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The Cost of a New Roof in 2019

The roof is the essential element on a home that keeps everyone protected, and helps to maintain the structural integrity of the home over time. While replacing a roof can seem like a large sum of money, it is a great investment that pays off in the long run. The average cost of putting on a new roof is between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot, and the average size of a roof is 1,700 square feet. That puts the average cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,500. There are, of course, many factors that go into the overall cost of a new roof, but these figures give you a ballpark idea of what to expect.

Cost to Reroof a House

The size and pitch of a roof both contribute to the overall cost of the project. The bigger the roof and the steeper the pitch, the more money it is going to cost. Another factor that goes into the overall cost is how the installation of the roof is done. Some contractors will give the option to put the new shingles right over the existing ones. While this can be an option, it is often not a good one due to the fact that the old shingles could be covering some weak areas of the roof deck that need to be repaired. In most cases, the old shingles will be torn off and the new ones put down. Metal roofs, however, can be installed right over the existing shingles. This can save some money on labor costs because the tear off and disposal of old shingles can be time consuming. Each home can also have unique features like skylights, and a variety of vents and chimneys. Each of these structures requires proper flashing material to be installed as water likes to leak in around anything that provides an opening to the roof. The more structures there are to work around, the more time will be put into the job and that will cause the overall cost to increase a bit.

The prices quoted in the opening paragraph referred to cost per square foot, but many contractors are going to quote a “price per square”. A “square” is considered to be an area of 100 square feet. When you are getting quotes from a qualified and professional contractor, everything that needs to be done to complete a square will be included in the quote. For example, the price of the shingles, any underlayment material like ice and water shield, removal of the old shingles and other waste, and the cost of labor should all be wrapped into the quote. It is advisable to get an itemized quote to ensure that you understand what elements went into the final number.

The cost per square just for the roofing materials can have a wild range depending on the type of materials that are used. The following price estimates will be based on a roof that is 17 square or 1,700 square feet in area. For typical asphalt shingles, the cost would be around $2,500. A galvanized steel metal roof would come in around $3,000, and a slate roof could go all the way to $20,000. One of the most expensive roofing materials available is copper and that could range upwards of $25,000 to complete the project. Having an understanding of the cost of materials is good, but it is also vital to know that about 40% of the cost of the project will be for materials and the other 60% will be spent on labor.

The removal of the old roofing material, which will be done in most cases, is going to account for a portion of the overall cost of the project. A basic tear off where the contractor doesn’t run into any unusual issues will cost somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500. If the roofers run into some rotting roof material or other structural issues, then that cost will obviously go up due to the increased time the crew will have to spend on the job. You could try to remove the shingles yourself and save some money, but you really need to know what your doing to effectively tear off the material. The labor to tear off the shingles is the largest portion of the labor cost, but having a trained professional do the work is always the safest bet. The labor on a project is going to be where you spend the most money. Take some time to interview potential contractors, review their references and check on some of their past work to make sure there haven’t been any major issues.

Given all of these cost factors, the table below gives some estimates on how much the overall cost would be to reroof a home in 2019. The numbers in the table are based on the installation of architectural shingles on a single story modestly sloped roof.

Total Square Footage of Home Cost Estimate
1,200 $5,500
1,500 $6,750
1,800 $8,100
2,000 $9,000
3,000 $13,600


The Cost of Shingles

Shingles are by far the most popular option for roofs in the United States, but there are many different types of shingles that can be installed on homes. The type of shingle often coincides with the geography of the area you are living in. There are many more tile roofs, for example, in the Southwest United States, and many more asphalt shingles in the Midwest. Wood, slate and metal shingles are also available, and each one has a particular cost range that comes with it. Each type of shingle also has a different expected longevity. Metal roofs and clay or tile roofs tend to have a very long life if they are properly maintained. Asphalt shingles, by comparison, typically need to be replaced every 20-30 years depending on the quality, and the weather conditions the shingles have to endure. The cost estimates used so far in this article have been based on the typical asphalt shingle. Here are a few other estimates to give you some options to compare.

  • Asphalt shingles
    • Cost estimate would be in the range of $7,500
    • This is the most common type of shingle
    • These shingles are lightweight and easy to install
    • This is the best option if you plan on doing the work yourself
  • Wood Shakes
    • Cost estimate would be in the range of $15,000
    • This is an all natural shingle that gives a home a unique and beautiful appearance
    • These require a great deal of maintenance to keep them in good shape over time
    • Some sort of treatment is required to resist insects and mold
  • Metal Roofing
    • Cost estimate would be in the range of $8,500
    • There are many colors and styles to choose from
    • This a great long term option for roofing material that would need to replaced much less frequently
    • These roofs are good for a wide range of climates
  • Tile Roofing
    • Cost estimate would be in the range of $12,500
    • The most common material used for this roof is clay, but there are concrete options as well
    • There is a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from with tile roofs
    • This type of roof has great longevity
    • Individual tiles are fairly easy to repair and replace

Other Cost Factors with a New Roof

 An initial quote from a contractor is only going to include the aspects of the project that are visible at the time of the quote. There are other portions of a job that might come up once the work has started, and that would likely lead to the overall cost of the project increasing. Chimneys and skylights have flashing around them. That flashing is put in place to keep water out, but these areas on a roof are very susceptible to water leaks. Once a contractor gets the project underway, if a leak is found in these areas, the affected portions of the roof would be repaired or replaced, and new flashing installed.

The pitch of the roof will have an impact on the amount of work that needs to be done. Ranch style homes that have much less pitch to the roof require less time for contractors to reroof. A colonial style home, by contrast, has a few more slopes and peaks. These changes in the pitch of the roof also create more valleys. Valleys typically need to have more underlayment material installed because they are spots that tend to have more ice and water gather and pool in. A tudor style home that has a great deal of peaks and valleys, and also some unique architectural features creates a great deal more work when compared to a ranch style home.

The decking material that makes up the base of the roof has to be thoroughly inspected when the old roofing material is taken off. Any weak spots, or signs of water damage need to be replaced. Depending on the location and the extent of the issue, this can lead to a lot of time added to the scope of project. Hours that are added to make sure the decking material is sound will again add to the overall cost of the project. While repairing the deck surface can cause the overall cost to go up, it is a vital step to ensure that the roof has integrity and will last as long as it is supposed to last. Most of the time the old roofing material is fairly straightforward to remove, but as stated earlier, this is the most time consuming part of the job. If the old roof was improperly installed, the removal process can become more complicated and time consuming.

Another aspect to the overall roofing project is to consider the gutters that are on the home. In most cases, the gutters need to be removed and then reinstalled so that the contractors can properly complete the edge of the roof. If there is any damage to the gutters, that is another item that could increase the overall cost of the project. When putting on a new roof, it is a good time to consider new gutters as well if they need to be replaced. Putting on new gutters will likely cost around $1,000, but that can fluctuate depending on the type of gutter and if any type of covering is installed over the gutter. In areas where a lot of debris goes into the gutters each year, having a cover system installed is well worth the money. These covers can save you the time and effort of cleaning the gutters each year.

The bottom line when getting a quote from a contractor is to realize that there may be some unexpected expenses that pop up along the way. You need to make sure that you build a cushion into your budget to account for this. The worst case scenario is that you set aside extra money for any budget overages and you don’t need it. That just leaves you with money that you can put right back into the bank, or invest in some other aspect of your home.

A part of many homes that has not been discussed yet is the garage. If you have a detached garage that is not part of the main home, it is a good idea to keep that roof maintained on the same schedule as your home. Garages come in many different sizes and styles just like homes, and the cost to reroof will vary depending on a few key factors. When you are putting a new roof on your garage, it is also a good time to reassess the venting and insulation that is currently in place. If upgrades to either of those areas are needed, taking care of it during the roof replacement project would be the most cost effective time to do it.

The cost to reroof a garage will typically fall somewhere in the $2,000 range. More people are putting metal roofs on their garages because of the long lasting nature of this material. Even if your home isn’t getting a metal roof, putting one on the garage can be a great option.

If you live in a townhouse, there are some other factors to consider during a roofing project. Most townhomes belong to a homeowners association. There are usually funds set aside from the monthly dues that are collected specifically for maintenance like a roofing project. It is also very likely that if your home needs a roof replacement, then the homes that you are connected to need it as well. Homeowners associations would be wise to get as many homes done at once as possible to take advantage of the same contractor doing the work. This will ensure the same level of quality in the workmanship, and the same materials being used to keep the look of the homes consistent. It would be rare that owners would need to put up more money than what is coming out of the HOA dues, but make sure to attend any meetings that discuss the project, or read any literature that is sent out to owners.

Repair vs Replacement

Keeping the roof of your home in good shape is vital, but that doesn’t mean that you have to immediately jump to a full roof replacement at the first sign of an issue. The best way to assess whether or not the roof needs to be replaced or just repaired is to do a full inspection of the roof. This is something that you can do yourself, but hiring someone to do the work saves you the risks associated with being on a roof. In either case, a full walk around on the roof with pictures to document the condition of the roof is very helpful. If there is an isolated area on the roof that is leaking or is damaged from ponding water or ice, then a repair could be done. If the entire roof is showing signs of aging, then there are likely going to be too many spots to patch up and a full replacement is the best way to go. If you do move forward with a roof repair, just understand that once the entire roof is ready to replaced, that repaired spot will get replaced as well. The cost savings of a repair compared to a full replacement should be significant (likely thousands of dollars) so it is worth exploring.

You may also be considering doing the entire roofing project on your own. While this would save some money, there are a few things to really think about before making this decision. Hiring a licensed contractor to do the work will ensure that the proper materials are ordered, that the materials are at the job site on time, that unexpected problems are handled properly, and that the necessary safety considerations are taken.

How Much Does the Removal of the Roof Cost?

This is a question that often comes up, because this is the stage that a great deal of time gets put into. The overall cost of removing a roof really depends on the material that is being removed. Slate and tile roofs can take more time because the shingles can often be reused for other projects. Rather than just adding to already overcrowded landfills, these materials can be saved and repurposed. Keeping pieces intact takes more time, and that can drive up the cost a bit. The other factor with slate and tile roofs is the weight of the material. These shingles are heavier than asphalt so they need to be removed from the roof in smaller quantities, which again, adds to the overall time for the project. The typical cost for removal of slate or tile will be in the neighborhood of $150 per square.

Removing panels from a metal roof has a cost that is very similar to the slate or tile roofs. This project can go faster at times because contractors are able to work on larger sections of the roof at once, but all of the panels need to be taken off the roof to inspect the underlayment material, and the roof decking. Metal roofs will last a long time, but there are a few upgrades they can receive along the way. One of those is to increase the soundproofing of the roof. Older metal roofs likely didn’t have much in the way of soundproofing, so that is a more modern upgrade that can be added. In other cases, the roof might just need a refresh in terms of the look. You can consider painting the roof panels rather than replacing them. Painting a metal roof can give the home a whole new look, and the cost will come in around $2,500.

Replacing a roof may seem like a costly and daunting project, but if you are prepared for the process it can be much less intimidating. Start out by knowing the overall size of your roof. This requires you to figure out the surface area which can be done from inside by looking at the attic ceiling. Know what type of material you want to put on the roof and compare the costs of those. Figure out how much money you have set aside, or how much you are comfortable borrowing for the project. Remember to factor in some money for unexpected expenses as well. Have multiple contractors come out to give quotes, and don’t feel obligated to go with anyone just because they spent time giving you a quote. Ask each contractor for their license number and then verify that it is valid. Ask each contractor for references and then contact those people to see what their experience was like. Taking these simple steps can help you be more prepared and confident going into a project of this magnitude. Money that is put into a new roof is always going to be worth it if you hire a reputable contractor. The roof is vital to the overall health of the home, and it needs to be properly maintained over time.



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