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Re-roofing my house

Old 04-19-22, 11:24 AM
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mtnbud
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Re-roofing my house

I'm looking to re- roof my house and am struggling through the getting estimates process. I've got three estimates so far and 2 of those estimates were 2x higher than the other. The 2 higher bids were clearly given to me by commissioned sales people. The lower estimate was by a small company more than likely by the owner of the company. I'm concerned the higher bids are clouded by the pay system for the sales people. Do these "salespeople" only get paid if they make a sale? I decided to get two more estimates, but am frustrated if these estimators only get paid if there's a sale. Any advice or encouragement from you fellow Foosters?
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Old 04-19-22, 11:52 AM
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Since replacing my roof looks imminent, I asked my neighbor what they spent. $30k for a 2,100 sq ft single story home!
It's your money, pal. Don't worry about how some gouging salesman makes a living.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by roadcrankr View Post
Since replacing my roof looks imminent, I asked my neighbor what they spent. $30k for a 2,100 sq ft single story home!
It's your money, pal. Don't worry about how some gouging salesman makes a living.
Thanks Roadcrankr. I purposely chose roofers with a local address, yet the last guy drove from 60 miles away. It'd suck if he only gets paid if he makes a sale. It'd be sort of like driving to a casino. A thrill of a possible "win" then the let down of leaving behind...

Last edited by mtnbud; 04-19-22 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:07 PM
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Do you have hail storms out there?
And did they walk your roof?
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Old 04-19-22, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Do you have hail storms out there?
And did they walk your roof?
Hail is rare and is pea sized or smaller if it happens. They all walked on my roof and I went with up them. They didn't see any issues, but agreed the shingles are needing replaced. The last guy crawled up in my attic. It's 21yrs old.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:26 PM
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Why are you dealing with a company that has a salesman? Of course you're are going to pay extra to pay his wage.

Look for a roofing contractor where the guy giving you the quote is also the owner. Your price will be much lower because these small roofing contractors are just usually the owner and a few helping hands meaning he has low overhead.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:48 PM
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Also, one can imagine that tar-based shingle pricing went through-the-roof, since these are a by-product of petroleum production.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:53 PM
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Finding a roofer is not hard. Just check around the material yards by asking a few people. You really don't need a contractor. At least in Texas you don't.

Now finding the shingles of the quality, color, and texture you want... That's Hard! It can also be a long wait.

Having just put a new roof on my house I first ordered and received the shingles. I then ordered and received new fascia board, flashing, ridge vent, and cricket. The cost although I considered it high was reasonable because I got to shop around and make my selections.

I then hired a roofing crew and together we arranged the dumpster for old roofing disposal. We both got up on the roof and made a close inspection for needed repairs.

The guys showed up on a Saturday morning and had the roof done by nightfall. I had everything here and ready to go and only had to make one trip to the Home Depot for mescilanious unforeseen materials that always pop up no matter what job.

I did all this because I had the time but not the money. It certainly would have been easier to hire a contractor to do it... Maybe...


Anyway... Just a thought...
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Old 04-19-22, 01:06 PM
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Twice the price as other? So, one was around $12K and the other two were $24K or something like that. Don't worry about the salesmen's feelings.

I had a quote for a shed roof and replacing 4 wood stairs (tread and riser). The shed was a little over 2 squares.....not a big shed. $2200 plus tax. Stairs were $2100 plus tax. I did both myself. My roof is 22 years old and probably has less than 10 years left. It is too steep for me and at that time, I will get estimates. A local guy at the hardware store told me $450/square is the going rate. Although that sounds low, it helps to know how many square foot of roofing you have, not how many square feet of floor space inside. A square is 100 square feet or 3 bags of asphalt shingles. Labor is the biggest component of the cost after the saleslady's commission.
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Old 04-19-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
Hail is rare and is pea sized or smaller if it happens. They all walked on my roof and I went with up them. They didn't see any issues, but agreed the shingles are needing replaced. The last guy crawled up in my attic. It's 21yrs old.
Reason I ask is because here in Tornado Alley it is just about a given that any roof more than X? number of years old is going to be pock marked and is easily documented when they go up there and circle and photograph all these indications to report to your home owners insurance for a claim. Although my roof was leaking at the time, that is not required to get a sizeable portion of your roof paid for. The insurance companies keep track of hail storms where and when they occur as far as I know. This was in '08ish.

As far as contractors, after five or six bids, I went with an independent owner who provided a better price, provided insurance and bonding documentation and a well written contract. He showed up with enough guys to do the tear off, wood work, re roof, and haul away all in one day. He came back the next day with one guy to do a final and an additional magnet pass around the perimeter. Mailed a bill later.

Good luck. We had to re-fi the house to pay for it all because we had gutters and masonry restoration in addition.
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Old 04-19-22, 01:11 PM
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When we did our roof we wanted high quality shingles so immediately started looking at Owens Corning. At that time, and assumably still have, a preferred local company listing. The company that we found was a considerable amount higher than some, but also wasn't quoting 'construction' grade shingles. We went with an 'architectural' type with better warranty and higher wind rating. Don't think they would help with a tornado...but...
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Old 04-19-22, 01:29 PM
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You ought to be able to itemize each of the estimates for comparison.

Cost of demo
Cost of shingles
Cost of plywood
Cost of labor
etc.
Then if any of the bids seem to be missing something, or including something the others don't, you can determine if the estimate was legit.
If one of them is high on one item, maybe they're using the deluxe shingles and the other guys are using Walmart shingles.
The problem with working with a small operation, is they might not have the insurance if things go south.
A sneaky company might not include something in the bid that they actually know you'll need and then they can charge too much for the extra work.

And my number ONE recommendation:
Tell them you expect a lien release when they get your final check... that way you make sure they've paid all their subcontractors and such... lots of horror stories about liens on your house because your contractor didn't pay the demo guy or whatever. Also, when you talk lien release, they'll know you got advice from a smart guy, because they know about the horror stories too.
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Old 04-19-22, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
You ought to be able to itemize each of the estimates for comparison.

Cost of demo
Cost of shingles
Cost of plywood
Cost of labor
etc.
Then if any of the bids seem to be missing something, or including something the others don't, you can determine if the estimate was legit.
If one of them is high on one item, maybe they're using the deluxe shingles and the other guys are using Walmart shingles.
The problem with working with a small operation, is they might not have the insurance if things go south.
A sneaky company might not include something in the bid that they actually know you'll need and then they can charge too much for the extra work.

And my number ONE recommendation:
Tell them you expect a lien release when they get your final check... that way you make sure they've paid all their subcontractors and such... lots of horror stories about liens on your house because your contractor didn't pay the demo guy or whatever. Also, when you talk lien release, they'll know you got advice from a smart guy, because they know about the horror stories too.
I second that latter recommendation. Back a decade or so ago we did a house remodel, the cheapest thing was the additional insulation added by a sub. He was the only guy to set a lien, and due to the low cost, was somewhat ignored by the general (who later was sued by me for incomplete work... and lost his license). Well that insulation guy with the lien also prevented me from getting further work done... until I wrote him a check directly and he released the lien. Interesting issue.

BTW the State Contractor License Administration made me wait a full year for the original general to complete work... after he had walked. Then we went into arbitration... and he didn't show. I won. But by then, had lost a whole lot more (money and time). He lost his license.
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Old 04-19-22, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I second that latter recommendation. Back a decade or so ago we did a house remodel, the cheapest thing was the additional insulation added by a sub. He was the only guy to set a lien, and due to the low cost, was somewhat ignored by the general (who later was sued by me for incomplete work... and lost his license). Well that insulation guy with the lien also prevented me from getting further work done... until I wrote him a check directly and he released the lien. Interesting issue.

BTW the State Contractor License Administration made me wait a full year for the original general to complete work... after he had walked. Then we went into arbitration... and he didn't show. I won. But by then, had lost a whole lot more (money and time). He lost his license.
Wow! That's crazy!
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Old 04-19-22, 02:29 PM
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The last guy had crawled around in my crawl space and took pictures. He showed me a picture of some darker colored OSB and said I have a leak. He also showed me a picture of some OSB with a lighter tint and said it was mold. I just tried to crawl to the end of my roof to where he said he took the pictures and it was impossible for me to get there. Maybe because he's younger he did it, but if he did I'd say it was an impressive feat. I took a picture of the lighter colored OSB:


I do see mold on the insulation, so I agree with him that I need to improve the ventilation in my crawlspace.
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Old 04-19-22, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
Wow! That's crazy!
At that time, myself and 2 other friends of ours were doing remodels (actually one was a new home...)

All three of us ran into issues with our contractors. The new house was put on hold as the general went off on some drug binge. My house waited for remodel (new contractor) for over a year due to License Board delay (standard practice)... we lived with open walls and plywood counters... sheesh. The other remodel just kept running into issues with subs walking off and not finishing.

Frankly it all smacks of a rather poor construction industry... This was in San Diego. All the contractors were fully licensed. It was frankly amazingly disappointing. Said nothing for the quality of the state license board.

Due to mediation I was limited in what I could recover... if I had gone to court I could have sued for more... but the delay and hassle was even more. At the mediation hearing the "judge" took a look at my plans, spreadsheets and records and said "I wish the contractors would keep such good records." When the allotted time expired for the contractor to show, and he did not show... the "judge" looked at me, and my 3 copies of everything and said, well, you win. I was never able to recover any money... the state board actually does this with certified letters... the contractor blew them off too... and thus lost his license.

Seems to be two kinds of contractors out there... massively expensive or fly by night. I make this statement due to the problems we three families had in about the space of about 3 years... trying to get work done. Ultimately I was in for over $120,000 and still had to hire someone else. Royal PITA!

BTW the gent I hired to finish said he would only complete the work if I sued the original contractor... he said: "guys like that gave the industry a bad name." That gent was actually a neighbor from the far end of the block that I just had not yet met... he came to me after seeing the whole fiasco... and encouraged me to "take it to the board." Even the building inspector was upset... pulled my wife aside and said... "I have never had to make this many trips for a remodel." He was glad to sign off on the final work.
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Old 04-19-22, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
At that time, myself and 2 other friends of ours were doing remodels (actually one was a new home...)

All three of us ran into issues with our contractors. The new house was put on hold as the general went off on some drug binge. My house waited for remodel (new contractor) for over a year due to License Board delay (standard practice)... we lived with open walls and plywood counters... sheesh. The other remodel just kept running into issues with subs walking off and not finishing.

Frankly it all smacks of a rather poor construction industry... This was in San Diego. All the contractors were fully licensed. It was frankly amazingly disappointing. Said nothing for the quality of the state license board.

Due to mediation I was limited in what I could recover... if I had gone to court I could have sued for more... but the delay and hassle was even more. At the mediation hearing the "judge" took a look at my plans, spreadsheets and records and said "I wish the contractors would keep such good records." When the allotted time expired for the contractor to show, and he did not show... the "judge" looked at me, and my 3 copies of everything and said, well, you win. I was never able to recover any money... the state board actually does this with certified letters... the contractor blew them off too... and thus lost his license.

Seems to be two kinds of contractors out there... massively expensive or fly by night. I make this statement due to the problems we three families had in about the space of about 3 years... trying to get work done. Ultimately I was in for over $120,000 and still had to hire someone else. Royal PITA!

BTW the gent I hired to finish said he would only complete the work if I sued the original contractor... he said: "guys like that gave the industry a bad name." That gent was actually a neighbor from the far end of the block that I just had not yet met... he came to me after seeing the whole fiasco... and encouraged me to "take it to the board." Even the building inspector was upset... pulled my wife aside and said... "I have never had to make this many trips for a remodel." He was glad to sign off on the final work.
Thanks for sharing. That really sucks. I really appreciate you sharing what happened to you. I've noticed many contractors seem to take lots of shortcuts and hide their mistakes, but I haven't heard anything that awful.
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Old 04-19-22, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
Thanks for sharing. That really sucks. I really appreciate you sharing what happened to you. I've noticed many contractors seem to take lots of shortcuts and hide their mistakes, but I haven't heard anything that awful.
Oh, there is more... and as I said, it wasn't just me... 2 other families, different contractors... just really made me wonder.

BTW the gent that did finally complete my work, later added a studio to my back yard... no problem, no issues and great work. Did some framing things I NEVER would have thought of... wish that gent had done my whole remodel from the beginning. I really admired his framing work... mark of a real craftsman.

But really, just get your roof done. Sounds like you are shopping around... talk to folks that have used those contractors... see what they think.

Good luck.
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Old 04-19-22, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I second that latter recommendation.
When you hire a GC, you're paying them to do all the coordination with the subs... that's why they mark up the bills, and that's valid. It's extra insidious that they mark up the sub's bills, add them to their own, you pay the GC and then they don't use your money to pay the subs, so the subs put the lien on your house because your money didn't get to them.

The good ones understand why you're being careful, and are happy to comply because that weeds out the bad ones.
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Old 04-19-22, 05:09 PM
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My advice is that you should take the time to find the "roofer" with the same investigative concern as you would in choosing someone to babysit your children or grandchildren.

I'd imagine that you know a lot of people (neighbors, family, friends, office colleagues, riding buddies, the owner(s) of local bike shop, etc....).
People are people and yes, if you live in a house long enough, you'll encounter re-roofing issues.
Folks that you know will give you possible "leads" on possibilities.........sort of narrows the search field.......then you will have to do the necessary investigative work to further check out whether that same firm is the same outfit it was when it roofed your friend's sister-in-law's home back in 2011.......you know because sometimes for example, for this particular example, the fictitious Jones Roofing, of Anywhere, Alabama. ....Well their tv ads still say Jones Roofing, the name you can trust, serving Anywhere Alabama since 1948......... what you might not know is that the ownership has changed twice since 2014, and the BBB has numerous complaints on file since 2018.


I'd say that it is hugely important to get the best quality shingles (30 year). Now, it doesn't matter too much as to what the mfr brand name is, as all the known name brand shingles of best quality are all comparable. The individual component price differential is almost pennies IF VIEWED FROM THE STANDPOINT OF YOU YOURSELF SOURCING THEM FROM various home-building supply retailers etc. NOW, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN POSSIBLY GET SCREWED BY SOME ROOFING OUTFITS, is that they give you several cost options: Economy, Mid-Grade, Top of Line , where the price varies tremendously..........................the problem you will have is often they upsell most everybody to choosing either Mid-Grade or Top of the Line, but often they only utilize one grade no matter what, and that is whatever is the lowest cost to them (most economy basic, or even discontinued close-out trashier quality shingles from an unrespected mfr)
This is what you have to look out for.
Roofing is fairly basic, such that anyone (any firm) that is competant should be capable of doing an outstanding job unless they are alcoholics or substance abusers.
Now, yes, well things can get complicated with a steep pitch or multiple dormers and angles/changes in pitch, etc, such as one might see on a very large two story or three story 100 year old home.
You also gotta look at tearing off the old roof (SHINGLES). Yes, you can in some circumstances, build up over the old roof (SHINGLES) but in my opinion, this is not the best way to go....(consult an Expert for the complete pros/cons on doing that BEFORE you choose to build up..)
Now, if you've got a steel roof or typical asphalt shingled roof, it should be absolutely no problem for any competant roofing contractor. Honesty and integrity and at least four to five years of a real continuous local business operation should get you someone that should do a fine job. Do make certain that you get to choose the brand/color/style of the shingles that will be installed, so they don't try the old trick of installing the crappiest-contractor grade garbage(below Economy grade) shingles because they get them at cut rate prices.
Roofing is fairly straightforward and basic, UNLESS you have a home with a roof of extreme pitch, and for homes with a Slate Roof, or terra-cotta Spanish tile.
Slate requires different, old-world skills & craftsmanship expertise and is extremely labor intensive. You can easily get into $15k to $20k just to make relatively small holes from minor tree/storm damage on a large very tall home with a slate roof. When you're in a historical district with large seven figure+ homes that are near 100 years old, you have no choice but repair with the original material. Yeah, it sounds shocking but yeah when you live in such a neighborhood, you are used to the more than 10k plus in annual property taxes. It does make one very nervous anytime that you have to get those Slate or Spanish tile experts because there are very few around that are capable of doing that type of work. Often those that do did apprentice work with someone that is now too old-retired, or long deceased.

You do want to make certain that you DO NOT get those "GYPSY" & "IRISH TRAVELER" types that are grifter con-artists, that come door-to door soliciting for home improvement/roofing/driveway resurfacing repairs.
You need to find the right, qualified, contractor with a known background and you need to treat the search like your were Sgt Joe Friday or the Secret Service doing a background check of someone getting a meeting with White House staff or The President.
You don't want someone that is just soliciting door to door with fliers and business cards.
ASK PEOPLE YOU KNOW, ASK NEIGHBORS..... treat it like you were trying to find a baby sitter for your kids/grandkids..........it matters that much! Character/qualifications/integrity/honesty/experience matters if you want the job done satisfactorily. Most will have the basic qualifications as roofing ain't rocket science on uncomplicated roofs anyway, as long as the folks are sober conscientious responsible workers who are half-way professional and show-up and work until the job is completed.

Understand that it may seem like a big hassle to you that you have to spend so much of your time interviewing potential roofers(getting so many estimates from different roofers), but if you want it to be done properly at a fair and reasonable price, you will have to do that. It is unfortunately the "Wild Wild West" out there.
Heck, many folks that have been burned or experienced bad experiences with certain roofing contractors, often don't mention it to friends/family ever unless someone asks them, because they feel maybe foolish for having picked the wrong one, but hey so much changes locally in that industry that you might not know who the good players are now versus ten or fifteen years ago. Just like the fictitious, Jones Roofing from Anywhere Alabama... One thing is constant is that weather and mother nature does bring about conditions where folks will need to re-pair or re-roof their homes............and you know with the frequency of destructive Tornados in Alabama, that some roofing firms like Jones Roofing can still thrive while doing business however they want to.....
Just remember that cost does not necessarily equal quality or guarantee that you'll get quality!
Do realize that there are many factors at play.
If you can obtain the best materials & the humans to do the actual job that are at least minimally qualified and capable of doing a professional job, you will do fine!
Finding the right someone to do the job might take you more than an hour of your time!
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Old 04-19-22, 05:47 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
I'd say that it is hugely important to get the best quality shingles (30 year). Now, it doesn't matter too much as to what the mfr brand name is, as all the known name brand shingles of best quality are all comparable.
From what I could tell, among the qualities offered by any particular manufacturer, the difference in price was pretty much just how thick the shingles are.
We looked at every house in the neighborhood when we were choosing, we went with the economy model of a good brand, and then we never looked at roofs again (unless someone was re-roofing).
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Old 04-19-22, 06:09 PM
  #22  
Mad Honk 
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I had my roof replace 2 years ago with GAF lifetime shingles by a local contractor who hires her own crews. Cost was $4800 for a 1000 sf home and work was done in one day. Shingles delaminated in a few places and GAF has offered to replace the entire roof and cover the costs this spring. I guess I'm living right or in the right place. Just my experience, Smiles, MH
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Old 04-19-22, 06:13 PM
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CliffordK
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I've always done my own roofing, so just the cost of the shingles, and roofing paper. But, I absolutely hate breathing the fresh tar which gives me a pounding headache while working on the roof which isn't my preference.

As @Juan Foote mentioned, the "architectural" shingles have better coverage than the 3-tab. For the 3-tab, the worst decay is always in the valleys between the shingles where they are only a single layer thick.

There may be some thicker alternatives. My former housemate started working on a commission for a roofing company. Wow, his prices sounded high. Perhaps in the $60K range. But, there were also an extra-thick shingle. I think the commissions were high, but were all dependent on sales.

I am at some risk for wildfire. So my next roof will be steel which will also last for a very long time as long as something heavy doesn't fall on it.

The composite roofs are apparently somewhat fire resistant, but the steel is just better.

There are other materials available from ceramics to plastics.
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Old 04-19-22, 07:34 PM
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jon c. 
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Had my roof done recently and all the estimates were in the same ballpark. I ended up using a GC as he was willing to do some other work that no one else would touch.

I replaced the original roofing, which lasted 35 years. If the new one lasts that long, I'll never have to worry about replacing it.
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Old 04-20-22, 09:08 AM
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While steel roofs may last a bit longer and are fire resistant, They also come with the added benefit that the roof wreaks havoc with cell phone reception in the home. Plan on going back to find a good signal near a window! Smiles, MH
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