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Buying a new roof isn’t cheap. The average national cost of replacing a roof is about $7,000, with most homeowners spending between $4,785 and $9,359, according to data from Homeadvisor.com.
Costs vary depending on where you live, the type of materials you use, and whether or not you have other home improvement work that needs to take place alongside the roof replacement. Following are seven steps to getting a good deal on keeping a solid roof over your head.
1. Know what you need — get an inspection
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Unless there’s a glaring problem, it might be difficult to spot exactly what’s going on with your roof. You might see that a few tiles were blown off in a windstorm or notice a leak, but those observations only tell a small part of the story.
If you really want to know what’s going on, hiring a roof inspector can be a good investment. HomeAdvisor.com says you’ll pay an average of $219 for an inspection.
If you are unsure about whether you really need a new roof — or are thinking of simply repairing the roof you have — an inspection can be useful. Roofing companies can also make this assessment, but you will have to be confident that you’d get an unbiased opinion from them, as they might have an interest in selling you a new roof.
2. Find out if the roof is under warranty
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If you have recently purchased the home, look at whether the existing roof is still under warranty. You might have received that information upon purchasing the house. If not, try to get in touch with the people from whom you purchased the home, or review any repair records.
Your roofing inspector might also be able to figure out which manufacturer’s materials were used for the roof. According to roofing estimator Michael Shultz, there are three main types of warranties related to roofing:
- Manufacturer material-only warranties. These warranties focus on materials only and vary a lot in the length of coverage they offer. They protect against failure of the roofing materials themselves, such as breaking down earlier than expected. With these types of warranties, you still have to pay for the labor to replace the failed materials.
- Labor-only warranties. These warranties provide coverage to address defects in the roof. As the name suggests, these warranties only cover the cost of labor for repairs covered under the warranty.
- Comprehensive (“full system”) warranties. As the name suggests, these warranties provide the most complete coverage, although they may not cover roofing problems are that “acts of God” — such as floods, fire or tornadoes — or the result of poor maintenance by the homeowner.
Figure out which — if any — of these warranties are in effect, what they cover and how to make a warranty claim. Find out if there are stipulations in the warranty about who needs to do the work and how it needs to be done. If your home is new, you might also have coverage under a new-home warranty. The Federal Trade Commission offers guidelines on how such warranties typically work.
In addition to warranties, you might also want to look at the local bylaws of your housing association. For example, if you live in a townhouse community, it might be that your housing association is actually responsible for replacing the roof.
3. Decide whether to repair or replace
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Assuming you don’t have any warranty coverage, you’ll need to decide whether to repair or replace the roof. Start by looking at some great guidance on roof repairs from Money Talks News guest blogger Roofery.com. The writer’s website also provides reviews of different types and makes of shingles, and offers great additional advice on warranties.
Calculate how near the roof is to its natural “end of life.” You should be able to get that information from your roof inspector or the warranty information. If the roof still has 10 or 15 years left in it, and the cost of the repairs is relatively inexpensive, it might be worth doing a repair. Just make sure you’re not throwing money at a temporary fix to a problem that soon will require a complete replacement.
4. Get multiple quotes
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Get quotes from several roofing companies. Ask your roofing inspector to recommend some roofing contractors. Also reach out to local friends, relatives and neighbors. There’s nothing like getting opinions from people you know and trust, as well as being able to see the work that has been done by the people they are recommending.
Online directories of local roofing providers from national sites such as Angie’s List can also be a useful resource.
In addition to helping you get the best price, getting multiple quotes offers insight into different approaches to tackling your roof project.
5. Look at all your financing options
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Replacing your roof is expensive, so you might not have the cash on hand to pay for it. Many roofing companies offer some sort of financing, either in-house or through a financial partner. You could also use a credit card to pay for the fix. However, neither of these options is likely to be great.
The Home Advancement website offers advice on other options, including home equity loans, government-backed financing through Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Title I loans, and state incentives available for energy-efficient roofing options.
The best option, of course, is to plan for this repair and be able to pay cash, so that you have no borrowing costs.
6. Don’t put off planning for your roofing project
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Have a plan for handling this expense long before it arrives. Hopefully, you had a comprehensive home inspection when you bought the house. You should also have received any warranty information about your roof. If you don’t have either of those things, consider the roof inspection we suggested earlier.
Armed with this information, you should have a good idea about the remaining life of your roof so you can plan for replacing it, and begin saving the money for the project.
7. Decide on the right materials
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Don’t assume you need to replace an old roof with a roof that uses the same materials. Instead, figure out which types of roofing material work best where you live. HomeAdvisor has a great guide to picking the right roofing materials, including average pricing, comparisons between DIY installation and paying a professional, and the relative benefits of each type of material.
Various federal, state and local government incentives are available for those who buy more energy-efficient roofing. Look at the Energy.gov website for more details on options available in your area. You might also qualify for additional incentive grants and tax breaks if you install solar panels when you get your new roof.
Did you learn something from a recent roof replacement experience? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.