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7 Ways Roofing Contractors Cut Corners

If you’re a homeowner, you know that there are always ways for contractors to cut corners and save money. Unfortunately, this often means that the work is done poorly, or even worse, it can put your home at risk. In this blog post, we’ll look at 7 ways roofing contractors try to save money, and what you can do to protect yourself. Stay safe!

#1. They Don’t Pull Permits

This may seem obvious, and most roofing contractors do pull permits. However, there are companies out there that don’t. They do this because they think they will save money. In the long run, it can end up costing you, the homeowner, more. If their price seems too good to be true, they are most likely cutting corners.

A permit is a public record that you can use as leverage if you want to dispute a poor job by a contractor. Be sure to always hire a licensed professional roofing company and ask them to show proof that they pulled the permits.

white hardha, hammer, pen and tape measure on building plans and building permit

#2. Not Having a License

If a roofer does not have a specific roofing license they may be able to work under a general contracting license. This is ok, but a roofing license means that they participate in continued education specific to roofing, new materials, industry updates, warranties, and more. Always ensure that you hire a roofing company that has a roofing license. Ask them to show proof of it. If they have it, they won’t have a problem providing the documentation.

approved stamp on document

#3. They Use Low-Quality Ice & Water Underlayments

This is a great way to screen out the roofing contractors that cut corners. By understanding how underlayments work you can ask the right questions. Some roofers will not remove old shingles and put new ones right on top. They will claim they are saving you money but it may cause you to have to replace your roof again much sooner than you are anticipating. The other scenario we see happen is that they take off the old roof and never install underlayment before putting the new roofing material on. Most states, including Michigan, require an underlayment.

Lastly, some roofing contractors will save their money (not yours) by using very cheap materials but claim you are getting a premium underlayment. Be sure to get proof of the material they are using in writing. This includes ALL materials they are using – shingles, underlayment, type of gutters, etc.

ongoing roofing fix on a house

#4. They Don’t Register Warranties

Warranties are a big deal in the roofing industry. Roofs are a big investment and you want them to last as long as possible. They also get damaged from time to time due to weather, debris, trees, leaks, etc. You want the best protection and the products that have the best warranties for your price point. Roofing contractors can promise warranties, but if they don’t register them on your behalf then they don’t go into effect. It does cost a very small amount of money to register warranties and the biggest reasons contractors skip this part are:

  • laziness
  • lack of process
  • save money

Typically, what we see happen is the roofing contractor promises you warranties when they sell you the roofing job but they don’t file them. You, as the homeowner aren’t aware of this until there is a problem with your roof and you want to make a claim against the warranty. This is a terrible time to find out you aren’t covered. Always ask for proof that the warranties were filed before you make your final payment for your roof.

Read more: How to transfer Roof warranty

pen on warranty document

#5. They Use Cheap Accessories that Void Warranties

Most manufacturers require at least three accessories by that brand. Many roofing contractors think that the brand just wants to make money and will use cheaper accessories to cut corners. However, by using the right accessories to satisfy the warranty the homeowner has better coverage and protection in the end. You can hold the manufacturer accountable if your roof fails within the warranty period.

diagram of relation between cheap good and fast

#6. They Don’t Replace Rotted Wood

We see this all the time when we are hired to replace a bad roofing job by other roofing contractors. Many roofers want to move fast and get as many jobs done in a season as they can. Laying new roofs over rotting wood is quicker, but it is a bad practice and again – will cost the homeowner more in the end.

Have you ever seen a really wavy roof? This happens when new roofing material has been placed over wavy, damaged decking to cut corners.

When we are giving a roofing estimate, we do our best to determine the condition of the entire roofing system we are replacing. However, sometimes we can’t tell exactly how bad the wood and decking are under the old roof. If we tear it out and realize it will require more replacement than we originally thought, we communicate this with the homeowner and come up with a plan to fix it the right way first. We let them know up front what it will cost and what materials we will be using. Please know, that when this happens, it is not because we are trying to get more money out of you than we originally quoted or are trying to cheat you. We want to give the best possible roofing system that will last a very long time for you.

Some roofing contractors don’t know how to handle this situation and instead of talking to the homeowner about it, they just cover it up with the new roof and go on to the next job.

We will never do that to you.

roof and shingles in very bad condition

#7. They Don’t Pay Their Bills

The last common way that we see roofing contractors cutting corners is not paying their own bills. If a company is the cheapest bid, waiving deductibles, and doing whatever they can to get your business for the cheapest price possible – it may be because they are really hurting for money and can’t (or aren’t) paying their own bills. If this is the case, they are most likely doing other things on this list to cut corners as well.

pen and calculator over bills

In Conclusion

Although it’s important to be aware of the ways roofing contractors may try to cut corners, it’s also crucial to get a solid estimate from a reputable contractor. By doing your research and getting multiple estimates, you can be sure that you’re making the best decision for your home and your wallet. Have you had any negative experiences with roofing contractors? Let us know in the comments!

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor

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About Weather Vane Roofing
We provide roofing, siding, insulation, windows, and gutters. Making your house beautiful and efficient is our main goal. We use the latest in technology and products to provide eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for your home and business. With locations in Lansing, Owosso, and Brighton/Howell we are Mid-Michigan’s roofing experts. Let us transform your house into a home.

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