Why and How to Hire Affordable Roofing Contractor

When choosing a roofing contractor, price says plenty about their abilities. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is certainly true, as far too many homeowners have found out that “cheap roofing” turns out to be an ill-advised option in the long run. In most cases, if you pay an abnormally low price you get abnormally poor quality results, which means the roof will fail to protect the home in a short amount of time.

royal siding shingle roofing

Does paying top dollar for roofing services mean you’ll get the best results? Not necessarily. If you’re paying a premium, you better be able to confirm that you’ll get premium results, because it all comes down to value. At VIS Exterior, we offer some of the finest and affordable roofing services, but without the premium price. Rather, we know what the best in the industry charge and our price is built to compete with them.

When you partner with us, you get a licensed contractor with proven references and the knowledge required to install, maintain, repair and alter roofing systems.

Affordable roofing versus cheap roofing

Nobody can really argue against paying an “affordable” price for roofing services. But when the price drops to what can be qualified as “cheap,” you should be wary. Red flags should spring up when you get a cheap estimate, and if you don’t heed those flags, you’re going to pay for it in the end. These cheap estimates come from contractors that cut costs by using inferior roofing materials and they source their labor through inexperienced roofers who have spent very little time installing roofs.

A contractor who’s bid for services falls in the affordable category is more likely to use quality materials that last a long time. At VIS Exterior, we know those quality materials don’t do any good unless they are installed correctly, which is why we only hire experienced and knowledgeable roofers who have worked for years in the industry, safely, quickly but efficiently tackling the most complex jobs while turning out stunning results.

/lp smartside siding roofing

There is a massive difference between affordable and cheap roofing. The following are a few things you should consider when hiring your professional roofing contractor:

Authorizing required

Most companies that make roofing material offer a warranty, but they will only honor the warranty if the contractor installing the materials is approved. At VIS Exterior, every brand we use recognizes us as an approved contractor and will honor their warranties.


The contractor you choose needs to stay within the budget you discussed at the beginning of your communication with them. While project planning should include an element of flexibility, any budget changes should be modest.

Material choices

Discuss in advance the materials that will be used in your project. Do they come from a company with a quality reputation? Will the materials hold up to the climate in your area? Is there a warranty and do they come in the pattern and color you want for your home?

Service quality

Your contractor should have plenty of references in regard to their quality of service. Are they good communicators? Do they follow OSHA regulations and do they leave your property cleaner than it was when they first arrived?

Comprehensive estimate

The estimate your contractor gives you should include all expenses involved in the project, meaning there should be no surprise fee additions at the end of the project. The estimate should also include a timeline of events, outlining what should happen and when.

Any number of unfortunate events can occur when you bring a cheap contractor in to install your roof. The following are just a few:

Poor workmanship

Shoddy workmanship is one of the biggest drawbacks in hiring a cheap contractor. The workers might not have the right tools and if they do, they don’t know how to properly use them. It’s easy to spot a roofing job done by amateurs.

Second-hand materials

Roofing systems are built through layers of materials, which means a cheap contractor has plenty of chances to use second-hand materials to keep their price low. These materials will fail quite fast, which means you’ll have to pay again to have your property reroofed.

Missing cost

In some cases, that “cheap” quote comes from a contractor that actually uses quality materials and expert help, but they tack on fees at the end that they knew about the entire time. The best contractors never hide fees in order to get your business.

At VIS Exterior, we are extremely open about everything involved with installing a roofing system, from the materials we use to the professionals that work for us to the cost of all materials and services. Our customers are loyal because we tend to their every need and never offer any unpleasant surprises.

Top factors that affect the cost of roofing estimate

Roofing systems are about more than just shingles and labor costs; there are many elements that can impact the final cost of a project.

Old roof removal cost

If your old roofing needs to come off (there are cases where older shingles and anything under them can remain), VIS will tear off the old layer(s), completely clean up all waste and haul away the refuse before installing the new system.

This labor intensive part of the job can usually be completed in a day and can add between $1,000 and $2,000 to the total cost of the project.

New materials cost

Quality materials represent around 40 percent of the total cost of a roofing project, which means if you have a 2,000 square foot roof, materials will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,200 on the high end.

Materials include plywood that serves as the solid base of the roof, and these are only replaced if the original plywood is damaged. Next, a layer of underlayment material (often felt) helps to provide a moisture barrier. New metal venting and flashing is installed to ensure the roof is going to last a long time, and then there are shingles and roofing nails to cap it off.

Roof size

A “square” to a roofer is 100 square feet of roof. If your roof is 2,000 square feet, the roofers know to calculate labor and materials on 20 squares. The average cost in Illinois for roof replacement is between $250 and $1000 per square.

That’s quite a wide margin, but that estimate looks at the lowest cost materials on a small home to high-cost materials (such as cedar shingles) on large and complex properties.

Roof installation cost (labor cost)

In a quality roof installment, labor represents roughly 60 percent of the overall cost. Because our roofers are all experienced and have the skills we require to finish a job with stunning results, we pay them a wage that represents those skills.

If your roof is really steep, it will take longer for the roofers to maneuver the materials on it, which can inflate the labor costs. If your 2,000 square foot home’s total reroofing cost is $5,000, around $3,000 of it will go toward labor.

Local building permits and inspections

While it’s a smaller portion of the overall cost, VIS Exterior makes sure all expenditures are represented in our estimate. We will determine what roofing permits will cost in your area and add it to the quote. There might also be permits required for a dumpster.

Extended warranties

VIS Exterior offers a 10 year warranty on our roofing services. The warranties offered by the companies that produce roofing materials also have warranties covering their materials, which means should they fail while still covered, they will be covered by the warranty.

Extra work

Situations will often arise that fall outside the purview of a traditional roofing contractor. But when you partner with VIS Exterior, we have the capability to do prep work leading up to the roofing installation, such as minor carpentry services.

At VIS Exterior, we know how important your budget is and that you’re looking for value rather than “cheapness.” Our commitment to quality includes pricing our services in a fair manner.

How much do roofing materials cost

Markets change, which means the cost of roofing materials can fluctuate. However, all things being relative, your budget will dictate whether you choose a cost effective material, such as asphalt shingles, or a premium material, such as cedar.

Cedar and asphalt shingles roofing materials

Which type of roofing materials is the cheapest

Asphalt shingles are popular because they are built in just about every conceivable shape, size and color. But they’re also popular because they cost less than any other type of roofing material. You can expect to pay between $70 and $160 per square of shingles. For a homeowner with a 2,000 square foot roof, that can result in paying between $1,400 and $3,200 for shingles.

While these might be the right material for the majority of homeowners, you have to keep in mind that asphalt shingles have a shorter lifespan than other more expensive materials. However, with the right contractor installing them, and with maintenance, you can expect at least 15 to 20 years out of them, perhaps even 30 years.

Another thing to consider is that asphalt shingles aren’t dense, which means they have a lower energy efficiency score than other materials. However, they are easy to install, which means choosing these will lower your labor costs.

Which type of roofing materials is the most expensive

Slate tile and terracotta materials are by far the most expensive on the market, costing up to $1,700 per square, which means a roof measuring 2,000 square feet can rack up a materials cost of $34,000.

However, at VIS Exterior, the bulk of our customers seeking a higher-end material will choose wood shingles, which can run between $250 and $600 per square. Made of cedar or redwood, wood shingles have a highly sought after aesthetic that appeals to many homeowners.

Another perk with choosing wood shingles is that they last about 30 years. They aren’t fire resistant, but they can be treated with a flame retardant to make them so. They age nicely and are often pest resistant, though may require a treatment should your area be prone to specific types of insects that prefer cedar and redwood.

The best affordable roofing materials options

At VIS Exterior, we can help you stay within your budget by giving you plenty of options in affordable roofing materials. We only work with quality brands that offer many different varieties of shingles that will match your tastes and your budget.

Whether it’s asphalt or wood shingles, we will identify all of your options, from the high end to the low end of your budget. If you need more information, contact us and we’ll discuss in more specific details the costs associated with asphalt and wood shingles.

At VIS Exterior, we know there is a delicate balance between the look you want to achieve and the money you can spend to meet the aesthetic goal. Fortunately, there is something out there for everyone and we’re confident we can find the right material for your home, fitting comfortably into your budget.

Labor cost

asphalt shingle roofing

Labor should be the priciest item on your bill for roofing installation services. The only exception to this would be if you opt for the most expensive roofing materials available, such as tile or terracotta tile.

Affordable and fast roof installation from highly trained staff

There’s a good reason the bulk of your bill should be for labor: You want a highly-experienced crew of professionals doing the installation, and these are experts that earn the wages they receive.

Highly-experienced roofers work fast, but safe and efficiently. Furthermore, their years of experience working on homes of many different styles gives them the knowledge they need to overcome any complexity an architecture type will throw at them.

At VIS Exterior, we only hire safe, trained, professional and affordable roofers who know what they’re doing, regardless of the material type or style of home – they know exactly how to approach every aspect of a roofing job.

Cheap roof installation options and diminished roof lifespan

As you search for a roofing contractor, you’re going to inevitably find those who offer an estimate that seems too good to be true. The cheapest contractors present a risk because their installation practices do not stand up to those of a professional, affordable contractor.

Not only will the work look shoddy with a cheap contractor, the lifespan of the roof will be drastically shortened. Cheap contractors bring inexperienced workers to the jobsite, and they are unable to overcome obstacles or properly install materials, even asphalt shingles, which are among the easiest to install.

When you partner with a cheap contractor, you’re going to end up paying more in the end. Consider what happens to your home’s interior when moisture begins to leak in over time. You will experience mildew, mold and rot. Not only will you need a new roof, you could also be faced with fixing substructures within your home.

It might feel good to save money by siding with the cheapest contractor, but nothing matches the value you get with an affordable contractor. At VIS Exterior, our goal is to exceed your expectations and for our services to provide you with a quality roof that will last for decades – and at an affordable price.

10 tips how to choose an affordable roofing contractor

Choosing an affordable roofing contractor can be a daunting task, especially given the number of them out there today. The following is our guide to getting one that will fit all your needs.

1. Go local

When you choose a local contractor, you can easily check out their work. Just ask for references and see for yourself what they have done. If you know exactly what type of roofing system you are having installed, ask specifically to see their work with that system.

For example, if you’ve chosen a cedar shake roof, make sure the bulk of their previous work you see is related to that material.

2. Beware of storm chasers

When a big storm hits your area, it’s not unusual for roofing contractors to hit the pavement trying to drum up business. While this door-to-door approach might not seem completely reputable, if they seem to know what they’re talking about and are offering a free estimate, ask them for references so you can check the work they’ve done elsewhere.

3. Check for proper licensing and insurance

Don’t just take their word for it – ask to see certificates that prove they’re insured and have workers compensation. And ask them what level of insurance they have, as some states have a $1 million minimum requirement.

In Illinois, roofing contractors are required to have a license issued by the Department of Professional Regulation. They can have a residential; or a residential, commercial and industrial; or a commercial and industrial license. Contractors awarded these licenses have passed a state exam, can show proof of insurance and post a $10,000 surety bond.

4. Who is supervising the job?

One of the biggest differences between supervision with VIS Exterior and other contractors is that our company leader, Val, is on every job site. This means that every customer has direct access to the face of the company and is able to communicate all thoughts, ideas and concerns to him.

Having leadership on site allows for smoother workflow and ensures that everyone on the job is following local and state codes governing roof work. Our crew has worked together on numerous projects and has developed a good flow for a fast yet expert installation of roofing systems.

5. Ask about financing options

Not everyone has the cash on hand to completely pay for a roofing installation. Ask if the contractors you’re considering offer financing. For example, at VIS Exterior, we can offer financing to customers who have a FICO as low as 580.

We offer flexible payments and work with a trusted and nationally licensed financial partner called Regions | EnerBank USA. Financing allows you to get the work you need completed now while paying for it later.

6. Don’t focus on price alone

The most expensive bids don’t mean they’re coming from the most qualified contractor. The least expensive bids don’t always come from the least qualified contractor. While staying in your budget is important, don’t choose your roofing contractor based on price alone.

However, keep in mind that cheap bids drive down the market, and anyone who has all the necessary insurance is making enough to pay for it. Also, remember that cheap work from part-time roofers can sometimes mean inferior installation, which equates to fewer years of roof life.

7. Be empowered

It’s your time and your money – don’t forget that. You’re in charge of the project and your roofing contractor is working for you. If they ask for all the money up front, walk away. Many will ask for a deposit to purchase materials and pay laborers, and that’s fine, but remember that they are there to satisfy you. Also, discuss the terms of payment and make sure you’re comfortable with everything.

8. Be mindful of their communication skills

When you first made contact with a contractor, did they seem focused on your needs? When you had questions, were they fully answered? Did they send over documentation reasonably fast? Were they thorough in their bid and explain everything in it?

Look for an effective communicator, because that’s what you want to have when installation day arrives and you’ve got questions you need answered.

9. Utilize the online reviews

Google search for the most qualified contractors in your area and you will pull up a list of potential candidates for your project. Carefully study each contractor until you get a good sense for what they can offer. You can also jump on social media, such as Facebook, and see what others are saying about their experiences with roofing contractors.

Also, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) keeps tabs on contractors and can spare you a bad experience, and VIS Exterior has an A+ rating.

10. Get everything in writing

Every detail about the job should be laid out in front of you – documented for your records. For example, how long will the job take and what is the final cost? That should be in writing. Most reputable contractors don’t expect to be paid in full until the final walkthrough is completed and you’ve signified that you are happy with the work.

If you can follow through with everything in these 10 tips, you should be well on the way to nailing down the best contractor for your project and you can rest assured that your project will have superb outcomes. Better yet, you can have confidence that your money will be well spent.

Trust your affordable roofing contractor to handle your roof replacement

Everything we say about our approach to quality and affordable roof replacement services at VIS Exterior can be backed up by our customers.

After nearly two decades in the industry, we know what other contractors charge, we know what quality services look like and we know what it means to offer a competitive price. We really are affordable and we’re proud of the results we provide our customers. For more information, contact us and let’s talk about your project and how we can be of service.

Roofing homeowners
Val Slajus
Owner / Author
Val Slajus

My journey began with a passion for home improvement, and I established VIS Exterior because I firmly believe that everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home. With years of experience in the roofing and siding craft, I'm dedicated to helping you enhance the protection and aesthetics of your home. Through this blog, I'm excited to share my knowledge and insights, empowering you to make informed decisions when planning your next exterior renovation project.