Choosing between roof quotes

I have a few questions regarding a re-roof on my 1,600 square foot home. My roof already has 2 layers of shingles that need to be torn off and new sheeting applied(has old cedar shake underneath) I have gotten 3 quotes that range from $7600-11,000. I am just not sure how to decide which one to go with. For example, the lower priced one is a huge roofing company in the area that has been around for over 30 years, everyone has heard of them. The downfall is their quote wasn’t written out as “nicely” as the middle of the road quote ($9,000). For example, they gave me a quote for $6,700 and then said “add $1572 is cedar shingles are present and sheeting is needed.” Shouldn’t they know that cedar shingles are present and that the roof needs sheeting?! It just makes me nervous that they quoted it like that when the other two roofers said as an absoute, the roof needs new sheeting. Also, there is nothing in the cheaper quote that says antying about clean-up or any other details. Also the cheaper one uses 15# felt where as the other uses 30#. The cheaper uses Certainteed Landmark 30 Class A where as the other uses Elk Prestique H.D 30. Maybe that accounts for the $1,400 difference? I just would like to save $1,400 if at all possible, especially since the cheaper one is from the well known company, not just some fly by night company. Are there main points I should look for that should be in every quote? Also, could I ask the middle of the road quoter who I seemed more comfortable with to match the cheaper guys price?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

There are only two differences in the quotes…insurance, or quality of installation.

If you want it done right, do you think the lowballer will do it the best way possible? If you said yes, remember my entire business is based on fixing lowballer errors.

I did some more homework and decided to call the lowest quoter and ask him about things that weren’t contained in the quote. He said he uses 1/4" OSB sheeting (higher priced company uses 7/16"). He said over 95% or houses he does, he uses 1/4" and that anything larger was overkill and adds weight to the roof. Any opinions on this? Also he said I didn’t need anything more than 15# aslphalt felt, the other company quoted me for 30#, any opinions on which is better? So it seems the higher priced quote is for higher priced materials, now it’s just a matter of which materials do I pick? Any opinions would be appreciated.
Thanks again for your previous response.

After readin your posts a few things jump out at me. 1/4 inch osb is useless wood for any roofing deck. The 7/16 is a better way to go. The weight difference is not going to be that much of a problem. With the 1/4 inch blow off shingles would be a concern. Certainteed shingle is the same price as the elk within a few dollars im talkin 25 for the whole job so that is not a savings. 30 pouind felt i use on all my jobs, i use the fiberglass style. The felt is a vapor barrier between the deck and the shingles. If things are not spelled out on the contract i would be a bit leary. You will get what you pay for in this business. I agree with Aaron, i also repair the lowballer work on a daily basis. 1/4 osb is very cheap wood and i would not even trust walking on a roof with it on it. To thin. Hope this helps. If you type out both quotes we can better understand what you are looking at and help you make a solid investment in your home. Scan it or take a picture either way it will help us out to know what all is involved.

The problem the way I see it is you are comparing apples to oranges. If you want to properly bid out your roofing job, you need to define the scope of work so all roofing contractors are bidding the same job. In addition, it would be very wise of you to ask for unit-pricing on things you anticipate being added to the project. For example, you can get plywood (better than OSB for roofing) deck replacement quoted on a square foot price; 2x4s, 2x6’s, etc. quoted at a board-foot price, etc. Now, the unfortunate part is you need to know what you are doing if you want to write a scope-of-work for you roof replacement.

So, in the end I would recommend that you do your homework and then tell the roofing contractors you want the job bid using 15#/30# felt underlayment (you choose), tell them what shingles to bid, plywood instead of OSB, etc. Tell them to bid the job as a tear-off all they way down do to the roof deck, and to include the removal in the base bid.

I assume the 1/4-inch OSB you were talking about was to overlay the existing roof deck? If not, then you need to tell them to bid deck replacement on a square foot price, and to match existing in thickness; assuming you have at least 1/2-inch thick roof deck. Personally, I wouldn’t want anything less than 5/8-inch on my roof. If you want to help control the cost, you could tell them to include X amount of deck replacement in the base bid, and use the unit cost as an add/deduct cost.

I know a lot of what I just said probably won’t make sense to you, so ask me to clarify anything that you don’t understand. FWIW, I can tell you most of the roofers in here aren’t going to like some of my suggestions, especially the one about the add/deduct.

I have used 1/4" over skip sheathing a few times, one ten years old (on my Dad’s house) and nery a problem with any of them. This is, of course, plywood, as I would not even use OSB for the floor of the outhouse.

Okay here are the two quotes:
#1 $9,000
We propose to provide all taxes, insurance, workers compensation, materials, labor and supervision for the following work.
Standard Procedures and Requirements:

  1. Landscaping and property will be protected as needed with tarps and or plywood. 2. Completely remove existing roofing material to wooden deck, including metal drip edge and plumbing flashings. 3. Install 7/16" OSB sheeting. 4. Inspect and replace all flashing as needed (step, counter, chimney). 5. Install waterproofing membrane directly to wooden deck in all valleys and on all eaves. 6. Install one ply of ASTM #30 asphalt felt membrane to wooden deck. 7. Install new pre-painted metal edging on all rakes and eaves. 8. Install new shingles in accordance to manufacturer’s speciation. 9. Install new plumbing pipe seal flashings. 10. Install shingle over ridge vent. 11. clean all gutter of all debris. 12. clean up and removal of all debris to an approved landfill. 13. all areas swept or raked and magnet pulled around building to pickup an loose nails. 14. work are to be kept clean and free of debris on a daily basis. 15. provide a manufacture shingles(30 year) and workmanship warranty(10 year).
    Shingles are Elk prestique H.D. with staingaurd 30 yr warranty.
    (on back of sheet there is the contract that has areas to fill out like price, shingle brand and type selected, start date, completion date, signatures etc. It also says “we do not accept money up front. Payment is due upon completion.” Also, not sure how long company has been around but my guess is less than 10 years-website in case this would help

Quote #2 $6079.00

  1. remove the present shingles to deck and haul away. Note: price is based on house not having cedar shingles and not needing sheeting. If cedar shingles are present and sheeting is needed add $1572. (brings total to $7651) (I talked to him about this and he said I wasn’t home when he came to do my quote so he couldn’t go in the attic to look for the cedar shingles.) He uses 1/4" OSB.
  2. Install 15# felt to complete roof. 3. Install new aluminum valleys. 4. Install new aluminum soil stack flashing. 5. install new certainteed landmark 30 class A dimensional 30 year factory warranty shingles. 6. new aluminum edging.
    Note: any rotten wood will be replaced on a time and material basis, per owners approval.
    Thank you for the opportunity of presenting this proposal. We would like to do this work for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to call and I will be happy to meet with you. All workmanship is guaranteed. We are an insured corporation.

(This company, as I said has been around for over 50 years (my mom has heard of them and she knows nothing about construction but just to show what a prominant name they are in the community).

So there are my two quotes, if anyone has any further opinions.

Based on the info you provided, I probably would go with the $9000 bid. Then again, it isn’t my money I’d be spending. The lower bid has too many openings for the contractor to come back at you for Change Orders or extras. Maybe if they were to better define the proposed work I would pick them, but the way they presented their bid makes me wonder.

I agree with cerberus

def. $9000 bid !!! i dont even know if 1/4" decking is allowed by code? the 7/16 isnt going to effect youir weight as you are tearing off more than 1 layer and assuming you get some serious winters in wisconsin im sure the snow load will be greater than the 2 lbs extra the sheet weighs. sounds to me like the low bid is a family company that has been handed down to a generation that is cutting corners. is the word roofing in thier name? if it isnt…then they probably arent paying for the same insurance as quote #2.

Go with the higher price. Any roofer that uses 1/4 " OSB just does’nt get it.

McDonalds has been around for a long time and their food is …


What about if he used 1/4" plywood? Then would it be acceptable?

I would not use the lower quote for the simple fact that 1/4" isn’t up to code. He is just trying to save money and if he cuts corners there you never know where else he will cut a corner. I use certainteed shingles and I am certified contractor through them and I really like there product. I am licensed insured and bonded here in indiana and here I would have charged around $8000 so the $9000 isn’t really that high I believe from what I heard that he gives a very quality estimate and sounds good what he proposes to do.

no doubt about it, the $9000 contract is clearer as to the scope of work. Nice contract actually. I write mine very similar. The only thing I would have changed is the wording “as needed” regarding flashing replacement. Flashing doesnt always need to be replaced, but I would have him be clearer and give examples of when you would need them and when you wouldnt need them replaced.