Roof: DIY or Professional

Why it costs less to have the roof replaced by the pros at All Pro Xteriors Inc. than to do it ourselves.

Replacing your own roof as a DIY project, seems like it could save lots of money, but it may actually cost you more in the end.  When you don’t do something regularly, it is hard enough to do it right, but there are so many things the professionals are experienced enough to know how to cure, that rookies may not even recognize as a problem.  I only live in a single story home of  about 2500 square feet.  I assumed, when compared to today’s larger homes, my house would be simple enough to reroof, but I have reconsidered. 

DIY Roofer Image by Jonas Ogrefoln from Pixabay

The first step toward a new roof is to decide what type of roof to install.  I began to consider roofing options: Asphalt shingles, or metal roof. For me this was fairly simple, after researching information on metal roofs, in spite of the longer lifespan of a metal roof, I realized I prefer the look and quiet of an asphalt shingle roof.  Having completed the decision phase, I began looking up shingle prices.  Here is what I learned about DIY roof installation vs. a professionally installed roof. 

Lesson 1. The shingle pricing was a little confusing: The price of a bundle of shingles is meaningless unless you know the quality difference, and the square footage you need to cover.  First, I decided to calculate my new roof square footage.  I estimated the area, based on my home’s square footage and the incline or pitch of the roof, and as it turned out, I estimated short.  It is a pretty common screwup, but it can turn into a bigger problem if you can’t get additional shingles in the same lot or color as the original order.  The add-on shingles will stand out on your roof – always.  I know the professionals at All Pro Xteriors Inc. would never have this problem, because they are thorough, and they are experienced enough to know how to accurately assess the amount needed for the job.  Once I found out what I needed I went on DIY supply stores’ online sites and realized, while prices varied by nearly 100%, the pictures of shingles looked alike, making it difficult to discover true quality of shingles.  The DIY store shingle warranties were similar, but there are extra considerations.  I know when I go to All Pro Xteriors, I will get a roof with better quality shingles, that will last decades.  If I have them put on that roof, the entire roof is warrantied, including workmanship.  If I install my own roof and there is a leak, is it because the shingles were at fault?   Will I go up on my roof each year to inspect the shingles for wear and tear?  So, the professionally installed roof will be warrantied to perform – not just in shingle wear and tear, but against leaking, which is a big part of why a roof is important.  The price for shingles that I install on my roof would range between $2,100 and $4,000 (please note prices vary by quality, coverage and market area).  But shingles are not the only component of a roof replacement project.

Lesson 2. Price all of the supplies and tools for the job.  Once the cost of all the necessary tools and supplies are added up, you may be spending nearly what you would pay a professional roofing contractor to install your new roof correctly.   If you don’t normally DIY things like roofing etc., you may have an expensive shopping or rental list.  A list of non-shingle items needed to tear off and install a new roof include roofing felt, or roofing paper as some refer to it, which on my house ran about $1,300.  This is the membrane that will be attached to the plywood or particle boards, before shingles are attached.  Then there will be the additional ridgecap shingles, the attic vent strip, the dumpster rental, because shingle removal will still be a mess, plastic roofing cement, applicator gun, staple gun and staples for the membrane, roofing nail gun, coils of collated roofing nails, air compressor and line that reaches your roof, remover tool or the old shingles, a hammer, razor knife, Visqueen plastic sheeting, kneepads, if you value use of your knees in walking etc., and gloves.  Bottom line will vary depending on what you have on hand, but an estimated range for the cost of a DIY homeowner’s replacement roof will be between $5,000 and $11,000 based on a 2,200 to 3,000 square foot roof, according to DIY-ers responses on Angie’s list.

The quote for professional replacement of the roof on our home was approximately $10,000, and will be warrantied. 

Lesson 3.  Get the All Pro Xteriors Inc. Professional experience.  Without the experience and the right tools, you are likely to make a mistake somewhere on your roof.  Everything else in your home is at risk when the roof doesn’t function properly, allowing water to enter the home.  Inexperienced roof installations have also led to the need for new windows and siding when wayward roof pieces are removed and tossed down without first protecting the home, as professionals do.  Suddenly the cost of your new roof skyrockets, and you could have saved not only aggravation, but money, by having the professionals do it.  If you need the professionals to come in and fix a problem you created, you have even more expense.  Now consider the other hassles when you replace your own roof.  Do any of the plywood/particle boards under the roofing paper need to be replaced?  Is that something you can do?  Will you be working on your roof in the sun midday?  Are you up to that heat?  How are you at heights?  What if you fall off the ladder (one of the most common non-COVID19 related emergency room visits) and are laid up afterward?  Will you lose your employment?  There is so much more to consider when deciding whether to hire a professional or do it yourself, but in my case, I realized it was time to call All Pro Xteriors Inc.  They love their work, will be able to complete the job in less than a week, and when it is done, I know I will be able to count on have a beautiful, hassle free, leak free roof for years to come.