Whether you are on a tight budget or not, there are several ways that you can save time and money on your roofing materials.
1) Start by choosing a few suppliers and present them with as much information about your project as possible. By being honest with them about budget, time frame, your particular skills and needs, you will save time and money in the long run.
2) Whilst available to purchase in general builders merchants, you will tend to get a better quality slate at better prices by visiting a specialist roofing materials supplier or someone who imports roofing slates directly from the quarry. A good roofing supplies company will also help you quantify your materials and offer free advice and support – right through the process from planing to installation.
3) A good supplier will accept unused returns and protect you if things go sour. Look for those with government endorsed standards (e.g. TrustMark) or those regulated by the building industry (National Federation of Roofing Contractors- NFRC).
4) If you have cheap labour available, a smaller slate will offer you better value for money. Large slates are quicker to install but are disproportionally much more expensive per meter squared than a smaller slate.
5) Shopping around may gain you savings (the internet may become your best friend over the next few months). However do try presenting one or two suppliers with your full ‘shopping list’ as you may find that you are able to negotiate better terms and conditions, especially on delivery if you buy all your materials in one go.
6) If renovating your roof, consider trying to salvage as many of the existing tiles or slates and mixing those tiles with new ones to preserve the weathered and authentic look of the roof. If you are replacing old slate, stone or manufactured tiles on your roof, speak to your local reclaim yard or roofer as there may still be value in your old materials.
7) Purchasing reclaimed materials can cut your material costs massively compared to buying tiles or slates new, especially if you want to use Welsh slate, which can be in short supply.
Do remember that there tends to be more work and more waste when working with reclaimed materials (expect to loose over 10% of your materials). Reclaimed slate for instance will need to be colour matched, sorted into thicknesses, holes re-cut and broken slates thrown away.
8) Man-made alternatives, such as concrete slate, or slate made from fibre cement, can be a good option for new builds. In addition to lower costs, these slates are easy to work with thanks to their consistent size and shape.
9) If you are considering purchasing cheaper Spanish or Chinese slate in an effort to keep costs down, be sure to request a few samples before ordering a pallet and always inspect the quality certificate. A canny buyer will ask for samples of both the best and worse slates to be found in a pallet. Looking at these will give you an idea of the true quality that you can expect and will ensure that you don’t just see the salesman’s sample.
10) Be honest with your supplier. Specifying a Welsh quality slates whilst refusing to pay over £15 per square meter is unlikely to win you many friends. You may get better advice and choice by discussing the budget upfront and asking your suppliers to come up with some choices and recommendations.