Would We Have Been Better Off Getting A Roof Before We Needed One?

Our roof is definitely due for replacement this year.  Even though we didn’t move into the house until 2007, I know that the roof was installed sometime in 1998.  Some of the building inspection stickers are still on the electrical box in the basement, and it indicates that the final inspection of the house was done in March of 1999.  Since it takes a few months to build a house, I can safely surmise that the roof was installed sometime likely in the summer or fall of 1998.  That would make the current age of the roof just under 15 years.  Since over half of the houses in the subdivision have had their roof replaced, it’s reasonable to think that ours is not out of the ordinary considering the grade of shingles likely used

I’ve been starting to get some pricing and I am not liking at all what I’m finding.  Just this year alone, the price of shingles have gone up roughly 9%.  Looking at some chatter on Google in previous years, this has been pretty much the standard increase over the last two to three years.

This sucks because I had started saving for our roof when we moved into house in 2007.  Based on prices I’d heard at the time, I figured saving $1,000 per year was a safe bet with the hope that the roof would last until 2013 or 2014.  Considering the costs associated with moving, we didn’t set our first $1,000 aside until 2008, but have been saving roughly at that pace since then.  That leaves us with around $6,000, which according to everything I heard, would have been plenty even two or three years ago.

Now, not so much.

With the increase in shingles over the past three years alone totaling roughly 30% over those years, I now look at it and figure it might have actually ‘saved’ us money to get the roof done prior to that.

If I make the assumption that the labor charges are a mark up of the materials cost, then what it tells me is that over the last three years, the price has gone up by 30%, where the useful life of my roof has diminished by its last 20% (three years divided by the fifteen year life that it got).

So, had I gotten a new roof when there was still 20% roof life, I would have saved 30% in total costs.

Again, these are rough numbers.  It’s not like I got any quotes, but talking to family members and neighbors who got their roof done in 2010 or right before, it’s clear that the prices for what I’m getting today would have been drastically cheaper then.

Hindsight is 20-20 so there’s no way I could have anticipated the cost of the roof.  Most of it is attributed to the rising cost of, what else, gas prices.  Apparently many of the same materials and chemicals that go into roofing are tied into gasoline and oil, so the average increase of annual gas prices is directly tied to the increase in roofing.

This sucks because now the $6,000 that we’ve saved looks like it won’t be enough to cover the cost of a new roof, at least from what I’m seeing.  We have cash set aside for other things, but I really was hoping to continue our savings goals elsewhere, where now we’ll likely have to shift things around that will impact things in a negative way.

It’s also worth pointing out that even had I had some crystal ball and would have seen that getting a new roof three years sooner might have saved money, in the end it probably wouldn’t have.  First, we would have only had $3,000 put aside at that point, so we most definitely would have had to find money from somewhere else, and probably more money than we’ll have to look for today.

Second, we plan on staying in the house for a while, to the point that we would likely replace the roof we’re about to replace, and the early replacement would have taken three years off the life at the end, so it would have gotten us someday.

Rising fuel prices are one of my pet peeves, and to hear that the increase in the expected cost of our roof is tied to this makes me just as angry, probably more so given the extra costs runs in the thousands versus the $0.20 cents per gallon that gas prices often represent.

In that three year time frame since prices started jumping dramatically, guess how much my salary has gone up?  Exactly zero.  While I’m working to change that, it stinks because even saving that $1,000 becomes more and more difficult when prices elsewhere rise and your income doesn’t.

I’m sure most people out there haven’t been so lucky as to get a 30% increase in rates, and while I don’t think the people associated with the roofing industry are rolling in cash because of this, you can bet that someone somewhere is making good money off this increase.  Someone who already has more than enough money, if I had to guess.

Readers, have any of you had to get a new roof over the last couple of years?  Have you gotten sticker shock due to the rising shingle prices seen over the past few years?

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21 thoughts on “Would We Have Been Better Off Getting A Roof Before We Needed One?

    • They pretty much have to pass the increases on, so if they are using existing inventory, you’ll have a better chance. Otherwise you’ll probably have to pay more.

    • That’s not good. I’m guessing that the fix was temporary and you’re hitting the end of the time for how long it’ll hold.

  1. Sorry to hear about the extra money for your roof. But as you described above, I don’t think that there’s anything that you could have done to foresee this.

    The take home lesson to me is that home repairs usually cost more than you think.

  2. My parents had to get a new roof , and I remember it cost them a pretty penny. They also installed skylights in the process and that has helped so much! Hindsight is 20-20 and really all you can do is buy or pay for something when you’re ready, and not what prices indicate. This is what I keep telling myself about buying a house…we could jump into it now, and feel strangled by a mortgage we probably can’t afford, or we can wait a year and save our pennies and feel more financially secure before we take the plunge.

    • True, at a certain point it seems like you’re chasing the price increase and really not gaining headway, but it’s so true that hindsight makes that a lot easier to see, but forecasting it is a crapshoot. I would say it’s safe to say that prices aren’t going to go down!

  3. I like to replace things before they break so I can take my time to find a good product for a good price. Waiting until you are forced to make a quick decision leaves you at the mercy of the contractors.

    Furnace in 2012 and roof in 2011 meant I didn’t make much of a dent in my debt the last few years. I need a new kitchen window this year but only have half of the money together.
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    • I knew the roof was coming and we are replacing it before we have had any leaks, so I knew it was coming this year. I just wasn’t going to get involved on getting quotes and such until we actually needed them.

      I’m hoping our furnace has at least 10 more years left. Our ignitor went out earlier this winter.

  4. I think this is usually always the case. You wait until you have money to make the repair, but forget about the forever increase in materials. It always seems to cost more when you wait until you need it compared to if you get it done with some time to spare. Sorry to hear about it.
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  5. The increased costs in construction material especially roofing has been unbelievable. Goodness knows what will happen when they start new construction again. I need a roof on my home …30 squares…and intend to do it myself and it will still be costly. It’s a double whammy with fuel cost going up AND the shingles, tar paper and add ons produced from petroleum derivatives. Add to that the jump in nails, flashing and venting and it’s the perfect storm. I’m thinking I’ll be out $4K …”soup to nuts” if I don’t find any bad wood. Guy across the street had his house re-roofed about a year ago….$20K…I saw the invoice….

    • Yeah, we’ve had guys talk about some of the other materials needed going up 200% over the last few years. Luckily they’re a smaller portion of the overall project cost, but still!

  6. You have to love inflation! Luckily, if you put a roof on your house at least you are investing in an asset that will take advantage of inflation. It may cost you more money now than it would have, but I would bet that your house will be worth more when you sell it than it is now. It is all relative. :)

    • Agreed, though we’re not in the market to sell anytime soon, so we’ll likely see 50-100% of the useful life of the roof we’re putting on.

  7. We are putting a roof on the house we bought right now and it’s crazy expensive. It’s sad because some parts of the roof aren’t that old because it was done in stages, but it’s all gotta go because they didn’t do it right. They just slapped another layer on and didn’t vent anything. What a waste.

    A lot of insurance companies won’t insure you if you buy a house with a roof that’s over 20 years old. We had to promise to do ours right away.

    I think it’s a good investment though having the bones of your house sound.
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    • I agree. Having leaks can be a lot more expensive and troublesome in the long run than the new roof project.

    • That’s good, though I’m sure they put on the cheapest one they could get away with. Did you consider getting a price reduction and having one put on yourself that you had more control over?

  8. Yes, no getting around both the need and expense when you’re talking about replacing the roof on your home. Due diligence in researching online revieiws and asking for recommendations from neighbors, family, friends is your best bet for finding a local roofing company that will give you the best service and price. Quality workmanship and materials make a world of difference and is worth the extra expense.
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  9. You may want to look at adding a new layer on top of your existing roof instead of removing the old roof completely before re-roofing. Sounds like you only have the original layer on your house so depending on local/state codes you may get away with cheaper install if you skip the removal part.

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