Your roof protects your home and everything precious inside – including your family.

Replacing your roof is an expensive and intrusive undertaking. Unfortunately, some roofers may purposefully omit critical components of your roof replacement to lower their bid and win your business. Most homeowners don’t realize an important piece of their roof replacement was left out until the contractor brings up an issue during the project, hands them a surprise bill, or even worse – until something goes wrong.

At AIC Roofing we want to educate homeowners about every part of their roofing system and what they can expect during the roof replacement process. Roof replacements are expensive, and we want to ensure your roof stands the test of time and you don’t feel taken advantage of during the process.

We wanted to address a question we’re often asked to help you feel more confident during your roof replacement process. Is there ever a scenario in which the total cost of your new roof would be more than your initial estimate? The short answer is yes.

What’s Included in a Roof Replacement?

Your roof replacement encompasses your entire roofing system. Although you can only see a few parts of our roofing system (shingles, gutters, vents, etc.) there is much more beneath the surface.

Your roof replacement should include a total replacement of your roofing system – not just the components you’re able to see.

During a roof replacement, a contractor may discover rot, mold, or improperly working parts. While most issues should be identified prior to your roof replacement, there are situations that cannot be accounted for until your roofing contractor begins removing old shingles.

Even the most experienced roofers cannot account for every issue that may come up during your replacement.

Why would my roof replacement cost more than my estimate?

Below we’ll outline a few common reasons that the total cost of your roof replacement may be more than your initial estimate. We discuss these topics and terminology more in-depth in our Learning Center.

1.    Multiple Layers on the Roof During Tear Off

There are two types of roof replacements – overlays and tear-offs. An overlay is when a roofer simply lays new shingles over your existing ones. A tear-off is when all shingles are removed and new ones are affixed to your roof. If your home previously had an overlay, there may be multiple layers of shingles on your roof. This requires significantly more time to tear off the multiple layers of shingles to complete the replacement.

Furthermore, due to liability concerns, some roofing contractors won’t work on roofs that have overlay roofing completed in the past. This is one of the many reasons why we do not recommend this method for your home’s roof replacement.

Your roofing contractor should be able to tell if your roof had an overlay in the past during their initial inspection. However, it can be difficult to identify how many layers of shingles are on your roof until the removal begins. If there are more layers than expected, it will cost more.

2.    Discovery of Rotten Decking

This is the most common reason your roof replacement may cost more than your initial estimate. Although an experienced roofer may be able to spot some instances of rotten wood during their evaluation, until your shingles or gutters are removed it’s difficult to evaluate the extent of the issue.

Areas with rotten decking will have to be replaced in order to complete your roof replacement. The integrity of the new roof will be compromised and unable to secure new materials if the decking is rotten. Additionally, once the roof is removed the contractor should identify the cause of the rotten wood. If water is penetrating into your roof deck or fascia boards, there could be a component that was previously installed incorrectly or another issue (like rusted or compromised flashing, etc.). Any underlying issues should be addressed during your roof replacement to ensure the longevity of your roof.

The cost to remedy rotten wood depends on the number of affected boards, the price of lumber (which fluctuates), and the labor associated with the replacement.

3.    Discovery of Dry Rot

Your roof deck is the base layer of your roof. Dry rot occurs when the plywood or OSB sheathing on your roof deck loses its strength and rigidity. This is typically due to an improperly ventilated attic. In the central Kentucky area, improperly ventilated attics can reach temperatures over 170+ degrees Fahrenheit in summer months! This causes the plywood or OSB sheathing that supports your roof to warp, decay, and become brittle.

Your shingles are installed to the plywood or OSB sheathing that make up your roof deck. If those boards are brittle, they will be unable to hold nails. In order to ensure the longevity of your roof, your roofing contractor would need to replace the rotten portions of your roof deck and correct the ventilation issue that caused the dry rot. Your entire roof deck may need to be replaced if this has been a long-term issue. 

Proper care of your roof deck is important to the structural integrity of your home. Roofing contractors are also obligated to fix these issues according to local and state building codes.

If your home has severe dry rot, your roof would appear wavy and sagging in some areas. Depending on the severity, your roofing contractor would be able to identify dry rot as a concern prior to the start of your roof replacement. If you ever doubt the seriousness of the issue – ask your roofing contractor to show your pictures or videos.

Lastly, ventilation is a critical piece of your roofing system and the overall aesthetics of your home. There are many different ventilation options, so be sure to research them!

4.    Any Changes or Upgrades Made Along the Way

Obviously, any changes or upgrades to your shingles, flashing, gutters, vents or any other aspect of your roof replacement may change your total price.

We recommend thoroughly researching your roofing materials prior to making any final commitments. If you change certain items – especially shingles, you may incur change fees and delays. Your roof is an expensive and rare maintenance project. Make sure that you research and select your finishes with care.

5.    Previous improperly installed items

We see this issue more often than you may think. Homes that may just be on their second roof replacement could have damage from an improperly installed item. We’ve seen improperly installed drip edges, gutter systems and flashings that have led to issues for homeowners. If your roofing contractor notices something that was improperly installed, it’s important for them to remedy the situation and repair any damage.

Quick Tip on Navigating Unexpected Costs

Large, unexpected costs during a roof replacement can understandably make homeowners question if they are being taken advantage of. Our best advice if an expensive, previously unaddressed issue comes up during your roof replacement is – ask for a picture! At AIC, we always show our customers pictures when and if an unexpected issue arises.

The roofing industry is filled with terminology most homeowners don’t know. We put together our Learning Center and YouTube Channel to educate homeowners on the parts of their roof and the replacement process. Researching and understanding your roofing system can help give you peace of mind during your replacement and will hopefully help you avoid any contractors who may try to take advantage during the process.

Don’t Skimp During your Roof Replacement

Although the issues we listed above can be expensive, it’s important to take care of these issues as they arise. Replacing your roof should be a rare occurrence. If you neglect a piece of your roofing system, especially when it comes to your roof deck – it can have disastrous consequences. Trying to save some money by avoiding a necessary expense can cost you even more money down the line.  

According to the National Association of Realtors Research Group’s 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a roof replacement has a 100% return on investment. That means that typically every dollar you spend on your roof increases the value of your home by an equal amount. It’s important to treat your most precious asset with the care it deserves!

Final Thoughts

AIC Roofing has replaced over 10,000 roofs in the Lexington, Louisville and Richmond, KY area. We are in the top 2% of roofing contractors in North America that received the GAF Master Elite Certification. Working with a GAF Master Elite certified contractor should give you peace of mind that you’re working with an experienced roofer that has undergone rigorous training. Along with our GAF Master Elite certification comes an extended material and craftsmanship warranty. We renew this certification every year as part of our commitment to excellence.

We don’t cut corners on your roof replacement and pride ourselves on our best-in-class customer service and experience. If you’re preparing for a roof replacement or would like a second opinion – only trust your home to the best.

Contact us today for a free estimate on your roof, gutter or siding replacement!

3-tab attics barns chimney choosing a contractor commercial cost curb appeal DIY estimate financing flashing flat roof GAF glossary gutter replacement gutter size gutter system ice dams inspections insurance missing shingles roof design roofing materials roofing system roof leak roof maintenance roof materials roof repair roof replacement roof shapes roof types shingle ratings shingles siding siding materials siding replacement skylights storm damage underlayment ventilation warranty winter