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chevyguy1973 02-07-2006 11:25 PM

Is a big price difference normal?
Okay, here's some history behind the question. Home was built in 1990 and roof is approximately 3800 sq ft with original 3-tab shingle roof in southern California. All the roofers I spoke to recommended NOT removing the old roof because: 1)it was in decent shape 2) it was the original roof without another roof under it, and 3) save about $1,200 in cost. I've received two bids so far with the high end at $7,900 and low at $5,000 with the following criteria.
1. 3-year leak warranty (low bid only comes with 2-yr warranty)
2. Replace up to 4 sheets of plywood (previous damage around shared roof line)
3. All demolition and trash hauling
4. Build cricket between two roof lines to eliminate low line and shed water (21 ft shared roof line between house and garage)
5. 30lb felt under new roof
6. Use 30yr shingles ( I like the Timberline 30 series)
7. I don't want to see any part of the old roof showing anywhere (mainly concerned with the edges of the roof)
8. Contractor handles all Permits, inspections, and is bonded and insured

Both high and low bidders have valid California contractor license, are bonded and insured with no bad BBB report. Both were very nice gentlemen and seemed very knowledgeable about the project.

Only difference I can see at this point is that the low bidder is busy and can't start until next month (just one crew) and high bidder has multiple teams and can start next week. (Go figure)

Anyway, I'm waiting on other bids now, but is it normal for there to be a 50% difference in bids for what I thought was a very specific task?

Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this stuff and for any advice you could offer. I'm not a roofer and don't know the first thing about what it should or should not cost. I know quality isn't cheap though and parts are cheaper than labor as the old saying goes.


jproffer 02-08-2006 04:14 AM

First of all, I wholeheartedly disagree with both of them about leaving the old roof. It can be's legal..I've even done it...but it's always better to tear off.

Speaking of that, you're kinda talking in circles. They both say its ok (or even better:eek: ) to leave the old roof, but they both include replacing up to 4 sheets of decking:confused: ...ya can't change the decking unless you tear off the shingles. If they tear off just the 4 sheets and roof over rest, you'll probably see a line from the ground.

What do you mean shared roof line? Shared with what? I can't quite picture what you have there.

IMO a $2900 difference is not hard to believe at all. Any given job will usually swing more than that around here...not because of the job, but because each company has different overhead, etc. Also, $1200 is WELL worth it to go ahead and tear it off now and be able to inspect ALL of the decking.

Hope this helps at least a little, good luck.

chevyguy1973 02-08-2006 08:21 AM

Thanks for the response. The house and garage sit side by side and there is a 21 ft length where the two roofs come together in a valley. There should have been a cricket there, but I guess the builder decided that would have cost too much. Anyway, that's what I meant by shared roof. On each end of that 21ft area, the shingles have leaked and the OSB underneath in those areas are junk now. The contractors allowed up to 4 sheets of OSB because they're going to have to completely tear down the roof at those points and rebuild.

That's a good point about there being a visible line where they removed the shingles though. Hopefully, today will bring more bids so I can get a better idea.

Thanks again for the reply!


IHI 02-08-2006 08:15 PM

If they're leaving the existing shingles on and doing a lay over-but have to replace sheeting most likely they will saw tooth some cheap shingles back down to build it back upto the same plane prior to laying down new shingles, no other way to really do it without a noticalbe dip in those repaired areas.

We've never done a lay over-mainly because most of our roofs are already at the 2 layer max to begin with. Regardless I would have it torn down to the original deck and see if any other areas have problems, this will save you in two ways. 1. you will nip any problems in the bud before they become major problems after your 2 or 3 yr warranty has expired. and 2. you pay a little now or alot later-costs are always on the rise for labor and product, and labor to tear off 2 layers and dump fees for 2 layers will cost you alot more later than it would to only do 1 layer later so do you save now or pay later...if you can swing it, do it the right way now, your wallet will thank you later.

Roofing will have pretty large margins of cost variance depending on size of company doing the work, and also if the ones doing the work are good or not. Often bigger companies get away with alot of "slap your wrist" type work since they have soo many guys on a crew and speed is the number one priority so they can move onto the next job and keep fundds rolling in, they'd just as soon belt it out quickly to get paid and send the repair guy back out to fix any problems you may find later. Most of the smaller REPUATABLE guys will be slower to do the job, but will make sure when they leave, it's done since they dont make as much initally they cant afford to come back. I'm smaller and tell my customers I never want to see them again until they want more work done. Meaning I lose money and clout on call backs and a small company cannot afford that!!

jproffer 02-08-2006 09:15 PM


most likely they will saw tooth some cheap shingles back down to build it back upto the same plane prior to laying down new shingles
Yea they could do that. Personally if someone asked me to hack up a job like that, I'd make sure it cost em MORE than if I just ripped the whole thing. That is...IF I would do it at all, which is highly unlikely.

chevyguy1973 02-08-2006 10:06 PM

Okay, here's another bid that came in today. This one I like even better. I pick the shingles, Owens Corning, Timberline, what ever. If it's more expensive, I just pay for the extra cost of shingles. For every sheet of OSB they replace, it costs me $45.00 for a whole sheet, but the guy said if it only takes 1/2 a sheet to do the repair, they'd use the other 1/2 sheet for the next repair on my roof. Complete tear down to OSB, 30lb felt, new flashing, cricket and everything included with a 3yr warranty against leaks for $7,000 plus the above mentioned options. AND THEY CAN START NEXT WEEK. I asked about a price without tear down, and he didn't seem too excited about that. He said he didn't like not doing a tear down first because it's too hard to see trouble areas he might get blamed for later. I like this guy! He has a BBB rating with the Better Business Bureau with no complaints in the last 3 yrs, his license checks out with the California Construction Licensing Board and he seemed more than happy to answer my questions. Pending more bids tomorrow, I think I have a winner! I really appreciate the advice from everyone on here. It's nice to have a little education from someone not trying to sell me anything.


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