How Much Does Roofing Cost?

Leslie A.M.

Your beautiful old house deserves the crowning glory of a roof that matches its architecture and stature. Make sure you use the roof materials that belong with your house and don't scrimp.

Guidelines in Estimating Roofing Costs

"The higher the pitch of your roof, the more expensive materials you should use," said Cary Cisterna, owner of Alpine Roof Company in Long Beach, California. Alpine Roof Company is celebrating 20 years in business this year. "The higher the pitch means the more roof people see when they look at your house. Invest in good, attractive materials."

Relative to other home improvement projects, per square foot roofing cost is not exorbitant, but it can add up.

Cisterna said that prices for materials vary greatly and labor fluctuates depending on the materials, the pitch of the roof (can the contractor stand on it or will scaffolding be required?), whether the site is accessible with a truck, and whether the existing roof is being taken off.

Costs of Demolition, Materials and Labor

Just for the materials, Cisterna estimates a range of as little as $35 for 100 square feet for a 20-25 year composite shingle to $400 per 100 square feet of slate. Shake, which has to be fire-treated in some states is about $300 per 100 square feet. Tearing off a roof for a new composite roof means new plywood needs to be laid. Cisterna shared that plywood that used to be about $5 a sheet is now running about $12 a sheet.

"Then comes the labor," warned Cisterna. "Tearing off a roof is about $40-$50 per 100 square feet then roofing labor depends on your material."

Cisterna said that using a material like slate can be $700 and more per 100 square feet because of how it has to be handled.

"I just did a slate roof that cost $125,000 and I should have charged more--that material takes so long--but it is beautiful."

Balancing Roofing Style and Costs

Shake, tile, slate, or asphalt shingles can say everything about your house. A majestic Spanish style home is just ordinary when the owner uses asphalt shingles instead of rich red tile. A beautiful Cape Cod dissolves without an authentic shake shingle roof.

"If you have a flat roof that no one sees, just use what you need," Cisterna recommended.

Roofing Contractors

Joan Crowe, technical director for the National Roofing Contractors Association echoed Cisterna's estimates. "Prices vary around the country and even within regions depending on the contractors. That is why we always recommend getting about three bids before choosing a roofer."

The cost of a new roof includes many factors, so take them all into consideration when you project the cost over the life of the roof.


About the Author

Leslie A.M. Smith keeps a roof over her head with a career as a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She has almost 20 years experience working with professionals in various service industries.

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