What's the Cost of a New Roof?

If it’s time to consider a roof replacement for your home, you might be wondering how much a new roof will cost. There are many factors to consider that will determine the total cost of a roof tear-off and replacement. Your roof ages as a result of intense sun, rain, ice, high wind, or even tree branches that come into contact with it, and eventually it will have to be replaced. Here is what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Signs That a Roof Needs Replacement

First of all, it is important to be able to tell when a roof has gotten to the point if needing to be replaced. There are a number of signs that you can look for to determine if the time has come to scrap your old roof in favor of a new one.

Leaks are one easy thing to see in a roof that is no longer doing the job. These may make themselves visible in the attic space, on a ceiling of an upper floor, or even in the basement if water runs down an outer wall or vent stack. Another sign of a leaky roof is unexplained peeling paint in a room, especially high on the wall.

From viewing the roof itself - besides the obvious look of missing shingles - look for shingles that look tired and worn, especially if they have begun to crack or deteriorate. Asphalt shingles will also get to the point that they become more fragile or start to curl or raise here and there. This is a sign of old age in a roof.

Your downspout or gutters can also offer a great clue on the condition of the roof. This is especially true for asphalt shingles since they will start to deposit excessive amounts of debris from the shingles in the gutters. This debris will also collect where the downspout empties into your yard.

Average Cost of New Roof Replacement

A new roof quote generally comes in based on what is called a “square”, which is simply a 10x10 foot area (100 square feet) that needs replacement. For an average home the roof is somewhere around 25 squares, and an average cost for a roof of this size would range between $6.250 and $11,250. Keep in mind that this is an average cost, and it is easily possible to spend more or less.

To give you an idea of this cost per square, expect it to run $250 to $450 per 100 square feet. Unless your roofline is very simple and the pitch is low or normal, a quote on the low end of this range should be met with some caution, but it is possible to find quality, reputable contractors with lower prices. A roofing company with highly skilled and reasonably paid workers is likely to charge $300 per square or more.

To get the average cost for your home, calculate the number of squares times $350 and you’ll have a pretty solid estimate from which to compare quotes. Remember, the squares on your roof has nothing to do with the square footage of your home, but your home’s ground floor square footage can be used to give you a rough estimate. As a general rule of thumb, you can multiply the square feet of your home’s ground floor by these factors to estimate the total squares on the roof.

If rise is 3 inches per foot, multiply squares by 1.05 and divide by 100.
If rise is 6 inches per foot, multiply squares by 1.15 and divide by 100.
If rise is 12 inches per foot, multiply squares by 1.5 and divided by 100.

As an example, for a home with a ground floor square footage of 1500 and a roof that rises 6 inches per foot, the result would be 1500 X 1.15 / 100 = 17.25 Squares. At an average cost of $350, you might expect a quote around $6,000.

The cost will be significantly impacted by the material that is already on your roof and whether or not you remove it. For example, the removal an old layer of shingles is generally included in a quote, but you will spend less if a new layer is added without first removing the old layer. While this may not be a good idea as we’ll discuss later, it will save money. The cost of removing old roofing material goes up with each additional layer that is already on your roof.

Cost of Different Roofing Materials

You have many choices when it comes to roofing materials that can be used to replace a roof on your home. The most common, and most affordable, is asphalt shingles that will last up to 25 years and are rather quick to install. Asphalt is a great choice for a low or medium pitch since water will run well on this relatively flat surface. These flatter roofs are not great candidates for materials like cedar shake or tile since gravity is not helping with runoff as much.

Wood materials, like cedar shake tiles, are a nice choice for a more pitched roof and is especially decorative on a home with multiple angles such as a Victorian home. Cedar is easily twice the cost of asphalt, however, and has a finite lifespan.

Metal roofing is a very long-lived material that is expensive up front but may save money in the long run. It can cost twice that of asphalt shingles, but the lifespan is easily twice that of asphalt as well. For homeowners investing for the long term or who plan to live in their home for life, this is an extremely durable option.

Tile roofs are quite expensive, but the look is impressive and very durable. What can make the cost of a tile roof really add up is the fact that tile is very heavy. This means that many roofs must first be fortified with extra materials for added structural support, and building that support system will increase the total cost.

Removing Old Shingles

When a house is re-roofed, and especially when the existing covering is asphalt shingles, there is a choice to be made regarding the existing materials. Often times you will have the option to add a second layer without removing the original roof, which can remove 25% or more of the total cost of the project.

Be aware that it is clearly better to apply a new roof to a clean subsurface, rather than adding a new layer over an existing one. Removing the existing shingles will make the new roof last longer, by 20% or more. Also, when the old roof is stripped down it allows for a thorough inspection of the entire for any other areas of concern that should be addressed at that time.

Starting with a fresh surface will make it easy to install a new underlayment where needed, a new leak barrier membrane, metal flashings, and vent covers. Replacing all of these, if needed, is the surest way to avoid future leaks.

Factors That Impact Cost of a New Roof

As previously discussed, the choice of materials plays a significant role in the cost of any new roof, and this is a fixed cost that may be fairly consistent from one contractor to another. The slope is also a major factor, since a highly pitched roof simply has more surface area to cover, which means more materials. Some roofing contractors will also add a slope premium due to the increased danger and extra support system they need to safely roof a highly sloped roof.

Beyond materials and pitch, the design of the roof will impact the cost. A straightforward A-frame roof without a high pitch has two large flat sides that are easy to cover, and will cost the least to replace. On the contrary, a home with many gables, angles, or wings that jet out in different directions will add much more flashing, measuring, and cutting to the job.

Features inside the home often make themselves known to roofers and impact the final roofing cost. Among these, features like skylights or fireplace chimneys will add to the overall cost of the project. An abundance of vent stacks can have the same effect. All of these add more cutting and measuring to the project.

New Roof Choices

There are several choices that must be made when the time has come to move ahead with a new roof. The choices of material and its color, style, and cost to install are all things to consider. When picking materials, consider your home style and make sure the materials are suitable for the home’s roof pitch and overall look. Compare the durability ratings of materials and the warranty that comes with them along with the cost to get a complete picture.

Consider the pros and cons of removing the old roof based on the condition of the current one. Be prepared to replace flashings with new materials. If you don’t have gutters, consider adding them with the new roof for much better protection against water, or if yours are old, see if they are in need of replacement.

When it comes time to pick a roofing company, ask about their experience and guarantees of workmanship. It is common for a roofing company to guarantee their work for at least 5 years if not 10 years or more. This will generally cover their work on your project, not the materials, so make sure to consider the material guarantee separately. Make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured as well.

Replacing a roof is a major home improvement project. If you do your homework and pick the proper materials for your home, and have them installed by a reputable company, your new roof will last a very long time and be a great investment.

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