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5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Roofing Contractors

When it comes to home improvement projects, a roof replacement tends to feel like one of the most overwhelming. In fact, we here at Modernize have done homeowner surveys for years, and roofing repairs/replacements consistently rank as the most stressful project. Even if there are no major issues and it’s just time for a roof replacement, your roof is your first line of defense against the elements—and it’s also one of the more costly updates you can make to your home. With the continuing supply chain problems and inflation, project timelines are lengthening and costs are rising. To keep you on track and on budget, we created a series to help you spot roof damage, find a contractor, and now, get the best cost possible. To ensure you are paying the best price for your project, follow these tips to negotiate your final roof replacement cost with your preferred roofing contractor.

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Roofing and Your Home

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your house. They have visited your home and assessed the project’s potential, needs, and challenges. On this front, it is in the contractor’s interest to ensure the highest possible roofing installation. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

Your contractor should be able to tell you whether you need to replace, repair, or remove insulation before the project begins. Likewise, they should be able to advise you on whether to tear off the old asphalt roofing and replace it or add new asphalt roofing over the existing material. Their recommendations should be tied to their predictions about your roof—so it’s okay to ask about guarantees. Your roofing is critical to protecting your home from the elements and protecting the integrity of your home. Be sure your roofing contractor has explained to you specifically how your upgraded roofing will protect your house now and into the future.

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly help you understand what to expect in the future. The less deep that future is and the more susceptible to damage your roofing is, the less your installation should cost.

Your Roofing Contractor Should Assess Your Roofing Plans

Be sure to ask precisely what roofing material your contractor recommends and why.

It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work in research— after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about the best roofing material to increase your home’s home value and longevity.

The type of roof you plan to have installed on your home makes a big difference in how it performs, what it looks like, and how long it will last. That’s why you should have a basic understanding of the different roof types and what you can expect from each of them. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote. You may have your own notions of what should occur, but check them against what the contractor recommends.

You want to be as best prepared as possible to ask about different materials during your negotiation. If you want, you can ask about material costs and even consider buying them yourself if there are cost savings involved. Options to explore include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Clay Tile
  • Architectural
  • Wood shingles
  • Concrete Tile
  • Slate
  • Copper
  • Metal
  • Tin
  • Corrugated
  • Standing seam
  • Steel roofing
  • Foam
  • Tar and gravel
  • Rubber Roofing

Whether you’re installing a new choice of roofing or upgrading your existing roofing, you should have a solid understanding of what it is and how it affects your home, now and in the future.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your roofing contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

For example, after beginning the work, there’s a chance your roofing contractor might find damaged underlayment, like one of the following conditions:

  • Rotten decking. The number one issue roofers uncover during a tear-off is rotten or soft roof decking.
  • Inadequate decking. If the roofer starts walking on your roof and finds that the decking is springy or bouncy, they’ll also recommend new sheathing.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your roofing installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Avoid Hidden Costs During a Roof Replacement

Once you've finished negotiating the price, you can read the next article in this series: how to avoid hidden costs.

Take Me There

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Roofing Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this roofing upgrade or replacement could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran roofing contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your roofing installation project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Roofing Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a roofing installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has the experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in a roofing contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

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