Ask any number of roofing contractors how much will a new roof cost to replace, and the answer you get could range from as little as $7,000 to upwards of $100,000 or more.
Either way, there’s no escaping the fact that roof installations are one of -if not the- most expensive things you’ll ever pay for when it comes to taking care of your property.
Not that the cost isn’t worth it.
A good quality roof is built to last for decades, providing long-lasting protection from all kinds of weather conditions and keeping you and your loved ones safe and secure.
So, as one of the most essential elements of your entire home, it needs to be built from the strongest materials and installed to impeccably high standards, all of which unfortunately means paying out thousands of dollars.
Still, there’s a world of difference between $7,000 and $100,000, so how can you work out exactly how much your new roof is going to cost?
Below, we’ll explain how much you might need to budget for roofing materials, labor costs and other expenses, as well as answering your most pressing questions about replacing your roof.
There’s no escaping the fact that the cost of replacing a roof can run into thousands of dollars, but it’s a price worth paying to provide decades of protection and shelter for you and your family.
How Much Will a New Roof Cost to Replace?
Replacement roof costs are determined by the size of your roof as well as the materials used, though the cost of paying a professional roofing contractor should also be included in your budget.
In the United States, the average cost to replace a roof on a standard 2,000 home is around $7,500, though homeowners may end up paying anywhere from as little as $5,000 to more than $25,000.
Why such a large disparity in those figures?
Simply put, it all comes down to your material choices.
Though labor costs, the shape of your roof, and other factors will also play a part in determining how much you pay, the choice between standard asphalt shingles and slate can make a significant difference to the overall cost of your project.
Later in this guide, we’ll talk you through the most common roofing materials and their costs per roofing square.
Before we do that, however, it’s a good idea to explain exactly what we mean by ‘roofing square.’
What is a Roofing Square?
From damp proofing to painting projects and everything in between, most home improvement jobs are calculated by the square foot. Yet when your roofing contractor tells you that he’s quoting you “per square,” it’s important to note that in this instance, he isn’t talking about “per square foot.”
In the construction industry, roofs are measured by what’s known as a “roofing square,” which is the same as 100 square feet.
In other words, if you had a 2,000 square foot roof, you’d have 20 roofing squares to replace. If you had a 3,000 square foot roof, your contractor would quote you for 30 squares, and so on.
Throughout the rest of this guide, any time we mention “per square,” we’re talking about roofing squares unless we specifically state otherwise.
Roofing Material Costs
Roofing tiles can be among the most expensive material options though they generally provide better durability and aesthetic appeal.
3-Tab Asphalt Shingle Costs: $5,000 – $12,000
There’s a good reason why asphalt is the most widely-used roofing material in the US:
Not only is it the least expensive option, but it’s also the easiest to install.
Combined with its incredibly lightweight nature, that makes it a popular choice for those who are taking the DIY approach to repairing or replacing their roof. Armed with enough material, a quality roofing nailer like this popular model from Bostitch, and enough time, using asphalt shingles can help you cut the cost of your project by thousands.
Even if you decide to hire a professional contractor, asphalt shingles can still help you lower your roofing budget. Not only will you pay less in material costs, but since it will take your contractor far less time to complete the job, you’ll spend less in labor charges too.
What’s more, these types of shingles are becoming much easier to recycle than they used to be, making them a great choice if you’re concerned about your home’s impact on the environment.
On the downside, asphalt shingles don’t offer the same level of durability as some other materials. Though you’ll still get a solid 30 years out of them, you could easily get 50 or more out of metal or slate.
Wood Roof Installation Costs: $10,000 – $25,000
From floors and furnishings to patios and porches, wood has always been a popular choice for all aspects of home construction, and that includes roof replacements.
This is no doubt thanks -in part at least- to the attractive array of finishes that you’ll find. Whether it’s cedarwood, pine, or another variety altogether, you’ll always find the right wood to perfectly compliment the look and finish of your property.
Yet while adding a wooden roof may lend a beautiful aesthetic charm to your home, it’s not without its downsides.
Easily the most high-maintenance of all roofing materials, wood needs regular treatment to protect it from harsh weather conditions and mold, as well as damage caused by insects and household bugs. Otherwise, this all-natural material will begin to deteriorate pretty rapidly and need replacing much sooner than other materials.
Keep in mind too that wood is highly flammable and therefore might be completely unsuitable in some areas.
Otherwise, if you’re concerned purely with appearances, you simply won’t find a better-looking material for your replacement roof.
Metal Roofing Installation Costs: $11,000 – $25,000
At the top end of the price scale, a metal roof won’t come cheap but will certainly deliver long-term value for money.
Strong and highly resistant to most extreme weather conditions, metal is undoubtedly the most durable of all roofing materials, meaning you’re unlikely to ever have to replace it again in the course of your lifetime.
Though a metal roof won’t have quite the aesthetic charm as a wooden one, that’s not to say that this option has nothing to offer in the looks department. Common types of metal used include Galvalume, tin, steel, and copper, all of which can add a unique finish to a contemporary home.
On the other hand, the major disadvantage of metal is that it’s typically more complex to install than other materials such as asphalt shingles. This makes labor costs more expensive and presents added complications if you decide to go down the DIY route.
Even if you do choose the latter option, you may still have to pay extra to build a plywood frame around which you can apply your metal sheets, and for products like metal silicone sealant caulk to secure everything in place.
Still, when you consider that your new metal roof will last you a lifetime with barely any maintenance involved, it may well be worth that initial extra outlay.
Clay Roof Tile Costs: $13,000 – $30,000
Though they may never outlive slate or metal, clay tiles certainly hold their own when it comes to longevity and will certainly last longer than wood and even asphalt.
That’s not all they have going for them.
Many manufacturers offer an array of attractive finishes to suit both modern and traditional homes, so you won’t have to compromise aesthetic appeal just to get a durable replacement for your roof.
In that respect, it could be said that clay tiles offer an ideal compromise between the beautiful finish of wood and the long-lasting strength of a metallic finish.
Also working in their favor is the fact that they’re very easy to fix and replace. So, while they may be completely maintenance-free, most problems with tiles are nothing that can’t be quickly fixed with a good quality roof sealant tape.
Slate Roofing Costs: $18,000 – $50,000
On the face of it, there’s a lot to like about a slate roof.
As a natural stone material, it adds a gorgeous finish to any properly, enhancing the traditional look of older homes while adding a certain timeless quality to those built within the last few decades.
It’s also exceptionally weather-resistant and should require very little maintenance work unless your home is damaged by an extreme storm.
However, if there’s one major drawback to it, it’s the cost. Slate is notoriously expensive in terms of both material and labor costs. While this might rule it out as an option for those looking to keep a tight hold on the purse strings, the fact that slate typically lasts over 70 years before beginning to erode should make it worth your consideration if your budget will allow for it.
Roof Replacement Labor Costs
Though you could always grab your tools and carry out your roof replacement as a DIY project, hiring a professional contractor usually proves to be worth the money.
When it comes to determining the cost to replace a roof, most contractors estimate that labor fees will count for as much as 60% of your overall project costs.
In other words, if you’re quoted $15,000 for a full replacement roof, it’s likely that at least $9,000 of that will go towards labor and overheads.
Of course, the actual costs will be determined mainly by the type of materials you choose and the size of your home, though as a general rule, you should expect to pay between $150 and $500 per square.
Why so expensive?
Mainly, it’s because when most people have a new replacement roof installed, their contractor first has to spend time tearing off the old roof and disposing of the waste materials in a safe and responsible way. Naturally, this is more expensive than simply installing a brand new roof.
Things may end up costing even more if you decide to replace your old roof with one made from a different material.
For example, you’re getting rid of your old, worn-out asphalt roof and installing one made from a material such as slate, you’ll first need to ensure that you have a solid framework in place to support the heavier material.
As a minimum, this might involve paying someone to inspect your property to ensure you have a strong enough frame and trusses in place. If not, then you may end up paying, even more, to repair, reinforce, or even completely replace that framework.
How Pitch and Slope Affects the Cost of Replacing Your Roof
High-sloped roofs are generally more difficult to access and this could increase the cost of replacing them.
Another key factor that may influence the labor costs charged by your roofing contractor is the actual design of the roof itself.
Properties that have a high pitch (a figure that relates to the height and length of the roof) are more difficult to access. Your contractor may require special equipment such as a safety harness in order to work on them safely. As you can imagine, this is going to add to your costs, not only to cover the price of the harness but often to compensate for the added risks involved.
The same applies when your roof has a particularly steep slope. In this instance, there’s more than just the safety measures influencing your costs. A steep slope is not only harder to walk on, but it’s also nigh on impossible for your contractor to set their essential tools and spare materials down without them crashing down off your roof.
As such, they’ll need to make frequent trips to and from the roof in order to bring up whatever they need to do the job. Over time, this really slows the job down, and so your contractor is likely to charge more to cover the extra time it takes working on your project.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Green Roof?
A green roof not only adds a unique look to your property but can also help you significantly reduce the costs of keeping your home cool in the summer
At a time when more of us than ever before are concerned about our carbon footprint, we’ve seen increasing numbers of people eschewing the very idea of a traditional roof altogether and opting for something much more eco-friendly.
For those who own properties with a completely flat roof, that could mean using the space to grow a rooftop garden, a trend that initially began in urban areas as a way to make up for the lack of green spaces but which has since proved popular even in suburban areas too.
Yet that’s not to say that those with a traditional sloping roof have to miss out on going green with their roof replacement.
If that idea sounds appealing, then we’ve got both good news and bad news for you.
First, the bad news:
Installing a living roof doesn’t come cheap.
On average, homeowners with this kind of roof on their property will have spent anywhere from $17,000 to $25,000 to set it up.
Why so expensive?
Because the process typically involves more than just dumping a load of plants onto your existing roof.
First, you’ll need to ensure that your roof is strong enough to support all that greenery on a long-term basis. This might mean reinforcing your existing structure or replacing it altogether.
Next, you’ll likely need to add insulation or, at the very least, a material such as a strong pond liner to prevent roots and water from getting to your roof. Without this, that green roof could end up damaging the structural integrity of your property as moisture sets in.
Most roofs of this type will also have additional layers of gravel, moisture blankets, and compost before finally adding the actual greenery.
If you’re already a keen gardener, you may be able to take some of the plants you’ve been growing in your garden and rehome them on the roof. Otherwise, that trip to the garden center will add even more to your budget.
Having said all that, let’s get to the good news:
Though a green roof is expensive to install, it could end up saving you hundreds of dollars every single year and eventually even pay for itself.
In one study conducted by the National Research Council of Canada, a small, six-inch green roof was found to reduce energy demands by as much as 75%. By absorbing heat rather than attracting it, the natural plant life reduced the need to run an air conditioning unit, thus resulting in a significant reduction in home energy usage.
It’s also worth pointing out that green roofs last significantly longer than traditional roofs, even those made from metal and slate, so you’ll even enjoy long-term savings on roof repairs and another eventual replacement.
How Much Does it Cost to Add Solar Panels When Replacing a Roof?
Installing solar panels on your property can help reduce your home energy usage. You can also get government grants and support to help lower the cost of installation.
If adding grass and plant life to your rooftop isn’t for you, there is another way that you can turn your replacement roof into an excellent money-saving feature and generate a significant long-term return on your investment:
Though they’re far from the norm, solar panels have become an increasingly common sight across the US over the last decade or so, with the Solar Energy Industries Association suggesting that over two million American homes now have solar panels installed on their roof.
These panels work by using photovoltaic cells to absorb natural sunlight before using what’s known as “inverter technology” to convert that sunlight into AC (alternating current) energy which then runs through your property’s electrical system, powering your lights, your appliances, and essential features such as air conditioning units.
As you can imagine, this significantly cuts down your reliance on traditional energy sources, thus cutting your utility bills to an all-time low.
However, as with green rooftops, the bad news is that you’ll need a substantial outlay, to begin with.
The cost to install a solar roof in 2020 is around $75,000 to $100,000+.
This breaks down into $50,000 – $70,000 for the actual solar panels, an extra $17,000+ for powerwall batteries, and between $7,000 – $10,000 for labor costs and overheads.
So far, so eye-wateringly expensive, right?
Absolutely, but there’s a lot of good news here.
According to EnergySage, a platform supported by the United States Department of Energy, switching to solar energy could save you anywhere from $11,000 – $20,000 on your energy bills over 20 years.
There’s more, too.
Since the government is so keen to help homeowners go green, they offer significant tax credits for homeowners who install panels. There’s also an extensive number of charities and other organizations that offer grants and loans to people who are thinking of installing solar panels on their property.
For a full list of these, see our comprehensive guide to solar panel grants.
Replacing a Roof: Your Frequently Asked Questions
Every roof needs a solid structure, which is why the job is better left to the professionals rather than going it alone.
Can I Replace My Roof Myself?
As the old saying goes, just because you can that doesn’t mean you should.
While taking the DIY approach to replacing your roof will definitely save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on labor costs, the risks often outweigh the advantages.
In other words, taking on the job yourself may end up costing you more in the long-run if you don’t have the right skills and experience.
This is especially true when it comes to removing your existing roof. Rather than hacking and slashing your way through, this is a delicate process that has to be done carefully to avoid causing additional issues such as leaks. Make one wrong step, and all that money you originally saved on labor costs ends up being spent anyway on extra roof repairs.
What’s more, once your original roof is gone, a trained roofing contractor will have the wisdom and knowledge to be able to spot any structural damage or other issues that may need repairing before your new roof can be installed.
Overlook those issues when you go it alone, and that new roof may not last as long as you would’ve hoped.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the risk that one ill-fitting tile or badly placed shingle ends up ruining the look of your roof, meaning you’ll have to rip up the whole thing and start again. By hiring a contractor, however, you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing mistakes like that are unlikely to be made and, even if they are, it’s your contractor’s responsibility to sort them out.
Of course, all this is before we even mention the fact that doing any kind of roof work can be pretty dangerous. So, if nothing else, this is a good reason to save that roof installation to qualified professionals who know how to do the job safely.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Roof?
It should take no more than three full days to replace a roof on a standard 2,000 square-foot home, though this will depend on multiple factors.
Roofs with a high pitch and steep slope could take upwards of a week, whereas small properties with a gradual slope could be finished up within two working days.
Should I Move Out While My New Roof is Being Installed?
Though it might be a good excuse to finally take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of for so long, you don’t have to temporarily move out of your home while the roof is being replaced.
Most contractors will carry out the job during standard Monday-Friday working hours. So, if you’re at work during this time, you won’t have to put up with the noise and busy activity of a typical roofing project.
Those same contractors will always ensure that they wrap up each day of the project with your home in a liveable condition, so it’s not as though you’ll be exposed to the elements while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.
That being said, there’s no escaping the fact that installing a roof can be noisy. So, if you work from home, work night shifts, or generally spend most of your time at home, you might want to consider relocating for a few days, or at least getting out of the house while your contractors are working.
Final Thought: Why it Pays to Spend More on Installing a Replacement Roof
It’s at this point in our guide where we often feel inclined to tell you how you can save the most money on your home renovation project. Today, however, we’re not going to do that.
While you could certainly reduce your budget by opting for low-priced materials such as asphalt shingles and doing most -if not all- of the work yourself, your roof is the one area of your home where it definitely pays not to cut costs.
As we said right at the very beginning of this guide, the roof is one of the most essential aspects of any home, keeping you, your property, and your loved ones well protected from the elements. In order to do that successfully over the course of multiple decades, it needs to be built to an extremely high standard using the most solid and durable materials.
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that these materials and this top-quality building process cost money.
Scrimp on either part of the project, and you could find yourself suffering from any number of consequences.
In the winter moves, a poorly installed, low-quality roof could let in plenty of cold air and moisture, meaning you’ll spend more on heating your home while also dealing with potential damp problems.
In the summer, that same roof could let in heat, causing you to spend more on keeping your home cool.
That’s before we even get to the fact that a badly installed roof could affect the overall structural integrity of your property, causing further problems down the line.
Ultimately, what all of this comes down to is that it really does pay to spend as much as you can afford on installing a new roof.
Though an unexpected roofing emergency may mean you do have to simply go for the least expensive option, if you can afford to save up and put a proper budget together, you’ll be able to get a much better quality roof that can provide long-term shelter for you and your loved ones for many a year to come.