Author Topic: New Roof on Rental  (Read 1842 times)

Catbert

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New Roof on Rental
« on: August 13, 2017, 02:46:49 PM »
I have a rental house with an asphalt shingle roof which is 30+ years old.*  There were some leaks repaired this past winter.  I had the property managers get a couple of estimates to replace a roof.   My problem is the estimates are pretty non-specific as to what quality of shingles they are using and, even more problematic, I know nothing about roofs to determine what technical info to ask for. 

What should I be looking for and asking?  The rental is in Southern California with snow not an issue if that matters.

*It used to be my principal residence so I know the roof was replaced in the mid-1980s.


Goldielocks

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 03:19:20 PM »
Will they strip and reshingle, or just add another layer?  are any minor repairs to your roof decking included?  If so, what? 
Do they remove and reinstall your eavetroughs?
Does the roofer carry proof of insurance?

What is the # year- warranty for the shingles?  That is prime determination of thickness and quality.

Are the shingles architectural series (generally with cosmetic shadow lines so they look better) or flat series (cheaper). 
Do you have strong winds in your area?  there is a common type of shingle with tabs designed for high wind areas, too.

I suggest going to home depot and asking some basic questions there about their products, and you will know what to ask when others are giving your quotes.

Drifterrider

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2017, 07:40:47 AM »
Additionally, ask for addresses of other properties they have roofed.  You can drive by and take a look.  Ask for customer references (as in names and numbers so you can call and ask).

Check with the BBB.  Check with your local jurisdiction to see if they really DO have a business license (if one is required).  Whomever you select, CALL their insurance company to verify they have both liability and worker's comp. insurance for the work they propose. 

HipGnosis

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2017, 08:47:22 PM »
Will they strip and reshingle, or just add another layer?  are any minor repairs to your roof decking included?  If so, what? 
Do they remove and reinstall your eavetroughs?
Does the roofer carry proof of insurance?

What is the # year- warranty for the shingles?  That is prime determination of thickness and quality.

Are the shingles architectural series (generally with cosmetic shadow lines so they look better) or flat series (cheaper). 
Do you have strong winds in your area?  there is a common type of shingle with tabs designed for high wind areas, too.

I suggest going to home depot and asking some basic questions there about their products, and you will know what to ask when others are giving your quotes.
Strip and re-shingle is labor intensive, so it's money going into the roofers pocket.  You probably don't need it if your roof has a single layer of shingles and no problems.

Most all shingles sold now are 3D - architectural.  And they are most all labeled as "lifetime" (which is false advertising!).  Find out what the mfg 'non-prorated' warranty is. They vary from 10 - 50 yrs.  Find out what the singles are warrantied for wind; it will be in mph.  Also find out what the lbs per square (100 sq ft when installed) is; heavier is better. 

A good roofer should at least ask about venting - most older homes don't have enough.  They should be able to tell you if you don't have enough and should offer options for adding venting.


FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 08:36:56 PM »
A few years ago, a friend in LA did her own roof by hiring a bunch of laborers from the local hangout (U-Haul?).  Total cost for a 1500 sq-ft house was around $5000.  She "supervised" a bunch of guys who really knew what they were doing.  Materials cost may have gone up since then, but she paid the guys something like $10/hr in cash.  All were incredibly skilled, and they got it done in a day.

Socal is blessed with an excellent labor force, in the construction trades.  Native or immigrant, legal or "illegal," whatever.  Many are the cream of the crop at what they do, wherever they came from.

kissthesky

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 12:55:13 PM »
I got a new asphalt shingle roof recently (I'm also in CA). Roofs are expensive and you need to do your due diligence to get as many quotes as possible (including as much information on the job as possible). Many companies / people will give you a quote for free. I started a spreadsheet and got quotes from 22 companies. Seriously. It was a lot of work but very worth it (I learned a lot about roofing and ended up getting a high quality job for a reasonable price). What ended up being most important:

- License & Insurance
They need to be licensed and insured. No exceptions. And don't just take their word for it. You can check their license here (CA only): https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/onlineservices/CheckLicenseII/checklicense.aspx

- Warranty
I got a 30 year warranty on the shingles and 10 year on workmanship (in writing of course). Other companies had slightly to much crappier offerings in this department

- Price
Obviously....

- Timeline
It was winter and because the tar expands in the heat it was better to have the roof installed when it wasn't freezing. Now would be a good time to get a new roof (but it could be more expensive in summer because it is high season). Also the whole thing took 2 weeks (including permits & inspections - oh yeah make sure they do those too, don't hire someone who wants to avoid the permit/inspection process)

- General
If someone seems sketchy, follow your instincts and don't use them. It's better to pay a little more for a company with great reviews that has been in business for a decade than a sketch mc sketchyson who gives you a lower quote but isn't established. Lots of roofers chase high season in CA then become ghosts. You definitely want to avoid getting scammed

Good luck!

paddedhat

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 02:06:18 PM »
Many companies / people will give you a quote for free. I started a spreadsheet and got quotes from 22 companies. Seriously. It was a lot of work but very worth it

As somebody who was in the remodeling business, I would always ask a potential customer "how many other contractors  have you discussed this work with?" If they said more that two, I would generally cut my losses, politely cut the meeting short, and move on. Typically, that would be the last they would hear from me. The reason is that there is little chance of getting a job when there are 3,4 or more bidders on a small residential job. You are the exception, but most folks who are past that number of bidders are typically looking to do the work as cheaply as possible, and are looking for an outlier. The guy who stumbles in 40% lower than the median. The other issue that you probably have little concern for, is that the hours of work expended to meet with a customer and bid a job are not free, and by the time you have used the uncompensated time of 22 roofers, you have collectively spent a $1000 or more, in their time and effort.

 I once had an obnoxious NYC resident who was calling me all kinds of interesting things as I wished her a good day, and headed for the truck. Her wrath was a result of telling her that I was not going to bid her re-roof job after she told me that she already had nine other bids. She had just basically admitted that she no interest in doing the job well, and was just looking for some chump to do it as cheaply as possible. In another case, a casual friend wouldn't talk to me for several years after I refused to bid a very complex three car garage he was having built. He told me he had eight bids, and I needed to be low bidder. I refused, he obviously took the lowest bid, and did the job for roughly 70% of my hard cost for the work. Due to laughably incompetent workmanship, within a few years the building required serious repairs, after the foundation shifted.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 02:30:00 PM by paddedhat »

HipGnosis

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 12:19:08 PM »
As somebody who was in the remodeling business, I would always ask a potential customer "how many other contractors  have you discussed this work with?" If they said more that two, I would generally cut my losses, politely cut the meeting short, and move on.
...
 most folks who are past that number of bidders are typically looking to do the work as cheaply as possible
With all due respect; you are simply wrong for assuming that.  And I would not want to do business with you because of it.
I just got the 9th estimate for my roof.  I learned what to look for and ask thru the first 4-5 estimates.   There is no way I would go with any of the 3 lowest offers.  They weren't professional or trustworthy.  One offered to give me a 'cash price'.
One guy's first price included remove and replace my chimney on the pretense that it's "gonna have to be done sooner or later".  The professional that cleaned it a cpl yrs ago didn't think so.
Not many roofing companies last very many years.  That makes finding one with a proven reputation very hard.  You have to meet them (or their representative) and that is done by getting an estimate.

paddedhat

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2017, 05:43:51 PM »
As somebody who was in the remodeling business, I would always ask a potential customer "how many other contractors  have you discussed this work with?" If they said more that two, I would generally cut my losses, politely cut the meeting short, and move on.
...
 most folks who are past that number of bidders are typically looking to do the work as cheaply as possible
With all due respect; you are simply wrong for assuming that.  And I would not want to do business with you because of it.
I just got the 9th estimate for my roof.  I learned what to look for and ask thru the first 4-5 estimates.   There is no way I would go with any of the 3 lowest offers.  They weren't professional or trustworthy.  One offered to give me a 'cash price'.
One guy's first price included remove and replace my chimney on the pretense that it's "gonna have to be done sooner or later".  The professional that cleaned it a cpl yrs ago didn't think so.
Not many roofing companies last very many years.  That makes finding one with a proven reputation very hard.  You have to meet them (or their representative) and that is done by getting an estimate.

It has nothing to do with who is right or wrong here, it's a matter of seeing the other side, and understanding the value of the other guy's time. As a contractor, one of the great lessons you need to learn early is that time is money, and it expensive to either squander it, or give it away for free. You are another outlier in the game, the vast majority would NEVER interview nine potential contractors, and 99% would never reject the three lowest bids. I'm certainly not saying you are wrong, but you are also a bit of a unicorn, and just as you wouldn't do business with a guy like me, after you have heard my unvarnished experience with folks who are looking for that many bids, if could get you to reveal the fact that I was the eighth guy to walk in the door, I would absolutely cut the meeting short, and politely cut my loses. Would it be my loss? Possibly, but statistically I would be making a solid decision. Nothing personal, it's just math.

 Most folks will use their network and find satisfied friends, neighbors, etc... to narrow their potential choices down to three, maybe four contractors or service providers. At that point, they will interview all of them and make a good decision. I can assure you that the majority of typical potential customers who are have interviewed 8 or 9 contractors, are not worth wasting time on, when you are trying to establish a relationship with a client who is willing to pay a fair amount for a high quality job.

 The other issue is that you are of the mindset that a typical roofing contractor is some sort of fly by night who is nowhere to be found in a few years. Maybe you are right, and it's true for your market area, OTOH, maybe you could of done more to vet potential contractors before you even called the first one? In many locations it's possible to find multiple bidders who have been in business for decades and aren't going anywhere, any time soon. In this area, there are dozens of solid options when selecting a roofer, and most will tell you that they won't be getting to your job for months, since they have more work that they can handle. That is another reason why many contractors wouldn't waste much time with somebody who is looking for their tenth bid on a residential re-roof job. If you have more work than you can handle, there is little incentive to try to earn the work from a one time customer who has spent dozens of hours with other contractors, and in  most cases, placing a lot of weight on the price, over quality or reputation. On a typical re-roof, the owner of a small roofing company is putting a few hundred bucks in his pocket as he cashes your check, how many hoops should he jump though to earn your business, particularly in the current market where many are constantly search for more help to keep up with the amount of work they already have?

EDIT: Having reread this tread, I noticed your comment :Strip and re-shingle is labor intensive, so it's money going into the roofers pocket.  You probably don't need it if your roof has a single layer of shingles and no problems. This quite frankly, throws up a lot of red flags. First in my humble experience, I have yet to meet a top notch roofer who throws fresh shingles on top of older ones. I have never done it, never will, and really can't recall anybody who ever did subcontract roofing for me who ever said that it was anything but a garbage way to cut corners. Existing shingles can leave a pretty poor surface for the new ones to sit on. Some three tab flat shingles will get significant curls in them as they age, and the will be happy to curl under the new roof, and make the new roof look like shit. All shingles are heavy, and leaving tons of garbage laying on a roof and covering it with new shingles, is rarely good for the structure or your wallet, down the road. I have seen cases where installing a new roof involved tearing off THREE layers of old shingles that clowns installed over the years, resulting in a huge unnecessary costs. Second, the "money going into roofers pockets" comment really makes me question where your head is at on all of this. First, few things suck worse that stripping old shingles, it's miserable work, clean up of the entire jobsite afterwards is a PITA, since the nail you miss will be in the customer's tire by morning. It creates a huge pile of heavy debris that is expensive to haul away, and often is treated differently at landfills and transfer stations, where it is ridiculously expensive  to dispose of. To put it simply, no roofer wants to do it, yet in my experience every decent roofer does it. Huh, that sounds like an odd concept? Until you realize that that's what it takes to do a quality job.  Nothing personal, but if you are on bid #9, 10 or whatever, and you are on this thread recommending that somebody leaves old shingles on, to prevent the roofer from making some sort of big mythical, non-existent windfall from needlessly removing old shingles from your roof, you have a bit more to learn on the topic.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 10:01:38 PM by paddedhat »

Miss Piggy

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 06:17:15 PM »
With all due respect; you are simply wrong for assuming that.  And I would not want to do business with you because of it.
I just got the 9th estimate for my roof.  I learned what to look for and ask thru the first 4-5 estimates.   

Holy crap. You are wasting a lot of people's time doing what basically amounts to research. Wow. Do your "what to look for and ask" research online, then ask your friends/coworkers for solid recommendations (as paddlehat suggests), and go from there. It sounds like you are basically cold-calling from the phone book and picking people's brains on their dime. I get it that doing free estimates is part of the job, but damn, you are really taking advantage of people's time. I don't think you're being fair or respectful.

Fishindude

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2017, 08:27:55 AM »
What's a big shingle roofing job .... Maybe $15-20,000.
While that may sound like big money to the home owner, it's not that big of a deal for a contractor.  If things go well he might net $3-4,000 profit.
It's just not worth him wasting his time or money if a homeowner is getting a bunch of quotes, because odds are very slim that he will get the job.

Good contractors don't need to quote competitively like this.  They negotiate work and a price with their clients, they make a fair margin, the client gets a good job and everybody walks away happy.

Any contractor that would quote the job knowing you were getting a pocket full of quotes like that is a fool.  If you get a crummy job you earned it.

DangleStash

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2017, 08:30:41 AM »

EDIT: Having reread this tread, I noticed your comment :Strip and re-shingle is labor intensive, so it's money going into the roofers pocket.  You probably don't need it if your roof has a single layer of shingles and no problems. This quite frankly, throws up a lot of red flags. First in my humble experience, I have yet to meet a top notch roofer who throws fresh shingles on top of older ones. I have never done it, never will, and really can't recall anybody who ever did subcontract roofing for me who ever said that it was anything but a garbage way to cut corners. Existing shingles can leave a pretty poor surface for the new ones to sit on. Some three tab flat shingles will get significant curls in them as they age, and the will be happy to curl under the new roof, and make the new roof look like shit. All shingles are heavy, and leaving tons of garbage laying on a roof and covering it with new shingles, is rarely good for the structure or your wallet, down the road.
[/quote]

I'm with you 100%.  It's a red flag in a home inspection when there are multiple layers of shingles on a roof.  Also, working with uninsured/unlicensed roofers, what happens when one falls of your roof?  What happens when you decide to sell the house and the buyer finds out you didn't pull permits for the roof?  When your neighbor complains about the noise/mess and doesn't see a building permit?

Way better to play it by the book and do it right the first time.
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Khaetra

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2017, 10:06:46 AM »
I'm with you 100%.  It's a red flag in a home inspection when there are multiple layers of shingles on a roof.  Also, working with uninsured/unlicensed roofers, what happens when one falls of your roof?  What happens when you decide to sell the house and the buyer finds out you didn't pull permits for the roof?  When your neighbor complains about the noise/mess and doesn't see a building permit?

Way better to play it by the book and do it right the first time.

+1.  There are many things one can DIY, but roofs should not be one of them.  Emergency patching I get, but everything else should be done by someone licensed and insured and everything done needs to be permitted.

Jon Bon

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2017, 10:22:18 AM »
+1.  There are many things one can DIY, but roofs should not be one of them.  Emergency patching I get, but everything else should be done by someone licensed and insured and everything done needs to be permitted.

I can't say I agree with that.

Roofing is not actually difficult, most houses have pretty basic roof lines. Roofing is more often left to professionals due to the heights involved and the physical nature of the work (not to mention the heat, its terrible).

Ripping off a roof is completely unskilled labor, and if you can use a tape measure and keep your lines straight putting the shingles back on is not that difficult either. Some roofs are more complicated than others, but it can 100% be DIY. You might lose 15 pounds of water weight and put a rusty nail through a boot, but every job has a price.

To bring us back full circle, yeah dont cover over the previous shingles and don't get 9 bids Let alone 22!

Drifterrider

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2017, 10:54:33 AM »
What's a big shingle roofing job .... Maybe $15-20,000.
While that may sound like big money to the home owner, it's not that big of a deal for a contractor.  If things go well he might net $3-4,000 profit.
It's just not worth him wasting his time or money if a homeowner is getting a bunch of quotes, because odds are very slim that he will get the job.

Good contractors don't need to quote competitively like this.  They negotiate work and a price with their clients, they make a fair margin, the client gets a good job and everybody walks away happy.

Any contractor that would quote the job knowing you were getting a pocket full of quotes like that is a fool.  If you get a crummy job you earned it.

That is a very good amount of profit (profit being what is left over AFTER all cost).

I ALWAYS get multiple bids for work.  It is MY money.
I recently had a roof replaced.  Most bids were in the $6,000 - $6,500 range for the same work.  One "national" company quoted me $18,000.

I did not go with the lowest bid (he measured with his eyes and prices in a lot of wood the same way).  I DID get a discount for me and the two other neighbors who got new roofs at the same time from the same company.

If you are in a position where you can "cherry pick" the jobs you want, all the better for you but as long as I'm paying the bills, you have to compete for my money.


paddedhat

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2017, 01:07:37 PM »
In my market, $6-8K is more typical for an average re-roof.  Costs for everything from labor, to insurance and disposal fees, have gone up tremendously in the last few years. Given the fierce competition here, net profit for a job like that is, more like six or seven hundred bucks.  But, if you're a small contractor, banging out 3-4 of them a week, life could be a lot worse.

Fishindude

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Re: New Roof on Rental
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2017, 10:16:07 AM »
In my market, $6-8K is more typical for an average re-roof.  Costs for everything from labor, to insurance and disposal fees, have gone up tremendously in the last few years. Given the fierce competition here, net profit for a job like that is, more like six or seven hundred bucks.  But, if you're a small contractor, banging out 3-4 of them a week, life could be a lot worse.

Only $6-700 profit.
All the more reason to walk away from a guy that is getting a bunch of quotes.