Low Bid Vs. Best Value

Have you ever heard the terms “Cheapest is not always least expensive” and “You get what you pay for”? Well when it comes to roofing, both are very true! We’ll talk about commercial roofing only today.

Let’s look at one example. You’ve called 3 roofing contractors who you think are reputable and asked them to provide a price to reroof your building…nothing more.

Your roof is flat, has ponding water with interior drains, a 25-year-old built-up roof with minimal insulation on a wood deck. You’ve had leaks off and on over the past years. There are several HVAC units on the roof. You can see staining on the underside of the wood roof deck.

The 3 contractors come out, look at the roof and send you a quote for reroofing. The prices come in at $51,000.00, $59,500.00 and $68,000.00. All are providing a 20-year warranty. Which contractor do you choose?

What you’re reading from each contractor’s bid:

  • Contractor #1 is installing 1” Polyisocyanurate insulation and a mechanically attached .045” TPO, 20-year warranty.
  • Contractor #2 is sweeping gravel, mechanically attaching 2” Polyisocyanurate insulation, mechanically attach .060” TPO and a 20-year manufacturer’s workmanship & material warranty.
  • Contractor #3 wants to perform a moisture scan first to see if there’s any wet insulation and remove all wet areas. If the wet areas are large, the roof needs to be torn-off. Let’s say only a small amount is wet and it’s replaced. Mechanically attach a 1⁄4” per foot tapered Polyisocyanurate insulation followed by a mechanically attached .060” TPO with a manufacturer’s 20-year NDL workmanship & material warranty. They are also providing a proposal for a preventive maintenance program. They also provide a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty showing that preventive maintenance is required to keep your warranty in-force.

Before choosing any of the bids, here are some questions you should ask and why:

  1. Were core cuts or moisture scans taken to verify the condition of existing insulation? If there is wet insulation, it needs to be removed. The wood deck needs to be inspected for possible damage/rot.
  2. Is the contractor providing tapered insulation to move water to the drains? Many warranties are void if ponding water exists, not to mention the additional weight it adds to the structure.
  3. What type of warranty is being provided? Material only, Labor & Material or Workmanship & Material, there is a difference!
  4. Are you fully informed as to what you are getting and why? Did you ask questions or were you just looking at the lowest price?

Be an informed consumer! Don’t settle for the low price rather than what is best for your roof in the long run… It will pay dividends long after the roof has been installed.

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