A Major Undertaking: What Factors Affect Roof Replacement Costs?

You probably don’t give your roof much thought on most days. It’s there and it does its job protecting you and the interior from the elements.  Likewise, if your roof isn’t doing its job well, you notice because of some unpleasant side effects.

So, you’ve started to wonder if you should be considering a new roof for your house. Of course, the first thought is how much is this going to cost me? 

It’s the same reason when a house is for sale, having a new roof is a selling point. You know roof replacement costs are likely costly. 

What makes getting a new roof an investment? How is the cost of a new roof figured?

Read on to learn about the factors that go into the cost of a new roof. 

How Do You Know You Need a New Roof?

Before we consider the factors that go into the cost of a new roof, how do you know you need a new roof? There are several things to look at on your roof that are sure telling signs you should be in the market for a new roof.

Consider these signs your roof needs replacing

1. Age

The age of your roof should be considered. Your roof faces the elements every day. It will wear out with age. 

Just because a roof is supposed to last for 30 years, doesn’t mean it will. If you live in harsh conditions or your roof yearly faces unusual weather conditions, it may shorten the life of your existing roof. 

Older shingles were not built with the same durability as new ones. 

The other thing to consider is what is happening in places on your roof you can’t see. If you have older shingles, there may be problems in areas that aren’t visible. 

2. Curling Shingles

A sure sign that your roof is ready to be replaced is the shingles are starting to curl. What does it mean when a shingle curls exactly?

When you look up at the roof, the edges are not laying flat anymore. They start to lift up along the lower edge of the shingle or the corners. 

You will see those edges appear to look like they are curling up. 

This is a sign the shingle itself is not sound and could start to fail at keeping your house safe from the outside elements. 

3. Leaks

This might seem obvious but if you start to see interior stains on your ceiling, it’s a sign there is a leak happening with your roof.  

Consider the location of the interior leak. Go outside and try to pinpoint that area of your roof. Look for curling shingles. You can also look for loose or missing shingles. Even if a shingle is cracking a leak can occur.

Leaks can also happen where the shingles butt, or where caulking and flashing are missing or worn away. 

Another sign you have a leak is an attic that is moist. If you see any mold spots, that is also a red flag moisture is getting in from somewhere. 

4. Light Is Coming Through

Now, this one seems obvious but you should not get sunlight into your house from the roof. Sun through the windows is good, the through the roof is bad. 

Go in your attic and look for slivers of light that might be coming in through the roof. Loof where two parts of the roof meet together. Those are likely to be trouble spots. 

If you notice loose shingles or curling shingles, look inside to see if you find any slivers of light. 

Factors for Pricing of a New Roof

Sure, there are signs you should replace your roof. You might be thinking, can I save some money and repair it? 

You have to decide at what point it makes more sense to replace than to continue to pay for repairs. 

There are a number of factors to consider when nailing down a roof price. Roofing is not one size fits all. From one home to the next, there can be big differences in what factors into the cost. 

Commercial roofing and home roofing are different too. 

Let’s take a closer at some of the factors that play into the cost of a roof. 

Size of the Roof

This will not come as a big surprise, the roof size is the biggest factor in cost. The more there is to replace, the more it will generally cost. 

The biggest consideration is obviously materials for the roof. Larger roof size needs more materials to fix it. 

Roof size is measured in roofing squares (10 feet by 10 feet, or 100 square feet). Knowing how a roofing professional will calculate the size will help you to understand how they get to the cost. 

Materials and labor are the two biggest factors in cost. While a larger roof might need more materials, don’t assume the labor will be more too. 

Your roofing contractor may make some adjustments in their rate if you have a roof with more square footage.

Extent of Damage 

You have already looked at the factors that might tell you it’s time for a new roof. One factor of cost will be how much damage there actually is up on the roof. 

Will you need the entire roof replaced? If there is only one area that’s bad, you might be able to do a partial roof replacement. 

The roof also goes beyond the shingles too. Just like you lift the hood of your car and look under the parts, the same is true for your roof. 

Under the shingles, is there wood that is rotted and needs replacing? 

The roofing contractor will look at the full extent of damage beyond what’s visible to your naked eye to calculate the overall cost. 

Removal of Old Roof

You will want to factor in the removal of the old roof into your costs. It will depend on your contractor if that is part of the replacement cost. 

A good question to ask is if the roof replacement is included or if the existing roof needs to go before the new roof gets installed.

When should you remove the old roof? If you are:

  • Changing the type of shingle you are using
  • More than one layer of shingle exists
  • Existing layer is in bad shape

In most cases, you want to go ahead and remove the old layer of shingles. This allows the roofing contractor to actually see what’s happening underneath and do the appropriate repairs to all the roofing components. 

As already stated, not all contractors automatically include this in the estimate. Also, make sure they have included a dumpster service to put the removed roofing materials so they can be properly disposed of after removal.

Materials and Roofing System

You will need to decide on the type of material you want to be used for your roof. Will you continue to use the same roofing surface that is currently there? Do you want to switch to a different material?

Common roofing materials include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Tile
  • Wood
  • Metal 
  • Slate

In some hurricane regions, roofs are even made from concrete to make them withstand the elements. 

When selecting materials you want to consider what the roofing material is made from. You also want to consider the lifespan of the materials. 

In commercial roofing, the options are more complex, especially for flat surface roofing. 

Warranty Considerations

Most roofing materials come with some kind of warranty. Be sure to ask some questions about how the warranty is factored into the cost. 

Is there a 15-year warranty or 30-year warranty? How does that change the overall cost of the roofing estimate?

In some cases, the manufacturers provide the warranty. In this situation, the warranty will be factored into the cost of the materials. 

In some cases, the roofing contractor provides the warranty and that cost will be added into the estimate through their costs. 

Either way, you probably want to secure a warranty for the roof and you want to weigh the length of the warranty and how it changes the pricing of the overall estimate. 

House Structure

House structure matters under a few conditions. 

If you are using exceptionally heavy roof materials, like slate tiles for example. The roof may need additional reinforcement to handle the weight of the roofing materials. 

If your roof is in usually bad condition, it might not be structurally safe to send up roofing materials or roofing contractors. 

The cost estimate will factor in unusual conditions that may add to the cost like adding some structural reinforcements to handle the weight of the job.

Pitch 

The pitch of a roof can be a big factor in the cost of the roof. A roof’s pitch is really how steep the slope is on the roof. The steeper the pitch, the more challenging the roof is to replace. 

In some cases, scaffolding is necessary to do the work.

In most cases, the pitch of the roof will add to the cost of the roofing estimate because the roofers need additional safety gear to complete the job.

You don’t want anyone falling off your roof and neither does the contractor. They will factor in the necessary safety gear and precautions to do the job safely. This might mean the cost is higher. 

Steep pitched roofs also take a little longer, for obvious reasons. The roofing team has to move more slowly and with more care so it may take longer than a roof with less pitch.

Access to the Roof

The access the roofer has the roof will be a factor in cost. 

If your house is very close to another house and it makes it difficult to maneuver, it’s likely to impact the cost. 

If your house is surrounded by trees or trees overhang the roof, it can make it more challenging to get the materials up to the roof and to redo the roof. 

Sometimes, if your home is in a more remote location, getting the materials delivered to there will impact the cost. 

It’s pretty simple, the harder it is for the roofing team to get to the roof, the more likely it will raise the cost of putting on a new roof. 

Likewise, if your house has easy access and nothing that will get in the way of delivery of workers, then that helps potentially lower the cost.

Experience Level of the Contractor

The truth is like with any specialized trade, not all contractors are created equal. 

All contractors want to offer a competitive price, for sure. They might not be in business long if their price is always exponentially higher than their competitors. 

Yet, the cheapest cost should not always mean the best choice. 

You want to factor in the level of experience the roofing contractor has. Is the roofer a person who does this professionally or are they just a guy and a ladder? 

You want to consider their qualifications if your roof presents any special challenges. You also want to ask about who they use for their workers. What is their level of experience?

Be sure to check references for your contractor and read reviews online. Remember, one bad review doesn’t mean the contractor is bad. But look at the scope of what others say about the contractor. 

Sometimes, choosing the cheapest guy because he is cheapest can cost more in the long run if the work is not done correctly or well. 

Contributing Factors of Roof Replacement Costs

As you can see there are a number of factors that are involved in roof replacement costs. Like any home repair or renovation, each home is unique. 

The materials you use and the amount of necessary work are big factors in the overall cost of the job. 

If you are interested in getting a cost estimate for your roof, we can help. We offer free, same-day estimates. Contact us today for your roofing estimate or to get more information about our services.