Calculate the Cost of a New Roof

Any serious online discussion of new roof costs needs to start by pointing out that prices will vary a great deal because there are no standard roofing jobs. Your requirements may be very unlike your next door neighbor's. Besides the obvious differences in terms of dimensions and pitch, your roof could be more worn or weather damaged, for instance. Add to that the fact that you might want to add special features to your roof replacement such as solar shingles for their ecological value, or dormer windows to bring light into an attic remodel, and you've got a unique roofing situation.

Get Reliable Roof Cost Estimates

The best way to find out the cost of a new roof is by getting estimates from several reliable local roofers. A bona fide licensed roofing contractor will not charge you for an estimate. Beware of a figure that is substantially lower than average, as this is likely to predict a poor quality job. Make sure that you get references from anyone you are considering hiring and check those references out. Don't forget to investigate whether your homeowners insurance policy will help cover the costs.

What Roofing Cost is Based On

Dimensions. Although a professional roofer will need to check precise dimensions by climbing up onto your roof, you can help guesstimate the roofing cost by measuring the ground perimeter of your home yourself.

Pitch and slope of your existing roof. The steeper the pitch, the more material will be required and the more expensive the roof will be.

Material. This is an area where you have a great deal of choice, depending on your taste and budget. One caution, though: if you select a breakable material such as tile, be sure that enough is ordered to allow for breakage during your roof installation.

Age of your house. An older home may show signs of structural deterioration, which probably will mean increased labor costs.

Access. Both the number of stories and the ease of access to the roof affect the price. Expect a higher price if your home is two stories or more, if it is a townhouse or other attached dwelling, or if other factors make it more difficult for the contractor to get to the roof.

Style and difficulty. Style refers to the basic shape of your roof. A difficult roof refers to what is known in the trade as "cut-up" -- that is, the design incorporates a large number of hips and valleys. Other features that break up the profile and make a potential roof replacement more complicated include dormer windows, vent covers, chimney(s), skylights, and the like.

Local climate. A roof built to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as parching heat, the weight of a heavy snowfall, or hurricane-force winds, will tend to cost more.

Location. Standard prices vary according to your geographical location and whether you are in an urban or a rural area.

Adding a layer vs. having the roof stripped. It is cheaper to add a layer of new roof on top of the existing roofing. If you already have 3 layers in place on your home, though, you'll need to strip them (aka "tear-off"). When installing a roofing material such as slate, which is exceptionally heavy, you may require tear-off even if you have only 1 or 2 layers, as well as reinforcement of your roof's structure. This will add man hours to your roof replacement and also necessitate disposal of the old material.

Miscellaneous. Other factors that can add to the new roof cost are less predictable. Your roofer may find that the roof decking is rotten or the flashing is damaged, for example, necessitating lengthier replacement and repair work than you were originally counting on.

Laura Firszt writes for







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