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Home improvement discounts for military? Always ask

Jeffrey Anderson | Improvement Center Columnist | September 6, 2013

Serving your country is an honor but can also involve enduring hardships along the way. Unfortunately, long separations are a way of life for many servicemembers and their families making time spent with loved ones all the more precious.

Activities that can be done together as a family are a source of cherished memories, and a DIY home improvement project -- like turning an unfinished basement into a game room or adding a backyard deck for cookouts -- can be an ideal way to get everyone involved. When it's time to head to the next duty station, you might even recoup a portion of the remodeling costs with the sale of your house. There's also another way to take the bite out of home improvement expenses.

Building material bargains for servicemembers and veterans

National holidays are great, but when it comes to showing appreciation for all that you do, discounts at the cash register can be pretty nice, too. That's one of the reasons why many building material companies have special price programs in place for active duty service members and their immediate families. In some cases, veterans can be eligible for the discounts as well.

If you're an active duty service member or have served in the past, here are a few national vendors to consider when planning a remodeling project:

  1. Lowe's -- All Lowe's stores offer an everyday 10 percent discount to active duty military personnel, active reservists, retired military, disabled veterans and immediate family members. Other veterans may be eligible for the discount on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends.
  2. The Home Depot -- If you're an active duty servicemember, a reservist who has been called up, or a military retiree, you may be eligible for a year-round 10 percent discount on purchases at The Home Depot stores. Immediate family members and disabled veterans may also qualify for the program. Other veterans may receive the discount on Labor Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.
  3. GAF -- Active duty servicemembers, retirees, and veterans may be eligible for a $300 rebate when they hire a GAF factory-trained contractor to install a GAF Lifetime Roofing System on their home.
  4. Ace Hardware -- While Ace Hardware doesn't have a national policy in place, numerous individual store owners in Kansas and Missouri offer a 10 percent discount to active duty military.
  5. 84 Lumber -- A 10 percent discount for active and retired servicemembers is offered on Labor Day per the company's website. However, according to one manager, individual stores have leeway to offer the price reduction any day of the year to personnel with valid military IDs.

Each vendor's discount program may vary slightly from store to store and certain restrictions can apply -- such as a maximum limit on the eligible purchase amount or a stipulation that the discount cannot be combined with other promotions.

Military discounts from local home improvement vendors

National home improvement retailers have the advertising budgets to ensure servicemembers and veterans are aware of their discount programs. But what about regional building material vendors; do they offer any price breaks for military personnel? It pays to ask.

  • Star -- a lumber, home, and flooring vendor with locations in Kansas and Oklahoma -- offers a 10 percent discount on select products. They recommend consulting with individual store managers for the details and limitations of their program.
  • Blue Ridge Builders Supply & Home Services in Charlottesville, Va. doesn't have an official military discount program in place. Manager Dale Shumate, however, is happy to give a 10 percent discount to any active duty service member with a valid military ID.
  • Active duty military personnel who purchase their remodeling materials from Tart Lumber Company in Fairfax, Va. could get an even better deal. While the store doesn't have an official policy, manager Dave Kessel says he gives servicemembers the contractors' discount of 15 percent on building materials.
  • Scott Huguely of Galliher & Huguely in Washington, D.C. has a similar policy: any of the many active duty military personnel in the area are eligible for contractor pricing at his store.

Whether shopping at a national retailer or supporting a local business, don't miss out. Always ask the vendor's management if they offer discount programs for military personnel and veterans. Know the program details before making your purchase, and remember to have your valid military ID or copy of your DD214 with you.

About the Author

Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I., and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time. He spends his time writing, remodeling his old farmhouse, and in animal rescue.