A new roof? That wasn’t in the budget. Unexpected expenses like these are a necessary evil for homeowners. Although many households would rather spend money on a family vacation or new furniture, there’s a reason for the saying “to keep a roof over our heads.” Here are some suggestions for ways to save money on a new roof.
First: do you really have to replace the entire roof, or can some of it be replaced now and do the entire roof another time? This can save considerable money. Also, check with your community’s by-laws. In some cases, you can simply install a new roof over the old one. If so, this can also save you some money.
Second: Can you tear off the old roof yourself? Sometimes it’s fun to get the whole family on top of the house – what ten year old doesn’t relish the opportunity to hop up on the roof with Dad and tear things apart? This can save considerable money and it requires nothing more than confidence in your loved ones’ ability to balance and a good ladder –and maybe a glass or two of lemonade and a pizza when they’re finished. If you can re-install the gutters and trim after the roofers are done that will save you money as well.
Third: shop around. There’s more than one contractor in your area. Get at least three different estimates, and seek out recommendations from friends, neighbors and inspectors. Often if you can find a contractor who is already scheduling a job in your neighborhood, you can get a deal. Was there a recent storm that affected the roofs of many people in your neighborhood? Some companies will offer a neighborhood discount – ask around and maybe you can organize a shared job. Check the various bids, see what further haggling you can do and then go with the cheapest bid – but also be sure to double check references and the Better Business Bureau to ensure you hire a quality, trustworthy company. If they don’t do a good job, it’ll cost you more money in the long run to repair their “repairs.”
Other ideas: if you have the money in cash, see if the contractor will cut you a deal for paying in cash. It’s a win-win situation – they get their money up front, you don’t pay interest and avoid debt and they’re likely to give you a significant discount for your cash.
Do you need a new roof immediately or can it be put off a bit? Re-roofing during the off-season will save you money. Finally, if you have aluminum, slate or a copper roof you might be able to earn back some of your roofing costs by selling the old materials once they’re removed.
There’s no way around it: getting a new roof is one of the most expensive home improvements you will make. But with some careful shopping and a little ingenuity, you can find plenty of ways to cut down the bill and keep a solid roof over the heads of your loved ones.