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6 Risks When Getting a Cheap Roof Replacement

January 29th, 2024 | 6 min. read

6 Risks When Getting a Cheap Roof Replacement

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Pricing is the biggest concern for most homeowners when they learn it’s time for a roof replacement. And once they see an estimate, their first reaction is always shock. 

This is when some people start looking for the lowest price available in their area. Now, it's not a bad thing to shop around and look for an affordable option. In fact, I actually encourage it. 

But when getting the cheapest one possible, your new roof and wallet are at risk before the replacement begins. In this article, you’ll learn why. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners like you understand why it’s crucial to invest in quality roofing work. The best way to do this is by breaking down the risks involved. 

The article covers the following six risks when getting a cheap roof replacement:

  • You make yourself vulnerable to bad roofing contractors
  • The final quality of your roof replacement reflects what you pay
  • You’ll get a short workmanship warranty
  • You could end up paying more in the long run
  • Your roof won’t qualify for the best roofing material warranties
  • Your roof’s lifespan won’t reach its full potential

1. You make yourself vulnerable to bad roofing contractors

The first risk when getting a cheap roof replacement is the increased chance of being taken advantage of by a bad roofing contractor. In fact, this risk actually leads to all the other risks we’ll cover shortly. 

Once a bad roofer learns you’re looking for the lowest price, you immediately make yourself a prime target. They’ll use this to their advantage and lower their prices to win your business by leaving off necessary materials, using low-quality materials, or using a different material (like using 3-tab asphalt shingles as ridge capping). 

Not only this, but they’ll also use cheap labor to install the roof. Every roofing company has different overhead costs, prefers certain products, or whatever else impacts their pricing, so I’m not saying a lower-priced estimate is a red flag. 

However, you need to be skeptical of a roofing estimate much lower than the other(s) because there are always reasons why.

2. The final quality of your roof replacement reflects what you pay

The next risk of a cheap roof replacement is that you get what you pay for with the final product. As I just said, getting a cheap roof replacement almost guarantees that the cheapest components and labor available will be used.

When this happens, your new roof is set up for premature failure right off the bat. Simply put, investing in quality labor, roofing materials, and components will cost more.

I fully understand that most homeowners have a set or tight budget, but I promise you that going with the cheapest price shows up in the final quality of your roof.

3. You’ll get a short workmanship warranty

A roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty protects you against problems if an installation mistake is made during your roof replacement. In my opinion, roofers who take pride in their work should offer no less than a 10-year warranty.

However, getting a cheap roof replacement puts you at risk of getting a short workmanship warranty that doesn’t offer long-term protection. It’s highly unlikely a contractor will give more than a five-year workmanship warranty on something they used cheap quality material and labor on. 

They just want to get your roof through the warranty period before something happens, and they’re on the hook to fix it. With a cheap roof replacement, you’re looking at a tail light warranty (as soon as you see their company truck’s tail lights disappear, your warranty is gone) to a one-year, two-year, or possibly a five-year warranty.

4. You could end up paying more in the long run

If you get the cheapest roof you can find, you’ll have roof problems sooner rather than later without a workmanship warranty to take care of them. Now, these problems might not show up right away. 

However, a cheap roof replacement puts you at risk of spending more money in the long run on repairs and, eventually, a full roof replacement. And because you can’t get the roofer to answer the phone or the warranty period ended, you’ll have to pay another company to take care of the issues. 

Unfortunately, this won’t be cheap, and they’ll likely find other issues. While a cheap roof might be tempting, it will bring stress and frustration and take more of your hard-earned money. 

5. Your roof won’t qualify for the best roofing material warranties

Every roofing material comes with a warranty to protect against manufacturer defects. While your shingles and other components have an individual warranty, a cheap roof replacement won’t qualify for the best warranties. 

For example, choosing an architectural shingle and using all of that specific shingle manufacturer’s roofing components allows you to get the enhanced warranty. You may think, “As long as the shingles and other materials come with warranties, why would I need the enhanced one?”

Well, this warranty guarantees the manufacturer covers labor, materials, dump fees, non-prorated for 50 years if the materials are defective. If that still doesn’t matter to you, just know improper installation or inadequate attic ventilation voids all material warranties. 

So, even individual material warranties won’t be honored if they weren’t installed per the manufacturer's installation instructions. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee this will be done correctly using cheap labor.

6. Your roof’s lifespan won’t reach its full potential 

Other than the increase in home value, a roof replacement’s ROI is how long it lasts. For an asphalt roof (depending on the shingle type), this is anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

Because a cheap roof replacement shows in the final quality, I guarantee your roof’s lifespan won’t reach its full potential. Even if you invest in quality materials but look for the lowest labor price, there’s still a good likelihood of cut corners and incorrect roofing techniques. 

Unfortunately, even quality roofing materials will fail before the end of their lifespan if they are installed incorrectly. After all, the materials are only as good as their installation.

How much will your roof roof replacement actually cost?

If a roofing contractor has a lower price, it doesn't mean they’re a bad company and won’t do the job right. However, you’re more likely to be affected by the risks above when searching for the cheapest roof replacement possible. 

That’s why you should always consider quality first, even if you’re on a tight budget. However, you can’t make a budget without knowing how much a roof replacement actually costs. 

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find accurate information on roof replacement pricing because of the sticker shock it causes. Because I believe in being as transparent as possible, I wrote another article breaking down how much a roof replacement costs. 

Check out How Much Does a New Roof Cost to learn the budget you’ll need for a roof replacement.

roof cost calculator

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