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Some inflation-busting deals on roofing and siding

Consumer Reports News: June 09, 2011 02:45 PM

All that oil needed to make—and ship—roofing and siding explains at least some of the double-digit price hikes that are hitting both key remodeling materials. But several low-priced performers in Consumer Reports’ roofing and siding tests can help you sidestep those increases, and get better performance in the bargain.

Recent roofing price hikes include 5 to 8 percent from major names like GAF and IKO, with a 12 to 15 percent bump up due this month from Atlas and Tamko. “Our raw material prices have been going through the roof, and we’re short of the plastic resin we need as more manufacturers are getting higher prices by shipping it overseas,” Stephen Tybor, a vice president at Heartland Siding, told Consumer Reports. While oil has traditionally been an ingredient of some vinyl siding, a number of manufacturers say they’ve switched to less expensive natural gas. The cost of other materials is also going up including the cardboard boxes in which the shingles are shipped.

But that needn’t drive the price of your next roof sky high: Asphalt shingles from CertainTeed and Owens Corning are among the top performers in our roofing tests that should still cost roughly half what you’d pay for some shingles—even with the price increases. (Figure on about $100 per 100 square feet instead of $200 or more). And because that shingle is laminated (also known as an architectural shingle), rather than traditional three-tab, you get a layered, three-dimensional look that better mimics slate or shakes.

You can also save on siding, despite the hikes: We rated Revere Sovereign Select Energy Smart vinyl siding (about $125 a square) a CR Best Buy. A CR Best Buy from Heartland performed even better in our siding tests and cost less. We also recommended one brand of fiber-cement siding, which imitates wood better than vinyl, comes pre-primed and still costs less than some vinyl options..

Another way to watch your wallet is to hire a contractor you can trust. The best contractors don't have to advertise. They get work through satisfied customers' referrals. Consult friends and neighbors who have had work done. When you find a contractor, be sure to ask for a list of previous customers; then call them or, better yet, visit their homes to look at the work.

Gian Trotta

   

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