The most asked question regarding any roofing service, and quite honestly, anything that you can buy, is: “How much is this going to cost?"
As much as everyone would like to pretend that cost isn’t going to be THE driving factor in a purchase, it is. How much money we have to spend on something matters a lot, to a lot of people. This is especially true for a project like a roof replacement, where people are asked to spend thousands of dollars on something that they need, but won’t be getting to use like they would a car, or another expensive purchase.
We as an industry need to be better and more up front about what things are going to cost when you are trying to get a roof replacement completed. Obviously, because of how things vary from job to job, you won’t be able to know exactly how much it will cost you until you get an estimate from a roofing contractor, but we will do our best to give you a good range.
So, let’s talk about it. In this blog, we’re going to be going over:
Let’s get started!
The average cost to replace a roof
We’ve already mentioned that the range for roof replacement costs is super wide, but just to illustrate how wide it actually is, let’s look at two specific roof replacements that our company did in the Raleigh, NC area this past year.
Both houses had their roof’s replaced in the late Spring of last year, are in the same region around Raleigh, and both used GAF Timberline HDZ architectural shingles, in the Charcoal color. However, there was a pretty big price discrepancy, as the first house cost ~$5,600 to replace, and the second was over $22,000.
The biggest difference between the two houses is the size and complexity of the roofs in question. House #1 had a simple gable roof that was 17 squares large. (Just so you know, a ‘roofing square’ is just 100 square feet, it’s just easier for us to estimate costs using squares instead of square feet.)
House #2, on the other hand, had a 59 square roof, and was quite complex, featuring a couple of chimneys, vents, a skylight, some pipes, hips, and valleys.
As you can see, the size and complexity of the roof can cause the price of the replacement to vary wildly, as it not only increases the materials, but labor costs as well. House #1’s replacement could likely have been less expensive, had it been done sooner.
This is because we had to replace 20 sheets of rotted wood decking, which was because of leaks and water damage over the years. Had repairs, or a replacement, been done before the roof got to that point, a lot of money could have been saved on labor and materials.
But these houses are at the extreme ends of the roof replacements we do, and you came here to learn about the average roof replacement. Typically, the roof replacements that we do usually cost between $9,000 and $12,000 for the full roofing system on a home of average size and complexity.
Factors that affect Roof Replacement Costs
We’ve already touched on how the size of the roof can really affect the cost of it, but for the examples above, we showed two houses that used the same kind of shingle. How would the prices be different if you used a different kind of shingle, or even a different roofing material altogether?
Asphalt shingles are going to be the most affordable option, really for any home out there. But even that brings with it a wide price range from the lowest to highest end shingle. Three-tab shingles, which are usually seen on large-scale production-built homes, usually cost around $90 per square. Architectural shingles, which is what we most often use for our roof replacements are usually around $105 per square, while luxury level shingles can be $180 per square.
The reasoning behind why these shingles are such different price ranges is primarily due to their aesthetics and longevity, but we’ve gone into all that already in our blog on The Three Different Kinds of Asphalt Shingles.
Standing seam metal roof panels are another popular material option that we install pretty regularly these days. They are measured in linear feet as opposed to squares or square feet, so don’t let that trip you up when it comes to calculating the costs. For a standing seam metal roof replacement, you’ll likely find that it will cost you $10-$12 per linear foot.
There are also more boutique roofing materials out there, like slate and cedar shake, that are really only used on larger properties that can afford the extra cost, or have some kind of historical significance that needs to be preserved. These materials will often cost $25-$30 per square foot, leading to a pretty pricey roof replacement!
Materials of a Roof Replacement
All of the costs that we’ve been talking about are primarily the costs for the outermost roofing material. Though that is the most important, and most expensive, piece of the roofing system, it’s not the only thing.
Most good roofing companies will install a full roofing system to protect your home from leaks for the entirety of the roof’s lifespan, and that full system includes multiple types of materials underneath the shingles or panels.
An entire roofing system includes things like roof decking, underlayment, ice & water shield, drip edge, starter shingles, and flashing. We’ve talked about a lot of these materials before in their own blogs, which we’ll have linked below, but we want to make sure you leave this blog feeling confident about the pricing of a roof replacement so here’s a quick definition of these roofing materials, in the order they should be installed.
- Roof decking
- The base layer of the roof, usually made of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board), that other materials are installed on top of. Connects main roofing materials to the frame of the house.
- Drip edge
- A material installed to prevent water from running down the roof, and back up under the shingles at the edge of the roof.
- Ice & Water Shield
- A self-adhering strip, usually made of a bitumen membrane, that is placed in areas with a low slope, on the edges, and in the valleys of the roof. Provides added protection in leak sensitive areas where shingles wear more quickly.
- A water-resistant fabric that is nailed or stapled to the roof. Provides an additional layer of leak protection if the shingles are damaged above it.
- Flashing is a soft metal that is put around penetrations, and at walls on the roof, such as chimneys, or dormers. It is used to cover gaps between the wall, and the surface of the roof, protecting it from leaks. In the same vein as a pipe boot.
- Starter Shingles
- A small strip of shingle that is installed before the main shingles go on, at the edges of the roof. Helps the first layer of shingles seal more easily, increasing their wind resistance.
Each roofing manufacturer has their own versions of these products, each at their own price point, so the preferred brand of your contractor will determine the cost of the replacement, as well as how long it will last.
So now that you know the average cost of a roof replacement, and some of the factors that affect that cost, hopefully you’re starting to feel more comfortable getting started on your project! If you’re not quite ready to get started yet, we’ve got plenty of blogs over in our learning center that will help ease you into this process!
On Tops Roofing has been replacing and repairing roofs in Raleigh, NC since 1991. We’ve installed over 15,000 roofs, so we’ve got the experience to handle whatever roofing needs that your project requires!