Roofs are so crucial that “having a roof over one’s head” is usually cited as a basic human need. And while a good roof can last several decades, no roof lasts forever. Whether your roof is just getting old or you start to notice sagging, drooping, or leaking—particularly around chimneys and skylights—it may be time to contact a roofing company to perform an inspection and get a roof estimate for a replacement.
Nearly all homeowners will face replacing a roof at one point or another, and it’s a costly project. Thus, it’s essential to research roof replacement costs before setting your budget. Of course, the shingles or other materials form a substantial part of the final price, but many other factors go into a new roof cost. We’ll look at some of those factors, compare repair and replacement costs, and address the possibility of doing the work yourself.
Roof Replacement Cost
The cost of a new roof depends significantly on where you live, the square footage of your home, and the roofing material you choose.
According to RoofingCalc, this is the usual price range for a new asphalt shingle roof on an average 2,000–2,200 square foot, two-story home.
Roof Cost by House Size
Since a larger roofing system means more materials and more work, larger homes will cost more. About 80% of roof replacement jobs with basic shingles will fall into the $4.50–$6 per-square-foot range. Here’s how that average price works out for various home sizes, again for asphalt shingles.
|House by Square Foot||Roof Cost|
Factors in Calculating Roof Replacement Costs
How much does a new roof cost? That depends on several different variables.
Types of Shingles or Other Materials
Perhaps the most significant single factor that goes into roofing costs that you, as the homeowner, control is the type of roofing material you choose. As already stated, asphalt or composite shingles are the most common because they’re inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install. However, there are differences even among this type of shingle, with basic three-tab shingles on the lower end and 30-year or 50-year premium architectural shingles on the high end. While premium shingles won’t last a full 50 years, they can last up to twice as long as basic shingles.
Tiles are another popular roofing material. The total cost of a tile roof will depend on what the tiles are made of, which may include ceramic, clay, metal, wood, synthetic wood, slate, or concrete.
- Steel and aluminum tiles are the least expensive, whereas clay tiles are often the most expensive.
- Slate roofing and concrete tiles are usually somewhere in the middle, though they’re heavy enough that your roof may require additional reinforcement.
- Wood shakes are slightly different from wood shingles in that they’re hand-split and have a rougher appearance; shakes are also more expensive than shingles.
You can also have an entire roof made of metal panels or sheeting. A metal roof may consist of aluminum, copper, standing seam panels, corrugated metal, steel, tin, or zinc. Corrugated steel and steel shingles are the least expensive of these options, and copper and zinc are by far the most expensive, though they have the best durability. Overall, a metal roof costs $1–$25 per square foot.
Flat roofs require specialized materials like ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) rubber, PVC, or TPO. While these materials may be cheaper, the labor to replace them usually costs a bit more, so the overall average cost tends to be more than asphalt shingles but less than metal, wood, or tile.
|Roofing Material||Cost per Square Foot (including installation)|
|Basic asphalt shingles||$4.25–$4.95|
|Architectural/premium asphalt shingles||$4.50–$8.25|
|Flat roofing materials (rubber, PVC, etc.)||$5.50–$7.50|
|Cedar shingles or shakes||$8–$14.30|
|Standing seam metal panels||$10–$17.05|
The typical breakdown of roofing costs is 40% for materials and 60% for labor, though the roofing materials you choose can also affect labor costs. Asphalt shingles will also typically save you money on labor since they’re the most popular and quickest material to install. Nearly all roofing contractors will have extensive experience with asphalt shingles. Other than material costs, you may incur additional installation costs if your home has three or more stories or the roof is steep or difficult to access. The more time-consuming or hazardous the job, the more it will cost.
Of course, your general geographic location and the cost of living will play into the cost of your roofing project. For example, if you live in an area that experiences severe weather, re-roofing will usually cost more because the job requires better materials and more precision. Since basic asphalt and composite shingles don’t tend to stand up to high winds, homeowners in these areas may need to opt for something like metal panels. Similarly, places that experience a great deal of rain or snowfall will require heavy-duty waterproof roofing.
Although costs will vary by other factors, here are some price comparisons for roofing costs in a few U.S. states.
|State||Average Roof Cost|
|California (Los Angeles)||$6,558–$8,476|
|New Jersey (Newark)||$6,675–$8,691|
A larger roof takes more time to replace. Materials and roofing prices are usually measured in roofing squares, which are 10’ by 10’ areas of 100 square feet. Note that including a roof’s pitch and overhang, a 1,000-square-foot house will typically have a roof of about 1,054 square feet. However, the costs given in this article take this factor into account.
Finally, the specific shape of your roof can also play a role. If the accessibility of your roof as a whole or the parts that need to be repaired or replaced is limited, a roofer will typically charge more for the job. Similarly, the project will be more expensive if the roof is steep or more than two stories off the ground.
Remember that unless your home is new construction, you’ll need to pay for removing the old roof. In most areas, roofers are prohibited from simply installing new shingles over the old shingles, so roofers must tear off everything down to the underlayment. Some sources find this the most challenging and costly part of the job, and it typically costs between $1 and $5 per square foot. If the roofing contractors identify damage underneath the old roof, they’ll need to repair it before proceeding.
The various features on your roof can also make replacement more or less complex and, therefore, costly. Chimneys, skylights, and other features represent potential weak points when it comes to leakage and thus require special materials and extra time to seal properly. Working around existing gutters also takes additional time, so you might consider replacing your gutter system at the same time as your roof.
Roof Replacement vs. Roof Repair
Since the cost of replacement is so steep, you may be wondering if you can get away with patching the leaks or replacing just a few shingles. In some cases, repair is the best course of action. You can usually repair the problem with your roof if:
- Your asphalt shingle roof is less than 10 years old.
- Your roof is made of a highly durable material like metal, slate, or tile.
- The damage is limited to a small or shallow area.
- You expect to live in your current home for a while, and you don’t feel the need for an upgrade for your own use.
However, roof repair is a temporary fix. Even if you’re not springing leaks faster than you can patch them, you may spend more overall on repairs and receive diminishing returns if your roof is in bad shape. It’s probably time for roof replacement if:
- Your asphalt shingle roof is more than 10–15 years old.
- The damage is severe (e.g., exposed decking, water underneath the moisture barrier).
- Your roof experiences actual structural failure.
- Severe weather (e.g., hurricane season, winter storms) is on the way.
- You want to add value to real estate that you expect to sell in the next few years.
- You want to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
A partial roof replacement represents a middle ground between repair and total replacement. If the damage to your roof is limited to one side of the house, partial replacement may be an option. However, consider your long-term budget, as replacing your roof in phases will cost more than a complete replacement performed at once. There may also be some cosmetic complications like shingles not lining up correctly.
DIY vs. Professional Roofer
While you might be able to patch the occasional leak on your own, DIY roof replacement isn’t recommended. Roofing is a dangerous job, even on a single-story home, since you’re working on a slanted surface, usually at least 10 feet off the ground. Professional roofers have substantial training, and most also have safety equipment like ropes and harnesses for working on steep roofs. Additionally, if there is substantial roof damage, your roof might not be safe to walk on, and you could do more damage to your home by attempting it.
Likewise, a professional roofing company will already have the tools needed to do the job. Roof installation requires tools like extension ladders, tear-off shovels, nail guns, air compressors, and more. Moreover, local roofing contractors will know how to meet local building codes, without which you could fail an inspection and face fines. Often, you won’t have the benefit of a warranty on the finished product if you do it yourself, and if you’re using your homeowners’ insurance, the insurance company almost certainly won’t reimburse you.
There’s much more to roofing than replacing shingles. You may have to tear out and put in new roof decking or install ice dams. Roof replacement is a highly skilled job that’s one of the most consequential home improvement projects you’ll encounter. It’s not a matter of watching a couple of YouTube videos and figuring it out as you go. Thus, we don’t recommend attempting full or partial roof replacement on your own. Instead, hire a licensed roofing contractor with substantial experience in the industry. It will be well worth the cost.
Although roof replacement is expensive, it’s also not a good place to cut corners in your home improvement budget. The integrity of the roof helps protect the integrity of the house as a whole, and if you opt for cheaper shingles or substandard installation, you might find yourself needing a new roof sooner than you expect. Often, you can get a substantial jump in quality with only a slight jump in price, so do your research and ask for estimates from several local contractors.
FAQs About New Roof Costs
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