Roof replacement carries a significant cost, and it can’t be put off once it becomes necessary. But the urgency of needing a new roof doesn’t mean you should blindly hire the first contractor you interview.
How roofers charge
While you can replace your own roof, it’s rarely a good idea. Without the right tools and experience, you'll likely make a mistake, which could reduce the lifespan of your roof and endanger the integrity of your home.
A standard 2,200- to 3,400-square-foot roof replacement with asphalt shingles will cost DIY homeowners between $2,000 and $6,000; professionals will charge $5,000 to $12,000 or more for architectural asphalt shingles. Roofers charge for their work by “squares.” One 10-by-10-foot patch of roof makes a square. The average residential roof needs between 22 and 34 squares to be replaced.
Roofers charge labor for removing your old roof. A one-story roof with a single shingle layer costs between $100 and $150 per square to remove; a double layer, $115 to $165; and triple layer, $125 to $175. If you have a particularly high roof or one that’s extremely steep, you will pay more.
Roof installation costs
Asphalt shingles, the most common roofing material, cost between $120 and $400 per square. You'll also pay for flashing, trim, vent covers and gutters. You can keep costs down by shingling over an existing roof, rather than replacing it. Roofers say that often lowers the lifespan of a new roof because they can’t repair any damaged roof deck or apply newer synthetic membranes that offer superior protection against water and ice damage.
The cost of a metal roof ranges between $500 a square for lower-end materials to $1,800 for high-end copper. Homeowners usually select corrosion-resistant metal priced between $700 and $1,000 per square.
A natural slate tile roof can cost between $800 and $1,600 per square. But pros say the final tab for a slate roof can exceed $4,000 per square if the slate is high end and the installation pattern is intricate.
While the cost of a clay tile roof often ranges between $600 and $800 a square for an average sized home, the price can exceed $4,000 a square for premium grade, custom-made tiles.
Hiring a professional roofer
Not all roofers deliver reliable performance. Finding a solid contractor means considering several factors.
First, a true roofing pro should be familiar with local building codes. They should know whether the jurisdiction or shingle manufacturer allows more than one layer of shingles and any rules governing underlay or shingle type.
Contractors should look for any existing damage to your home’s structure, either from fire or water. If this isn’t dealt with before a new roof is installed, it can necessitate frequent repairs, cause premature failure or void the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.
Reliable roofers offer substantive guarantees for their work – between five and 10 years on workmanship, which includes free repair of any defects due to improper installation. These typically cover leakage or total failure, but won’t cover normal wear and tear, general maintenance, damage from weather such as hail or storms or bacterial and insect infestations. Some will offer 40-year or more warranties, but these usually apply to specific high-end roof products and require specific installation procedures.