Welcome to our blog. This page is important because many people in the roofing business have absolutely no business being in the roofing business. The huge amount of negative customer reviews on the Internet is mind boggling. You need to stay away from these folks (aka Cowboy Roofers*) and know how to get the best roofing job for the best price possible. This blog will help you do that with fun, informative, and educational factoids about all aspects of roofs and roofing.
*Cowboy Roofers are the folks you should avoid hiring because they put their interests above yours and are marginally to moderately skilled at best. Cowboy roofers give a bad name to the roofing trade and worse yet they give a bad name to the large number of quality-oriented roofing contractors out there. Check out our Hall of Shame for examples of what happens when cowboy roofers get on your roof.
If you have a question that you would like SuperRoofer Joe Sardotz to answer in his blog or FAQs, please complete the Ask SuperRoofer form. Visit Joe's Contact page if you would like Joe to provide roof consulting and inspection services for you.
Project Management Commissioned 4/30/13: Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) has been commissioned by a busy professional to manage this residential roofing project from beginning to end.
ORC will be responsible for:
having quality-oriented roofing contractors bid the job;
writing the specifications for the job;
assist in deciding who does the roof;
monitoring the job on a daily basis;
photo documenting all aspects of the work;
emailing each day's photos to the owners to show the progress;
inspecting the completed job.
Managing your roof job is just one of the many services offered by Oregon Roof Consulting. I can save you time, money, and headaches and will make certain you get what you pay for. Guaranteed!
Bid Update: 5/15/13
The difference in bid prices was amazing considering that all five vendors were presented with the same list of products and specifications. Prices were requested for five different shingles: the difference in price for the same thing was up to $21,000! If the roofing companies were left to bid it their way, one would expect pricing to be all over the place. However, considering all were bidding the same job the same way, the pricing should have been closer. Bid monitoring is just one reason to have a qualified third-party owner advocate assist in the process, literally saving the property owner tens of thousands of dollars for the same job!
Successful Job Completion: 7/23/13
After the old shakes were removed, 1/2" plywood was installed. The plywood was gapped 1/8" everywhere, staggered properly, and all end joints are on rafters. Where necessary the original spaced sheathing was either raised or lowered so all horizontal plywood joints are over solid wood. The roof is Certainteed lifetime 'Landmark TL' in black. Included components are but not limited to:
Lead pipe jacks sanded, primed and painted.
9" continuous ridge vent.
Replace two 2X4 skylites with double E glass units.
Use two different color metal flashings (Black / White) depending on location.
Use 6" 'stem' or 'flapper' vents for all utility vents. Metal (never) plastic.
Ice & Water shield in all valleys and at all protrusions.
5-ply lifetime 'Mountain Ridge'.
Oversized 'D' metal at rake edges with bleeder strip.
6 double 'D' ring anchors evenly spaced around roof.
Chimney counter flashing sanded, primed and painted, then screwed to chimney flashing with 1/4" hex head sheet metal screws.
Shingles 6-nailed instead of the typical 4 nails.
Both chimneys pressure washed and sealed prior to the roof install.
The Price Comparison Sheet above is for a residential roofing project that Oregon Roof Consulting is managing (see "Residential roofing job management start to finish"). All bids came from top companies and all were presented with the same installation specifications and shingles to bid.
There is quite a contrast among the bids. We typically recommend tossing out the low bid, but in this case a very qualified vendor placed the low bid.
This roof installation project will be monitored and managed by Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) to make certain it is done correctly. ORC has saved the homeowner up to $23,000, depending on which vendor, shingles and other options are chosen.
Why the differences in pricing? Some typical reasons include:
Higher overhead from one company to another.
Estimating accuracy. (An estimator can make or break a company).
Some companies want higher profits with each job.
Some companies are busier than others. If busy, they bid high; if slow, they bid low.
Some companies feel that getting 80% of the desired price for a job is better than not getting the job at all.
The bottom line: It isn't enough to just take (or toss) the lowest bid. One needs to be smart about it, know the vendors, know the materials, know the proper roofing techniques, and make sure the roofing contractors follow through on the specifications. Contact Oregon Roof Consulting to help you find the best vendor with the best price and follow-through for your roofing job.
Recently Bob Villa of “This Old House Fame“ wrote an article asking the question “Should You Replace or Repair Your Roof?” He begins:
Making good decisions is the key to minimizing near- and long-term costs related to any home improvement. This is especially true for large, complex jobs like reroofing. In this particular case, some of the most important decisions should be made before you hire a contractor or choose a shingle manufacturer.
His article covers several topics, including:
Whether to simply patch leaks and damaged areas
Whether to partially reroof or completely reroof
Whether to tear off or roof over
How to find the right contractor
Joe Sardotz at Oregon Roof Consulting encourages you to read this article from rafter to eaves. Then contact Joe to help you make these tough decisions and take you through the entire process.
This roof in Lake Oswego had to be redone. The specifications for the install were clear and the contractor knew it would be inspected. The ball was really dropped here. (Click images below for larger views in new window. Scroll down to read the rest of the story.)
Removal of damaged plywood overhang due to use of too-long nails
Replacement of damaged overhang plywood
New roof (second install)
New roof (again)
What was wrong? Lots!
The contract specified 30lb felt, 15 lb was used.
Edge flashing used was not as specified.
Vents and pipes were not laid in sealant.
At least 85% of nails were either set too deep, blown through (indication of air gun malfunction), at an extreme angle, and/or improperly placed. This does not occur if a roof is hand nailed.
All manufacturers are very specific about fastening, and even though a little 'wiggle room' is allowed, this was not even remotely close. Way too much wiggling! Also, the roofers used nails that were too long at the exposed overhangs, which damaged the plywood such that the owner demanded it be done again. Two days after the job was completed, the new roof was torn off and done again. The difference between the two installs was like night & day.
This incident created a lot of unnecessary stress for all parties, cost the roofer a lot of money, and was an embarassment for the company and the roofers themselves. Just a bad situation all the way around.
Do it right: First time, every time!
The moral of this story is: "Do it right the first time! Do it to manufacturer specifications. Do what the contract says."
Don't let this happen to you. I hate to think of how many badly done new roofs are out there and how many property owners have no clue about it. Have Oregon Roof Consulting inspect your new roof!
Joe's 25 Point "WOW Factor" Will Transform the Typical Mediocre Roof Installation into a High Performer
Almost four decades of roofing experience have enabled me to develop a 25-point checklist for installing pitched roofs and an 11-point checklist for installing flat roof systems. When implemented, these checklists produce a significant upgrade in a roof's waterproofing abilities as well as its overall appearance, far exceeding the quality and integrity of at least 98% of other "typically" installed roofs. Guaranteed.
How is this Accomplished?
By upgrading certain components, but mostly by adjusting installation techniques and taking just a little extra time. These installation methods greatly contributed to my success as a roofing contractor. The added cost to a project is just 3% - 5% (plus or minus), depending on the configuration of the project, and the added time is insignificant when compared to the end result. This extra care benefits the property owner, contractor, builder, remodeler and anyone else involved.
I have sent photos and text descriptions of jobs that I have done using my methods to executives of national shingle manufacturers, presidents of major materials distributors, architects, planners, and others in the building trades. Their response has always been "WOW!" -- which is why I call my system "Joe's WOW Factor." No gimmick. No sales pressure. The method speaks for itself.
When I have mentioned some of my methods to various roofers in the past, the typical back-of-the-hand response is something like:
"You can't make no money doing all that stuff, it's way overkill." **Note improper grammar**
"The homeowner will never know about or be able to see this stuff."
Coming from these so-called 'roofers,' intended negative comments like the above turn into compliments (like Mom always told me, "Consider the source. If someone insists on making a fool of themselves just get the heck out of the way"). I may be "crazy" but at least my roofs don't leak or blow off.
The roofing trade is a solidly regulated industry. Manufacturers have specific guidelines for the installation of their products, and failure to follow these specifications can void at least part of the material warranty. Countless boards, associations, and panels also have rules and guidelines. Unfortunately, way too many roofers ignore most of these guidelines or simply are not aware of them. A very high percentage of roofers simply have not been trained properly and have a lot of very bad habits, which are a few of the reasons why the roofing trade has a deservedly tarnished reputation.
Shingle manufacturers such as Cerainteed have installer designations such as "Master Shingler." A small percentage of all roofers hold Master Shingler or similar designations. But even with the ones that do, there is no guarantee that these guidelines are being strictly adhered to.
What Happens to Roofs Without "Joe's WOW Factor"?
Some of my Joe's WOW Factor roofing techniques are visible; however, many are not -- at first! But as the roof ages, even a little, the differences between a mediocre roof and a great roof become all too apparent. Here are just a few examples of what happens when roofers cut corners or don't adhere to roofing installation guidelines (see my Hall of Shame page and other blog entries for more examples):
Peeling paint on improperly prepared gas 'B' vent components, lead pipe jacks, and other items painted by the contractor create an expensive and unnecessary callback / service call to the roofer and a headache for the property owner;
At least 85% of all roofs are (not) fastened to manufacturers specifications thereby likely voiding the wind blowoff portion of the material warranty. Every shingle wrapper by any manufacturer has a diagram showing proper nailing. They are very specific and are there for a reason;
Components, valleys, and flashings not adequately sealed; Many times they are not sealed at all;
Inferior components used and critical corners cut most of the time;
Sheathing improperly fastened, spaced, and staggered;
Property owner discovers gutter and/or siding damage after a roof installation because the roofing company didn't bother to protect the gutters and/or siding. This is a frequent occurance;
Property owner discovers big black gouges and divots on their brand new roofs caused by roofers damaging the shingles as they walk atop them on a hot day without taking simple precautions that are easily implemented but rarely are;
Property owner's new roof install job is so bad that it is necessary to tear it off and start over. See 'Blog'.
** These are just a few commonplace installation issues. I have 18 more that deal with layout; fastening; flashing techniques; quality of components; chimney & skylite details; wall protection, sheathing; and many more that will surprise you. Guaranteed..
Ensuring that Your New Roof has "Joe's WOW Factor"
I have read the Master Shingler course from cover to cover. I also know like the back of my hammer the installation guidelines set forth by material manufacturers and other industry governing bodies. While the Master Shingler rules and even the material manufacturer and governing body guidelines include some Joe's WOW Factor points, many of these important installation details are nowhere to be found. If I am involved with your project, I will:
Define all the necessary specifications, in writing, for the entire job. Specifications will include my Joe's WOW Factor checklist items, as well as all relevant manufacturer and industry guidelines.
Inspect the finished job to make certain all these guidelines have indeed been implemented correctly, per the contract, before you pay the final bill.
It took me nearly four decades to figure all this out, so I cannot share the specifics of Joe's WOW Factor roofing techniques here. However, rest assured that:
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