Making the Decision to do DIY Roofing
When faced with a decision of whether to hire a roofing contractor to do your new construction or roofing remodel, a homeowner must make major decisions.
Does the homeowner have the financing to pay a contractor to do the work, realizing that , in any roofing construction, 1/3 of the cost goes for materials, and 2/3 of the costs go for labor? It is tempting to consider saving by doing the work yourself, but there are many considerations. For example, a primary concern is, do you have the knowledge to attempt such a project? Do you have the physical ability to handle the dangerous, heavy work? Can you get your own help to hoist beams and trusses and also long, awkward rafters into place? If the job is a remodel, do you have the experience to fix the problem that is causing the remodel, or if it is for an addition or cosmetic change, do you have the engineering skills to measure pitch and angle to assure proper drainage and continuity with the rest of the design, and be able to blend old and new construction ?
Cheaper isn’t always Better
It is tempting to try to reduce costs in new or remodeling construction by using less expensive materials. For example, an industry standard for plywood across the country, except in heavy snow areas where snow load must be considered, most contractors will use ½ inch plywood for rafters set on a 16 inch spacing. Some try to save on costs by using ½ inch wafer board instead, even though it is definitely not the best quality. Wafer board is made out of leftovers from milling wood. It contains wood chips split off larger boards that have been cut and mixed with glue, then formed into sheets. Wafer board manufacturers insist tests show that wafer board is just as strong as top quality plywood for half the cost or less. It is warranteed for thirty years, just like top quality plywood….BUT, if it gets wet, as may happen with storm damage or a lengthy leak, wafer board disintegrates like a graham cracker in a glass of milk.
All’s well that ends well?
To think that, in the course of home ownership, assuming someone will actually live in a home they build for 30 or more years, that nothing bad will ever happen, is a risk many would prefer not to take. In thirty years, snow will fall, wind will blow, rain will lift shingles and branches break and land in bad places. The sun will beat down, and any flaw a contractor, whether a professional or the homeowner’s own work will be tested. At that time, the decision to do things as cheaply as possible will be put to the test. The homeowner gambles on these natural disasters and their consequences when making the financial decisions in the beginning, and must choose carefully whether to save immediately or risk being penny wise and pound foolish over the years.