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How to apply for a government grant for a new roof

A roof that is not weatherproof means a house which is potentially damp upstairs and damage to internal structures and decoration. But replacing a roof costs a lot of money and if it’s not been damaged by adverse weather or a storm, then your home insurance won’t help you out either. So how can you afford the cost of a new roof? Even repairs can be very expensive and a roof in poor condition will require regular money spent on it. Is it possible to get a free roof with a government grant?

Firstly, the quickest way to find more about roof grants in your state speak to local roofers in your area about government grants available. Fill out the form below and we'll put you in contact with roof grant experts in your state. Time to complete: 20 seconds.

Happily, for homeowners, there are government roofing grants available throughout the States for roof repair and replacement. Grants tend to fall into two categories, national programs run by central government and local funding which may be specific to the state, the location or just the town or city.

Will a roof grant cover the cost of my new roof?

Bear in mind that the grant may only be a contribution to the final cost, it will not necessarily cover all of the expense to completely re-roof your house or foot the bill for costly repairs, but it could just make that difference and who wants to turn away free bucks? Finding a good roofing installer is really important and they are often the best people to advise on the grants available in your area.

Here is a summary of the main federal grants that you could be eligible for to repair or replace your roof.

Name of Roof Grant Eligibility/Application
Weatherization Assistance Program Low income households, families with children, senior citizens, households with a disabled occupant
Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants Very low income families or low income individuals who are 62+ years
The Tribal Energy Program Tribal members who live on tribal lands
The Housing Preservation Grant Low income families, tribal members, not-for-profit organizations

The materials cost includes the price for roofing accessories and not just the shingles. The breakdown shows that the price jump per square foot is at its biggest between the mid and high cost materials although remember that labour charges do account for over half the total bill.

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Types of Roofing Grants Explained

Weatherization Assistance Program

This program is run by the Department of Energy and is one of the key government roof grants repairs. This roof grant is aimed at low-income households and covers lots of different ways of reducing the costs of heating and air-conditioning by keeping a roof in good repair and/or making it more energy efficient. The grant is nationwide but varies in its application from state to state with some areas prioritizing senior citizens and families with children, and households with a disabled resident. Families with any member receiving Supplemental Insurance Income or Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children are automatically eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program.

The Weatherization Assistance Program reduces energy costs for low income households by making the property more energy efficient which also helps lower carbon emissions. DOE funds help around 35,000 homes every year and this program has been running since 1976 since when it has helped more than 7 million families improve their properties. Each state has a WAP program and there will be a local organization in every area which can provide more information.

Read more here. 

Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants

The eligibility for this roof grant is for very low income families who earn less than 50% of the median income or low income individuals who are 62+ years. Sometimes also called the Section 504 Home Repair Program, the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants is a program overseen by the Department of Agriculture. This roof grant is mainly aimed at homes deemed to fall within the categorization of safety hazards in very low income communities. Qualification for this scheme can be based on the location of the property and the status of the homeowner.

Read more here

The Tribal Energy Program

This roof grant program is aimed at Native American tribes to help evaluate and develop their renewable energy resources and reduce energy consumption through efficiency and weatherization. This is a broad program which also provides funding to support education and training opportunities surrounding clean energy prospects and growth and development for tribal communities.

Read more here. 

The Housing Preservation Grant

The Housing Preservation Grant offers funding for repair and roof replacement for very low income householders and organizations, tribal communities and not-for-profit groups.
A homeowner cannot apply directly for this grant but has to go through reputable non-profit organizations that repair low income housing. These roof grants are usually restricted to people who live in rural areas and towns with a population of less than 20,000 as well as Native American tribes and those living on federally recognized tribal lands. To find the right organization to perform repair or roof replacement the best place to check with is the USDA Rural Development office in the state that you live in.

Read more here.

Federal versus Local Roof Grants

The regular twin drivers behind these roof grants are the desire to improve the weatherproofing and energy efficiency of people’s homes and/ or to support people who are on low incomes or disadvantaged in some other way to be able to make the reach to pay for roof repairs or re-roofing. So, roof grants are in general limited to certain demographic groups but in some locations like inner cities where the push is really for green credentials, this is not always the case. The roof grants described so far would be classified as federal; there are plenty of local schemes available but it depends on your area.

A snapshot of roofing grants in the US

Here is just a selection of some of the individual grants which are available in certain locations, towns or neighbourhoods.

  • Green Roof Project, Chicago – this is a grant program for green roofs in Chicago for homeowners and owners of small domestic buildings. The grant is $5,000 to help with the planning and installation of a green roof based on the tremendous benefits that this offers to the environment and to the building owner. 150 private and public green roof projects have already been completed throughout the city. A written undertaking is required by the successful applicant to maintain the green roof program for a minimum period of five years. Green roofs absorb water like a sponge dissipating moisture gradually from excessive rainfall and reducing storm water run off and so helping with water management during severe weather events.
  • Home repair grants and loans and roof grants in California – there are lots on offer, for example, in the city of Oakland in Alameda county, residents can apply via the Community Development Agency for repair grants to help fix roofing as well as other household defects under this program
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles – this offers low income homeowners in the city critical health and safety repairs to both the interior and exterior of their home with eligibility based around need and the condition of the property

Conditions and restrictions on roof grants

Depending on the type of roof grant sometimes there can be conditions attached which might pertain to the eligibility of suitable applicants or impact on what you do with the property for a specified period afterwards.
The Single Family Housing and Repair Loans and Grants which can benefit very low income elderly home owners are subject to a maximum sum per applicant of $7.500. Also, the grants are only offered to homeowners who are a minimum of 62 years old or more and whose total family income is below 50% of the median for their area. Crucially, there is a condition that attaches which states that if the house is sold within three years of the grant whether for roof repair or renewal, then the grant money must be repaid.

The Weatherization Assistance Program for families that qualify does not cover new roofing so you can only seek assistance with roof repairs – the average award is $6,500.

Weather Related Emergencies

There is a raft of roof grants available to those who have suffered severe damage to their home in exceptional and adverse weather conditions. This type of incident can be covered in the first instance by home insurance but local and central governmental aid is often made available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will verify your loss claim and will pay an amount to make a home safe, sanity and functional which clearly includes an adequate and secure roof. However, sometimes these payments can take months to come through and funds may be limited against the number of people who want to make a claim

Finding Out About Roof Grants in Your Area

Because each location across the states could offer a mix of federal and local roof grants, it is important to use an authentic roofer company as they will instantly know what is out there and current. Enticing customers with roof grants is good for their business and could mean the difference between clinching the deal or not so most roofers are pretty savvy if there are grants on offer which could help them win business. So, shop around when looking for a roofer and see what kind of suggestions your contractors come up with – you don’t have to use that particular contractor but you might find out some useful information.

Many local state governments will offer voucher or rebate programs to encourage homeowners who are considering upgrading to a more environmentally friendly product. This might involve installing solar panels, using recycled shingles or other green roof materials. Some roofing contractors will also be incentivized by local or national government to promote products made from green materials and sometimes this benefit can be passed onto the customer.

In some situations, there may not be an actual roof grant available to you but a roofer or local government information hub can point you towards assisted finance or loans at a favourable rate if they are being used to improve your property.

Other Forms of Finance

Some homeowners will approach their mortgage company and try to raise capital either with a new mortgage package if they have enough equity in their property or by asking for a loan to carry out home improvements. This can be a good way of spreading the cost as the money is usually advanced over the remaining term of the mortgage so it is quite affordable on a monthly basis. Also, lenders can see the uplift in the value of the house once the works are complete.

Roofing contractors may offer their own finance scheme linked to a third-party provider and there are also some local government schemes or community initiatives which offer incentives to those looking to repair or replace their roof with eco-friendly materials which can help mitigate the cost.

Hidden Costs That Are Easy To Overlook

With a new roof or an extensive roof repair, the focus is always on the ballpark figure for the cost of the actual roof work so it is easy to get a shock when the quote arrives and you realise just how much else you haven’t factored in. Other charges to look out for include:-

  • Dump fees to dispose of old roofing materials
  • Scaffold hire for extensive roof repairs or a completely new roof
  • Professional fees for permissions and consent if you intend to change the roof design, height or appearance
  • Bringing your roof up to code – your roof and house may have been built to meet old building codes that were outdated decades ago so if your planned work is extensive, remember to ask your roofer whether you think you might have to meet new building codes particularly on a re-roof, and how that might impact on the cost
  • Pests and mold can be a real problem in humid parts of the USA causing hidden mold and termite damage which leads to long-term decay to underlayment and timbers – this might not be apparent until the roofer lifts the shingles and starts work
  • Leaks in a roof can go unnoticed and remain hidden for longer than you might think oftentimes not coming to light until the shingles are lifted. Quiet leaks can cause rot in the rafters and other parts of the wooden roof structure which will all need to be replaced before repair or re-roofing can take place
  • Water traps can be hard to spot and cause hidden or unseen damage. A water trap is an area that is prone to too much runoff and this can lead to pooling and leaks. Water traps lead to quicker wear on roof shingles and other materials like brick or siding. Mitigating water traps by altering the roof design could increase the overall cost and impact your roof budget

Make sure that your chosen contractor does a proper roof inspection before he quotes, lifting some shingles if necessary to ascertain the true extent of the work; this will lead to the most accurate quote as the idea is not to find any nasty surprises once the project starts. Always leave 15%-20% of wriggle room for unforeseen costs – there is bound to be something!

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How Do You Know When Its Time To Apply For a Roofing Grant?

Well, it could be obvious, it’s leaking, there has been storm damage or there are holes or missing roof shingles but sometimes, a roof replacement just comes about with mission creep – let’s face it, unless you get up on a ladder, you can’t always see what’s going on.
Without obvious damage or a very old roof, usually the trigger to replace a roof is when the repairs are becoming too frequent and too costly. Because much of your roof is not visible from street level, an annual inspection can help you keep an eye on the up-close detail of how your roof is looking – a good time to plan this is when you have the gutters cleared. Here are some tell-tale signs that your roof may need a bit more TLC:-

  • Visibly lifted or missing roof shingles
  • Poor or broken guttering
  • Water coming in around the upstairs windows
  • Damp patches or staining on bedroom ceilings
  • Moss and mould growing outside the on the roof which can force tiles or shingles apart creating gaps in the roof material

Roof deterioration won’t get better, it will only get worse so always keep on top of roof repairs and plan to replace your roof roughly every twenty or so years to avoid throwing away money on frequent roof repairs.

Keeping a roof in good repair

Keeping a roof in good repair should keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to weatherproofing qualities and spot early any signs of trouble, potentially saving you from a large bill. Here are some easy steps any householder can take to look after their roof.

  • Make regular inspections from street level particularly after a bad weather event. Look out of for missing, broken or lifted roof shingles
  • Keep rainwater goods functioning and in good repair, they should be cleared of moss, leaves and debris at least twice a year
  • Look out for moss or mildew on the surface of the shingles and arrange for a roof clean to remove it. If you don’t, bacteria and fungi can proliferate and gradually destroy the integrity of the roof materials
  • Have your roof checked at least annually by a professional roofing contractor who can inspect the parts you can’t reach or see. Many people do this as part of gutter clearance work on a seasonal basis

Roofing Grants - Frequently Asked Questions

How much will a new roof uplift the value of my home?

The average cost of a new roof is around $8,000-$10,000 and the uplift in the value of the property after the work is complete is between $12,000-$14,000. A new roof is one of the main home improvements to always offer a good return on your investment and its good looks will add real curb appeal to buyers when you come to sell your property. Just keeping your roof in good repair will ensure your home is dry and warm, reduce your energy bills as well as helping lower carbon footprint and will also provide an attractive inducement to any prospective purchaser.

How to reduce the cost of a new roof - can I get a new roof for free?

If a new roof is beyond your budget, then speak to your roofer to see if there are ways you can lower the cost – if you are not far away on cost then most decent roofing contractors will be able to suggest ways to bring the cost within your projected spend. If you have a property which has different roof elevations and storeys then you might be able to re-roof in sections tackling the worst ones first. Using finance to spread the cost can help, either from your mortgage company or via a roofing firm which has a third party arrangement. Join a program which incentivizes green choices and see if you can capture a roof grant to help with costs if you use eco-friendly products or choose a cheaper shingle or roof material as this is one of the biggest ways to reduce a quote. Sometimes, completing your roof work in the off season can help lower costs, weather permitting of course – don’t forget, delays and interruptions to work due to bad weather can end up hitting the labor bill. Sometimes the price of shingles can be lower too in the off season.

Finding the right roofer

A roofer should be a constant in your life as they should be checking your roof at regular intervals and if you live in a location prone to severe weather events, then you will probably be seeing them more than you would like. Building a relationship of trust with a professional roofer is really important. Having your roof inspected regularly by a reputable contractor will mean you also have someone to go to if you experience sudden damage or an unforeseen problem.

If you are looking for a roofer then do your research. Ask for a personal recommendation from a friend or family member – online recommendations will probably be from people you don’t know so may not have the same value as it could just be someone promoting their best buddy. Always obtain three quotes so that you can compare the work in detail and remember that the cheapest is not always the best.