Time to re-roof but a few questions

herusMay 22, 2009

Insurance is picking up a replacement. They counted ~50 squares and I have 3 bids from 3 types of companies (X, Y, Z in order below). X & Y are long(ish) standing members at BBB (A+) and it is all they do. One is a multi-employee company with salespeople and the other is a small op where the owner is also the only salesman. Both have been used by at least one friend/neighbor and come well-recommended.

Z, also an owner-salesman operation who I think got into roofing lately from general construction due to the economy, has one negative on the BBB and does not have a long enough established membership to earn a rating above C minus. But several neighbors have used him and I have talked to at least 3 of them, all good results although there were issues with two of them, both quickly rectified by him.

Pricing is a little different for all 3. Company X with the salespeople is, surprisingly, the lowest by a little bit. Company Y is the highest and least willing to offer no-charge upgrades. Z will do some upgrades but not as many as X, but was a bit on the pushy side. Pricing variation from lowest to highest is max 10% and they are all using the 50 squares as a starting point (did not do measurements themselves).

X's salesman was a little weak on the product knowledge side, which worries me a little (I was correcting him in places, and all I know about roofing is what I learned these past two weeks). He seems to be new as his profile is not up on the co website yet. He is offering me a little more in terms of options if I go with CertainTeed vs GAF. (all products will be the base 30-year architectural). He is also quoting a max work time of two days vs 3 from Y & Z.

I am leaning towards this company (not at all pushy and seemed to give in on some small options easily) as you can probably tell but would like to know more about the CT product vs GAF (for which they are "Master Elite"). Comparing GAF Prestique 30 to CT Landmark (not Plus). I came across an older thread with many refs to poor CT quality; not sure if that is still the case.

Any input would be useful. I know I will need to choose the contractor based on my own feelings but would like to learn more about the two brands of shingles, but feel free to chime in about the contractors as well.

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I'd go with the company for which you have personal (and hopefully trusted) recommendations.

Can't help with the shingles themselves.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:12AM
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The best shingle today is the ELK Prestige Plus 40 yr. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 1:43PM
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You need to plan on supervising this job from start to finish, otherwise they will ALL take shortcuts which are NOT in your favor, mostly in terms of NOT replacing wood sheathing which is bad, and instead covering up bad wood with new shingles. Obviously this will NOT lend to a durable job.

1) How bad of shape is roof in? You mention ins. is paying--STORM damage? Most estimates are based on an UNrealistically low guess-timate of how much wood will need replaced. Double the amount they guess, then ask for the new total, or else beat them down on the "extra lumber and labor" rate. That is where they really PAD THE BILL.

2) What part of country are you in?

Good luck... every roofing job is basically a colon exam, i.e. necessary, but never enjoyable. ;')

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:59PM
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I am in the Atlanta area. The things you said are concerns of mine... the deck sheathing, which they want $50 apiece for, insurance doesn't pay for any of it. I have been trying to get one of the companies to throw in (up to) a certain amount but they don't want to do it. of course, as it does seem to be a big profit center (the material is $5 or so).

Colon exam indeed... is that why I feel this pain in the rear end every time I talk to one of these guys? :-)

All in all I am exhausted from dealing with contractors since we began our partial home reno earlier this year. They all cheat on materials, lie about time, quality and anything else, and cut corners every time they think you're not looking. Am sure many contractors reading this will want to chime in saying they're not like that, but all I can speak to is my own experience.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 12:55AM
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The few ruin it for the majority. There are more decent trades people than bad, imo. Your job is to take the time to seek out reputable people in your area from referalls from friends, family, co-workers,etc. Check their references and go see their work from past projects. You will more than likely pay more for a quality outfit, but in the long run you will save money by it being done right with less or no call backs. Dont go with the lowest, convienet bid, do your homework!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 1:35PM
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I believe that various responses with their generalizations about all contractors shows a total lack of any real experience or skill at dealing with them. I have been been in the GC field for about 35 years and one thing for sure I have found is that when I find someone with that attitude about people they do not know anything about, I get away from them as fast as possible. Another clue about what you know and what your expectations are is your guesstimate of the cost of decking. Maybe you should actually step foot inside some place that sells it and see what the real price is. Apparently you also do not have any idea just it takes to replace that decking as far as labor goes. Maybe you should ask yourself if you would be willing to get up on the roof and do the work for what you are wanting to pay someone else to do it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:29PM
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"Maybe you should ask yourself if you would be willing to get up on the roof and do the work for what you are wanting to pay someone else to do it."

This is a specious argument and usually one of last resort, when nothing but bluster is left. Seems you miss Adam Smith's point entirely. I write a specific type of software for a living. Would you like to try your hand at it when you need a custom piece written? Didn't think so. That doesn't mean you can't find someone else to do it at a lower price if I insist on charging you a silly figure.

Yes I am unskilled at dealing with contractors. And thankful for it, for to acquire that skill would mean lots of practice, which I don't have the stomach for. And yes, I DID learn to do a lot of things for myself. Not to save money (it cost me more money in fact, as I make more than most contractors do per hour) but to save myself the aggravation.

This is all I will write on the subject of contractors here. Would still love to get responses on specific questions as asked... thanks for understanding.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:16PM
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Please let me know who you used? I need a decent roofing contractor myself. I am in Suwanee GA

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 9:29AM
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- The BBB might not mean much. Go to your local county/city web site for building permits and see if they have a list of companies with outstanding complaints. Or you could call them and ask about your company. Our city will tell you if they have any outstanding complaints.

- Wood decking 50 bucks per sheet seems a bit high. My roofer replaced any wood that was rotted.

- Facia - is it rotted too? If so, get that replaced too. It might cost you a little extra but it is a good time to get it replaced with the roof.

- I ended up going with a roofing contractor that was recommended by a friend. He and his brother had been in the business for 30 years and did a very good job. They replaced any rotten wood, facia, cleaned up everything, permits correctly pulled, very professional. I got a metal roof so it was more expensive than the traditional roof.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:35AM
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