Putting a roof over your head is a basic human need. After all, it protects most people’s biggest investment – their house. In the US, it is estimated that a new roof costs an average of 3 percent of the total price of a house – a substantial outlay. It is surprising then that, aside from professional roofers, many homeowners do not have a clue how much it costs.
How Are Roofing Estimates Worked Out?
There is a multitude of factors which can affect the cost of an installation from what state you live into the time of year and the cost of the materials. However, there are some basic guidelines to roofing estimates that generally apply and should give you some idea of the budget you might need.
First of all, there is the size of the roof. This is the single biggest factor in working out an estimate. Roofers work, and charge, in square feet. Most of them use 100 square feet (10ft x 10ft) as a basic cost unit.
To find out the size of the job, you first need to measure the ground area your house covers. This figure should also include any overhang the new structure will have.
Next, you need to look at the pitch of the roof. This is the slope from the highest point of the roof, usually somewhere near the center, to its lowest point at the edges. You can work this out by measuring the height and length to give you a ratio figure. So, for example, if it is eight feet high and 14 feet long, the pitch ratio will be 8:14. For every 14 inches, it runs horizontally, it rises 8 inches. Generally, this is not a good idea to do yourself, since getting on top of the house and walking around can be dangerous, particularly if your house slopes significantly.
Higher pitch roofs are more expensive not only because they cover a greater area, but also because they tend to be harder to replace or repair. A sharply angled roof means roofers will have to use extra safety equipment and take more time. This adds to the labor costs.
The next item on the estimated costs list is the price of materials. Asphalt is generally regarded to be the cheapest roofing material, followed by wood, metal, tile, and slate. As a rough guide, metal roofs can cost double the price of an asphalt one. Slate can be as much as five times more expensive than asphalt. The price reflects the material’s longevity. While a decent asphalt shingle may last 30 years, a good metal, tile or slate rooftop should give more than 50 years of reliable service.
It is important not to forget that local building codes may dictate the type of materials you can use. However, these basic roofing materials are not the end of the story. Added to these is the cost of hardware used in waterproofing, insulating, and ventilating a new roof. Things such as the type of underlaying material and the sort of decking all contribute to a roofing estimate
If you are getting a new roof, one of the biggest price factors, and one that people often overlook, is the cost of taking the old roof down. This can be a tricky job if it has many layers or is seriously damaged. Plus the old waste materials need to be disposed of properly and waste dumping costs can add significantly to your final bill.
Similarly, water damage, which is often only uncovered after the roof has started to be removed can turn a repair job into a complete replacement!
Other costs that are not immediately apparent to the average home-owner include chimneys and skylights. These have a significant impact on roofing estimates. They increase labor costs as roofers have to work around them and fitting a weather-proof seal can easily cost several hundred dollars.
Another important factor is the accessibility of the roof. If a roofer is unable to get his truck close to the property he will need more manpower and materials.
Similarly, the little details can be pricey such as the type and quality wood used for fascia and rafters, and the finishing sealants.
It is almost impossible for the layman to calculate an exact roofing estimate. There are too many variables. Hopefully, though, this article will give you a basic guide as to whether a roofer is asking way too much.
Finally, a word of warning – do not go for the lowest estimate just because it is the cheapest. A leaking new roof will cost you double to replace it.
If you live in the Kansas City greater metropolitan area then give us a call at Armor Roofing Today!
Armor Roofing LLC – Kansas City
6600 NW Tower Dr #104
Kansas City, MO 64151