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  • Writer's pictureShannon George

Cheap Roofs Really Cost More

A roof plays a key role in the structure and protection of a home. In essence, it is one of the key pieces that can impact the house. Ensuring you have a quality roof is a crucial investment to keep the integrity of a home.

A cheap roof system inevitably is more costly in the long run. Today we share the reasons why it is a worthwhile investment to use quality roofing materials and not skimp on cheaper inferior products when repairing or replacing your roof. A roof made with cheap and inferior materials will impact the end quality and longevity of your roof as well as any warranties that come with it.

In our article, Roofing 101, we covered the basic components of what makes a complete roofing system. For a quick review, the roofing system includes the following parts:

  • Roof frame

  • Flashing

  • Underlayment

  • Ice and water protector

  • Shingles

  • Roof Edge

One way people try to cut corners and save money when it comes to a roof replacement is by using parts from different manufacturers. The shingles may come from one manufacturer with a lower cost point and the underlayment from a separate source. This is a piece mill way to create a roofing system and although it's cheaper initially it may prove to be more costly in the long run.

Opposite the piece mill approach to roof replacement is a complete manufacturer's roof system. This means that all parts of the roof come from the same manufacturer. They will be installed according to the installation instructions specific to the manufacturer. In addition to ensuring that you have a high-quality roof, this also allows you to rely on a warranty that will be honored by the manufacturer if it is ever needed.

The cost of a manufacturer-registered roof system is higher, but it's well worth it in terms of quality, warranty, and life expectancy.

You get what you pay for

With cheap inferior roof parts, you run a high risk of a roof failure in the future. A piece mill roof system can be anywhere from $500-$2500 cheaper than a manufacturer’s roofing system depending on the size of the roof. In all likelihood, a piece mill roof system will also bring cheaper labor costs. If someone is cutting costs with various roofing parts, then they will likely not be able to afford an expensive roof crew. With this, you might get air gun nailing or cutting corners by skipping the ice and water protector. The savings may be evident at the beginning of the roof but the dollars saved can quickly reverse when you have to hire another roofer to correct problems that will arise with an inferior quality roof with no manufacturer warranty,

Cutting corners cuts the lifespan

The longevity of your roof is not only impacted by a roofing system pieced from various sources. Low-cost materials, labor, and corner-cutting during roof installation will lead to a poor quality roof and a shortened lifespan of a roof. With the inferior roof system, you can expect that although not immediately, you will eventually have leaks to contend with. However, with a full roof system from one reputable manufacturer, a properly installed roof could last anywhere from 20 to 50 years depending on regular maintenance. A budget might make a piece mill roof system much more attractive, but it will not stay that appealing when you factor in the cost of repairs and replacement of an inferior roof in 5 or 10 years.

A contractor warranty is all you get

If all of your roofing materials come from the same manufacturer, you can register your roof with that company to get an extended warranty. If there's a problem with the materials like a defect, the enhanced warranty means that they'll pay for the labor, materials, and dump fees. It covers the cost to replace the roof even if one part of their system is faulty. Two things that will void a manufacturer’s warranty are no ventilation or improper installation. Be sure that your roofing contractors follow the installation instructions from the manufacturer.

Unfortunately, with a piece mill roofing system, the only warranty you can hope for is a workmanship warranty from the roofing contractor. A roofing contractor that installs a piece mill roof system knows the roof will likely have ongoing issues in the future and at most will only offer a 2-5 year warranty. As long as the roof does not fully fail, they will not be liable for the cost of repairing it. If your installer is willing to help cut corners with inferior pieced-out parts for a roof, you have to wonder if they will honor a 2-5 year warranty on their workmanship. If no warranty is honored, then any repairs or replacement on the roof will be out of pocket; ultimately adding way more to the initial cost of a cheaper roofing system.

Reputable roofing contractors will recommend a manufacturer’s roof system and will be sure you understand why it is important not to parse out the roof parts to lower the cost. A manufacturer’s roof will cost more upfront but will save you from costly repairs and replacements in a few short years. Don’t let the higher price point of a quality roof scare you. The experts at Herring value the relationships they have developed with past, current, and potential customers and that is why we offer transparent and fair pricing. At Herring Residential, we offer quality service at a fair price. Reach out to our experts today for a free estimate on your roof replacement.


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