Get the Best Price and Quality with the Least Amount of Stress
So you’ve finally decided it’s time to replace that leaking roof of yours, and you settled on the type and color of the roofing material.
You may have even picked a contractor for the job.
Now the question is: when should you do it?
Of course, your own timing is the first priority – you might be going on vacation, or having house guests over for a week, or some other obligations. That is important.
However, timing the roof installation is also very important. In addition to considering the cost, and your own convenience, it is also important to keep in mind specific technical considerations of roof installation. Depending on the material you want installed, there may be certain weather/temperature related restrictions that will impact your timing.
Many home improvement experts recommend that the overall best time to install a new roof is in the fall. If you poke around the internet for advice, the fall season is most likely going to be a highly popular suggestion. However, as you will learn in this post, fall is actually one of the worst times (from a homeowner’s perspective) to get the job done. Roofers and contractors recommend it because this is the time they can charge premium for their services.
Below you will find insider tips on how to schedule your install to get: 1. the best price. 2. the best installation quality 3. experience the least amount of stress along the way.
The short answer is: get your roof installed during the SLOW season for contractors.
Most roofing contractors have busy season(s) and slow season(s). During the slow season, you will get numerous benefits (including a price break) that would not be possible during the busy season. Here is why:
1) You will likely get a better price.
2) Less stress and frustration, good relations with the roofer, and better overall outcome for you.
3) You will likely get better installation quality.
4) You will not have to wait 3-6 weeks for your roof installation to get started.
1 – Get a better price for your roof installation
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When roofing contractors are busy, they can cherry pick good (easy and profitable jobs) and will typically bump up their prices by 5-15% – this is all supply and demand. During a slow season, competition is higher, and most roofers naturally reserve to dropping roof installation prices to win as many jobs as they can. Hence, you should schedule your installation during the off-season.
2 – Less stress and frustration
When you as a client have to wait 4-6 weeks to get your roof installed, you naturally get anxious and frustrated, which increases unnecessary stress, drives up blood pressure, lowers libido and decreases life satisfaction overall. As funny as it sounds, this is very much true, and not only for customers, but also for contractors. It’s not much fun getting nervous calls from the client along the lines of “my roof is leaking – when the hell will you start on it?” It is not fun for both parties involved, and contractors naturally let these calls go to voicemail, because they do not want to repeat the same story of “we are busy with prior commitments, and it’s been raining for a week – we will not be able to start for at least another 10 days.
All this leads to stress, mistrust, and unnecessary tension, as well as other consequences listed above. At the same time it is easy to avoid all of this by simply having your roof installed during the right time.
3 – Get better roof installation quality
Since typically roofers are slow to get started on new projects, they will not be in a rush to get your roof done as fast as possible, which can and often will result in corner cutting and overall lower installation quality.
Example: A contractor typically has two 6 men crews, for each to do a normal 15-20 squares roof in 1 day. If he is overwhelmed, he can split the crews into three 4 men crews, and have each crew do the same amount of work. Not only is this very stressful for installers to be down 33% on each crew, they also have to work longer hours. As a result, they start cutting corners, skipping nails (literally – instead of putting 4-6 nails per shingle, the can go to 3 nails), missing straight lines, rushing through chimney and skylight flashings, “forgetting” to install ice and water shields in valleys, etc. All this will result in a significantly shorter life of your roof. Examples and possibilities are endless. The end result – you will not get the best roof for your money.
4. Not having to wait for your roofer
From my experience, many people who “need” a roof installed during a busy season, sometimes waited 5-6 weeks or more. One client had to wait 2.5 months! This was because we were swamped with work, and had emergency jobs that had to be started immediately, and with unpredictable weather (rains / snow / hurricanes), just could not start the job any sooner. On the other hand, our normal lead times are about 2 weeks, which includes getting the materials from the supplier, getting all the equipment and permits ready and starting a job. If the job is an emergency type, we sometimes can start as soon as a couple of days after the deposit funds have cleared with our bank. This is of course our personal experience, but most roofers are on the same or similar operating schedule.
Another option that many contractors reserve to is starting a job, just to please the customer and then leave for 2 weeks. At best, they can leave a couple of guys behind to do the prep work. This all results in unnecessary FRUSTRATION for both you and the contractor.
So when is the best time to have your roof installed?
This is THE QUESTION, and there is no one definitive answer for all the regions and time zones in the US. However, here is the basic logic to figure out slow times for roofers:
1) – Super Busy Fall Season
Fall is the worst time to get the roof done! This is the time when most people realize that winter is just around the corner, and it is crunch time to do their roof before the first snow. Bad, bad, bad!
During the fall, we have the longest lead times. Some roofs naturally get pushed into the winter months, because while it is still warm, we need to do those jobs that require ambient temperatures above 40 F degrees. This includes ALL Asphalt Shingle Roofs, ALL Rubber Flat Roofs, and ALL IB DeckShield roof decks. All of these need warm temperatures for adhesive to dry (EPDM Rubber and IB Deck Shield) and for seal strips to melt (Asphalt Shingles).
Other materials, such as metal shingles / standing seam and Thermoplastic Flat Roofs (TPO / PVC) with heat-welded seams can be installed in cold weather, and we typically push these off until later (unless a roof is leaking badly and needs immediate replacement).
2) Busy Spring Season
During the spring, most construction trades pick up the pace. This is based on three simple reasons:
- During the holiday season preceding new year, most people spend a boatload of money on gifts and parties. Naturally, most people are broke after New Years, can’t afford a roof during the winter, and wait until the spring to get the ball rolling.
- During winter months (especially in the northern states and in Canada) most people are hesitant and reluctant to install a new roof, as well as undertake most other exterior construction projects, because of snow and cold weather, so most people wait until spring. In most cases, this is the right approach. However, there are some exceptions which we will discuss below.
- After the holiday season and the long winter, most people file their tax returns and await the refund checks.
Once spring rolls around, people catch up on their finances, get tax refunds and are no longer worried about cold weather and snow. This is when the spring construction rush begins. If possible – avoid installing your roof until May.
3) Slow(ish) Summer Season
After the spring rush, most jobs get completed, and summer is a somewhat slow but steady time for roofers. This is the best time to have your roof installed, as many people go on summer vacations, and with Memorial, Independence and Labor day holidays, many people naturally try not to do any major construction projects during this time. If possible, schedule your roof installation between 4th of July and Labor Day.
4) – Super Slow Winter Season
If your roofing material or geographic location allows for a roof installation during the winter, this is the best time to have a roof installed! Most roofers are hungry for work and lower their prices in the winter. Take advantage of this.
However, there are some limitations to this. Do not install asphalt shingles during the winter, if you live in northern US or Canada. The shingles sealing strip will not adhere properly and there is increased potential for invisible cracks in the shingles, which will lead to shorter roof life.
If however, you live in the southern states or have a metal roof installed, winter is the best time for you to get a high quality installation, with the best (lowest) price, as well as with minimum stress!
1) Schedule the installation in advance. This will give you the best chance to have a timely installation at the best time for you.
2) Avoid seasonal material price increases. Most suppliers increase prices in the Spring and Early Fall. Schedule your jobs BEFORE the price increases.
3) Use our Roofing Calculator to estimate installation cost based on your roof conditions and geographic location, to get the most fair price.
4) Get at least 3-4 free quotes from licensed and insured roofing contractors. Avoid using fly-by-night uninsured roofers – your warranty will be gone as soon as they leave the job site with the final payment.
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