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A common question I hear is “what should I expect a roof to even cost me?” Figuring out the average cost of a roof isn’t a simple question to answer, and while most people will simply tell you to google it, that makes answering this question even more confusing. According to the Remodeling Magazine the national average to redo a roof was about $22,000. However, if we look at a website like Homestars, we find the average cost of a roof in Ontario to be between $2000 to $11,000. If we look even further, a website like Reno Assistance, who’ve tracked the average costs of roofing systems in major cities like Montreal & Toronto, we see numbers ranging from $4000 to $19,000. This lack of consistency in pricing is a confusing mess and depending on where you look, you’ll see a different price point for what the typical roof should cost you, and so how do we know if we’re paying too much for a roof? Or too little for a roof?

There are a couple of ways to answer these aforementioned questions. The first one is how long has that roofing company been in business for? A lot of roofing companies use deceptive marketing, or will say things like “over 30 years experience,” and what that really translates to is that the owner of that business has over 30 years of personal experience working on roofs, but being a roofer is a lot different than being a stable, and successful, business owner. Keep in mind that for every new construction company in Canada that opened in 2016, another construction company died. Part of the reason we see places like Homestars showing roofing projects costing as low as $2000, is because these same companies who are charging extraordinarily low prices are operating on razor thin profit margins that favour volume over quality, and operating on such low margins resulted in these companies deaths. So as a consumer, you have to seriously ask yourself, “if a problem arises down the road, will this company be around to fix it?” – another way to be sure that this company is stable and stands behind their work is to check out places like the Better Business Bureau.That’s why I always recommend that the very first thing you do when you’re getting quotes is to investigate how long that company has truly been in business for.

Secondly, what insurances does that roofing company carry? Unfortunately because of the rising rates of insurances, many smaller roofing companies will forgo paying their insurances entirely. The problem is that insurances such as WSIB are mandatory for any roofing company that works on your property, and if you hire a company that does not carry said insurances, that roofing company can now become your legal responsibility while they work on your property. You might be asking yourself, If WSIB is a legal requirement, why would a contractor fail to pay it? In the roofing industry, because WSIB rates are between 8.2% – 12.59%, and because many contractors are operating on razor thin margins already, it’s very easy for a contractor to lower their quote by these amounts in order to stay competitive. In addition, you have to ask yourself what sort of liability insurances does this cover carry? Simple and plain, liability insurances are in place to protect you in case of catastrophe, and if the company you hire is some cash job contractor, sure they might be carrying that $2000 price tag that you see on Homestars, but if they do serious damage to your home, that cheap roof now turns out to be the most expensive one. When getting your quote from a contractor, they should always be able to show and prove to you that they carry both WSIB insurance and a substantial liability insurance.

Lastly, how is your contractor going to install your roof system, and what sort of products are they using? Unfortunately in terms of installation practice, roofers in Ontario do not typically need any formal training. However, some larger roofing companies will invest in training their employees as to give higher quality installation to their customers. In addition to proper training, reputable companies will typically only use products that have a proven track record of quality; many of these smaller roofing companies will use products that appear similar to some of the larger companies, and while consumers may think they’re getting a great deal, these cheaper products typically have a shorter lifespan.

If you take into consideration all three points I’ve made, you can see start to understand why some roofing companies are selling roofs in the range of $2000, and some are selling the average roof for prices in the $22,000 range. While a low price might be appealing, a low price might actually cost you as a customer more in the long run.