How Much Does A New Roof Cost: Complete Breakdown (Helpful Tips)

The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is about 20 years, although the period might change due to climate factors, including heavy winds and high humidity. An aged roof can reduce the value of your property and lead to several side effects such as poor ventilation and high energy bills. The best way to prevent those side effects is to replace the roof. So, how much does a new roof cost?

Here’s what I know from inspecting thousands of roofs:

The surface of a roof is measured in squares. Most roofs in the United States are about 1,700 square feet or 17 squares. Contractors charge $3.5 to $5.5 per square foot. A 1,700 square foot roof will therefore cost about $5,950 to $9,350. 

However, the cost of repair will also depend on several other factors. In this article, we’ll explore the price of a new roof or repairs. 

How Do I Estimate The Cost Of A New Roof?

As we have stated in our estimates in the introduction, the low and high ranges for roof replacement seem miles apart. It can be attributed to the various factors that come into play when determining a quote. It isn’t as simple as buying a specific number of shingles or taking a measurement. 

So, what drives the cost of a new roof? 

Here are the factors you have to consider when estimating the cost of a new roof:

Material Costs

Shingles come to our minds when we think of what is used to make a roof. 

However, what we aren’t aware of is that a new roof requires additional materials. The materials include ridge vents, flashing, ice & water shield, underlayment, and plywood. You should include all these features in the warranty and project quote. 

And even though asphalt shingles form the most popular roofing materials in the United States, you still have several options. If you go for metal, tile, wood, or any other material, your price could go down or up.

Installation And Labor Costs

Installing roofs is a dangerous and challenging task. The construction industry is suffering from a shortage of professional and skilled workers willing to fix roofs. 

A study commissioned by The Roofing Alliance concluded that 90% of the United States roofing contractors encountered labor shortages last year. There is no argument that this is set to raise the prices.

Pitch Of The Roof

The pitch of the roof represents its incline or slope. It represents the number of inches the roof rises vertically for each horizontal foot. For instance, a roof that increases six feet for each horizontal foot has a 4:12 pitch. 

As per the Omni Calculator, there are at least four different types of roof pitches: 

  • Flat roofs: The roofs have a pitch range of ½: 12 to 2:12, which translates to 4.2% to 16.7%. The roofs are cheaper since they are easier and safer to install.
  • Low-pitched roofs: They have a pitch of 4:12 which translates to 33.3%. They are still walkable and cost more than flat roofs. 
  • Conventional roofs: These roofs have a pitch range of 4:12 to 9:12, translating from 33.3% to 75%. The roofs are safer to walk on. They are also easier to construct. 
  • High-pitched roofs: These roofs have a pitch of 21:12, which translates to 175%. The roofs are expensive due to added precautions and equipment. 

A steep roof draws more charges due to added safety measures such as harnesses that you should wear. It also slows the installation process since they aren’t walkable. 

Height Of The Roof

Even if you develop a roof with a walkable pitch, its height from the ground influences its overall costs. The higher the roof, the more the cost since complex equipment is required for installation. 

For instance, installation tasks require you to have a 40’ or 50’ ladder for installation purposes. The installation personnel will also demand more pay for added installation difficulties and danger. 

A roof is considered high if it has its gutter line at least 15 feet from the ground. 

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Unknown Wood Costs

You won’t be aware of what you’re going into buying and replacing a new roof until the project starts. You’ll know and feel the costs after you have peeled off the old roof in most cases. 

At least an underlayer of sheathing or decking in all roofs offers a foundation for shingles or other roofing materials. If the wood you used has rotten due to exposure to moisture, you should replace it. It’ll therefore automatically drive the cost of replacement up. 

For instance, since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in 2020, the price of lumber has risen by about 188%.

Roof Layers

A critical step in roof replacement and repair is the removal of old layers. This involves an inspection of the decking for any rot or water damage before installing the new roof.

If a roof has many added layers, you require more labor to remove them, increasing the overall labor costs. The additional weight from the layers will also increase the cost of disposing and removing shingles, especially if you use a commercial dumpster on your job site. 

However, we discourage you from installing a new roof over old layers to save the cost. Always ensure that all layers are removed before you install a new roof. 

If you overlay a roof, it will reduce the new roof’s life by about 50% and, at the same time, negate the manufacturer’s warranty. Most reputable contractors don’t do overlays. 

The Coronavirus Premium

COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the price of almost everything, roofing prices included. Many owners decided to do renovations on their houses while manufacturers laid off their workers. 

The shortage of supplies and ramped-up demand led to the prices of raw materials spiking. According to Jewell estimates, the prices of materials have gone up at least 10-14%. It means that construction that employs wood will be more costly compared to one year ago. The price of plywood has shot up more than that of shingles. 

What Is The Price Of A New Roof In My Area?

The roofing materials available on the market cost $100 – $1,000 per square. For a roof with an average size of 17 squares, roofing material costs typically between $2,500 to $25,000.

MaterialCost for 17 squares
Slate/Stone$20,000
Stainless steel$14,000
Galvanized steel$3,000
3-tab asphalt shingles$2,500
Copper$25,000+

However, you should be aware that the breakdown for most projects is 60% labor and 40% products. More about the available options and their prices, pros, and cons can be found in the roofing cost guide

Labor Cost Per Square Feet 

The cost of labor for roof-related tasks ranges between $1.50 to $3 per square foot. However, the price depends on the condition of the structure and the product you’re installing. 

Like we have mentioned above, overhead and labor take up 60% of the project. For instance, if your project costs $100,000, at least $60,000 will go to overhead and labor. 

A roofing square is made up of one hundred square feet. The rate per square involves all relevant factors: 

  • Labor
  • Supplies
  • Available protective elements
  • Waste removal
  • The price of shingles

Cost To Replace And Tear Off Roof

You will incur about $1 to $5 to remove an old roof per square foot. A complete job for most roofs will cost between $1,000 to $1,500. Some contractors prefer hourly charges, ranging between $40 to $80 each hour. 

If your roof has rooting timber or requires extra support for heavier material, there is an additional $1,000 – $10,000 that you must pay. However, the actual value depends on the type of reinforcement and repair you require. 

However, the rate you’ll be charged will fluctuate depending on the workload, location, material, and complexity. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or as a contractor, removing old shingles is the most challenging task. 

However, pros usually do the work efficiently and safely. You can explore more about shingle removal tips to understand more. 

How Long Do Residential Roofs Last?

The materials used in making the roof determine its lifespan. The cost of a new roof also depends on what it is made of. That’s why it’s crucial to select your roof carefully. 

Here are some of the most common roof materials used in the US:

Asphalt Shingles

There are so many homes in the United States that use asphalt shingles for roofing. However, these roofs have two types:

  • Three-tab shingles: These roof types are designed with three 12”-wide tabs. They are rated to operate in 60 mph winds and have a lifespan of 25 years
  • Dimensional or Architectural shingles: These shingles have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. They are designed for 110 mph winds. They have a dimensional and contoured style that emulates the look of wood-shake roofs. 

These roofs are easy to repair, fairly inexpensive, and aesthetically pleasing. However, they can be damaged by hail. 

Their average cost is between $5,281 to $10,795. 

Metal 

There are at least 28% of metal roof installs in the United States. Metal roofs are designed for 140 mph winds. If the roof is installed well, it can last for over 50 years. However, manufacturers guarantee 20-25 years

These roofs cost between $5,228 to $14,589. They come in two types which include: 

  • Screw down: These roofs have exposed fasteners that come with rubber gaskets.
  • Standing seam: The roofs are developed from interlocking panels, and fasteners are concealed.

Clay And Concrete Tile

There aren’t many concrete or tile roofs. These roofs cost almost the same as metal roofs and are aesthetically appealing. However, their main challenge is that your home structure should be firm to support the heavyweight. 

If you install these kinds of roofs well, they can last even for 100 years. The good thing is that these roofs are easy to repair. They cost an average of $7,874 to $23,076. 

Flat Or Modified Bitumen Roof

These types of roofs are used in flat roofing applications. It means that they are more effective if your roof has a pitch of about 1-3:12. 

The roofs come with a cap sheet and base sheet. Manufacturers offer a 15-year warranty on these roofs. Their estimated cost is between $3,134 to $9,364. 

Rubber (TPO)

TPO is also designed for flat roofs. They are developed from thermoplastic polyolefin, which is a synthetic rubber material. 

These types of roofs are used mainly for commercial roofs. However, they are gaining ground in residential roofs. They are repairable and have a manufacturer warranty of 20 years. However, it has higher prices than modified bitumen

The cost of a new roof is between $6,000 to $18,000. 

Why Is Roofing So Expensive?

Materials and labor are the factors that make roofing expensive. But, make no mistake, using substandard materials and not hiring a professional could actually lead to more expenses.

A roof is an essential element of a house since it keeps you from harmful weather changes such as rain or hail storms. If you want to maintain your investment, you should spend your money smartly on your roofing project. 

Even though paying between $5,000 to $10,000 for roof replacement may look high, there is undoubtedly a good reason for such an action. You should spend a lot of effort, equipment, and time to keep your installation up to standard. 

If you want to replace your roof, you should get quotes for at least three to four professionals to get an accurate range.

You can also hire a roof inspector at the rate of about $125 to $325 to check whether you need to replace your roof. That way, you won’t actually have to spend so much on replacing the roofing when all it needs is minor repairs.

If you want to get a deep insight into a complete roof replacement, you should check out this roof repair guide. The services and rates differ depending on the type of handyman and market. 

In most cases, the cost of reroofing averages about $8,362. The labor you will be paying for involves making spot repairs on underlying shingles, installing new shingles, and removing the existing shingles. 

Asphalt and tiles are the most common roofing materials in the industry. They are developed using oil, clay, and concrete. Therefore, a rise in the prices of oil can affect the prices of asphalt shingles. 

The cost of disposing of old damaged and old materials has also increased in recent years. 

How Do You Know When The Roof Needs Replacing?

Focus on the following signs to know when your roof needs replacing:

  • Check if your roof is approaching its average lifespan.
  • Replace the roof when shingles start to curl.
  • You should make a replacement when the whole shingles go missing.
  • Replace when the shingles crack.
  • Replace when you notice granules in the gutter. 
  • The shingles are covered with algae or moss.
  • Replace when the attic lets light through.
  • The roof is sagging.

You can also determine if a roof needs replacing through the type of material. Different roofing materials have different lifespans. The price of a new roof depends highly on the type of roofing material you choose.

Conclusion

Since a roof is a long-term investment, you should invest in a quality and strong roof. Surprisingly, most roofs are quite affordable!

60% of your roofing expenses go to labor, while 40% goes to the materials used.

Hiring a professional is something you should not neglect, as this can actually ensure your roofing replacements are installed properly.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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