I think you’ll agree with me when I say: Roof replacement is a VERY big and expensive project.
In such a fast paced (and sometimes “sales-ey”) market, you may feel confusion over what exactly a fair price is for a roof replacement, and beyond that, what factors affect the total cost.
Here’s the deal…
Broken down, the costs involved can be categorized into 4 distinct areas.
4 HUGE Factors that can increase roof replacement costs by over 50%
- Roof size
- Roof pitch
- Attic Condition
Roof Size Drastically Affects your Roof Replacement Cost
The size of your roof greatly affects the final cost. Most roofers will bid your project in cost per square ( a 10×10 foot area). For example, a 4000 sq ft roof is equal to 40 squares. So, if your contractor charges $475.00/sq, your roof will cost around $19,000.00 to replace.
Don’t be surprised if your contractor charges between $475.00-$525.00/sq. This rate is fairly standard, but can be more depending on the type of materials used for your roof replacement.
If you are unsure how many square feet/squares your roof is, click here to use this free roofing calculator tool. This website asks you to fill in your roof length, width, pitch, difficulty, layers of tear-off, number of floors, skylights, chimneys, vents, and materials.
It will then generate an estimated cost of replacement. The site also offers infographics depicting different types of roofs and how to calculate the square footage of each.
Photo Credit: https://www.roofingcalc.com
Your Roof Might not be “Walkable” causing Roof Replacement Costs to Increase
The roof pitch (the vertical rise divided by the horizontal span) also greatly affects the cost of a roof replacement. There are many types of roof structures, but the steeper the structure, the more it costs for a roof replacement.
If your roof has a pitch of 8/12 or greater, it may not be considered “walkable” by most contractors. This means it is not safe for a contractor to freely walk around the roof without safety equipment.
In this case, the cost of 1) Materials 2) Safety Equipment 3) Labor will increase.
Photo Credit: www.calculator.net
- Materials: A steeper sloped roof means more shingles are needed to cover it.
- Safety Equipment: On very steep roofs, safety equipment such as, scaffolding/ or rigging, may be needed. This equipment is not cheap and will be tacked onto your quote.
- Labor: Roofing on steep pitched roofs simply takes longer. Stacking materials is not possible and setting up/working with safety equipment is tedious. On top of this, special roofing techniques may be necessary in order to meet manufacturer’s requirements on steeper roofs. For example, more nails may be required per shingle. This will drive the cost of labor and materials up.
Roof Lifespan could be Cut in Half if you Don’t Pay Attention to the Attic
You may be worried about your roof’s current condition and how that can affect the amount and/or type of materials necessary for your roof replacement.
As you know, if your roof has not been maintained properly or was installed incorrectly, there may be water damage or wood rot on structural components in the attic or on the roof decking.
If this is the case, damaged areas will need to be replaced which will drive up the cost of your quote.
But, there is a way to be proactive about this…
When obtaining quotes, ask the roofer questions about your roof and attic condition. A few questions to ask are 1) Is there water damage on my roof or attic 2) Do you notice signs of heat loss in the attic.
If you have no idea how water enters the attic or why heat loss would be occurring, click here.
How your roofer responds to those questions will tell you a lot. A good roofer will perform a thorough inspection of, not only the roof, but the attic too. They’ll take notes on the condition of your attic including insulation, sealed bypass, ventilation, and structural members.
This is on the top of their list because the health of these components are crucial for preventing premature breakdown of a newly installed roof.
If you live in a home built in the early 2000’s or prior, chances are, there is heat loss. This is because spray foam insulation was not used as commonly before the 2000’s. Spray foam insulation is the only way to prevent the movement of heat into the attic through open bypasses.
An open bypass is an area between the living space and the attic. Examples are: chimneys, ceiling light fixtures, heating ducts, kitchen and bath exhaust fans, plumbing, electrical wires, dropped ceilings and soffits.
The fact is, most people don’t understand how important it is to seal bypasses ..
They recognize a heat loss problem when they see one, but their solution is to add insulation without spray foaming open areas. Simply adding insulation without addressing bypasses and ventilation could lead to ice dams, water leaks, and other issues (CHA CHING…these fixes aren’t cheap).
Expert home inspector, Reuben Saltzman of Structure Tech, says in a blog post, “I’ve recommended the same thing over and over; seal the attic bypasses.”
Talk with your roofer to determine if your attic system needs some attention before putting a new roof on. Some roofs can only be insulated correctly when the roof is off, so budgeting to attack both projects at the same time could be your most financially efficient strategy.
To learn more about heat loss in the attic and the damages it does to your roof and home, click here.
Take your Time Choosing Materials to Weigh the Pros and Cons
The various materials needed to correctly install your roof replacement are shingles, underlayments, drip edge, flashing, caulking, gutters/downspouts, vents, and as mentioned above, potentially roof decking or insulation.
The size and type of roof you have will influence the amount of materials needed. Talk with your roofer to understand the role each material plays within the roofing system. Most roofers have a preferred brand of products they use.
You can ask them about this as well and also pick their brain on the best type of shingles for your home. A few options are listed below.
Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular options because they are affordable, durable, easy to install, and come in a variety of colors. They cost around $350.00-$550.00/square to install.
Cedar Shingles or Shakes:
These aesthetically pleasing wood based products bring out your home’s architectural beauty, but can definitely drive costs up. Cedar shakes and shingles cost about $650-$1,100.00/square.
Metal roofing is becoming increasingly popular because of it’s incredible lifespan, resistance to rot, insects, & fire, durability during high wind/storm events, and snow shedding abilities.
Compared to asphalt shingles, weighing about 750 lbs per square, metal roofing is very lightweight. Most metal roofing products weight about 50-150 lbs per square.
If you are looking to build a home, installing a metal roof could save you money on engineering costs because your structural components will not be required to carry huge loads. To learn more about this click here.
Because of all theses benefits, a metal roof replacement is not cheap. On average metal roofing costs between $550.00 to $1,500.00 per square depending on the type of metal used.
Clay roofing is popular choice near coastal regions because it is particularly resistant to corrosion from salty air. However, they hold up incredibly well over time in any climate and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
If you decide to install a clay roof in a colder climate, be sure your specific products are designed to handle the freeze thaw cycles. Clay roofs can cost between $2,000.00-$3,000.00 per square to install.
Overall, the size and steepness of your roof, current attic condition, and materials used have the greatest impact on roof replacement cost. To get a better understanding of costs involved, hire a respected contractor to provide an inspection and quote.