For John Miller, co-owner of Waldenwood, Shorewood, Minn., the first upsell when it comes to roofing is a new roof for the whole house when he's putting on an addition.

"Most of our [roofing] subs won't warranty tying in to an existing roof, because the tie-in is where the problems result," Miller says. "That automatically means that if we're doing a substantial addition, we encourage the customer to think about re-roofing the entire house, because then we will warranty the entire project."

Upgrades all around

To owners of more expensive homes, Miller may suggest a tile roof, with copper flashing and/or copper gutters and downspouts. The most persuasive argument to such a homeowner, he says, is seeing tile or copper on a neighbor's house.

Neil Robb, whose company, Escobar amp; Robb in Potomac, Md., specializes in repairing and replacing cedar shingle roofs, points out that there are upgrades just within asphalt. If clients want asphalt, Robb suggests architectural asphalt, a product two to three times the thickness of ordinary shingles -- and more expensive.

"The architectural look so much better," he says, "that we put that out there right away as an option."

Other upgrade options include a range of different ridge venting systems to prevent overheating and moisture buildup, priced at anywhere from $3 to $5 or more per linear foot for materials. "Even if they have ridge venting, it's usually pretty beat up," Robb says. "It's not a huge cost, just something that benefits the roof."

Another option is gutter protection. Three years ago, Escobar amp; Robb became a distributor for Gutter Cap, one of at least a half dozen aluminum systems that screen the debris that causes back-ups and, ultimately, roof damage.

On to the installation

It's also possible to upsell the installation. Jim Sasko, owner of Teakwood Builders in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., often remodels within the town's historic district. A year ago, his company was putting an addition on the back of a home with a gambrel roof. Sasko not only sold the owners on the idea of re-roofing the house, he suggested an attractive pattern in shingles of different colors and textures and pointed out that his own cross-trained crews would be far more likely to install it correctly than a roofing sub. Sold. Price difference: $22,000 vs. $15,000.