PORTLAND, Ore. —For homeowners, spring is typically the height of the busy home improvement and remodeling project season. This year, it’s everything but business as usual as the coronavirus crisis continues to upended schedules and disrupt plans.
Yet the need to keep essential home improvement projects on track and moving forward—such as replacing or repairing a roof—is something that homeowners don’t necessarily have the time or luxury to delay. That’s why even during uncertain times, leading industry trade organizations such as the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), are reminding homeowners that there are plenty of ways to keep projects going while working to protect your home improvement investment and supporting local pros and the economy.
MRA’s top seven tips for homeowners looking to move forward with residential construction and improvement projects given current circumstances include:
1) Keep productive during downtime: Being isolated at home can be an opportunity to do additional research about home improvement options and innovations that can help increase your long-term investment. For busy homeowners, the luxury of digging deep and researching projects thoroughly isn’t always possible, and that can lead to spontaneous decisions that aren’t always for the best in the long run. Use more time online and at home to gather ideas from free sources, while also boning up on facts and details that will allow you to work with your contractor to make the best choices for your home. For example, before installing a new roof, take advantage of free online planning tools including the MRA Buyer’s Guide , companion Buyer’s Guide video and extensive eBook, Above All Else, You Need A Great Roof . Many MRA member companies also have education and resource information available online.
“By doing your homework, asking the right questions and learning about available options, you’ll make better decisions that will ensure greater satisfaction over the long run,” said Dick Bus, MRA board president. “The good news is there are lots of resources out there designed to help homeowners do just that.”
2) Take advantage of online tools: Many construction and contractor pros have the capabilities and are more than willing to meet via video conferencing or host online meetings without the need for face-to-face visits. No physical site visits are needed for homeowners to actually see what a new roof might look like either. Simply use MRA’s free virtualizer to upload a photo of your home and try on different roofing styles, colors and designs at https://mra.renoworks.com/. Take advantage of social media resources such as Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram to collect photos or videos of ideas you like that you can share with your contractor or installer virtually.
3) Tap into a world of online expertise: Have a burning question about roof replacement, but don’t have a contractor or tradesperson to ask directly? MRA’s forum is one of the most popular areas on its website, and for good reason. Supported by industry experts and MRA members—some of the most respected and knowledgeable manufacturers and installers in the business—a wide range of topics and advice about metal roofing are regularly explored and discussed at https://www.metalroofing.com/forum/
4) Consider prioritizing exterior projects vs. interior: Social distancing is much easier when it comes to external improvement projects. While homeowners may want to re-think an extensive kitchen remodel that would require many tradespeople and crews to be in and out of the house right now, most roofing installers and contractors require very limited access to your home, helping minimize any type of direct contact. Same goes for landscaping, new fencing and patios and exterior painting projects.
5) Cut to the front of the line: In recent years, it may have been difficult to get on certain contractors’ schedules, and in some markets, wait times can be exceedingly long. In light of the current situation and with many spring home shows canceled, limited commutes and onsite visits, those in-demand pros who previously didn’t have time to take on new projects may now be available. It’s worth checking back with that contractor or installer you had your heart set on to see if they can take on a project or move you up on their schedule. Also, this is a great time to give independent businesses your support; consider writing a review for a job well-done or offering to displaying a yard sign to show off a completed project, which can make a tremendous difference to contractors and installers as they work through these challenging times to support their businesses.
6) Think long term: Economic uncertainty makes it more important than ever to consider projects that offer stronger long-term value and can even help save money over time. Spending a bit more initially for longer-lasting, more energy efficient materials will pay off year in and year out, no matter what the economic situation. For example, energy efficient metal roofs that can greatly reduce annual energy costs will help recession-proof your home. Uncertain times also can be a motivator for homeowners to become more self-reliant and invest in improvements like a rooftop solar system with goal of becoming more energy independent—a decision that is best made prior to a roof being replaced in order to choose the right materials and installation methods.
7) Look for ways to save: In addition to choosing more energy efficient materials, there may be other ways to save on project costs. For example, today’s quality metal roofs can often be installed right over an existing asphalt roof , saving money on labor and tear off disposal costs. Metal roofing also is exceedingly low maintenance, meaning homeowners will save on annual cleaning and upkeep. Long lasting materials that will better protect your home in the event of severe weather or extremely climate conditions that simply don’t need to be replaced as often make sense during times of economic uncertainty or not.