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Why Would a Roofing Contractor Use 3-tab Shingles for Ridge Capping?

May 26th, 2023 | 6 min. read

Why Would a Roofing Contractor Use 3-tab Shingles for Ridge Capping?

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Your roof replacement estimate should include every line item you’ll pay for during the project. So, it’s a little confusing when you see 3-tab shingles on an estimate for an architectural asphalt shingle roof. 

When you ask the roofing contractor why, they tell you it’s for ridge capping. That’s weird because 3-tab shingles and ridge capping are completely different things. 

This makes you wonder, “Why is my roofing contractor using 3-tab shingles for ridge capping instead of the real thing?”

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has guided homeowners through the ins and outs of the roofing industry. That’s why I want to help you understand the thinking behind using 3-tab shingles as ridge capping.

Let’s learn what a roofing contractor is doing when they try the common 3-tab shingle ridge capping tactic. 

Why would a roofing contractor use 3-tab shingles for ridge capping?

A roofing contractor would use 3-tab asphalt shingles as ridge capping to cut down their costs to win your business. If you’re looking for the lowest price, you may think it’s alright to use 3-tab shingles as ridge capping.

ridge capping on an architectural asphalt shingle roof(Actual ridge capping on an architectural shingle roof)

However, they’re not designed to be used as ridge capping and will cause a roof leak. Because of this, a roofing contractor must use the shingle manufacturer’s ridge capping accessory when getting an asphalt shingle roof replacement

If your roofer is adamant about using 3-tab shingles as ridge capping, don’t even consider hiring them. Think about it; if they’re willing to cut corners on something as simple as ridge capping, there’s no telling what else they’ll do during installation. 

4 risks of trying to find the cheapest-priced roof possible

Now you know why a roofing contractor would use 3-tab asphalt shingles as ridge capping. As I said, you might not think this is a big deal because you’re looking for a low price. 

Unfortunately, you’re setting yourself up to be taken advantage of while throwing your hard-earned money away. This is because some roofers do sketchy things when they know you’re trying to find the cheapest price. 

So, before jumping at a low price, you need to understand the risks that come with it. 

1. Your new roof reflects the quality you paid for

When getting a new roof, you get exactly what you pay for. Because of this, it costs more for quality labor, roofing materials, and components

I’m not saying to find the most expensive roof, but trying to get the cheapest roof shows up in the final quality. If you get the lowest price, you’re more than likely getting the cheapest components and labor available.

improperly installed architectural asphalt shingle roof(Improperly installed roof)

This is where roofing contractors bring their prices down by installing 3-tab asphalt shingles as ridge capping. They could also cut the price down even more by not installing crucial components like drip edge. 

As I said, some roofing contractors try sketchy things when they know you’re looking for the lowest price. Just know that you can afford a quality roof without breaking your budget. 

2. You’ll end up spending more money in the long run

Even when some homeowners understand they’ll get the quality roof they pay for, they still think a cheap roof is the best option. That’s why I’ll hammer the point home by going after something important, their wallet. 

I guarantee you’ll spend more money in the long run by getting the cheapest roof you can find. This could be continuous repairs until you eventually need a full roof replacement well before you planned on. 

You could even get a fully improperly installed roof that immediately needs replacing. I understand a cheap roof is tempting, but it brings stress, frustration, and takes more of your hard-earned money. 

After spending thousands of dollars on a new roof, that's the last thing you want.

3. You won’t get the best warranties 

Once your roof replacement is complete, you’ll get two types of warranties to protect it from future problems. You’ll have one on the roofing contractor's workmanship and one from the manufacturer on your roofing materials

Every new roof should have these warranties, but going with the cheapest option means you won’t get the best ones possible. For example, an architectural asphalt shingle roof gives you the opportunity to get an enhanced material warranty. 

This warranty guarantees cover the labor, materials, dump fees, non-prorated for 50 years if the materials are defective. You can't get the enhanced warranty when you mix and match to get the cheapest roof possible. 

Even if you qualify for this warranty, it’ll most likely be voided due to improper installation or inadequate attic ventilation from cheap labor. With the material warranty off the table, you only have your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty to fall back on. 

Unfortunately, with the lowest-priced labor, they aren’t going to warranty their work as long as a reputable roofer should. This leaves you with a tail light warranty (your warranty is gone as soon as you see the tail lights disappear) to a two-year or possibly a five-year warranty.

It’s highly unlikely a contractor will give more than a five-year workmanship warranty for something they know will have continuous problems down the road. Their goal is to get your roof through the warranty period before they’re on the hook to fix it. 

4. Your roof investment won’t reach its full potential

The return on your roof investment is the lifespan of your roof. For an asphalt roof, it could be anywhere from 20 to 30 years (depending on the type of shingle). 

But by getting the cheapest materials and labor, I can guarantee your roof’s lifespan won’t reach its full potential. You may think, “I’ll invest in quality materials, but look for the lowest price to install them.” 

Doing this leads to cut corners and improper installation techniques, which means even the quality roofing materials will fail before the end of their lifespan. As I said earlier, the last thing you want is to spend even more money or pay for another replacement much sooner than you expected. 

How do you avoid getting taken advantage of by a bad roofing contractor?

Now you know the 4 risks of getting the cheapest-priced roof possible. Remember, some roofers do sketchy things when they know you’re trying to find the cheapest price.

The last thing you want is to make yourself a prime target for a bad roofing contractor. Unfortunately, you can go into the process looking for quality and still fall victim to the industry’s dark side. 

So, how do you avoid it happening to you? This comes down to knowing how to spot a good roofing contractor out of all the options in your area.

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the steps you should take when going through the hiring process. 

Check out 6 Steps to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor, so you have the confidence to hire a high-quality roofer for your upcoming roof replacement.

roofing contractor questions checklist

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