3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Go Cheap on Your Roof

August 29, 2023

A roof is more than just its visible layers; the entirety of its components plays a pivotal role in its longevity and effectiveness. Ensuring you invest in a premium roof system is paramount for the lasting value of your roofing venture.

With over four decades of experience, Top Quality Remodeling & Restoration has witnessed the pitfalls of opting for budget-friendly yet subpar roofing systems. Our commitment is to enlighten our customers about the advantages of prioritizing quality over mere cost savings.

Opting for a low-priced roofing system can compromise not just its durability but also the accompanying warranties. In this piece, we'll delve into why settling for the most affordable roofing can have financial repercussions down the line, with potential frequent repairs.

The Components of a Roof System

A roof system is not just a mere layer of shingles slapped onto the top of a house; it's a complex, multi-layered structure designed to protect, insulate, and maintain the integrity of a home. Delving deeper into the components that come together to form a sturdy roof system can help homeowners understand its importance and the intricacies of its design.

Underlayment: Often the unsung hero of the roof system, the underlayment is a protective barrier placed directly on top of the roof deck. This felt-like layer offers additional protection against water intrusion and helps shield the deck from the elements. It serves as a backup waterproof layer beneath the primary roofing material.

Decking: The structural backbone of the entire roof system, decking is comprised of large wooden boards or panels that serve as the base onto which all other components are mounted. These boards are the immediate support layer for shingles and must be robust and in good condition to ensure longevity.

Drip Edge and Flashing: These metallic components are crucial in preventing water infiltration. The drip edge is positioned along the roof's perimeters, ensuring that water drips away from the fascia and underlying roofing components. Flashing, on the other hand, is strategically placed around protrusions, intersections, and roof valleys, directing water away from these vulnerable points.

Ice and Water Shields: Especially crucial in regions prone to snow and ice, this waterproof membrane protects the roof's valleys and eaves, preventing water damage and ice dam formation. It adds an extra layer of protection to the areas most susceptible to water leakage.

Roofing Material: The most visible component of the roof system, the roofing material can vary from asphalt shingles, metal panels, tiles, to slate, among others. This external layer provides the first line of defense against environmental factors, determining the roof's longevity, aesthetic appeal, and resistance capabilities.

Ventilation Systems: Roof ventilation is paramount in maintaining a healthy attic environment and enhancing the roof's lifespan. Whether active, utilizing fans to circulate air, or passive, relying on natural wind movement, proper ventilation ensures that moisture and heat don't accumulate in the attic, which could lead to mold growth or weakened structural components.

Collectively, these elements constitute a roofing structure. Having outlined the constituents of such a system, I'll now delve into the distinctions between opting for a manufacturer-endorsed roofing setup versus a more economical, lower-end option.

What’s a manufacturer’s roof system?

When you opt for a manufacturer-specific roofing structure, it means every element of the roof is sourced from a single company. For instance, if you choose the CertainTeed Landmark Pro asphalt shingle roof, then all the primary parts, including the shingles, should be from CertainTeed. Such a decision not only ensures consistency in the origin of the components but also places the entire roofing system under the purview of a single entity. This unified approach often makes you eligible for an upgraded warranty, a detail we'll delve into shortly.

What’s a cheap roof system?

Contrasting the manufacturer-specific approach is what we often dub the "Patchwork Roofing System" in our professional circles. In this setup, various components of the roofing system are sourced from a hodgepodge of different manufacturers, often chosen for their lower prices. Imagine purchasing a luxury car like a Ferrari, only to find it powered by a mishmash of engine parts from brands like Honda and Toyota. It might sound exaggerated, but there are instances where homeowners invest in high-end shingles, only to cut corners on the remaining elements.

The Hidden Dangers of Bargain Roof Systems

You're now familiar with the distinctions between a single-manufacturer roof system and what we've termed the "mixed-parts" roof system. Let's delve into how opting for a budget roof system can influence the overall integrity of your roof.

Here's a closer look at why opting for a budget-friendly roof can actually be pricier over time.

1. You Get What You Pay For

Opting for a low-cost roofing solution means settling for the quality that comes at such a price. It's true; everyone has a budget, with some tighter than others.

Still, by choosing the least expensive roofing components, you're predisposing your roofing investment to potential issues from the onset. Premium roofing components from manufacturers come at a higher price due to their superior quality, but the disparity in cost is also influenced by labor.

It's rare for someone to select a budget-friendly roof and then splurge on a top-tier installation crew. Typically, a more affordable roof system aligns with equally economical labor for its installation.

Such cost-cutting can result in issues like hasty nailing with air guns, the use of basic shingles for ridge capping, or even the omission of essential components. Consequently, this "savings" may lead to more frequent repairs or premature roof replacements.

While it might seem like the cheapest roof system is your only option, there are methods to acquire a quality roof without depleting your resources. However, if you still choose to venture with a budget roof, be prepared with a reputable roofer's contact for when complications arise.

2. Cheap Roof System will Impact the Life of Your Roof

Much like opting for inexpensive components and labor can compromise the quality of your roof, they also shorten its expected lifespan. Selecting a budget-friendly roofing solution almost ensures it won't last as long as it's meant to.

While issues might not be immediately apparent, eventual leaks are almost a given. And with the choice of economical labor, it's unlikely that the contractor's workmanship warranty will be available when you need it most.

Consequently, you'll find yourself spending more and contemplating a new roof earlier than anticipated. In contrast, a roof system from a reputable manufacturer, when correctly installed, endures as long as its materials remain intact.

This duration could span 25, 30, or even 50 years, depending on the roofing material chosen. Although a low-cost roof system might seem attractive when funds are limited, it's likely to encounter issues and leakages long before its materials naturally degrade.

3. You will only have your Roofing Contractor's Workmanship Warranty

Every roofing element is accompanied by a warranty on the material. However, when all these elements come from a single manufacturer, it's possible to register the entire roofing system for an upgraded warranty.

Such a warranty ensures coverage for labor, materials, disposal fees, and offers non-prorated protection for up to 50 years in case there's a material defect. Should any component fail or show issues, the manufacturer commits to footing the bill for roof replacement.

Furthermore, this upgraded warranty can be transferred to subsequent homeowners for a span of 12 to 15 years, contingent on the manufacturer's policies. Opting for a budget-friendly roofing system precludes eligibility for this extended warranty.

This scenario restricts you to relying solely on your contractor's workmanship warranty for the whole roofing system. Given that economical components, materials, and labor were chosen, the workmanship warranty on offer might be subpar.

Such warranties could range from the ephemeral "tail light warranty" (it lasts as long as you can see the contractor's vehicle taillights) to possibly a maximum of five years.

It's improbable for a contractor to offer a warranty extending beyond five years for a job they foresee will encounter recurrent issues. Their aspiration? To navigate past the warranty span before any significant roof failures.

Ultimately, a budgeted roofing solution predominantly leaves you dependent on your contractor's workmanship warranty. Without engaging a trustworthy contractor that stands by their warranty, any subsequent repair or replacement costs will be your responsibility.

Wrapping Up

In summary, while the allure of saving money upfront with a cheaper roofing solution might be tempting, the long-term costs and potential headaches far outweigh the initial savings. From compromised quality to reduced lifespan and the lack of comprehensive warranties, skimping on your roofing investment can lead to greater expenses and stress down the road. It's crucial to see your roof not just as a barrier against the elements, but as a long-term investment in the safety, value, and comfort of your home. Investing wisely now will undoubtedly pay off in the years to come, ensuring peace of mind and a roof that stands the test of time.

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