Determining the Cost to Replace a Roof

Homeowner Learning

Author: Lee Polevoi | August 7, 2023?

The cost to replace a roof can vary widely, and depends on a number of different factors. That's why it's important for homeowners contemplating a roof replacement to do some preliminary research and get several estimates before embarking on this big project.

Learn what goes into the cost of a roof replacement and how you can calculate what your new roof's price tag might be.

A woman looks at a roof holding damaged shingles.
Finding out how much it costs to replace your roof (and where that number comes from) can help you prepare for this big purchase.

Estimates Begin With Price per Square Foot

A variety of factors go into a roof replacement estimate, according to Roofing Calculator. Generally speaking, the range most contractors go by is between $4.50 and $7.50 per square foot to install architectural shingles (also known as "dimensional" shingles). A square equals 100 square feet of roof surface.

Even for a standard asphalt roof, the price of your roof replacement will depend on the individual brand and type of shingles you select. HomeAdvisor's 2020 guide reports that the average asphalt shingle roof replacement costs around $7,297, but that more modest and more high-end options can push the full range to $2,000 to $14,000. The cost of a new roof also varies according to the region you live in.

What Is an Estimate Based On?

Replacing a roof is a complicated process, so contractors' estimates must cover a variety of factors. One key component is the cost of materials. Slate or high-end tile will cost more than shingles, for example, and you may need to pay for replacement components such as flashing or gutters. Your roofing contractor will also estimate the cost of labor, including the time and effort to tear off the old roof. Finally, they will need to account for the recycling or trashing of old roofing materials and any disposal charges.

A roof that is difficult to access can also earn you a markup. If contractors require special equipment to climb up safely or haul up materials, the extra work may translate to added costs for equipment and labor.

Budgeting for Your New Roof

To reduce the cost of a roof replacement without cutting corners, you should get estimates from several roofing contractors (and check their references while you're at it). Avoid scheduling roof replacement during the late summer or early fall months, when roofers are typically the busiest. Scheduling a late-winter or spring replacement time may come with an off-season reduction in price.

You should also keep in mind that the most cost-effective replacement materials to use may be different than the materials that currently make up your roof. Switching from tile to asphalt or slate to metal may help keep costs down. Finally, ask your contractor about the homeowner financing options they offer.

Consider Carefully

Be cautious about accepting a roofing contractor's bid if it's far below what other professionals are bidding. These low-end bids may come from roofers who "are either desperate for work or...happen to work on volume with razor-thin margins," according to Roofing Calculator. Ask around for referrals or look at companies with strong industry affiliations that support contractors, architects and builders who are experts in their fields.

An expert can help you determine if it's possible to repair your existing roof instead of replacing it. A roof in overall good condition with a few specific problem areas might warrant repair, not replacement, as long as the repairs aren't a temporary band-aid for a roof that will soon need to be overhauled.

The more you learn about the factors involved in the cost to replace a roof, the better prepared you will be to consider a roofing contractor's estimate.

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