Professional roofers can help when it’s time to replace a leaking or damaged residential or commercial roof. Roof replacement is important general maintenance that ultimately protects a home or other building’s underlying structure. Most roofers frequently install new asphalt shingle, tile, concrete, slate, metal, rubber and wood shake roofs.
The size of a roof is actually larger than the square footage of a house. Roofs are measured in 100 square foot blocks called "squares." According to Sean Shapiro of Reliant Roofing in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, “The typical 2,200-square-foot home usually requires 3,500 square feet (or 35 squares) of roofing material. This extra accounts for the patio, covered entryways, a two-car garage, the gables, the pitch of the roof and how ‘cut up’ the roof design is.” Several key factors affect the cost of having a roof replaced.
The material that a roof is made of is one of the biggest determinants in replacement cost. Asphalt is generally the least expensive material, while slate, copper and zinc are the most expensive. Roofing materials are sold by the square. Here is a cost comparison of a bundle of asphalt shingles versus a bundle of copper shingles:
Three-tab asphalt shingles: $60 per square
Limited lifetime asphalt shingles: $70–$100 per square
Copper roofing: $400–$1,500 per square
A roof is more than the top layer on a structure—it’s an entire system. Here are the basic steps involved in replacing a roof:
Remove existing roof.
Inspect the bare deck and replace any rotten wood. Renail everything, fasten to trusses and bring the decking up to code.
Lay down the valley metal or peel and stick underlayment; attach starter strips around the edges to adhere the bottom level of shingles tightly to the roof.
Adhere the new roof.
Each company works differently, says Shapiro at Reliant Roofing, but we work with a four- to seven-man crew to do an entire roof from start to finish. Depending on the type of roofing system, the size of the roof, labor costs in the region and the cost of materials, the overall price of a roof replacement can vary widely.
Flat roofs are typical in Florida, Arizona and California, but not regions such as the Northeast that are prone to heavy snow and rain. Flat roofs require rolled roofing material—so even if a property owner wants tile shingles, professional roofers can’t put them on because of manufacturer and civic building codes. In Florida, says Shapiro of Reliant Roofing, any roof with a slope under 2/12 requires rolled roofing. Installation of the rolled roofing is a labor-intensive application that requires a propane tank and wand to heat the tarred bottom of the gravel-like roofing sheet, which is rolled onto the deck. Reliant Roofing charges $300–$325 per square for labor and materials on an average flat-roof job, which usually takes three days.
Asphalt roof systems are generally the most affordable option. Three-tab shingles are usually the least expensive, but customers can opt for architectural shingles at a higher price per square. Reliant Roofing charges the following for materials and labor to install the two different types of asphalt shingles:
Three-tab asphalt shingles: $260–$280 per square
Architectural shingles: $275–$300 per square
Reliant Roofing can usually complete an asphalt roof installation in one and a half days with a five-man crew. If intensive carpentry repair is needed when stripped to the decking, the job might take two full days with a five-man crew. With extensive repairs, the cost per square may increase.
Tile roof replacement costs vary greatly. According to Shapiro at Reliant Roofing, "You can custom order handmade tiles from Spain and have a $400,000 roof that’s only 35 squares." Reliant Roofing charges $400+ per square for a midrange tile roof, including materials and labor. Tiles are very heavy and special equipment is needed to shift it and load it. Reliant Roofing can usually complete a tile roof installation on a 35-square roof in five days.
Metal roof systems have a different preparation process. Metal panels are made off-site and manufactured per the measurements that the roofing contractor sends in. "We measure your roof down to the inch," says Shapiro at Reliant Roofing. Metal roof installation is more labor-intensive, requires more specialized skills and involves moving big pieces of metal roofing material. Depending on the specific roofing system installed, Reliant Roofing charges $350–$700 per square, including materials and labor. Other factors that affect the cost of a metal roof installation include whether the material is painted or not, the insulation method, national metal prices and what type of roofing system the building currently has. Reliant Roofing can usually complete a metal roof installation in two or two and a half days.
The more challenging it is to work on a roof, the more a contractor may charge per square foot. For extremely steep roofs, professionals have to use additional safety measures, the work is more time-consuming and often labor rates are higher to cover the added difficulty and danger. Each state has its own building codes. In Florida, according to Shapiro at Reliant Roofing, any roof with a slope higher than 8/12 will have a higher per-square-foot charge.
Average repair costs
If a roof needs to be repaired rather than replaced, costs will vary depending on the materials of the roof, the cost of labor in the regional, the size of the repair and how much work is required to do the job. Here are a few examples of roof repair costs from Blackstock Construction in Snellville, Georgia:
- Locating a leak and repairing damaged tile: $500–$1,000
General repairs: $350–$1,000, depending on the type of metal roof
- Aluminum, steel, copper and zinc are popular metal materials. R-panel, standing seam and tuff-rib are popular roofing system types.
General repairs: $150–$350
- Asphalt roof repairs are among the least expensive because of the low cost of materials and the lower amount of labor required to fix.