Roof Replacement Cost in 2018: New Roof Prices

We all want to get the best possible deal when it comes to spending our hard earned money. However, there are some items that fall in the “never bargain shop” category. A new roof ranks high on that list. 😉

GAF asphalt roofing system

What to Expect in Terms of Costs?

A new asphalt shingles roof for a typical 2,000 square feet single-story ranch house can range in price from $8,500-$16,500 installed.

Across the US, a typical architectural asphalt shingle roof will cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per sq. ft. to install. This price range normally includes the cost of materials, removal of the old roof (up to 1 layer), dumpster and disposal fees, permitting fees, professional installation, and workmanship warranty.

Note: The actual estimates you’ll receive will vary depending on the location of your home, roof’s overall complexity, and the type of system you choose to install.

Roofing Shingles

Did you know? The average house size in America is roughly 2,000 square feet, with older homes being smaller than that (1,500 Sq.Ft. to 1,700 Sq.Ft. on average) and newer homes being larger (2,400 Sq.Ft. to 2,600 Sq.Ft. on average). However, the size of the roof can vary depending on how many levels or stories a home has, the slope and type of the roof and complexity of its architectural design.

Varying factors that can affect your cost are: the brand and type of shingles; the type of underlayment; the slope of the roof; complexity of the job; the company installing the roof and the region.

Average Total Costs of Common Roof Systems for Homes:

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles: $7,000 to $12,000
30-year Shingles: $9,000 to $15,000
50-year Shingles: $11,000 to $20,000
EPDM Rubber: $8,000 to $14,000
TPO or PVC Membrane: $10,000 to $15,000
Wood Shingles: $14,000 to $25,000
Steel Shingles: $14,000 to $25,000
Aluminum Shingles: $15,000 to $28,000
Standing Seam: $23,000 to $30,000
Natural Slate: $25,000 to $50,000
Concrete Tiles: $20,000 to $40,000
Clay Tiles: $25,000 to $50,000

Install Roof Shingles

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Install Metal Roof

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* These are approximate total job prices based on national average. Costs may vary depending on your region and home’s location, the roof’s slope and number of stories, overall complexity of the roof, the number of layers of the old shingles to be removed and disposed of, type of underlayment and accessories used, and any warranties or guarantees the contractor offers.

Needless to say, getting a roof replacement is expensive. Seeing the total price of getting it done properly can cause a justifiable sticker shock. However, when homeowners have a better understanding of where the money is going and how they will save money in the long run, it’s easier to see a quality roof as the investment it truly is.

Pictured is a Traditional Home with a Slate Roof

Having a roof over your head is a basic, essential need. Yet, when the time comes to have a new roof installed, a typical homeowner will either pay too much by going through the local home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot, which by the way does not necessarily guarantee quality, or inadvertently, opt for a low quality roof by hiring a contractor with the lowest bid.

Beyond the Basics

Many homeowners make these often-poor choices, because they don’t really understand the importance of a good roof in the first place, as they lack general roofing knowledge, as well as fear getting ripped off, often justifiably so.

This guide will give you the knowledge necessary to hire a reputable contractor and get the best roof for your money.

Importance of a Quality Roof

Before getting into the actual roof prices, it’s essential to establish the importance of a properly installed high-quality roof. A roof does more than keep the rain off your head. It protects your biggest investment – your home.

What you should expect from a high quality roof:

Durability – long lifespan; stands up to high winds, heavy rain, snow and hail; less maintenance; few replacements

Protection – doesn’t leak; protects the inside and outside of the structure; provides proper drainage; keeps family safe during extreme weather

Efficiency – proper ventilation and insulation; saves energy; lowers heating and cooling bills; helps heating and cooling unit last longer; helps prevent ice dams, possible energy efficiency tax deduction

Increased Home Value – If you’re planning to resell your home, it will be worth more with a high-quality roof.

What you can expect from a low quality roof:

Unreliable – vulnerable to premature leaks; can’t stand up to pressure from snow; peels off in high winds

Quite Temporary – short lifespan; deteriorates at a faster rate; high maintenance and unnecessary repair costs

High Energy Costs – improper ventilation and insulation decrease energy efficiency; high energy bills; heating and cooling unit must work harder

Potentially Dangerous – Low quality materials combined with improper ventilation can be a fire hazard and also cause mold issues

Consider the following examples: The most popular residential roofing material is a 3 tab asphalt shingles because they have the lowest up front cost. However, since they’re an oil-based product, the price for asphalt shingles is skyrocketing. Plus, there are reports that their quality has significantly dropped.

Although you pay less up front, frequent roof replacements make it more expensive over time.

Metal roofs do have a higher initial price tag, but a durable and energy-efficient metal roof will help you save money in the long run. Many residential metal roofs are offered with a lifetime warranty, are surprisingly energy efficient, and require little to no maintenance. Plus, they come in a variety of styles and colors to match anyone’s taste and local flair.

When weighing the price of a roof against the value received, homeowners need to look beyond the upfront cost, and consider long term savings and added benefits a quality roof can provide.

Remember, lower price doesn’t always mean less expensive!

Choosing a Trustworthy Roofer

Unless you personally know a contractor, the thought of finding a reputable company can be overwhelming, to say the least. Between horror stories of people getting blatantly ripped off, the fly-by-night crews and storm chasing contractors, it can be hard to know who you can trust.

Use these steps to find a reputable roofer:

1. Ask friends and family for recommendations.

2. Once you have a list of prospects, call them and ask these questions:

  • Do they take on projects of your size? This one will almost always be a Yes, but it is a good starting point to get the contractor’s interest and attention
  • Can they supply a list of previous clients as references?
  • Are they willing to provide financial references from banks and suppliers?
  • How many other projects will they be working on while doing your roof?
  • Will they be using subcontractors? If so, how long have they worked with them?

This information will tell you how reliable they are, how much attention they’ll give to your project and how smoothly the work will go.

3. From your phone conversations, choose three to four contractors to come to your home for estimates. Don’t go on personality alone. Be sure to check their reputation with their past clients and/or BBB, rip off report, Angie’s List if you have it, etc.

4. Follow up on the information you’ve gathered. Call their clients to see if they are satisfied with the work and service they’ve received.

5. When prospective contractors visit your home, they should inspect the roof, along with the attic insulation and ventilation system in place. If you have a rather complex roof, they may ask to see the blueprints if you have them, which can help with the measurements and ordering of materials.

When discussing your needs, make sure they fully understand your expectations in terms of the new roof including making sure that your new roof will be properly ventilated, debris removed, and that your house and landscaping will be properly protected if the old roof needs to be removed.

Make sure that you fully understand the product benefits, and warranty details for materials and labor. The contractor should be eager to answer any questions you may have, as well as have questions and suggestions for you.

You will also want to make sure that the company has all the necessary roofer’s liability and worker’s comp insurance, and that they will be getting a permit for the job. You may also want to check their contractor’s license if it’s required in your state.

6. To accurately compare bids, ask for a breakdown of the contractors’ estimates. The estimate should include cost of materials, labor, other expenses and profit margin. Remember if companies aren’t making profits, they won’t be around to cover your warranty.

7. Throw out the low-ball bid. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

8. Go with your gut. You must be comfortable with not only their ability to do the work, but also how you feel around them. Trust is a major factor when hiring a contractor. They’ll be at your home for several hours; you need to feel comfortable talking to them; as well as get a sense that they are being fair, and honest.

Tip: You do not want to do business with a contractor who seems pushy and impatient with your questions.

More on the Importance of Hiring a Reputable Contractor

It can be very tempting to go with the crew offering to save you money on such a large investment. However, when you choose a company based purely on the lowest bid, it will likely cost you more in the long run.

What you can expect from a disreputable roofer:

  • They are likely to cut corners to save time on installation at your expense.
  • They are likely to use low quality materials.
  • They don’t necessarily adhere to the building codes.
  • They often hire uninsured, illegal immigrant workers.
  • They go through a job too quickly, thereby not doing quality work.
  • They’re often not properly insured.
  • They’re usually not licensed, if licensing is required in your state.

Your roof will only likely look good for a short time. When you start having problems with your roof, and you will probably have problems, they won’t be around to uphold your warranty.

Of course, hiring someone who is skilled in his trade and takes pride in his work will cost more than a fly-by-night organization. But, you get what you pay for.

What you can expect from a reputable roofer:

  • Honest contractors understand their services are often needed when people are unprepared and can least afford it.
  • They will work out a financial plan that works for you or have a list of reputable lenders.
  • A reputable company will sit down with you, listen to your concerns, your financial limitations, and your needs.
  • A good roofer will do everything they can to give you the best roof and roofing design including ventilation and flashing details available.
  • If something happens to your roof, they will be there to fix it. – Their reputation is more important to them than a “few extra dollars” they may earn in the short term.
  • Reputable roofers understand that sometimes clients truly just need a roof over their head and can’t afford the best roof on the market. In these cases they will work with you to give you the best value engineered roof you can afford.

How Contractors Determine the Price of Roof Replacement?

After inspecting the roof and speaking with the homeowner, a contractor will draw up an estimate for the project. They take various factors into consideration, such as materials, complexity of the job and the amount time needed to complete the job.

Estimated Roof Costs (1620 s.f.)
Asphalt Shingles
Metal Roofing
Flat Roof
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Typical Breakdown:

Roof Size – Roofs with more slant have a larger surface area than roofs with less slant.

Roof Slope – Steeper sloped roofs are more dangerous and more difficult to work on than flat roofs.

Roof Complexity – A roof with more level changes, hips and valleys, and add-ons, such as dormers, will be more expensive than a simple roof.

Existing Layers – It’s sometimes possible to install over existing shingles, but this lowers the lifespan and can cancel the warranty. It’s better to do a complete replacement. The more layers that must be removed will increase the price.

Debris and Waste Removal – Asphalt shingles, the most common material used, are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.

Materials – The type of new material that will be installed, such as asphalt shingles, steel shingles, slate shingles, etc.

Building Materials – This covers all other materials needed to build a roof, such as boards and plywood, nails, drop cloths, tarps staples, calk, etc.

Roof Underlayment and Accessories – The roof underlayment and accessories is what makes the roof waterproof. This includes materials to go under the roof covering, such as felt or tar paper. It also covers flashing, sheathing and flash cards.

Ventilation – Ventilation is very important for expanding the lifespan of the roof, increasing the energy efficiency and meeting building codes in some areas. It’s one of the main areas where corners are cut by less reputable contractors.

* Make sure anyone you hire obtains all the required building permits and your roof meets all required building codes.

Labor Costs – This will vary depending on the size of the crew, the workers’ experience and how long the project will take.

Overhead Costs – This covers the basic costs of doing business (insurance, advertising, taxes, permits, office space, equipment, trucks, office supplies, office staff, etc.).

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  1. We only have an 810 square foot single story home and a 75 square foot simple, no frills garage. We are getting bids that are in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. One quote was for $9,000 which didn’t include a lot of things!

    Either the contractors are up-pricing small homes to compensate for the job size or the roofing costs in our area are much higher than the average across the US.

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Yes, you are correct in guessing that contractors will generally charge more per sq. ft. for re-roofing jobs on smaller homes, partly because the prep and setup work can take just as much time as a larger job.

      Given how high the quotes you are seeing are, I’m assuming your home is located in a high cost of living area such as Boston, NYC, Washington DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Seattle, Portland OR, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, and/or a similarly-expensive coastal city.

      I am also guessing the old roof needs to be torn off and removed, which raises the total cost of the job.

      Does your roof have significant slope, skylights or any other nuances to help explain the high quotes you’ve received?

      Word of advice on dealing with high estimates: Don’t be afraid to negotiate down the price. Ask for the actual roof square footage the contractor estimates and why they’re pricing the job the way they do.

  2. Just had a new roof installed on my home located in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.

    Got a few estimates ranging from $550.00 to over $800.00 per square. Ended up negotiating down to $500 per square and going with the company I liked. Total roof size was about 30 squares, so the total job cost was a bit shy of $15K.

  3. Hi Al,

    I read in so many sources that a synthetic slate roof is just as quick and easy (or even easier) to install than an asphalt shingle roof, yet the installation estimates I see online for synthetic slate, both from vendors of synthetic slate and from independent sites, are way higher than for asphalt. Below is just one such assertion from HGTV:

    “Transportation and installation of synthetic slate shingles is easier and less expensive than other roofing materials. Synthetic slate shingles are lighter than all asphalt shingles… During installation, synthetic slate shingles can easily be field-cut with a utility knife and nailed into place with standard roofing nails and a pneumatic nail gun.”

    Is it true? And if so, why do installers charge so much? It’s not the price of the actual product that is deterring me from going with synthetic — it’s the ridiculous installation cost.


    1. Hi Steve,

      I understand your frustration and confusion regarding the cost of synthetic slate vs. asphalt shingles. There is a lot of misinformation and ill-informed writers contributing articles to sites such as HGTV. Oftentimes the writers for these sites fail to do their due diligence research, and instead, choose to rely on or cite other sites containing the same wrong information.

      The truth is that synthetic slate and shakes are considered a premium product and often cost two times as much as asphalt shingles to install.

      That said, expect to pay between $7.50 to $12.50 per sq. ft. installed for a synthetic slate roof. The actual cost may vary a lot, depending on your home’s location, project difficulty, the choice of product, and from contractor to contractor.

      Hope this is helpful.

      Good luck and do let us know how it goes!

  4. What are some of the questions that should be asked when obtaining a roof estimate or determining what contractor to use?

    1. Hi Bill,

      The following questions should help you better vet the company providing an estimate:

      1. How long has your company been in business?

      You would normally like to see a company that has been around for at least 5 years, hopefully under the same name and state license number.

      2. Do you have a general liability insurance and worker’s comp?

      Can they show the proof?

      3. Can I see your past jobs and talk to your past customers in the area?

      4. Are you planning to use subcontractors on this job?

      The right answer should normally be a NO, we don’t plan on using subs on this job.

      You should also ask more details about who will be carrying out the actual work on your roof:

      Will there be a project manager or point of contact present on the job every day? Can you talk to them ahead of time?

      It can be helpful to make sure you are on the same page with the project manager as far as communication and expectations for the job.

      5. How experienced is the crew? How long have they been working for you?

      6. How will you handle the clean-up?

      7. Does your crew need access to my house? The answer should normally be a no.

      8. How will you ensure proper ventilation of my roof attic space?

      9. How will you ensure that my roof deck is in sound shape?

      10. How do you handle disputes?

      11. Can you guarantee project cost, timelines (start dates/completion dates)? Are there any contingencies?

      12. Can you explain the scope or work and warranty details?

      Let me know if this is helpful?

  5. Hi Al,

    I am beginning the process of searching roofing products, contractors in my area. I am very appreciative of your outstanding information.

    Based on what I’ve read, I’m strongly leaning toward the Owens Corning Dimension Cool. As I am in the Panhandle in FL, hurricane prep, as well as solar impact on the shingles, is always an area to address. Based on the better warranty info, while the GAF Timberline is a 2nd runner, if the price is workable, I will most likely go with the OC Cool.

    I appreciate the list of questions for contractors, the links to products and the overview on estimates of cost. In following your links, I also found qualified contractors for the products, access to warranty detail and more.

    Looks like I’ll need 20 squares and now feel informed enough to be able to ask the right questions, and be able to compare contractors.

    I’ve already reached out to one, a preferred contractor for the products, in business for 30 years, who was awarded Best of the Emerald Coast, 2018. While I certainly plan to compare contractors, and check more, certainly a great starting point! I found them following links that started with yours, and will use your recommended questions!

    My very rough estimate is probably about 10k for 1600 sq ft, single story, moderate pitch, hip roof that already has clips, and needs full removal with secondary water resistance.

    Does that sound like I’m in the ballpark? Or should I give a little more cushion room on pricing? I do know I also need one area of subroofing replaced (had a leak from the flashing around the chimney).

    Thank you again, very much.

    Your site is, without a doubt, the Best I’ve found.


    1. Hi Pam,

      Thank you for the kind words. So, we are talking about $10,000 for a roughly 16 to 20 squares roof in Florida. This translates to roughly $500 to $625 per square installed. Based on the roof-specific info you provided, I would say you are in the ballpark.

      Be sure to get a few estimates from trusted pros in your area, so you can ask questions and compare options.

  6. I just got an estimate of $15,250 for 30 squares and thought that was high. I’m in New Orleans, LA and have a ranch. Guess this may be on point. I’ll get a few more estimates. Thanks for the insight.

    1. Hi Queen,

      The fair price depends on the particulars of the job.

      Is there a tear-off and removal included as part of the quote?

      What kind of shingles is being installed?

      Are you being offered a comprehensive workmanship warranty?

  7. So, we just got an estimate from Sears for 26,000.00 for a 2200 sq. ft. roof. The roof is very old. It is a tar and gravel and the pitch is low. It is single story. The house is located in the SF Bay area. It will include all of the permits etc. and will include a 50 year warranty. It seems reasonable to me considering all they will have to remove and replace, but my son thinks it is too high. Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Alice,

      Any time you work with a large provider like Sears rather than dealing directly with the contractor, you will have to pay a premium to Sears since they are essentially a middleman. The job itself will be done by a sub-contractor.

      That said, Bay Area will be much pricier compared to the rest of the country.

      Tar and Gravel is an old school flat roofing system. Have you considered light-weight alternatives such as IB Roof 80 mil (commercial-grade) PVC membrane? It’s light-weight, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. It will probably cost you less with the same result and better energy efficiency.

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