Guide to Roofing Costs & Estimates

Let the neighbors know:
Roofs perform such an essential function that "keeping a roof over your head" is synonymous with shelter. They keep moisture from destroying your home and protect the interior from inclement climate conditions. Roof costs can be high, but they're a fraction of the price you could pay for ignoring roofing problems. Investing in your roof also generally raises property values. Roofing prices will vary depending on several factors, as discussed in-depth below. If you're not sure where to start, local roofing contractors can help put together quotes.
  • Repair a Roof Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $316 - $1,011
    Average cost:
    $649
    Low cost:
    $150
     
    High cost:
    $1,800
  • Replace / Install a New Roof Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $4,558 - $8,687
    Average cost:
    $6,574
    Low cost:
    $2,000
     
    High cost:
    $12,000
  • Clean a Roof Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $272 - $530
    Average cost:
    $401
    Low cost:
    $150
     
    High cost:
    $800

Guide to New Roofing Costs & Estimates

When estimating the cost of a new roof, know that you'll have a wide variety to choose from. Roofing contractors will estimate the cost of a new roof based on many factors, including:
  • Size
  • Slope
  • Complexity
  • Existing roofing, if any
  • Material type
  • Underlayment and accessories
  • Ventilation
  • Flashing
  • Labor
It's also important to take into account how you select your contractor. You need to make sure they have a license and insurance before you hire them, or else you could have some legal problems. Contractors' prices will also vary by the scope of the work, the materials you choose for the roofing and whether you need to re-roof part or the whole of the roof. You might also pay more if the roof is harder to access or is steeper, which involves more prep and safety equipment.

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Roof Calculations (area, pitch, slope)

Every roof type is a shape: squares, rectangles, trapezoids and triangles. Below are some tips for making the calculations yourself, or you can use our roofing calculator.

Calculate a Roof's Area

To calculate the area of your roof, you need to multiply the length and width of your roof to get a rough estimate. Use a tape measurer to measure the length and width and then multiply to get the area. You can also get a rough measurement by measuring one floor of your home. So for example, if a single floor of your home is roughly 1,200 square feet, that means your roof might be around that square footage as well.

Calculate Pitch & Slope

Then you'll need to calculate pitch and slope of the roof. Pitch is the rise of the roof divided by the span (rise/span). Slope is the rise over run of the roof (rise/run). You don’t have to go on the roof to calculate the pitch or slope. There is a pitch card available from roofing manufacturers that you can use from the ground. Roofs usually have one of three pitches, unless they're designed specifically for a special type of home:
  • Low pitch: rises 3 inches every 12 inches
  • Medium pitch: rises 6 to 9 inches every 12 inches
  • High pitch: rises 9 inches for every 12 inches
Once you have the pitch or slope and the sum of all of the sides, you can come up with a rough estimate of the actual area using the roof pitch table.
PitchMultiply By
3 in 121.04
4 in 121.06
5 in 121.08
6 in 121.12
7 in 121.16
8 in 121.20
9 in 121.25
10 in 121.30
11 in 121.36
12 in 121.42
So using the first example, if your roof with a tape measurer is 1,200 square feet with a pitch of 3/12, that means your actual square footage can be calculated as:

1,200 x 1.04 = 1,242 sq. ft. of roofing

There will be extra calculations for eaves and overhangs, but roofing contractors will know how to do those calculations, so be sure to consult with them before buying the materials.

Roof Estimates & Cost

Estimating the size of a roof is crucial in the next step of the roofing process: materials. If you get the measurements wrong, materials could cost you up to two to three times more because you buy too much or too little. Precision is crucial in this process to ensure you estimate the right amount on materials and accessories in the installation process. Be sure you double-check with the roofing professional on the measurements before moving forward in the roof installation process.

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Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

When you're choosing what kind of material to install on your roof, two popular options recommended by roofing professionals are metal and asphalt shingles. These are very common in the United States, especially asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are seen on at least 70% of homes in the United States because they're affordable, easy to install and don't cost as much to repair as other materials. However, metal roofing is growing more popular because of its energy efficiency and cooling ability.

Here is some more information on these two types of roofing materials to help better determine which is best for your home:

Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingle Cost Comparison

One of the singular most important factors to any homeowner is the cost of a roofing material. It's imperative to know that asphalt shingle roofing is much less expensive than metal roofing. Here is an approximate cost breakdown of each:
Asphalt:
  • 3-tab shingles: $90 per roofing square (i.e. 100 square feet)
  • Architectural/laminate shingles: $100 per roofing square
  • Felt: $20 per roll
  • Synthetic underlayment: $85 for 400 square feet
Metal:
  • Steel or aluminum shingles: $265 to $375 per roofing square
  • Corrugated steel panels: $120 to $150 per roofing square
  • Stone-coated steel: $350 to $425 per roofing square
  • Standing seam: $400 to $600 per roofing square
  • Copper or zinc roofing: $700 to $900 per roofing square
With such high prices, you might wonder why you should invest in metal roofing at all. The reason is its longevity. It can last fifty years or more with little maintenance. Asphalt roofing needs to be replaced two to four times in its lifetime which means additional replacement and maintenance costs.

Metal roofing is also energy-efficient, offering savings of up to 40% on energy costs. Reflective metal roofing cuts down on air conditioning costs and emissive metal roofs help cut down on greenhouse gases and hot temperatures. Altogether, this means money savings, energy efficiency and less pollution.

Here's a breakdown of some major differences between asphalt shingle and metal roofing:
OptionAsphalt ShinglesMetal Roofs
CostInexpensive, but repairs and replacement will mean additional costs down the road.High initial cost but less chance of repairs and chance for federal rebates.
DurabilityLasts 15-30 years with a 20-25 year warrantyLasts 50+ years with a potential lifetime warranty
Heating/CoolingNot good for hot summers.“Cool roofing” helps to keep air conditioning costs down in the summer.
Fire ResistanceFiberglass shingles resist fire, but organic shingles do not. Copper and steel are resistant, but aluminum doesn't hold up well.

Other Factors to Consider

If you still aren't sure about whether to install asphalt shingle roofing or metal roofing on your home exterior, there are some other factors that set the two apart.

Weight

Metal roofs are often lighter than asphalt shingles. They weigh about 1.5 pounds per square foot, while asphalt shingles average 2 to 4 pounds per square foot. This means metal roofs can be installed over existing roofing without adding too much weight to the structure. Installing asphalt shingles, on the other hand, often involves removing the old roofing material before proceeding. This could mean an added cost to you for disposal and removal.

Lifespan

Metal roofs, as evidenced by their 50-year lifespan, outlive asphalt shingles by more than three times their lifetime. While asphalt shingles are easier to install than metal roofing, they require regular maintenance and will need to be replaced in 15 to 30 years, which means an added cost to homeowners.

Location

Labor costs vary greatly across the United States for roofing installation. Research has shown that labor costs are usually higher in places with a low-cost of living. This doesn't mean you should choose an inexpensive roofer for the job though. You also shouldn't choose the least expensive asphalt shingle roofing or metal roofing material when you proceed with an installation. You don't want to see bills down the road for repairs because you skimped to save a few dollars.

Paint Finish

You can have your metal roofing painted in any finish color or style you want. There are special coats available from low to premium quality. Investing in the premium quality will cost a few hundred dollars more, but it often comes with a lifetime warranty and looks better on your roof as a result.

Professional Installation

Installing a roof requires a professional due to safety concerns, licensing, time and effort. This is not something you can DIY on the weekend. It's even riskier with metal roofing because installing metal roofing requires measurement, extra time and technical background knowledge. There will need to be an underlayment, vents, trim and flashing installed.

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Roofing Prices

If you choose not to install an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof, there are various other materials to choose from. Here's a list of some other common roofing materials, and what you need to know before installing any of them on your home exterior:
Clay Tiles: $800 - $1,000 per square
Clay tiles are made from natural clay and resemble what you'd see on an Italian or Spanish home, though some varieties are made to resemble wood shake or slate tile. They're made from all-natural materials, are long-lasting and require little maintenance once installed. They're heavy and require reinforced framing on the structure, but they hold up well against fire and wind. They will be expensive to install, but less so than metal roofing.
Slate Tiles: $1,100 - $2,000 per square
Slate tiles are also made from natural clay and also appear like Spanish, Italian or wood shake, depending on their design. They are brittle if handled incorrectly during installation, but otherwise they last for a long time and require little maintenance. Akin to clay tiles, they're more expensive to install than other materials, but they come in a wide variety of colors and styles to match any home exterior.
Wood Shake: $350 - $450 per square
Wood shake is made from natural materials including cedar and redwood, which helps it resist rot during inclement weather conditions. It has a natural look during installation, but over time it wears down to a silvery grey color. It's either installed as shingles or shakes. Unlike other roofing materials, it has a short lifespan and requires regular maintenance. It can handle wind all right, but it has low fire resistance unless treated with a retardant.
Concrete or Cement Tiles: $300 - $500 per square
Concrete or cement tiles can mimic the appearance of wood or ceramic tiles without being fragile or burning up during a fire. They last for a long time and don't require much maintenance, though they can be brittle and break during the installation proceed. They require reinforced structural framing during installation because of their weight. As such, they handle inclement climate conditions well, including fire and wind. They are also expensive to install because of their weight and the added structural material required.
Here is a chart with an overview of common roofing materials, their cost and lifespan:
MaterialsLifespan (in years)Cost per Square
Plastic Polymer50$400 - $650
Clay Tile50$800 - $1,000
Concrete Tile50$300 - $500
Slate75$1,100 - $2,000
Wood (cedar)15 - 25$350 - $450
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Other Cost Factors to Consider Before Installing a New Roof

When installing a roof, there are various other factors that play into the price of the roof. Some factors you should consider are:
  • Accessibility: If your roof is difficult to access, has power lines nearby or tree branches, the cost to install or replace a roof will increase.
  • Type of Home: The taller your house is, the more expensive it will be to replace the roof because of the danger involved with the height.
  • Structural issues: If the framework for the roof is damaged, you'll pay additional charges to have it repaired before installation proceeds.
  • Permits and licenses: The cost to obtain the proper licenses and permits could play into the total cost of your roofing installation.
Be sure you speak in-depth with several roofing contractors ahead of the project so you know exactly what you're paying for. Here are some other common factors to keep in mind before you proceed with a roof replacement or installation.

Re-Roofing vs. Roof Replacement

If you're replacing the roof on your home with a new roof, your estimate might need to factor in the price of removing your old shingles. In some cases, you can save money by installing the new shingle over the old ones, but that's not always an option. A new roof installed over the old one can become too heavy for the structure of the house. Plus if there are already multiple layers of shingles on the roof, not only is it a bad idea to install more shingles on top, but you may pay double the standard cost of removal.

Re-roofing is actually more expensive in most cases and problematic. It means added labor and disposing of the old roofing materials, which means paying more by the end of the project. The pitch and slope of the roof could also increase as a result. This could create a significant bump in your roofing. Finally, International Residential Code (R907.3)states that if you have two or more layers of roofing, you must remove them and start over. This protects your roof from potentially caving in on your home.

Gutter and Flashing Replacement

It may be a financially smart decision to pay extra to have your gutters and flashing installed or replaced along with your new roof. If your roofer is already doing the labor for the roof installation, the cost for gutter and flashing installation is often less than if you had them installed separately at a later date. So although your total costs will be higher, you will save money over doing the two jobs separately.

Warranties

You also need to factor in the warranties when installing your roof. There are two to keep in mind: the manufacturer's warranty for defects in material and another warranty from the roofing contractor to cover installation problems. Read them carefully to know what's covered or not. You don't want to pay for a lot of repairs and maintenance because the warranties don't cover what they should.

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