Understanding Roof Replacements
What You Need To Know When Getting a New Roof
“What does a new roof cost?”
“I just need a price for a roof on a 1400 square foot home.”
“How much does a new roof cost?”
“How much will it cost me to get a new roof?”
“What do you charge for a new roof?”
“Can’t you just give a price over the phone?”
Most roofing companies, even those who’ve been in business for a short amount of time, are familiar with these questions. As a consumer, it makes sense, right? When you go to the store, you can ask the salesperson the price of the item- whether it’s a loaf of bread or a new car. However, while they may give you the price of an item, how do you know it’s the right item for you? What if the price they are quoting is for standard sandwich bread and you need gluten-free? Or, when you asking about a car, they give you the price for last year’s gas guzzler when you are looking for the newest hybrid model? It’s the same with the price for a new roof. Every home is different – different materials, different age of the roof, different framing…and the list goes on. When a contractor says they need to come inspect the roof in person, there are things they have to take into consideration and document to provide the most accurate estimate possible.
New Roof: “Per Square” Pricing
While there are multiple factors that go into providing an accurate roofing estimate, it’s important to understand how roofing prices are quoted. Roofing is typically quoted as a “per square” price. This breaks 100 square feet of your roof (a 10-by-10-foot area) into one roofing square. For example, if your roof measures at 2,000 square feet, it would be priced at 20 squares. It is important to note that the square footage of your house does not equate to the size of your roof.
For most contractors, your price per square rate will typically include the price of your selected material (i.e. shingles), supplies, removal of waste, the labor, disposal of waste, permit and inspection fees are included in installing your roof. However, this is not necessarily the case for every roofing company and it’s important to understand what is included in the per square price.
Your Roofing Materials
One of the first things that determines a price is the material that will be used. Will you be staying with asphalt shingles? Will you be upgrading to metal? If your home has tile, are they concrete or clay? Will you be making any changes or sticking with the same material? You can learn more about the costs differences of shingle, tile, and metal roofs in our recent posts.
Additionally, if you have any damage, rotten decking wood for example, that will need to be replaced and is often an additional charge. The first two sheets of plywood are often included in a per square estimate. Beyond that, additional charges may apply.
Finally, your roof may need to have upgrades in order to confirm to codes that have been put into place since your home was built. This is especially true if your home was built prior to 2006. It is important to discuss potential changes to your roof in order to meet current city and state building codes.
Complexity and Pitch
When pricing a roof, consideration will also be given to the pitch (slope) of your roof. Roofs with a steeper slope, are often more dangerous and more difficult to work on than a flat roof. Additionally, roofs with numerous level changes, or multiple hips and valleys, can be more expensive than a simple, straightforward roof.
Previous Roof Removal
The removal of an old roof can cost $1 to $5 per square foot. However, many contractors will factor the cost of removal into the overall replacement estimation. Roof Commander is one of the contractors that includes this in the per square price. It’s important to remember that not all contractors do, however. So, be sure to ask when meeting with the estimator.
Type of Underlayment
Not all underlayment materials are created equal. It’s important to be aware of the type of underlayment that is included in the per square pricing. While considered outdated by most, some contractors still use the 15 or 30 lb. tar paper. This is the lower end of underlayment for water barriers. In comparison, Roof Commander includes a high-quality synthetic underlayment that is a permanent barrier. Another option that homeowners can choose from is a peel and stick underlayment which is a petroleum (rubber) based membrane.
Skylights/ Plumbing Vents/ Attic Vents/ Goosenecks
Your roof includes more than shingles. Often you have different types of vents and goosenecks that are a part of the roof’s make-up. The replacement of plumbing vents, attic vents, and goosenecks will typically be included in a per square price. However, skylights often are not. They are replaced on an “as needed” basis and pricing can vary from contractor to contractor.
What Does a New Roof Cost?
When meeting with an estimator, it is essential to understand what they are including in the “per square” price. While some estimates may seem higher at first glance, they may actually include more than the next. Does estimate A include removal of the old roof? Does estimate B include tar paper or peel and stick? Hiring a roofing contractor is more than just “getting an estimate.” It’s important to ask the right questions and understand what you are getting for the money. Basing a decision just on price could be detrimental to the well-being of your roof.