Roofs are not cheap, whether in terms of materials or labor costs. Yet, there are few building maintenance projects that are more important; improper installation or unsuitable materials could end up costing property owners more than an upfront investment would have.
There are many factors that influence the final cost of a roof installation. Many of them vary over time and across locations, making them difficult to predict. For this reason, there is a fairly wide average range of prices. HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide says the average national price of a roof installation for most Americans ranges from $5,913 to $7,853.
At the high end, people pay as much as $12,000; at the low end, they may pay as little as $3,000. Because there are so many price factors at play, owners and contractors have the flexibility to make thoughtful and cost-effective choices. Knowing these factors can empower homeowners to minimize unnecessary roofing costs.
The average cost of installing a roof is $6,883; what contributes to this figure? The price of a quality roof installation varies by a number of factors. There’s not much room for negotiation when it comes to the cost of roofing materials. Different materials have different standard costs per unit. Bear in mind that the slope, or pitch, of the roof will narrow down roof composition options.
Asphalt shingles, for example, are by far the most common choice in the United States due to their low cost and widespread availability. They are associated with medium pitch. Wood shingles, on the other hand, cost roughly twice as much as asphalt and require a minimum slope to maintain adequate drainage.
In general, heavier items, like tiles instead of shingles, cost more per unit and require more expensive structural support. With some materials, certain colors and textures are priced higher than others. And, there is a premium on durability with any kind of roofing material.
Other Important Factors
A fundamental budgetary consideration is whether the installation requires disposal or modification of an existing roof. It will cost more money to remove an extant roof, make preliminary repairs, or lay down new underlayments such as a water shield. Of course, a self-installation project will cost less than a professionally installed roof.
Another weighty factor is the size of the home to be roofed. This one is straightforward: the bigger the building, the pricier the roofing job for both parts and labor. What about the shape of the roof? A very steep, high-‘pitch’ roof will by definition cost more than a plain, flat roof because there is simply more surface to cover. You can get a rough estimate with our roofing calculator.
Sophisticated styles such as Colonial or Victorian are steeper, which partly explains why their prices tend to be similarly steep. Note that many contractors adjust their pricing after a minimum pitch to account for the added dangers of working on a steep slope.
Additionally, very complex roofs with special features like chimneys or skylights require a bigger budget. Gutters, drains and other accessories will inflate the total purchase as will flashing to mitigate water damage and vents that protect against temperature extremes. Also, most roofs come with warranties, some of which are offered for a fee.
Whatever the project constraints are, remember that the cheapest materials and work can easily end up costing more in the long run if significant repairs must be made too soon. In contrast, expensive materials can increase a home’s value and even lower insurance premiums. Roofing is key to a property’s value, so it’s vital to spend enough to sustain the investment in the long term.