Roofs perform such an essential function that "keeping a roof over your head" is synonymous with the very concept of shelter. When it comes to maintaining your investment, the smartest money you spend could be on a new roof.
Nationally, the average homeowner spends about $6,600 to install a new roof, with certain cities like Denver ($7,500) being higher than average, and others being below average like Austin, TX ($6,100). It's important to note that this price can fluctuate depending on many factors, including:
Pitch (steep roofs take a lot more time and materials to cover than a flat roof)
Type of application (how it's installed on your roof deck)
Number of layers (could involve taking off old layers, which takes more time)
Where you live (material prices and requirements by roofers vary by region)
Code requirements for your roof
If you have a lot of skylights, chimneys, plumbing pipes or other adornments that need to be addressed during the installation
So while a $13,000 roof might be high, understood that your roofer has a good reason. There is a lot of time, effort and equipment involved in keeping your roof up to snuff. What is outlined in this cost guide are some more in-depth prices to give you a more realistic sense of professional roof installation costs and what's involved in the process. Always be sure to get quotes from at least 3 to 4 roofers so you get a good range that's within $2,000 - $3,000. Never take the lowball bid!
If you don't need a new roof, then you may want to read this guide on roof repair costs. The rates and services of a handyman can vary widely depending on the market and handyman. A handyman (or handywoman) is a skilled generalist. Some jurisdictions require them to be licensed, but the term applies to a jack-of-all-trades who performs minor repairs or construction tasks on residential sites.
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New Roof Installation vs. Repair
Just because your roof springs a leak doesn't mean you need to call a roofing contractor right away. It's important to distinguish the cost of a new roof -- almost $6,500 on average -- versus the much more affordable $550 to repair a roof. There are situations where you should replace your roof though, including:
When it's near the end of its service life. Most roofs last for 20 to 25 years. If yours is near this age, have it inspected. Factors such as maintenance, material, ventilation and any previous repair or replacement can affect the life of your roof.
When there is extensive leaking. If you experience problems with multiple or extensive leaks, you might need to have your roof replaced instead of just repairing the leaks.
When you want to improve your home's curb appeal. You can recoup around 50 percent of your investment for a new roof that complements your home's architectural style.
That's when you need to think about getting the old roof off immediately and installing a new one. You should also think about installing a new roof if you want to be more eco-friendly, as with cool-roof technology that's sprung up the last couple of decades. It's a good way to save money and make a long-term investment that pays back to the environment and you. Here are some cases where you shouldn't replace your roof, though:
Loose or missing shingles --Keep a spare box of shingles handy to replace missing or damaged shingles. Gently pry up the overlapping shingles and nail the replacements down.
Dripping ceiling -- As long as there is no mold and your timbers aren't warping or breaking, this is a deceptively easy repair. If it's only just started, everything should dry out on its own. If it's been leaking for a while, you'll want to have a professional inspect and repair it.
Sagging gutters -- As rain gutters age and get loaded with debris, the mounts that support them can fail and cause the gutter lengths to sag. Some people just drill holes in the gutter to drain them, but this is worse than taking no action at all. To eliminate the problem, replace the sagging section of gutter or re-secure the mounts. Keep your gutters clean of debris to prevent the problem from recurring.
Damaged soffits -- Soffited gables, eaves, and overhangs are very susceptible to damage from ice dams, poor flashing, and damaged shingles. If you notice insects and other pests gathering around your soffits, call an exterminator even if you don't see the nest. Ice dams should be removed as soon as it's safe to do so to keep melted ice and snow from pooling on your roof.
Flashing -- Flashing around chimneys, vents and skylights can sustain damage during a wind storm, especially if the sealer fails. Just like shingles, flashing requires inspection after a big wind storm. Expansion and contraction from swings in the weather can also cause flashing to become loose, so if you live in an area where you experience hot summers and cold winters, regular inspection of the flashing will save you money.
New Roofing Costs: A Summary
So when you're getting an estimate from a roofer for your install or replacement project, it's important to know they're going to quote you on a "per square" basis. They will not invoice everything and itemize it. It will just be compiled into how much your project will cost per every square of material. What's involved in that quote are factors like:
The cost of the material
Accompanying materials for the end and beginning of the roof
Any protective elements (if you live in cold or hot climates)
Removal of waste materials
What that doesn't potentially cover are any hassles the roofer runs into during the project. That could be problems with your ventilation, gutters, chimneys, etc. That could drive up the cost of the project. When they do a walkabout on your roof, they probably will be able to point out any problems and reassess the quote based on what they will have to do. For example, if you have a 24-square roof that needs to be covered, you might get a quote initially that says $3,000 when you speak to them on the phone. Then after closer inspection, the quote could go up to between $6,000 and $8,000. This could be due to a number of reasons, like:
Your chimney and skylight have leaks or problems with their flashing that need to be addressed.
You have too many layers of shingles already, and one will need to be removed.
Your roof is particularly steep and takes more time, despite it being the same square footage as a roof of a different pitch.
Ranch style: this roof is very simple and straightforward, so less expensive to roof.
Colonial: has a few slopes but isn't too hard to roof.
Tudor: Has many slopes, eaves and can be problematic to roof, so it's very expensive in comparison to other types.
Roofers will explain there will be an overhead cost when they give you the quote though, so you should budget additional funds just in case.
Ready to get a new roof? Contact a roofer today.
Shingle Types and Quality
Shingles are considered one of the most popular and commonly used materials on roofs across the United States. Although "shingle roof" often conjures up images of a typical asphalt shingle roof, the fact is that unless your roof features a single piece of material that caps the building, it falls under the category of a "shingle" roof. Your shingles might be made of asphalt, clay, slate, wood or metal. The right choice for your home depends on your tastes and your budget for both installation and maintenance. You can also get impact-resistant shingles, which come in various material types. If you decide to invest in impact-resistant shingles, know that they:
Provide roof deck protection
Defenses against leaks
Increased energy efficiency
Decrease the risk of blow-off during inclement weather
Enhance the beauty of a home
Here is more information on different shingle types, their pros and cons and how much they cost:
Asphalt Shingles -- These are the most common type of roofing material in America. They are generally light and are easily installed by the average home handyman, and they cost less than other option. They used to be regarded as not recyclable, but new advances in recycling technology have made recycling asphalt more cost-effective. Many DIYers include working with asphalt shingles among their abilities.
Cost: A DIY asphalt roof installation on a standard ranch-style house costs from $680 to $3,700, depending on the size of the roof and the quality of the materials. Professional installation can cost between $1,700 and $8,400.
Wood Shake -- This is a gorgeous but high-maintenance option. An all-natural material, wood shake deteriorates faster and is prone to fire. Unless treated, they are also attractive to invasive insects and mold. For sheer looks, though, they're hard to beat. Also, someone who is handy with wood-working can often make replacement shingles themselves.
Cost: A natural wood shake roof can cost $6,800 to $20,000. For better fire protection, simulated wood shake made of recycled rubber or plastic runs from $12,600 to $18,900.
Metal -- Metal roofs are probably the longest lasting of all of the roof types. More people are discovering that a metal roof can be as beautiful as any other kind of roof on the market and is impervious to the conditions that could ruin other materials. Their high cost makes them attractive to homeowners who intend to stay in their home for long periods of time.
Cost: Steel roofs cost from $5,100 to $22,000. Aluminum is lighter-weight and costs from $11,900 to $24,200. Copper features a lovely color when well-maintained and can also look beautiful when a light patina is allowed to form on it. The average copper roof cost ranges from $25,500 to $39,600.
Tile -- Tiles are often quite easy to replace if they get damaged. The other nice thing about tile is that it can be formed into custom shapes and colors.
Cost: Concrete tiles are long-lasting and can cost from $7,650 to $21,000. Tiles are also available in ceramics and cost around $11,900. Customizations increase the price, however, and range in cost from $17,000 to $60,000.
Slate -- Slate is very long-lasting as well, and many prefer it over metal for its natural look. It is a popular choice for larger houses of about 3,000 square feet.
Cost: A 2,000 square foot home will cost from $17,000 to $84,000 to roof in slate. If 3,000 square feet or more, cost can range from $27,000 to $120,000, depending on the site location and the complexity of the job. A synthetic slate made from recycled rubber and plastic can be had for $11,900 to $18,900 to cover a 2,000 square foot house, and for $21,000 to $27,000 for a 3,000 square foot house.
The removal of an old roof can cost from $3 to $5 per square foot. By-the-hour the charges can run from $40 to $80 per hour. A basic ranch-style home, for example, might run from $510 to $1,100 or higher depending on the type of material being removed, the remoteness of the job site, the complexity of the job, and the workload. Also, if you have rotting timbers or need new supports for a heavier roof, you can expect to pay an extra $1,000 to $10,000, depending on what sort of repair or reinforcement it requires.
Gutter and Flashing Replacement
When replacing your roof, you should also inspect your flashing and gutters. Worn or corroded flashing is a common failure point in roofs. If they peel up, corrode or crack, they allow water underneath your shingles and into your ceiling. Since the leaks usually start small, molds builds up in the warmth of your attic. Some of these molds are deadly, especially to people with compromised immune systems. Failing gutters can let mold spread to your roof by collecting water and wet debris along your roof line. Also, they can let water spill out and pool up by your foundation, which will lead to mold and to the deterioration of your walls and foundation.
As you remove your tiles, take care around the flashing. If it's in good shape, you don't want to have to replace it. Gently pry it up and set it aside somewhere safe. Take special care by step flashing, flashing that abuts a wall such as around a chimney. This flashing is interwoven with the shingles and should be removed very carefully if it's in good shape. What you're looking for with flashing are:
Rust. Rust is a sign of moisture such as rain getting through and corroding the metal. This weakens the flashing's' attachment to the roof and causes it to lift, taking any surrounding shingles with it.
Cracking. Cracking is usually caused by stress, such as high winds. While the intact parts may still be securely attached to the roof, the crack itself can let water in.
Excessive amount of sealant. Excessive sealer around flashing indicates that there was a past problem that wasn't repaired correctly. Ignoring this can only lead to bigger problems later on, so remove this flashing and throw it out.
If your roof features two angles that join and form a valley, there will be flashing here as well. This valley flashing should be replaced regardless of what shape it's in. When it's removed it is very susceptible to forming bends, warps and kinks. Replacing it correctly is more trouble than it's worth. Since it handles a constant flow of water during the rainy season, it probably has significant corrosion or cracks, and replacing it can only help the new roof.
Cost of Flashing:
Flashing usually costs about $5 per square foot when bought in sheets. These are commonly applied around vents. A 75-foot roll of fully-adhered flashing tape sells for about $25 and is normally used around odd angles or unusual shapes. Pre-shaped vent flashing costs from $10 to $20 each.
Gutters are a big sticking point for home maintenance in general. Keeping them clean is not a popular task, but it's a smart investment (see how much it costs to clean gutters). They are a critical part of keeping your home as trouble-free as possible. They channel rainwater and runoff from ice and snow away from your walls and foundation. If you replace your roof without replacing failing gutters, you've only solved part of the problem. Usually, by the time your roof needs replacing, the gutters need it as well. Sagging gutters can usually be re-hung. Vinyl gutter hangers cost as little as $1.72 each and help restore your gutters to their proper angle. This keeps runoff flowing in the correct direction. Sometimes a sagging gutter has been "fixed" by drilling holes in the bottom to let the trapped water out. This defeats the whole purpose of a gutter by dropping the water down right where it would have fallen had the gutter not been there. This installed section of gutters needs to be replaced entirely.
Cost of Gutters:
A 10-foot length of durable vinyl gutter should cost around $4. If it's a section that uses end caps, the caps cost about $5 each. They are usually specific to the manufacturer due to particular shapes of the gutters. If you need a new downspout to guide the water, purchase a 10-foot downspout pipe for around $9. The elbow needed to send the water away from your foundation costs about $2.50, with a small extension at the bottom costing around $6.
Roof Fascia and Soffits
When it's time to replace your roof, take a look at the fascia and soffits. Fascia is the vertical edging that conceals the edges of the trusses and rafters. Soffits are a ventilated feature that helps your attic space exhaust warm air.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is sometimes called "gingerbread" when it features a decorative edge because it calls to mind gingerbread houses and other fairy-tale homes. It helps protect the beams from exposure to the elements. Fascia that shows signs of cracking and splintering should be replaced immediately. This not only helps it in its original job of protecting the beams, but it also helps prevent it from coming loose and falling on someone. Because of the protected space the fascia forms around the beams, insects and some birds also find it attractive as a place to build their own homes. Be careful when inspecting the fascia because the most common insects to occupy this space include hornets and black widows!
Replacing gingerbread fascia involves matching the decorative pattern. It may have to be custom cut. If you're a woodworker, this can be a reward unto itself. If you're not, you may have to replace the entire fascia with something less fancy. Replacing fascia usually involves nailing cedar boards to the ends of the rafters. This replacement falls into two camps. One side of the argument is that 1x6 cedar boards contour to the normally uneven rafters. The other side of the argument says that the 2x6 cedar boards will not contour and will provide a more even appearance. The problem with this second camp is that the straight board will not be attached properly to the rafters. Therefore, your best bet is to install a wavy "sub-fascia" with a 1x6, then apply an "appearance-fascia" with a 2x6. If possible, replace your entire fascia to maintain a uniform appearance.
1x6 inch x 8 foot cedar board - $7.35 each
2x6 inch x 8 foot cedar board - $10.77 each
What are Soffits?
A soffit is a ceiling-like feature under a roof's overhang. They are usually ventilated to help non-livable attic space move warm air and moisture. A good soffit takes in cooler air from the ground and circulates it into the attic while warm, moist air escapes through roof vents. A well-ventilated attic is often 30 percent cooler than a non-ventilated one, which helps lower utility bills because you use your air conditioning less. Soffit vents often get clogged by dust and debris, but more frequently suffer clogs and damage when insects build their nests over them. Excessive painting can also restrict the airflow through a soffit vent. Some soffits are made of wood, while others are made of aluminum or vinyl. The constant exchange of warmth and moisture can cause the wood to rot, the aluminum to weaken, or the vinyl to crack. Aside from wood rot, the failure point of most soffit vents is improper installation or an inadequate number of vents. When replacing your roof, be sure that felt or insulation doesn't cover the vents. This is also a good time to make sure you have enough soffit vents. The recommended amount is one square foot of intake and exhaust for every 300 square feet of attic space.
Cost of Soffits:
A soffit vent itself costs very little -- about $2 to $4 each. Some soffits are continuous, meaning that instead of a series of panels with a vent every few feet, they form an entire ventilated strip. These "continuous soffits" usually sell in packs of 50 with each one measuring 2 inches by 8 feet. A pack of aluminum continuous soffits can cost $150 to $200. Soffits are also available as individual panels with soffits in one end and a solid support going to the wall. These are usually sold in 12-foot by one-foot panels and cost about $22 each.
How Much Roofing Do I Need?
The best way to measure your roof is to climb up and take measurements. There are methods to measure from the ground, but the estimates on these measurements leave a lot of room for error and don't take into account features such as dormers and non-standard shapes. If you are uncomfortable climbing onto your roof, a contractor would be able to provide the service for a fee. A good friend with a head for basic math and a lack of fear of heights makes a cheaper alternative.
Gabled roof: The measurements are easy. A gabled roof is one where only two opposite sides slope downward. If they have no dormers or other features, it's merely a matter of measuring the length and width of each side. Multiply the length and width per side and then add the two numbers together.
Rectangle: length x width = area
Hipped roof: This features downward slopes all around the house. These measurements become trickier because there are no definitive square sections. The shorter sides of the roof are triangular, while the larger sides are trapezoidal. Measuring the triangular hips is a simple calculation: multiply the base by the height, then divide the result in half. Use one of two options to determine the area of the trapezoid. You can divide the trapezoid into three parts by measuring it as a rectangle with two triangles at either end, then add the results. This can lead to small errors, however, so the recommended method is to measure the two parallel sides (called the bases) and add them together, dividing the result by two. Multiply this result by the height of the trapezoid to calculate the square footage.
Triangle: (base x height / 2 = area
Trapezoid: ((base 1 + base 2) / 2) x height = area
Domed roof: The math gets harder with this type of roofing, and you may want to have a professional measure it. However, for a basic, spherical (non-ellipsoid) dome, multiply the radius of the base times itself, multiply the height of the base times itself, and add these two figures together. Now multiply the result by pi (3.14).
Spherical dome: 3.14 x (base2 + height2)
If your dome is ellipsoid it's best to have a professional take the measurements as the factors influencing the result are many.
Additional Factors to Remember:
Measure features such as dormers separately. If the roof over the dormer is triangular, simply use the triangle formula above. If it extends out a little, essentially forming a rectangle with one slanted side, measure it in two pieces as a rectangle and a triangle. The area is small enough that a little room for error won't increase your budget by much.
When calculating your roof's area, do not subtract for flashing, skylights, or other such features. The areas these take up are minimal, so unless you have something extreme such as one skylight every 100 square feet, ignore them.
Use a calculator. If you are unsure of your basic math skills, there are plenty of online calculators to make sure you arrive at the correct answer.
Calculate how many squares you'll need. After you take your measurements, there is one more calculation you must perform: determine how many squares your roof takes up. A square equals 100 square feet. Roofing materials are usually sold by the square, so take your square footage and divide it by 100, rounding up if you must. This result is the total square of your roof.
If this sounds overwhelming, hire a roofer to make it easy from start to finish.