Of all the things you do to maintain your home, getting a new roof is probably the most important.
If you suspect that your old roof could use some attention, it’s best to take care of it as soon as you can. If your present roof fails, you’re looking at catastrophic damage from all directions that will affect everything from your attic to your walls to everything that you have inside your home — even what’s in your basement! We’re talking mold, water damage, wiring… everything that makes your home your home.
Roof replacement isn’t something homeowners want to face and it’s not very exciting but it’s the kind of emergency that really shouldn’t ever be put on the back burner.
This guide provides the basics – from common materials you’ll need to choose from to what you should expect with your roof replacement cost.
Part One: Some Definitions
You’re probably about to be talking to a number of contractors about your roof replacement. It helps to know the jargon so you can be clear in the conversations ahead with the roofing professionals you talk to.
The Definition of ‘Roof Replacement’
When you tear down an old roof and install a completely new roof, this is called roof replacement. The old roof is too far damaged to warrant keeping it.
The Definition of ‘Reroof’
The term “reroof” also refers to putting on a new roof on an existing home or building. Some feel that it means to lay over top the old roof without tearing off the old roof, but this is no longer necessarily the case and is not typically a good option. It’s becoming more unusual to find overlay projects these days.
It used to mean putting new shingles right over the old shingles of a roof. It was a cheaper option. Keep in mind that it’s not possible to reroof more than once. It also makes it more difficult to inspect your roof for damage in the future.
The Materials Used for Roofing
For many homeowners, choosing between all the different materials used in roof projects can be the most confusing part of the entire process. Luckily, there are some factors that will help narrow the field and make it easier to make a decision.
The Four Things that Determine What Roofing Materials to Use
- Geography. The single most important factor that will determine the roofing materials you use on your reroofing project will be the location of your home.
- Roof Pitch. The angle of your roof can sometimes be a determining factor. For example, flat roofs typically take a Built-Up Roofing (BUR) solution. BUR is common on commercial buildings but if you have an ultra-modern home with a flat roof, this might become an option.
- Style. After that, there’s your personal taste, as roofs come in a variety of looks to match the style of your home’s design.
- Price. Materials span a wide range of price points, from asphalt composition shingles on the lower end of the spectrum to slate roofing on the high end.
The Most Common Types of Roofs for Residential Buildings
For residential roofing, the most common types of materials you’ll see being used are:
1. Three-Tab Asphalt Composition Shingles
As we mentioned above, this option is very affordable and very easy to source and deliver. They do have a flat, dull appearance so they are not commonly used when the homeowner can afford something more attractive. Still, however, they are by far the most common type of material used in reroofing.
Another downside of asphalt shingles is that their lifespan is shorter than other types of roofs. They typically last twenty to thirty years.
- 12-25 year lifespan
- Rock-bottom pricing: $7000 and up for a small home
2. 30-Year & 50-Year Asphalt Architectural Shingles
Architectural shingles are a step up from the Three-tab type mentioned above. They’re made of better materials and they have a more textured appearance. Homeowners choose them because they give the home more character because they come in a variety of styles and they are more textured. And, of course they last longer than the basic composition shingles.
- Look better
- Last longer
- Protection against black algae stains
- Affordable pricing: $9000 and up for a small home
3. Wood Shingles
For an upgraded and charming look, some homeowners choose shingles made from real wood. They cost more than asphalt and if you want the roof to last as long as possible, may require more upkeep and maintenance.
- Can last up to half a century with meticulous upkeep and mild weather
- Important to stay current on repairs
- Not recommended or even allowed in some areas that are prone to wildfires
- Use wood shake shingles to extend the roof’s lifetime (requires professional installation)
- Pricing: $14,000 and up for a small home
4. Metal Roofing (Standing Seam Steel Roofing)
Metal makes for an extremely durable roofing material. It’s fireproof, which makes it an attractive option for areas that are prone to wildfires. They’re also attractive and come in The downside is that standing seam steel roofing can be more expensive to install because they require a contractor who has experience and skill with metal roofs. Over the long run, however, what you pay in installation may turn out to be a good investment because these roofs last much longer than most other types of roofs.
- Ideal for wildfire-prone regions
- Long lifespan
- Important to stay current on maintenance (check for bent panels, leaks in the sealant, etc)
- Pricing: $23,000 and up for a small home
4. Tile Roofs
The Spanish-style look of a red tile roof is popular in Florida and the Southwest. Tiles can be made of clay or concrete, both of which can last up to a century. The biggest issue is cracking of the tiles.
- Long life span
- Pricing depends on whether you choose concrete (cheapest), terra cotta clay or ceramic tile (more expensive)
- Pricing: $20,000 – $50,000 for a small home
5. Natural Slate Roof
This is the ultimate in looks and longevity. Sometimes lasting more than a century, slate roofs do require meticulous care in order to keep up with repairs. Broken slate tiles should never be tolerated! Because of the cost of a slate roof, this material is typically used on luxury homes where money is less of a concern.
- Very long lifespan
- Incredibly durable
- Requires trained craftsmen
- Ideal roofing material, except for the cost
- Pricing varies wildly…
- Pricing: $25,000 – $50,000 for a small home
Knowing When it’s Time to Replace a Roof
You can do your own assessment of your roof to see whether it might be time for a new one. If you can get up onto your roof, look for any of the following signs of trouble:
- Missing shingles
- Loose shingles
- Loose flashing
- Damage to seals around the roof vents
These types of issues can often be resolved with a roof repair job. However, the following warning signs are indications that you may just need a whole new roof:
- You can see “bald spots” on your roof
- There is water leaking into your attic or even your house
- Most shingles are cracked or just brittle and about to crack
- You are seeing a lot of granules in your gutters
- The roof shingles are making your house look old
If you notice any of these problems, it’s best to have them fixed right away. Waiting for more than six months could result in catastrophic damage to your home and your belongings.
Here’s another way to know when it’s time for a new roof:
- Your asphalt shingles are more than 20 years old
- Your metal roof is more than 50 years old
- Your wood shingles are more than 25 years old
- Your slate shingles have been in place for more than a century
- Your tile roof is more than 45 years old
The Process of a Roof Replacement
You’ll feel more at ease with your reroofing project if you understand the process first. Here are the basic steps involved in any roof replacement job:
- Removal. Remove the existing roof and place all debris in a dumpster. Old flashing is also removed. Any nails that are dropped onto your lawn should be picked up by the crew, who use special magnets designed for this purpose.
- Repairs. Once the structure of the roof deck has been revealed, the crew will inspect what’s left. They’ll look for water damage, primarily. If the deck is in bad condition, they will replace the sheathing but if it’s salvageable, they will make repairs.
- Install protective features. Whether it’s an ice dam or a drip edge, the roofers will install the necessary features and barriers to protect your house. Typically in colder regions, there’s a waterproof barrier that goes in. It prevents melting ice from baking up underneath the roof and then melting into the sheathing, where moisture can cause devastating damage. This is also the time to install roofing paper if it’s relevant to your roof. A metal drip edge can be installed at this point, as well. Flashing is often installed where roof edges meet.
- Install the roof. Whether it’s shingles or a metal roof or slate or tiles, this is when the actual roofing material goes on.
- Install flashing. Flashing covers the seams where leaks are most likely to occur. Got skylights? You’ll need flashing! Same for your stack vents, too.
- Cleanup. Hauling the construction debris away and properly disposing of it is part of the roofing job and should be included in the pricing that’s set at the beginning of the project.
- Inspection. Typically, a building inspector will need to visit the new roof and put their stamp of approval on it.
Part Two: Financial Matters
Since a reroofing job is such an important project, you’ll want to know all you can — especially the roof replacement cost. Every roofing contractor has their own formula for pricing reroofing jobs but here’s a general idea of what you can expect.
Answers to Your Questions: How Much Does a Roof Replacement Cost?
The price of a roof replacement varies so much from house to house. That makes it difficult to give “general” pricing data for these projects.
On average, Americans spend $5,000 to $10,000 on installing a new roof.
This price range reflects not just the cost of the materials but also the demolition of your old roof, removing the debris, permit fees, and cleaning up afterward. But as you’re about to learn below, roof replacement costs depend on a lot of factors that will significantly impact the final price you end up paying.
Answers to Your Questions: How to Calculate Roof Replacement Costs
Roof replacement calculations are no simple matter. Roofing contractors have to visit your home, take precise measurements, and build a detailed “map” of your home’s roof and features in order to give a cost estimate. Beyond the obvious factors like materials and labor, there are lots of other considerations to make.
For example, features like skylights, chimneys, and dormer windows will have a huge impact on the cost of your re-roofing project. To give you an idea of how complex a roof replacement estimate can be, here’s a short list of other factors that come into play:
- The old roof
The most important, however, are these four factors:
- Materials. The roofing materials that you choose for your roof
- Your Roof. Features, old roof, etc.
- Labor. The cost of the labor for skilled workers who will remove your old roof and replace it with a new one
- Removal. The cost of removing the old roof and disposing of the materials.
Roof Size Makes a Difference
We’ve assembled some average prices to give you a sense of what you’ll need to budget for. The data in the following chart is based on replacing a roof on a single-story home that has a 4/12 pitch roof. Asphalt shingles are used for this example case study.
|House Size (sq. ft)
|Cost of Re-Roofing
|$4,000 – $5,500
|$5,500 – $8,000
|$7,400 – $10,500
|$9,000 – $13,000
|$11,200 – $16,000
You’ll note that the size of a roof is not the same as the size of the home. Factors like pitch and overhang make a big difference on the roof’s actual square footage. Only a completely flat roof will match the square footage of the actual footprint of the home that it covers!
Guidelines on How to Get Insurance To Pay for Roof Replacement
There are different ways to reduce costs when you need to pay for a roof replacement. You should always:
- Do your homework
- Compare quotes from different roofers
- Schedule your project during the off season
- Use your insurance
Homeowners insurance typically has provisions for covering roof damage. If the damage is due to neglect, however, they will not cover the cost. Storms that damage your roof are a prime example of when using insurance is going to help you.
Part Three: Moving Ahead
Once your roof replacement has been completed, you’ll want to know how to take care of your new roof.
Roof Maintenance Tips From the Pros
Roof maintenance is an essential and important part of being a homeowner. You can prolong the life of your roof if you keep on the following activities:
- Keep you gutters clean
- Spot check the flashing every year
- Cut down overhanging limbs
- Cut down trees that grow too close to your house
- Keep an eye out for animal invasion — especially squirrels!
Roof Repair Near Me
Ready to start taking care of your home’s roof? We can help. With 25 years in the business in and around Boise Idaho, we have a deep-seated commitment to the community where we live. That’s why our business is a “people business” — we don’t just build roofs, we help build communities. Call us any time at (208) 994-8493 for a free estimate on your roofing project.