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I will be purchasing a new roof in the near future and could use some assistance. I am a first time homeowner, and thus, this is my first new roof experience. I have received 4 estimates and still not sure what to do. The difference between the lowest and highest bid is $1,500. All 4 bids differ in different ways due to type of shingle, roofing felt #, etc. First question is brand of shingle. The bids either use Elk or GAF Timberline shingles (30 year). Which is better? Second, would you recommend using metal valleys or not (two bids include that and two do not)? One of the roofers told me it was a preference issue. Is there any benefit to having a metal valley? Third, I live in Kansas City and have to deal with snow and ice build up on my roof. I believe I had a leak due to snow/ice build up. Are there any precautions I need to take when having the new roof put on/something to help prevent this in the future? Fourth, is 30# felt better than 15#? I only plan to stay in the house another 5-10 years, but still want the roof to be in good shape when I sell it. Plus, I always hear you shouldn't trust the lowest bid. But it is hard to pass up a bid that is $1,500 less than the highest bid that is somewhat similar. Sorry for such a long message, but any advice would be appreciated. If there are any roofing contractors from KC reading this, I would be interested in speaking with you. Thanks!!
 

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Yay a roofing question! Are ya anywhere near chicago ;) www.reliableamerican.us :)

Ok let's get your questions answered. First off, read this. It's lomg but it should answer all your questiuons!!! http://diychatroom.com/howto57.htm now read this http://diychatroom.com/howto59.htm

I like Tamko heritage and GAF Timberline. In my area GAF just raised their prices by about 15%, and they are now the highest priced shingles on the market by about $5 a square.

In my area metal valleys are not typical with 30 year shingles. We usually install what is called closed cut valleys. We typically install metal valleys on cedar, slate, tile and very very heavy shingle roofs.

You should have ice shield installed at the gutter lines, valleys, and around any problems areas like chimneys and sky lights. The goal at the gutter lines is to get the ice shield at least 1 1/2' past the warm wall. If you have a 1' over ahng 3' of ice shield should be enough on most slopes. If you have a 23' overhang and very steep roof, you should have 6' of ice shield installed. Also proper ventilation will reduce the heat build up in your attic and that will reduce ice damns.

30# is better than 15#. First the paper is thicker in the 30 also more asphalt is used in the 30. Literally the 30 costs twice as much but we are talking less than $5 a square!!!

I wouldn't say you shouldn't trust the lowest bid. It really matters who you've choosen to bid the project. Home Depot costs wice as much as I cost in my area and I aint cheap! I'm usually in the middle but there are quite a few guys who charge more than me and if I bid against them I end up being the cheapest sometimes. I still believe in quality and would never dream of doing anything half assed. Just follow the links I posted above.

Man I gotta start charging for this free consulting :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Grumpy said:
Yay a roofing question! Are ya anywhere near chicago ;) www.reliableamerican.us :)

Ok let's get your questions answered. First off, read this. It's lomg but it should answer all your questiuons!!! http://diychatroom.com/howto57.htm now read this http://diychatroom.com/howto59.htm

I like Tamko heritage and GAF Timberline. In my area GAF just raised their prices by about 15%, and they are now the highest priced shingles on the market by about $5 a square.

In my area metal valleys are not typical with 30 year shingles. We usually install what is called closed cut valleys. We typically install metal valleys on cedar, slate, tile and very very heavy shingle roofs.

You should have ice shield installed at the gutter lines, valleys, and around any problems areas like chimneys and sky lights. The goal at the gutter lines is to get the ice shield at least 1 1/2' past the warm wall. If you have a 1' over ahng 3' of ice shield should be enough on most slopes. If you have a 23' overhang and very steep roof, you should have 6' of ice shield installed. Also proper ventilation will reduce the heat build up in your attic and that will reduce ice damns.

30# is better than 15#. First the paper is thicker in the 30 also more asphalt is used in the 30. Literally the 30 costs twice as much but we are talking less than $5 a square!!!

I wouldn't say you shouldn't trust the lowest bid. It really matters who you've choosen to bid the project. Home Depot costs wice as much as I cost in my area and I aint cheap! I'm usually in the middle but there are quite a few guys who charge more than me and if I bid against them I end up being the cheapest sometimes. I still believe in quality and would never dream of doing anything half assed. Just follow the links I posted above.

Man I gotta start charging for this free consulting :)
Grumpy---

Thanks for the information! It is very helpful!!
 

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KC, I'm also shopping for a new roof, been at it for about a year now. Estimates have come in from 7K to 19K, most are 11-12K. I'm throwing out the high and low guys and picking the ones from the middle with the best rep.
 

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You need to ask friends, relatives, people you know have had their roofs done by your prospective contractors. A good way to tell a quality roofer is to get reports from people that say "well, it was pretty non-eventful" this means they did everything right. (leakage would be an event)
 

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Aaron, We ask 'Is it still there?'. LOL
 

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kc clueless said:
I will be purchasing a new roof in the near future and could use some assistance. I am a first time homeowner, and thus, this is my first new roof experience. I have received 4 estimates and still not sure what to do. The difference between the lowest and highest bid is $1,500. All 4 bids differ in different ways due to type of shingle, roofing felt #, etc. First question is brand of shingle. The bids either use Elk or GAF Timberline shingles (30 year). Which is better? Second, would you recommend using metal valleys or not (two bids include that and two do not)? One of the roofers told me it was a preference issue. Is there any benefit to having a metal valley? Third, I live in Kansas City and have to deal with snow and ice build up on my roof. I believe I had a leak due to snow/ice build up. Are there any precautions I need to take when having the new roof put on/something to help prevent this in the future? Fourth, is 30# felt better than 15#? I only plan to stay in the house another 5-10 years, but still want the roof to be in good shape when I sell it. Plus, I always hear you shouldn't trust the lowest bid. But it is hard to pass up a bid that is $1,500 less than the highest bid that is somewhat similar. Sorry for such a long message, but any advice would be appreciated. If there are any roofing contractors from KC reading this, I would be interested in speaking with you. Thanks!!
I would get a list from each contractor you are considering of AT LEAST three customers they have done work for and CALL EACH ONE OF THEM. ask them if they liked the entire process of working with that contractor, did they do everything they said they would. did they show up when they were supposed to, did they clean up after themselves. did they do EVERYTHING in writing or was it by verbal contract. INSIST on a written contract.

i would only do business with the contractor who's references were good. if any one of their reference has nothing to say its as good as NOTHING GOOD to say so i would steer clear. It wouldn't be a bad idea to go an look at one of the jobs that they gave a reference to look at their workmanship.

as far as open valley(metal) versus laced, or lapped and cut or any valley that uses a shingle for the finished product--> the valley will take by far the most water flow of any part of your roof, so its only safe to say the "wear and tear" on your roof will be the greatest at the valley. so which will stand up better metal or shingles???? not a tough question for me.

My preference would be a metal W-Valley with the shingles cut from the bottom 3" from the W to at the top 1" from the W this will allow for snow and ice to slide down and not "wedge" into the valley. Now i would DEMAND they install ice and water shield under those valleys no matter which valley method they use.

GOOD LUCK

:Thumbs:
 

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kc clueless,
In theory there is one, and only one, way to select a bidder. You select the lowest RESPONSIBLE bidder.

This theory assumes that you have plans and specifications, so that everybody is bidding on exactly the same job.

In practice this is almost never the case, no matter how hard you try to make it happen.

If you look carefully, you can probably eliminate at least 2/3 of the bidders right away (for a variety of reasons). If you can't do this, then you probably don't know what to look for. Get help.

Even though the theory doesn't work that well in practice, keeping it in mind at all times is a great help in the selection process.

Be careful; most homeowners will select the best salesman, not the best contractor.
 

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herein lies the problem with most homeowners, Mikeswell. How do they know who is the most responsible? Most reliable? Low bidding is usually not the best bet. I am sorry if you do this, but the low bidders usually have to cut something out to be the lowball. :(
 

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AaronB. said:
...Low bidding is usually not the best bet..
Selecting the low bidder is NEVER the best bet! Selecting the lowest RESPONSIBLE bidder is the way it's done.

This is not easy for a home owner. That's why I suggested getting help. As a GC/CM the selection process is easy for me, it's almost instinctive. To start with, I already know what I want for a finished product. In most cases I can do the work "in house" if I need to. The home owner does not have these advantages.

I have known, and have dealt with, most of my subs for years. I went to high school with some of them. There is a trust between us that has been built up over a long period of time. I also know several subs for each trade. When one has a list of good subs, the selection process sometimes can boil down to availability more than anything else.

I have found that, for me, the key to hiring good subs is being PERCEPTIVE. Being perceptive is not something that I know how to teach. What I can tell you is that, in my opinion, the people who are the most selfish, seem to be the least perceptive. I have noticed over the years that the greediest people seem to get screwed the most often (Maybe some of the other contractors would like to weigh in on this).

I usually advise people to hire a good general contractor, and to work with him or her over the years for ALL of their projects (After all, that's our job).

hint: If an old roofer wants to show you the roof that he put on last week. Tell him that you don't give a $#!T about the roof that he put on last week, tell him that you want to see the roof that he put on 25 years ago.

Teeterbuilt,
I know, LOL. What's left of the house is right here, and the roof is across the street if you'd like to see it.
 

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Grumpy said:
I tell people price is the last thing to consider.
Grumpy,
You are probably right. It's a nice feeling for me to know that my roofer not only follows the code, and the manufacturer's instructions, but puts a great deal of time and effort into the "little" details that are so important (where different surfaces come together for example). That is worth a great deal of money to me, and I'm gladly willing to pay it. If that's the sort of roofer that you are, then I would hire you in a second. I know that it takes TIME to do the "little" things, and I don't resent having to pay a competent sub for his or her time. It's a good investment.
 

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Right on, mikeswell, but the problem for the general public would probably still be "how do you find and/or sort through to find a good GC? " Square one. :(

Youre a GC. Can you tell me why people ALWAYS cut the roofing budget when construction gets tight? Isn't it one of the most important parts of the house/building?
 

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AaronB. said:
Right on, mikeswell, but the problem for the general public would probably still be "how do you find and/or sort through to find a good GC? " Square one. :(

Youre a GC. Can you tell me why people ALWAYS cut the roofing budget when construction gets tight? Isn't it one of the most important parts of the house/building?
You're right about still being at square one, but you should be in pretty good shape after you do find a good GC. Once you get hooked up, you've got someone that you can rely on for years to come instead of having to risk trying new subs all of the time. Good GCs have good subs. My subs like working for me, and they give me a better price than they give the general public, so the homeowner pays about the same whether they go through me or hire the sub directly.

People seem to have the idea that roofing is easy and that all roofers do things the same way, so price is king. This could be true if you're just nailing down shingles on a plane surface, but that's not where problems develop with a roof. Paying a real pro to put together a nice tight roof is a great investment. A good roofer will stand behind his work, and call-backs are very rare. THAT's what a responsible bidder does. Once the job is done you can forget about it for decades. It's a nice feeling indeed.

One other note: There is no law that says you can't exceed the code. The code is only the minimum standard. Good GCs and subs know that doing more than the minimum is a very smart idea. If you really want to stand out, that's a good way to do it.
 

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From my experiences, here's what I can say.

We did a roof last summer with Elk shingles. The one beef I have with them is almost every shingle looked like it was a little torn up right out of the bundle. Such as, when you roof in hot weather, stepping on the edges of a shingle will rough them up quite a bit. These ALL looked this way before even being installed. Could have been a bad lot, but we went through about 90 bundles that pretty much all had this defect.

And I think metal valleys are not visually attractive. I much prefer an overlapped, cut-off valley (as in, all shingle with a straight line from point to point)
 

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AaronB. said:
I wish all GC's were of that mentality, mikeswell
Thank you.

I wish all home owners thought this way. They wouldn't have to keep sliding the bucket around the floor to catch the water, and our liability insurance would be a lot cheaper.
 
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