Roof replacement questions
I'm a new home owner(since 1 year) of a beautiful ranch living in NJ. I'm in the market for a new roof. I've been getting estimates from contractors and the price difference / options are driving me crazy... My overall dwelling area is about 2000 sq ft and I already have 3 layers of roof which is in the last stage of its life. Existing roof is about 19 years old and we recently had some water leaks in the bath room and we have been noticing shingles tearing off at many spots. I want to replace the gutters and leaders along with the roof.
So far I have the estimates from 6-8 contractors and the price
difference is outrageous.
3 contractors --> $5400 - $6300 (They are using Tamko heritage shingles)
2 contractors --> $7000 - $8500 ( They are recommending Timberline 30 shingles)
3 contracts --> $9200 -- $12500(They are recommending Timberline 30 shingles) . One of these have very good reviews and they are in business for 40 years and they claim to have Timberline Goldenplege contract...)
All these prices include Gutters and leaders. Im really having hard time deciding on the contractor. I want to live in this house for next 10 years atleast so I don't want to compromise on the quality of work. So.. I thought I'll post all my questions here which could help me choosing the right one.
1.Firstly the shingle itself. Timberline-Elk or Tamko . Which one is better. Based on the prices it feels like Timberline is expensive one...
2.Currently I have just two louvre vents on either end of attic and one exhaust motorised vent on the top. Most of contractors are offering Ridge vents . One of them is insisting that I need Soffits all along the fascia at 10 feet intervals.. Do I need both of them. ? Also most of them are offering Cobra ridge vents.
3.Most of contractors are offering 15 lb tar paper. One of them is insisting on using Timberline Shinglemate instead. Looks pricier but is it really worth it ?
4.Some of the contractors are charging as much as $2800 for the gutters/leaders and guards. But some of them are quoting as low as $800 for gutters and leaders. I was considering leaf guard system which comes out to $2500 and also have seamless guards.. Is it really worth going for leaf guard system ? They are offering lifetime warranty and cleaning up if I see a clog anytime.. I was particulary impressed by their seamless gutter guards which is part of the gutter..Also they are offering 32 guage and 6 inch gutters where as most of the other contractors are offering 5 inch gutters.
5.Most contractors are offering 30 year manufacturer warranty from Timberline/Tamko. But the warranty on labour varies too much. It ranges from 3 months - 20 years. How much warranty is ideal ? What happens if a contractor changes his company name or goes out of business. ? In this case is it a good idea to hire some one who is in business for long time.?
6.I'm planning to check a)licence b)insurance and c)References from the contractor I decide to hire. Do I need to check anything else.. ?
7.Should I insist on release of lien for a roofing job. Most contractors are verbally saying they dont hire any sub-contractors and they never had case of non-payment to suppliers. What kind of documentation do I need to make sure the contractor/sub or supplier doesn't place a hold on the house if the prime contractor fails to pay.
8. How much deposit / down payment is usually ideal ? Some of them are asking as much as 50% at the time of signing the contract. This is not a big deal but I'm not too comfortable paying them so much before they start the work.
9. Do I need to hire some professional inspection company to inspect the quality of roofing work(once completed) ? Or the inspection performed by township before issuing permit is good enough ?
10. This is my first time hiring a contractor. What are key things that I should insist to be put in the contract ? Is there a generic template/checklist available ?
I'd really appreciate if some experts can help me out on these questions.
Thanks a lot.. Mahesha...
1. The reputation of the contractor and his references are one very key criteria. Most of the well known brands of shingles cost almost identical and perform nearly the same. I prefer Tamko Heritage and Certainteed Landmarks, but the next guy may prefer another choice.
2. You typically need to improve the soffit Intake Ventiltion with any older home and most definitely need to increase the roof top Exhaust Ventilation too.
Which version of Cobra Vent?
If it is the Rolled Cobra Vent, then that is absolute garbage. It does not perform well over time and gets clogged up from dust particles. It also leaks from heavy winds with rain or powdery snow. Believe me, I know from 4 homes over a 2 year period in 1991 through 1992.
If it is the Snow Country version, than that is identical to the premium ridge vent on the market, which is the Shingle Vent II, made by Air Vent Corp. That would be a good solid choice.
When you get this roof done, you Must eliminate, by covering them up, the side wall gable louvre vents. You do need the lower intake ventilation and you do need the upper exhaust ventilation, but if you keep the gable vents or the powered attic vent, the air flow will be short circuited and not function properly to create a free flowing moving air washing effect.
A more suitable option that I use for a 100% effective solution, is to have a product called, Smart Vent, by DCI Products inc., installed. This is a shingle over style Fresh Air Intake Ventilation System, which allows an even and continuous path of Intake Air entering the attic structure.
3. Once the roof is covered up, the thickness of the felt paper is less of a consideration, but I always use 30# for the walking durability and the additional cover up protection during the tear-off process, prior to the shingles being delivered and installed.
4. 5" Seamless gutters are plenty, as long as they are pitched correctly and use the oversized 3" X 4" downspout leader pipes instead of the 2" X 3" versions. This is the key point that creates most clogged guttters.
I am flabbergasted that the Gutter Guard system is priced in line with the gutter installation of most of the contractors. They usually charge significantly more, and you DO have to rely on them coming out to clean them out. They do not eliminate the small flowering buds or seedlings that enter the trough. Check out www.AskTheBuider.com and see what Tim Carter has to say about all of these wonder products during his extensive analysis and customer feedback about all vartieties of these worshipped systems.
5. If the job is done correctly, a 2 year warranty should be sufficient for any workmanship problems. (The 2 year period gets you through 2 complete seasonal changes and is what is recommended by the NRCA and the MRCA roofing associations, for consumers to have faith in.) No contractor, with the exception of the one who "Possibly" may be able to offer a manufacturers workmanship warranty, would need to come back to fix a workmanship issue years and years down the road. Be content with anything between 2-5 years. Anything more, is just a bunch of marketing BS, and they probably would not honor it anyways.
6. I will make another post with my checklist.
7. It is the exception now-a-days, for a contractor to Not subcontract out the job. I am one of only 3 companies in my area, with the exception of the 1-2 man outfits who will not be around very long, who actually does still use employees. If this is a concern to you and I personally feel it should be a very major one, then you can ask to see the most recent Fed 940 and Fed 941 quarterly reports from them, which authenticate that they actually have employees whom they pay regular wages to and deduct proper taxes and unemployment benefits from and match their social security and medicair deductions.
Subcontractors only care about one thing. How fast can they get done and how many corners can they cut to achieve approval on the day that they are finished. Well, what about 1, 2 or 3 years down the road? You don't even know who actually did the roofing work on your home. This to me, is probably one of the most critical items to research completely. Also, will you be able to speak English with the crew foreman at least, and hopefully the entire crew if you have any routine questions? Or, will they just shrug their shoulders and say No Comprende'? What would you do then?
edit: If they are using subcontractors, then you should gril the sub for all of the same information as the primary contractor. Do they have a license and insurance? etc...
8. 10% to 50% is typical. What I do, is get 33% at the time of accepting the agreement and then an additional 33% once we are on the job with our labor and materials and then the final balance at the completion of the job.
9. The building code inspector/official is "Supposed" to actually do an inspection, but, it is at most, usually a drive by...."Oh yeah, they have new shingles on it now....., type of inspection.
I can not impress on you enough, that the Devil is in the Details. The more descriptive about the proper specifications and the actual brand names of products that they are proposing, the better off you are for not being kept in the dark about any surprises. Also, equally as important, is to actually physically go to their previous completed jobs and ask the home owners how their experience was with the contractor. It would be icing on the cake, if you could get an address near by that they were currently working on, so that you could see the workers in progress and the cleanliness of the job site.
10. Same as # 6. I will get my list posted next up.
Now, if you are any where near Pomono New York, another poster on here, who goes by the user name of theroofinggod, or TRG, for short, does excellent work and has some of the most expert advice and roofing knowledge around, (Except for me of course), you might like to try to contact him, but, if I already knew that someone had 8-10 estimates, I would not be in a hurry to get over there. His link to his website is:
I probably am done for the evening after I post the 10 Tips List, but if you need any additional clarification, please continue to post your questions again, but please do me a favor.
Don't have such a long list all at once. I type the one finger method. Just kidding.
I hope this was the assistance you were looking for.
Roofing is Not Brain Surgery. There are many Wrong ways to roof a house. But…There is only…One “Right Way”, By Following All of the Manufacturers Specifications. Over 90 % of All Roofs Done - DO NOT Qualify for the Manufacturers Long Term Warranty!!! ( According to studies by GAF Roofing Corp., Air Vent Inc., & Alcoa )
10 Very Important Tips You Should Always Follow
“What You Should Know Before Hiring Any Contractor!!!”
1) RELIABILITY: Verify that the contractor you call has been in business in your area for At Least 10 Years. Over 85 % of all roofing contractors are out of business in less than 5 years, way before the warranty expires and before many roofing problems begin to show up and cause problems. 85 % of those remaining do not last till the 10th year. (Department of Labor Statistics)
2) INTERVIEW: Make time to meet with any contractor you call, in person, at your home to review the proposal and detailed specifications. Try to select a Knowledgeable, Organized, Experienced, and Locally Established contractor who will take a personal interest in your roofing project. Choose one who has an established track record of many similar roofing projects done in your local area. If they will farm out your roofing job to an unknown subcontractor, you should interview them as well.
3) REFERENCES: Insist on a minimum of at least 20 - 50 recent job references & also several from each year they say they were in business. Ask for customer testimonials. Drive past several of the jobs to check for proper venting, flashing details, and general appearance. Ask previous customers if they were satisfied and if they would use them again. Contact your local building inspector for verification.
4) BUYER BEWARE: Be suspicious if any contractor requires you to get the roofing permit. The party who applies for the permit is responsible for building code compliance. What happens when the roofing specs do not conform to the local codes? Why won’t they be responsible for it? Also, Do Not Ever pay more than 50 % when paying a deposit.
5) ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER:Make sure that the contractor actually has a physical location that you can find if you need to locate them in the future, not just a mailbox etc., drop box. Do they have an actual office and material storage shop or just work out of the back of their pick up truck. Make sure they have an actual local telephone # and not just a cell phone. When problems occur, it is much easier to find someone if you already know how to, in advance. Check out his drivers license address.
6) LICENSE, INSURANCE AND BONDS: Insist on receiving a copy of the Contractors State of Illinois Roofing License, General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and their Roofing Bond. Don’t just assume they have it because they tell you so. They should have enough pride in themselves to include a copy for each customer.
7) PROPOSAL AND/OR CONTRACT:Insist on a very thorough and detailed written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate length of the job and payment procedures. Verbal agreements should be added to the written agreement. You MUST, by law, be advised in writing of your 3-Day “Right To Rescind” if you change your mind and receive all of your deposit money refunded to you.
8) EMPLOYEES OR SUB-CONTRACTORS: If your contractor farms out the job to a sub-contracting crew, they too must supply you with their Roofing License, General Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance and Roofing Bond. If they don’t and someone gets hurt, you may be liable. The sub-contractor should be interviewed as well. Dedicated trained experienced Employees are more desirable due to continuing training and experience.
9) CONTRACTOR TRADE ASSOCIATIONS: Quality control begins with dedication, the amount of proper knowledge and previous training from past projects and from advanced learning through many contractor trade associations. Memberships in any related trade association and certificates of completion from manufacturers product training classes authenticate the more dedicated professional.
10) USE YOUR NOGGIN: 85 % of all construction lawsuits involve roofing related problems. You only have one chance to make the “Right 1st Choice”. If one contractor tells you something extremely different than another contractor, then either do your own research or have the contractor provide documentation to justify and support his analysis, especially about Intake & Exhaust Ventilation, Plywood vs. OSB Particle Board, Ice & Water Shield & Flashings.
You need to be concerned with the initial price only once… But you are going
to be concerned about Quality…for many years to come!!!
The following named Roofing Contractor is an esteemed selected board member of the Professional Roofers Advisory Council, (PRAC). If You Want Solutions, Not Problems, Call…
Hello Ed, Thanks very much for the detailed reply. Apologize of the lengthy message. Let me digest all the information in your reply and I will definetly get back to you for more questions...:)
Roofing God.. I was able to read your msg but it seems I cant reply to a PM untill I have 20+ posts.. I'll try to reach out to you either today or on Monday.
Try TRG here http://www.advancedroofingnewyork.com/.
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