a month or a year of replacement you will begin trying to hunt down that out of town (or worse yet, unlicensed) contractor for their warranty. This will prove to be a difficult, if not impossible, task.
- No Worries
When you hire a reputable, licensed, local contractor with a physical address and dedicated employees you will save yourself a ton of worries. These contractors have a local reputation to maintain and can be easily tracked down at their local address. For this reason they will make sure you have the best experience possible. You will not have to worry about them not showing up or doing shoddy work and disappearing. Once you sign the contract, your roof will be scheduled and all work will be done within days of the scheduled date. It will also be done in accordance with all local and state building codes. If you ever have any questions or concerns you will easily be able to get in touch with this type of contractor.
- A Gamble
Choosing the lowest price is always a gamble. After all, prices are not taken out of thin air. So, if you see one estimate that is lower than all the others, you should ask yourself how this is possible. All roofers have to purchase materials, pay their employees, and cover overhead costs. Very low prices often mean that there may be cost cutting going on either on materials or labor. In either case, you do not want low-grade materials installed on your roof or for the workers doing the installation to be either unqualified or underpaid. Both of these will lead to a low quality product that will leave you paying in the long run.
If the company with the low-ball offer does not have a license, liability insurance, or worker’s compensation insurance, you may be stuck with the costs usually covered by these policies or a lawsuit. Roofing can be a dangerous process. It can cause damage to the surrounding area (like air conditioning units, landscaping, etc), and workplace accidents are possible even when all precautions are taken (which may not be by a shoddy contractor). A responsible, licensed, and insured contractor will have safeguards in place to handle these issues. They will fix any damage to the surrounding area and will have liability insurance coverage and worker’s compensation to cover any accidents. Saving money by choosing an unscrupulous contractor at the start could leave you liable for these types of costs later on down the line.
Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with over a decade of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!