How much does a roof replacement cost?
Author: Sally Hanan
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.
Whether you need to replace your roof because it has almost run its course of 10–20 years, or because there is significant damage repairs alone won’t fix, it’s helpful to know what to look for in roofers’ quotes.
Keep in mind that the cost can vary dramatically depending on where you live, the type of roofing materials you want to use, how steep the roof is, and the number of things on the roof the roofer has to work around—skylights, chimneys, flashing, etc.
The prices mentioned below are from companies that follow ethical business and employment practices and are bonded and insured. This report will cover:
Full cost of roof installation
All roofs require the following:
- Structural support – rafters and trusses to support the sheathing
- Sheathing or deck – the boards fastened to the roof rafters
- Felt/Underlayment – an asphalt-saturated sheet used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck
- Roof covering – shingles, tiles, etc.
- Drainage – the roof must be installed in a way that promotes water shedding
- Flashing – sheet metal installed into the many diverse angles of a roof system to prevent water getting in
The cost of labor mostly depends on the expertise required for the type of roofing material you choose to install and the location of your home. It’s difficult to give a standard price for a roof sight unseen, although some roofers will be able to give a rough estimate based on your overhead Google maps pic.
As Roofing-Restoration in Houston, TX, says, “No two projects are alike, and each homeowner has different needs, so it’s difficult to come up with a one size fits all approach. We evaluate each customer’s individual needs and requirements and base our proposals on that.”
Colorado Roofers in Aurora, CO, says, “A few considerations are: pitch of the roof, height, how many roofing layers are currently on the roof, how much flashing (metal) must be replaced, and how much access we have to the roof (i.e., can we put a dumpster close to the roof?).”
Cost Based on Square Footage of Roof
Initial quotes given over the phone or online will be based on the square footage of the roof. To calculate yours, you’ll need to calculate both the pitch or slope of the roof and the area to cover.
Measuring slope: “A roof that rises 4 inches for every 1 foot or 12 inches of run is said to have a ‘4 in 12’ slope. If the rise is 6 inches for every 12 inches of run, then the roof slope is ‘6 in 12’” (nachi.org).
There are apps that can measure the slope of your roof for you, as long as your phone camera is good, with Pitch Gauge having the best overall number of positive reviews. You can also climb into your attic space and measure the height of the roof slope per foot to see how much it rises.
Flat roof: Will have a 2 in 12 (2:12) or less slope. Multiply the length by the width of the home.
Sloped roof with overhang: Multiply the length by the width of the home and add in the overhang. If the overhang is a foot long, add two feet to both the length and the width of the home.
Permits and building codes
The ICC (international residence code) has a long list of rules re what type of roofing materials you can use—both the underlay and the tile—and how the flashing should be installed. See them here and here. The main goal of the building codes are to ensure your home has the best weather protection and roof drainage.
Local municipalities can also add to the expense depending on the number of permits they require you to acquire re your roofing choices.
Choice of roofing material
Asphalt shingles can be placed on nearly any roof, but before any type of tile is installed, the roof deck must be reinforced and structurally strengthened. In some cases, it might need to be completely replaced. A building inspector will let you know if the current roof deck is strong enough to hold a tile roof.
Also, tile roofs can only be installed on roofs with pitches between 4 and 12, due to drainage issues and the weight of tile. Keep in mind that the roofing material you choose should be able to withstand your area’s weather patterns—sun, rain, wind, snow and ice, condensation, moss and algae, trees and leaves, and shingle and flashing deterioration.
Much of the time you will find you have to order tiles in bundles (22 pieces; 3 bundles = 1 square) or squares (100 sq. feet). In order of cost, the average cost to roof a 2,500 sq. ft home is:
||Average Cost (2,500 sq. ft. home)
|Composite or vinyl
|Wood shake or shingle
- Asphalt shingle | $23–$31/bundle or $125–$150/square
The most common form of roof covering because of its affordability. It’s easy to install, but it only lasts 20–30 years. Usually comes with a 25-year warranty, a class A fire rating, and is algae resistant. Not a great insulator. Doesn’t do well in extreme temps. Three-tab shingles don’t hold well in wind speeds over 70 m.p.h. Multiple color and shape options. Usually reinforced with fiberglass—look for asphalt with a Class A fire rating. When calculating final cost of the installed roof, include a dormer, all ridge and valley metal, boots, flashing, nails, fasteners, felt sheet, edging, and installation labor ($30–$40/hour).
- Composite or vinyl tile | $31–$50/bundle
Lasts for over 50 years but doesn’t come in many styles. Buy tiles with extra layers and a more dimensional cut for $31–$50/bundle. Corrugated tile lookalikes sell for $44–$50/bundle. If the composite tile passes UL 2218 Class 4, UL's toughest impact test, it may qualify for an insurance discount.
- Rubber tile | $4–$8/sq. ft
Made from old tires ground and shaped into tiles. Looks just like slate or wood shake and is a lot lighter and cheaper. Thirty to fifty-year warranty. Has the highest rating for hail impact and is covered by a 2” hail warranty. Class C fire rated. Cold and heat resistant. Limited colors and shapes. Attaches with interlocking panels or adhesive strips. CK Roofing in Scandia, MN, recommends and specializes in installing rubber roofing on commercial structures because of its quick and easy installation.
- Foam | $450/square
Durable and green, this doesn’t come in many choices and it can be ugly. It consists of spraying a 1.5” closed-cell, polyurethane waterproofing barrier over the roof, which seals the entire area and avoids the need to add roofing material to seams. Closed-cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is nonporous and is a good environmentally-friendly option. Usually comes with a 10–15-year warranty as long as the roof is recoated every ten years.
- Wood or cedar shake or shingle | $3–$4/sq. ft, $300/square
18” or 24” shingles are cheaper and of a lower quality than wood shakes. Made from wood and is hand hewn. Lasts over thirty years in ideal conditions. Holds better to the roof than asphalt in winds of up to 245 m.p.h. Stands up to walking and fallen trees better than asphalt. Mostly made from salvaged trees. Can be recycled. Not good in wet climates. Hard to install. Should be treated to resist fire, mold, rot, and moss, but only some have a class C fire rating, if at all. Some building codes won’t allow wood roofing at all. Rot can spread through most of the roof. A high maintenance tile, needing constant clearing and gutter cleaning, spraying for algae treatment, and keeping nearby trees trimmed.
- Metal | $550/square or $52/36” panel
Can come with a 40–45-year warranty for durability. Withstands severe weather conditions and fire, which may lower insurance premiums. Reflects sunlight but can be noisy in certain weather conditions and hard to repair. Usually made of aluminum, steel, and zinc, but occasionally of copper ($$$$). Usually made from recycled metals. Comes in sheet form or as shingles or tiles. Lots of colors to choose from. Resistant to mildew, rot, and pests. Class A fire rating. Recyclable. Good for rain water harvesting. Designed for roofs with a 3:12 or greater slope. Hard to install. About twice the cost of asphalt installed. Sheds snow, causing snow banks around a home. Paint with a CoolRoof rated color. Look for contractor membership in the MRA (Metal Roofing Alliance).
- Concrete tile | $10–$20/sq. ft
Lasts over 50 years. Available in a large range of shapes and colors; can be shaped to look like any kind of tile. More expensive to install than shingle. Some roofers say to buy this over clay tile because it’s about 50%–65% of the cost, but keep in mind concrete tile can lose its pigment over time and is more porous than clay. Heavy. Also comes in lightweight form—made of wood, clay, and concrete—but this cracks more easily. Fireproof and rot resistant.
- Clay tile | $15/sq. ft or $1,400–$2,000/square
Can come with a 50–75-year warranty. Heavy—a square can weigh about 1,500 lbs. Tiles can break during installation. It has to be sealed. Minimum slope is usually 5:12. Comes in a multitude of colors and shapes. A natural fire retardant. Underlayment may need to be changed every 20 years. Cracks easily when walked on and not a good choice in extremely cold climates with long freeze-thaw cycles.
- Slate | $1,000–$2,000/square
Lasts for over 100 years but it’s heavy and difficult to install, weighing up to 1,500 lbs. per square. Multiple range of colors, thickness, and sizes. Handles extreme temps well. Fireproof. Mold and fungus resistant. Expensive to repair, but consider buying reclaimed slate to cut costs. Eco-friendly. Be sure to hire a contractor familiar with slate roofing who knows how to install it properly and also uses sheet copper for flashings—these must be as durable as the slate.
- Solar tiles | $11–$23/sq. ft
Cover 35%–70% of your roof with solar tiles—made from glass over a photovoltaic (PV) substrate or monocrystalline silicon—to cover 40%–100% of your home’s electrical needs. Tesla lets you choose from four types of tile. As of April 2018, one owner reported the final cost of her new roof as being $55,000, while another said it cost about $100,000 before federal incentives. It would appear that when combined with Tesla’s energy storage battery, its solar roof will cost $60,000–$90,000 installed.
Certainteed has three options to integrate with the rest of your roof and still filters water like a regular roof. Expect to pay about $30,000 for their roofing installed. Get local tax credits or rebates for installing them. They come with a lifetime warranty and are guaranteed to generate power for thirty years. It may be difficult to find a trained installer, but look for the title “CertainTeed Master Select Installer.”
The NRCA Consumer Advisory Bulletin Roofing Warranties discusses the importance of selecting a roof system based on the product's qualities and suitability, in addition to the warranty. The NRCA also offers comprehensive manuals and reports.
When considering your roofing options, try using the following formula:
Total cost (materials and labor) ÷ life expectancy of roof (in years) = annual cost
After high winds or severe hailstorms rip off or damage tiles in your area, you’ll find inexperienced roofers going door-to-door trying to talk you into letting them replace the roof on your home. They’ll take care of working with the insurance company. Most of these companies will have disappeared within a year or two of doing the work, and you can forget about the warranty.
Always check online reviews, reputation, plus longevity before you choose your roofer, no matter what price is offered at your door. All roofing contractors are happy to inspect your roof and show you photos of any damage they find, and also to work with your insurance company.
Another thing to consider is the amount your home insurance will increase per month after a claim. If your roof can be replaced with asphalt tiles and the entire job costs a few thousand, it might be worth paying for it yourself vs. paying a deductible and higher payments over the next five years.
Tips & Questions to ask
- Make sure the roofing contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured with liability and workers’ compensation. Some states require this.
- Research the company’s time in business. For instance, Northern Virginia Roofing & Exteriors in Chantilly, VA, is a second-generation company which has been in the roofing business since 1963.
- Ask for client references and locations of recently completed projects. Budget Exteriors in Woburn, MA, says, “Always ask him for the last three completed jobs. If your referrals are months apart, then you know that the referrals have been cherry picked. If, on the other hand, your referrals are days apart, then you can be assured the referrals are genuine.”
- Get a written, detailed proposal including start and end dates, cleanup agreement, and payment procedures. Expect to pay half down. Quality Roofing Service in Frisco, TX, does in-house, short-term financing and can direct you to other long-term financing options.
- Ask for a list of the roofing manufacturers the contractor has licensed or approved applicator agreements with.
- Make sure the contractor offers a warranty on the materials and work done and be aware of any provisions that would void it.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for possible complaints filed against the contractor.
- Know in advance when you need the work completed by, and know the budget you wish to stay within. Convey all your expectations in advance. Above the Deck Roofing & Construction in Edmond, OK, says, “Each family and home has separate nuances specific to your home, family, and area. The contractor cannot read your mind. These items should be adequately detailed, discussed and given to the contractor prior to the work being started.”
- Ask about any discounts for seniors, veterans, etc.
- Remember that overall, the quality of your installation and attention to detail will be more important in the long run than the tile you choose.