How to Figure Out What a New Roof Costs

Realizing your roof needs a complete replacement can be a heart-stopping moment. Whichever way you do it, whoever you choose to do it, and whatever you do it with, it’s never going to be a cheap job. Establishing exactly how expensive, however, can be a tricky task, especially when there are so many things to consider. Material, labor costs, difficulty level, size… all these elements can impact on exactly how big a figure you end up writing your check for. While we can’t necessarily help slash that figure in half, we can help you prepare in advance for what it’s likely to be.

Material

The price of material is always going to make up a hefty chunk of the overall costs… just how big a chunk depends on the type of material you choose. Although costs will vary depending on quality, brand, and even your geographic location, sites like Inch Calculator give some handy estimates to help out. According to their latest figures, expect to spend:

  • $150-$200 per square for Asphalt Shingle – If you want the most budget-friendly option possible, Asphalt Shingle is the way to go. Most roofs made of this material will last around 25 years.
  • $200-$400 per square for Cedar or Wood Shake – A touch more expensive than Asphalt Shingle but with a distinctive aesthetic that many find preferable, Cedar or Wood Shake roofs last around 30 years, provided they’re regularly treated against mold and insect infestations.
  • $300-$800 per square for Steel – If you want a durable option, steel panels could be ideal and can be even be painted to match the exterior of your home.
  • $500-$800 per square for Tile – Tiles aren’t the cheapest choice, but they do rank as one of the most attractive and durable, with a wide enough selection of styles, shapes, and colors to suit every taste.
  • $600-$1,500 per square for Slate – Yes, it’s pricey, but if you want a roof that will see out the rest of your life (and probably your grandkids too), slate is a fine choice. Installation can be tricky, but find the right contractor for the job, and the end result should last upwards of 100 years.

When deciding what kind of material to use, it’s not just a question of looking at which comes with the cheapest price tag and going for that. Over time, cheaper materials can actually end up costing you more, requiring more in the way of touch-ups and treatments and as a rule, needing a full replacement sooner rather than later.

Higher quality materials will not only save you money in future repairs, but they’ll also reduce the likelihood of you having to do another full replacement anytime soon.

Roof Size

Roof size is obviously going to have a massive impact on your overall spend, regardless of what material you choose. Instead of risking life and limb by taking measurements from the roof itself, use the handy trick recommended by Five Coat Roofing and simply multiply the square footage of your house by 1.5 (so, for example, if your house is 2,000 square foot, the roof will measure approximately 3,000 square feet). Once you know the size of your roof, use our previous breakdown of material costs to estimate just how much you’re likely to lay down on material.

Installation Costs

Outside of material and standard labor costs, it pays to be aware of any extra little expenses that might soon start to rack up during the installation process. As Roofing Estimator highlights, things like the height of the house, the complexity of the roof, slope or pitch, the number and location of chimneys, skylights, dormers, ridges, roofing company, geographic location, taxes, and permits can all have a huge impact on how much you end up paying for your new roof but aren’t always things you think to consider beforehand.

Some of the things that can add several unexpected 00s onto your final bill include:

  • Removal of Old Roof: If you need your old roof completely removed before the new one is laid, expect to pay an extra l $100-$150 per square. – Special Features: Features like chimneys, skylights, solar tubes, and solar panels may all look nice and add value to your home, but they have a habit of making the process of laying a roof a whole lot more difficult. Expect to pay extra for the additional material and labor costs working around these features involves.
  • Complexity: Not all roofs are simple, straight forward affairs. If your roof has a complex layout, costs for flashing, labor, and material are likely to be higher than average.

Labor

Labor costs are where things get complicated. Depending on where in the country you are, and what outfit you choose to hire, costs can vary widely. As a general rule of thumb, expect to part with around $300 per square in labor… but remember, this is an indication only, and you shouldn’t be too surprised if you receive quotes both to the north and south of that. Just remember that if a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. No matter how great the material and how simple the job, put it in the hands of some cowboy traders and both you and your roof are likely to rue the day.

Online Calculators

Once you’ve considered all the obvious (difficulty of the job, material preference, size of the roof, architectural complexity, etc.), a great way of understanding just how much your new roof is going to cost you is to use one of the online calculators built for that exact purpose. Simple search “roofing estimator online tool”, enter your data, then hold your breath and wait for the calculator to give you the worst. Just remember that tools like these are there as a guide only: considering the number of elements that go the final bill, don’t take it as read that the number it comes up with is the number you’ll pay.


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