What does a new roof installation cost? Don't overpay for roofing replacement!
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
You don't want to pay too much when it comes to getting your roof done, but you also don't want to go too cheap, as you can be ripped off in both cases. So how much should roofing cost? What should the roofer include to make sure you get the best bang for your buck? With so much information out there, it gets to be overwhelming. So we've took the time to dissect the industry for you.
So where do you start to find the right information?
Well, you have two choices. First, you can search the internet (once you get past all the ads for roof cost). If you're like me, you'll want to gouge your eyes out rather than dig through all the B.S. Did you also know that certain apparently non-bias websites that "advise" you who to hire off of a "list" are pretty much nothing more than marketing companies that contractors pay on average $100 to get into your home? Just keep that in mind when choosing a roofer.
Second, you can have a sales person out to your home. Most of the time, they will tell you how their roof is the best and exclusive to them, then lay on some high pressure tactics at which point you literally may have to call the police to get them to leave (I have heard stories of this happening).
I think the reason prices vary so much on the internet is because there are a lot of variables that effect the cost, such as full tear off, cedar shake removal, wood replacement, etc. However, the dirty secret contractors don't want you to know is that the prices are all pretty consistent across the industry. They just don't prefer to share them so they can get that high pressure guy into your home and one call close you!
So, first off, how is roofing priced? Companies price roofing by the "square" (100 square feet or 10'x10' area). The determining factors are tear off or layover, wood replacement, plus materials and warranties. These are all important factors. That is why you can have 30 roofers out and get 30 different prices ranging from $170 a square all the way up to $2000 a square and everywhere in the middle. So, when replacing your roof, here are some important facts to consider to cut through all of the noise and paid ads.
ARE LAYOVERS WORTH IT?
In a one word summary- NO! A layover may seem enticing due to the upfront cost savings... but they ultimately do more harm than good. Two layers are allowed by most codes, however with our over 40 years combined experience, we have inspected thousands of roofs. Lay overs will cost between $170-$250 a square (for a 1500' ft roof, that's between $2550 and $3750). We don't believe this is worth the price and here's why: layover roofs, in our experience, don't last nearly as long as a tear off, with something like a 5 year life expectancy. Number two, don't expect any warranty on the roof, as a layover will typically void manufacturer's warranty. Third, the next time you replace the roof it will cost more to have multiple layers removed, adding to the cost of the job over time. The fourth, final, and most important reason we advise against layovers is they trap moisture. This can lead to serious issues in the home, such as rotted roof decking and worse; fungal growth and mold. That cheaper up front option can end up causing thousands of dollars down the road in extra labor or even up to mold abatement and health issues.
3 TAB ROOFS/ROOFERS ARE STILL OUT THERE.
So, we get it. Budgets can be tight and, in some instances, 3 tabs still make sense. But, architectural really don't cost that much more nowadays, which is why most contractors will install architectural versus 3 tab. Now, keep in mind, an architectural shingle installed with sub-par underlayments, low end flashing, and poor ventilation is still a low end roof. Be aware. A 50 year warranty is prorated from every manufacturer, and must be installed by certified installers to that manufacturer's standards in order for it to be in effect. Anyone can buy shingles from the box store and show the warranty on the package, but the devil is in the details. That said, you can throw a rock and hit a contractor that will come tear off your roof, install felt paper, shingles, minimum flashing, and drip edge. It won't have much of a warranty, and often times, if roofers are not certified, chances are they may miss some steps for a proper install. That said, you can expect to pay $225-$450 a square for this type of install so a 1500 square foot roof will run $3375-$6750 for this type of work.
CERTIFIED MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
The shingle can have a 50 year warranty, but for that warranty to be in effect from all manufactures, the roof must be installed by a certified contractor who meets very stringent business and install practices. This is a big deal when hiring someone to do your roof, and you need to make sure and ask the right questions and see their certificates proving they have the right training.
All manufacturers have strict requirements put in place that must be adhered to for the warranty to be active. For example, when you read the fine print of the top three shingle manufacturers, you will see the warranty is voided without proper ventilation or install. On top of a certified install, and proper ventilation, the shingles need to be installed with manufacturers other products such as breathable underlayments, 6' of ice and watershield, ice and watershield in valleys and roof wall intersections, chimney crickets, starter strip (locks shingles down), proper flashing at all chimneys and protrusions, special ridge capping shingles, and even things such as 6 nails in every shingle. (There are many more things on the checklist, but these are a few things many contractors miss.)
It's not all about the warranty. It's also about getting the job done the right way the first time. No matter what materials they are installing, it's generally better to hire factory certified installers. Your roof is the most important thing on your home, it protects every thing in it. If it's not installed right, you can have problems on day one. Water takes the path of least resistance and will find a way in. Also, if improperly ventilated or lacking breathable materials, the roof can actually cause harm to the home and promote mold/fungus growth. Cheap things aren't good and good things aren't cheap. We hope these points will help you when choosing a roofer to work on your biggest investment. Ask yourself this question: if a contractor hasn't taken the time to become certified, what else are they cutting corners on in their business? Do you think they will be installing the roof to the highest standards on your home? No matter who you choose to have replace your roof, we advise that you ask if the installers are certified to install to the highest manufacturer warranty standard per the manufacturer they represent.
In the metro Detroit area, for a fully warrantied factory certified roof installed the right way, you can expect to pay, depending on how advanced the warranty is, anywhere from $500-$1200 a square. So, for a 15 square roof $7500-$18,000.
HEAVY METAL, HEAVY COST
So, metal roofs aren't actually heavy in weight, but can be in cost. They provide a good warranty in many cases, and with modern technology, they can add a ton of beauty. Another benefit to metal roofs is they can be installed over top old roofing (depending on the manufacturer and local ordnance). One drawback is metal can be loud in heavy rain, and if dented by trees or hail, it will stand out. You can buy corrugated barn style metal roofing all the way up to simulated shingles. The same can be said as in asphalt shingles the price ranges on certified installers and warranty. Barn style materials with underlayments run about $350 a square at big box stores, plus the install will run around $120/ square to have it installed. So, for a 15 square barn roof you can expect to pay around $7050. Now, when hiring a company with proper install/warranty, you can expect to pay $1400-$2000 a square and higher. So, a 15 square roof will cost $21000-$30000 for a roof. Choose what's best for your home/situation, but a metal roof can be cost prohibitive when compared to an asphalt roof installed properly with a lifetime warranty.
Steep roofs: (8 pitch and higher) can add up to $50-$100 a square depending on complexity and steepness of the roof. (Labor goes up because installers have to be paid more for harder work.)
Layers: 2 or more layers add more work and more haul away, so contractors have to charge more for the work. This can add anywhere from $25-$100 a square, depending on circumstances.
Cedar tear off: This is what haunts roofers' dreams at night. Older homes can have as many as 2 layers of asphalt on top of the original cedar roof. Combine that with the often steep roof, this make a roof replacement an absolute nightmare to remove and can add as much as $200-$500/square with new wood, depending on the company and the roof.
Wood replacement: if your roof deck needs to be replaced, this can add anywhere from $157-$400 a square depending on circumstances and the company.
ONE OF THE BEST RESOURCES IN THE REMODELING INDUSTRY FOR PRICING.
Remodeling Magazine has a great resource in its annual Cost vs. Value report it compiles nationally and regionally. They compare thousands of jobs and figure the averages. I highly recommend you download their report before starting any home improvement project.
For metro Detroit, they have factored a 30 square roof replacement, tear off, and felt paper with a 25 year shingle. They averaged that job to cost $26000 or $866/square.
For a metal roof of the same size, the average cost in Metro Detroit was $42837 or $1427/square.
METRO DETROIT AVG COST CHART;
COST OF LAYOVER- $170-$250/SQUARE
COST OF LOW END- $225-$450/SQUARE
COST OF MID/UPSCALE- $500-$1200/SQUARE
COST OF METAL- $1400-$2000/SQUARE
COST OF WOOD- $157-$400/SQUARE
COST OF STEEP ROOF- $50-$100/SQUARE
COST OF 2 LAYERS- $25-$100/SQUARE
COST OF CEDAR RIP- $200-$500/SQUARE
*NUMBERS IN THIS POST ARE NOT AN EXACT ESTIMATE, THEY WERE COMPILED WITH YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY, COMPETITIVE QUOTES, AND NATIONAL AND REGIONAL AVERAGES. This post is an opinion and in no way is financial advice. We encourage you to research the industry independently with your own due diligence. In other words, please don't sue us for trying to help you!