How Much Will You Have To Pay For That New Roof?

     New roof  Willing Warriors / flickr Shopping for a new roof is a rare experience for most of us, since roofs tend to last for 15 years or longer. And they’re not something that is usually advertised in our local home center’s weekly flyer.

    So the first thing we’re likely to ask when faced with the need for roof replacement is “What’s the cost of a new roof, anyway?”

    In this spirit of inquiry, here are 7 frequently asked questions about new roof costs, together with the answers you need.

    New metal roof  ralmonline alm / flickr

    1. How do I estimate the cost of a new roof?

    The national average cost for a new roof is approximately $7,800 when you hire a reputable professional roofing contractor.

    Roof replacement costs will vary according to the square footage of your roof, the material you choose (for instance, standard asphalt shingles are cheaper than architectural shingles), roof style, and even the region where you live.

    As well, you might have to budget for the cost of a permit – generally $250-$500, although not all locales require permits if you're reroofing -- and for additional repairs (water damage remediation in your attic, say).

    Shingle roof repair  Dana Dean / flickr

    2. Is it better to repair or replace a roof?

    Consider these factors when deciding on roof repair vs replacement:

    The age of your roof. A roof that is approaching the end of its expected service life is not a good bet for extensive – and expensive -- repair. You’ll be better off investing your money in a new roof.

    The type and amount of damage. A small leak is usually a simple and affordable fix, but damage that encompasses the whole roof (such as sagging or granule loss from asphalt shingles) may not be worth the cost to repair.

    Any plans to sell your home. When you put your house on the market, a “new roof” has much more buyer appeal than a “recently repaired roof.” And the roofing will be an important item on a home inspection checklist.

    New roof in progress  Christine und Hagen Graf / flickr

    3. What is included in roof replacement?

    When you’re comparing roof replacement estimates, it’s essential to know exactly what you should be looking for. Roof replacement normally includes some of all of these services:

    Be careful to sign a contract with your roofer, specifying all the components of your roof replacement and their price.

    Roofers  DaMongMan / flickr

    4. Does a roofer need a license?

    Yes, a roofer needs a license in most parts of the US, on the state or municipal level. Usually licensing involves training or on-the-job experience (often followed by an exam), as well as proof of insurance. Don’t risk working with unlicensed roofers; consequences may include a fine, voiding of your roofing materials warranty and a major financial headache for you, the homeowner, if anyone is injured on the job.

    Roof replacement  Dave O / flickr

    5. Can I replace my roof myself?

    Theoretically, you might want to try and save some money by replacing your roof yourself. The average cost of DIY roof replacement is approximately $4,000, or about half the average cost of $8,000 for professional roofers. However, DIY roofing is a huge project with enormous potential to go dangerously wrong.

    New rubber roof  Juhan Sonin / flickr

    6. Will my homeowners insurance pay for a new roof?

    Your homeowners insurance policy may pay for repair or replacement when your roof is damaged by an accident or a natural event, such as a hurricane or fire. It typically does not cover damage due to normal wear and tear or outright neglect, though. Read your policy carefully to find out the deductible and any exclusions, and contact your insurance provider ASAP.

    Wood shake roof  Chris RubberDragon / flickr

    7. Does a new roof lower insurance premiums?

    Usually it will -- the reason being that a new roof tends to reduce the risk of damage to your home. But don’t take anything for granted. Be sure to speak with your local insurance agent before your roof replacement to discuss how it will affect your premiums.

    Solar thermal tile roof  Solar Trade Association / flickr

    Laura Firszt writes for

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