By Dan Simms
Updated Dec 8, 2022
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If your roof is starting to show signs of wear and tear, it’s time to start thinking about what it will take to repair or replace it. A roof replacement is one of the most expensive home improvements you can make, so you want to start planning ahead of time so that you’re ready to act when it’s time for a new roof. In this article, we break down all the factors that determine how much a new roof will cost, including labor, materials, where you live, and more.
There isn’t a definitive answer to so broad of a question, primarily because things like where you live, what kind of roof you want, and your roof’s size all contribute to the final price you’ll pay for a new roof. To limit the scope of the question and make it easier to provide a satisfying answer, we’ll only discuss roof replacement averages in the United States.
The national average cost of a new roof in the U.S. is about $8,000. However, averages can be misleading, so a better metric is a range of prices that covers a significant fraction of roof replacements, factoring in different materials and regional price differences.
For an average U.S. home with a 2,000-square-foot roof, most new roofs will run you between $5,000 and $12,000. Homeowners on a limited budget may be able to reduce the cost to under $3,000 if they opt for the cheapest materials and live in a low-cost-of-living area. Conversely, people with some extra money to spend on their roofs often choose premium materials that last longer but also cost more. The most expensive roofs can cost more than $50,000.
The most expensive job you can have done on your roof is a full roof replacement. This involves removing your existing roof, inspecting the underlying roof deck for any damage, repairing any issues, and installing the new roof. Many homeowners don’t budget for possible repairs that are discovered during the old roof removal and are surprised by a significantly larger bill than they anticipated. This is common in older homes or homes that haven’t had a roof repair or replacement in several decades.
Luckily, most roof replacements are sound investments, with homeowners recouping about 60% of their investment on average. A new roof is an attractive feature for a potential buyer and makes it easier to attract attention in competitive markets. This makes a new roof easier to justify and eases the psychological burden of paying for such an expensive project.
The single biggest factor that determines how much your roof will cost to replace is its size. Larger roofs take more material and more labor to install, raising the costs significantly. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to directly limit this expense, although people with larger roofs often choose a more affordable type of roofing material to help keep costs manageable.
What material you choose for your new roof will have a large effect on how much it will cost. Inexpensive materials like asphalt and wood will cost far less than premium roofing materials like metal or solar shingles. Here’s a look at how much a roof replacement will cost for some common materials, sorted by price per square foot:
|Material||Price per sq. ft.|
The above table indicates the total cost per square foot of each roof type, including installation costs; the materials themselves typically make up less than half of the total cost.
The price ranges reflect the variation in material and labor costs between regions. Some materials cost more because they’re harder to work with. Metal roofs are notoriously expensive, partly due to the increased cost of material and partly because they require more expertise and expensive equipment to install than an average roof. Keep in mind that more expensive materials afford significant advantages over less expensive ones, notably longevity and durability.
Some materials are favored due to environmental reasons. For example, metal roofs are popular in hot climates like Florida and Arizona, where their reflectivity helps keep your home cool and saves you money on cooling costs. Metal roofs also last significantly longer than basic asphalt roofs and offer better ROI. If you want to optimize your roof’s energy efficiency and durability, a metal roof is a good investment, despite its higher price tag.
The most expensive type of roof you can buy is a solar shingle roof. Depending on where you live, purchasing a solar roof may grant you tax benefits if your local government offers an incentive program. Such programs — combined with long-term savings on electricity — make solar roofs more affordable, although the upfront cost is still high.
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There are other factors that drive the cost of a new roof besides its size and material. Here’s a look at the six main factors that determine the cost of a roof replacement.
Labor makes up more than half the cost of most roof installations, especially if you choose a specialized material. Metal and solar shingle roofs are the best examples since each requires advanced equipment and technical knowledge to install correctly. To make matters worse, choosing a specialized material also limits what companies you can choose in some cases since not all roofing contractors offer installations for less common roof types.
What material you choose plays a major role in determining the overall cost of your roof replacement. If money is tight, your best bet is to choose an inexpensive material like asphalt or wood. If you live somewhere that suffers from high winds, choosing a more expensive option like metal may be more cost-effective in the long run since you’ll save money by avoiding repeated repairs due to weather damage.
Many homeowners don’t realize that their roof’s height and pitch affect how much it costs to repair or replace it. Most roofers charge more — often considerably more — to work on steep roofs due to the increased time it takes to do so safely. Homes with multiple stories and/or highly-inclined roofs require more safety precautions, adding to the cost and making the job more labor intensive. Flat roofs are easier to work on but have other issues that affect their price.
Another factor that often gets overlooked is the cost of removing and disposing of the debris generated by removing your existing roof. Most roofing companies lump this cost into their free quotes, so you shouldn’t have to remember to tack it on when you receive your estimate. It’s still probably a good idea to ask about any additional removal fees before you sign a contract to be sure that the price you were quoted includes everything you think it does.
This is where things may get messy. Before any contractor starts a new installation, they will first inspect your roof and its underlying structures for signs of roof damage or decay. If anything shows unusual signs of wear or presents a danger to you or the crew that will install your roof, it must be dealt with first. Costs can quickly exceed your budget if they find any serious problems, but, unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prepare for this. The best protection against serious damage starts decades before a roof replacement with proper care and annual inspection.
One uncommon option that can save you a bundle of money is a partial roof replacement. Some companies offer partial replacements for customers who can’t afford a total replacement but need their roof fixed nonetheless. Be aware that a partial replacement is just kicking the can down the road since you will likely need to have the rest of your roof replaced within one or two years if it’s old enough to warrant a partial replacement. Still, a partial replacement is a good option when money is hard to come by and a simple repair isn’t enough.
Roof repairs are almost always more affordable than roof replacements, at least in the short term. Unfortunately, most roof repairs are meant to extend the life of an aging roof and will only buy you a few years at best. If you have extensive damage or issues that run deeper than surface level, a repair might not make sense. If an inspection reveals underlying issues like rotting and decaying wood or significant water damage, a repair is unlikely to solve your problems.
A roof repair makes the most sense when the damage to your roof is superficial. This kind of damage often comes from weather or animal damage and is usually localized to a small area of the roof. A few missing shingles or damage around the edges near your siding can usually be patched up with an inexpensive repair.
If an inspection reveals that a repair won’t cut it, a partial replacement may be a good intermediate option. Unfortunately, the costs for roof repairs and replacements are difficult to estimate since the circumstances that warrant them are more varied than the circumstances surrounding complete roof replacements.
How much you should spend on a roof depends on where you live and why you need a replacement. If you live in a temperate climate without extreme weather, you can afford to pay less than someone who lives in a harsh environment with high winds or salty air.
If you own an average home with a 2,000-square-foot roof in a region with moderate weather, you should expect to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 on an ordinary asphalt shingle roof. This includes the materials and labor and covers the variability seen between states.
On the other hand, if you live in the midwest, where high winds are common, or in the southeast, where seasonal hurricanes are a major concern, you probably want something sturdier, like a metal roof. In that case, you should be prepared to spend more, between $20,000 and $30,000 in most cases.
We haven’t discussed aesthetic choices thus far, but you’ll have to spend more if you want a roofing system that can accommodate more design choices. Slate roofs are a popular choice among people who want more flexibility in designing their homes, as are wood and tile roofs. Whether or not footing the bill for more creative freedom is worth it is a personal matter.
Roof prices vary significantly by state, with roofing contractors in high-cost-of-living areas like New York and California often charging almost twice as much as contractors in more affordable states like Kentucky or Arkansas. New roofs also cost more in areas with high demand for roof replacements, usually in geographic locations that experience extreme weather or have an above-average incidence of natural disasters.
Knowing when it’s time to replace your roof is tricky if you don’t have any roofing experience, but there are some telltale signs that are easy to look for regardless of your level of construction experience.
You might think this is obvious, but if your roof hasn’t been replaced in over two decades, you’re probably due for a new roof. A typical asphalt shingle roof has a lifespan of 20–25 years, while architectural shingles last between 30 and 40 years, and metal roofs can last over 75 years if they’re well-cared for.
This isn’t a matter of keeping up with the Joneses; rather, most homes in a neighborhood were built around the same time, which means that they’re all due for a new roof around the same time. This tip is especially helpful if you’re friendly with your neighbors because they may be able to recommend a roofing company if they have a good experience.
Leaks and water damage are two common signs of an aging roof. Water damage is often most noticeable around skylights, vents, gutters, or drip edges, but could also occur anywhere the roof may not be sealed well. You may also notice leaks or water damage away from obvious areas if you have underlying damage that’s difficult to notice during a cursory external inspection. You should call a roofing company for an inspection if you notice any new leaks, especially along exterior walls, as this may be a sign that your roof needs to be replaced.
If you notice peeling roof shingles, unevenness, cracks, or sagging in your roof, you can be fairly certain that a new roof is in your future. These signs all indicate that your roof’s structural integrity is declining and warrant urgent attention. Superficial shingle damage from a storm or animal activity may not be a sign of extensive damage but still needs to be addressed so that it doesn’t blossom into a bigger problem down the road.
When in doubt, call a professional roofer and have them take a look.
Before you embark on a DIY roofing project, realize that hiring a professional roofer is the right call in most cases. Most people don’t have the skills or equipment needed to replace their roof themselves. Even homeowners with solid construction backgrounds may not have the experience needed to work on their roofs safely.
One important consideration DIY roofers need to make before replacing their roof is whether their homeowner’s insurance will cover their DIY roof. Most insurance companies only cover roofs that were installed by certified roofing companies, so re-roofing yourself may lead to financial trouble down the road if your roof gets damaged.
Another factor to consider is that you might not save as much money as you think doing your roof yourself. This is especially true if you have a home warranty that covers roofs. Between the cost of materials and equipment, most people barely break even by going the DIY route. When you factor in the opportunity cost of spending a weekend — or likely much longer — it’s simply not worth replacing your roof yourself.
Expensive roof repairs and replacements are an unfortunate reality of home ownership. Replacing your entire roof replacement is expensive, even if you choose the cheapest materials and live in an affordable area. We hope this guide has helped you plan your roof replacement and given you an idea of how much you should expect to spend. A simple option like asphalt or wood shake is perfect if you’re on a tight budget, but a high-end option like metal or slate can be more cost-effective in the long run.
Keep in mind that the averages and estimates presented in this article are only our best guesses based on the available data. The most reliable cost estimates will come from contacting local roofing companies and getting an inspection and quote.
You should hire a professional in the vast majority of cases. Not many people have the skills and equipment necessary to repair their own roofs. Roofing is one of the most dangerous construction jobs, with an estimated 30% of all construction deaths occurring during work on a roof.
Even without the safety risks, a DIY roof has several other disadvantages. Your homeowner’s insurance probably won’t cover damage to a DIY roof, which leaves you open to exorbitant replacement costs if your roof gets damaged. Additionally, unless you’re an experienced roofer, a DIY roof won’t last as long as a professionally installed roof, leading to more frequent repairs and less longevity.
Putting new shingles on a roof costs as much as replacing a roof since most roofing companies won’t replace your shingles without also doing a full inspection and replacing the underlayment. Most companies also include the cost to tear off and dispose of your old shingles in their project quotes.
Three-tab shingles cost about $1.00 per square foot — that’s $100 per roofing square — and installation usually runs in the ballpark of $5,000. More expensive types of shingles like metal shingles, slate, or clay are more expensive and will also cost more for installation.
Yes. A new roof — or one that has been replaced recently — is a great way to attract buyers and will give you an advantage over other sellers in a competitive market. Standard asphalt roofs offer a 60% ROI, and more expensive and durable roofs like metal roofs can return almost 90% if they’re carefully maintained.
If you’re thinking about selling your home in the next few years and haven’t replaced your roof recently, it’s a good idea to crunch the numbers and try to replace your roof before your house hits the market.
Many people underestimate how difficult it is to install and maintain a high-quality roof. Your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, and a solid roof is easy to take for granted. Another thing to consider is that a properly installed and maintained roof will last for at least 20 years in most climates. When you smooth out the price of a new roof over 20 years, it doesn’t seem quite as expensive. A new roof also adds value to your home, making it a good investment if you plan to move in the next several years.
The answer depends on many factors, but assuming you want standard three-tab asphalt shingles and live in an area with an average cost of living, you can expect to pay around $5,000–$6,000 to replace a 2,000-square-foot roof. Remember that home size is not a proxy for roof size, even if they are correlated. A house with 2,000 square feet of living space does not necessarily have a 2,000 square foot roof. If you want the most accurate price estimate possible, you must determine your roof’s square footage.
Arranging for a home repair of this scale is going to be a fairly involved project. If you haven’t conducted renovations like this – either via a contractor or on your own – then it can be a bit overwhelming. At House Method, we pride ourselves on being able to take all of the guesswork out of the equation for you.
We’ve thoroughly evaluated each roofing type to make your selection process easier. Through exhaustive research into hundreds of different roofing providers throughout the United States and analyses of thousands of individual homeowner experiences, we’ve broken our roof rating system down into the following categories.
All roofs receive an aggregate rating between (0.0) and (1.0). This rating is comprised of six key evaluation criteria, which we’ve outlined below. The rating between (0.0) and (1.0) will correspond to a secondary rating out of five stars, which is displayed more visibly in our articles across this category.
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