Smart Ways to Save on Roof Replacement Costs

roof replacement costs

Shop around, schedule roof replacement during the off-season and use your homeowners insurance to cover costs, if you can.

Discover effective strategies to save money when it’s time for a roof replacement. Learn how to keep costs under control and make the most of your budget.

After 15 to 20 years of keeping rain, snow and squirrels out of your hair, your roof likely will need to be replaced — maybe sooner if you live in an area prone to bad weather.

When it comes to the cost of replacing your roof, neither your neighbor nor the “average” homeowner is a reliable guide. A “midrange” roof replacement costs $20,670, on average, according to Remodeling magazines analysis of select construction estimates. But the U.S. Census found Americans typically spent $6,800 to have their roofs replaced in 2017.

Prices vary widely and will depend on your location, the materials used, the size and dimensions of your roof, and whom you hire to get the job done.

Heres how to prepare for this major home improvement and some tips for controlling costs.

How much does it cost to replace a roof?

Roofing costs, which can be broken down into three general categories, can go up or down depending on your choices:

  • Materials: Shingles, underlayment, drip edge, flashing, protective coatings, etc.

  • Labor: Skilled workers who tear off the old roof and install your new roof

  • Disposal: Recycling or trashing of roofing materials after theyre removed

“With asphalt shingles, we typically see figures from $3.50 to $5.00 a square foot, installed,” says Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries Inc., a roofing manufacturer in Piqua, Ohio. “When you get into higher-end products, which include metals, tile and slate, typically youre going to see figures anywhere from $9 to $15 a square foot.”

Roofing materials arent cheap, especially if you have a large or complex roof, but professional installation is what boosts the expense. Labor often accounts for 40% to 50% of the cost, Miller says, largely because a lack of skilled roofers has driven up rates. The more complicated a roof, the more labor it takes and the higher the costs.

Signs you need to replace your roof

Dipping into your savings for a new roof hardly sounds appealing, but sometimes you may not have a choice. Scott Bulifant, the residential sales director at Baker Roofing in Raleigh, North Carolina, says the following signs indicate a roof will need replacement soon:

  • Curling shingle edges

  • Visible loss of roofing granules (“bald spots”)

  • Brittle or cracked shingles

  • Missing shingles or visible mat (the protective material underneath)

  • Water leaking into attic or house

Even without water dripping from the ceiling, waiting for “one more year” can cause problems that could cost more in the long run than the replacement expenditure, Miller says. And passing the buck to the next owner may be harder than you think.

Buyers and mortgage companies avoid a failing roof like the plague, so replacement may be what it takes to pass inspection — but dont expect a full return on investment. The average roof replacement recoups only 68.8% of its cost in increased home value, according to Remodeling magazines most recent Cost vs. Value report. A $20,664 roof replacement would add only about $14,216 in value, for example.

» MORE: What to expect from a home inspection

How to reduce roof replacement costs

1. Do your homework

Understand the size and complexity of your roof and know the exact materials you want to have installed before talking to contractors. These details help keep estimates consistent and encourage competitive pricing, Bulifant says.

If you encounter the term “roofing square” while researching materials or getting estimates, know that one “square” equals 100 square feet of roofing material. And if youre talking with a roofing contractor, installation and disposal fees probably are included in the estimate.

2. Shop Around

Get quotes from several roofers and always request and check local references before hiring someone. Be wary of extremely low bids, which could mean subpar work, and make sure they offer a warranty on materials and installation.

Check with your local building department or state consumer protection agency to confirm the roofers are properly licensed and insured.

3. Time it right

Roofers are busiest in late summer and fall. Scheduling your roof replacement in late winter or spring may yield lower prices or off-season discounts.

4. Use your insurance

Homeowners insurance usually covers roof damage that’s not caused by neglect. If a hailstorm knocks some shingles loose, for example, your insurer may pay all or part of the replacement cost.

» MORE: Understanding homeowners insurance

5. Do some of the work yourself

Consider doing part of the work yourself. If you have the time, the proper equipment and a stomach for heights, removing old roofing before the installer arrives could help cut costs. Make sure your contractor approves before you break out the fork and roof jacks, though. Its dirty, backbreaking and sometimes dangerous work, and you may have to arrange the disposal of the old materials on your own.

» MORE: When to DIY vs. hire a pro

6. Consider an overlay, but carefully

An overlay involves installing new shingles on top of the existing ones. Because the old roofing stays put, overlays require fewer labor hours and cost less than replacement.

Approach overlays with caution, however, as they may void or shorten the manufacturer warranty on roofing materials. And overlays typically increase future replacement costs since multiple layers will need to be removed the next time around.

Roofing materials aren’t cheap, especially if you have a large or complex roof, but what raises the cost is professional installation.”

One ‘roofing square’ equals 100 square feet of roofing material.”

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roof replacement costs

roof replacement costs

roof replacement costs