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Whether your roof needs to be replaced due to age or you just bought a fixer-upper, your first question about a new roof is probably, “How much is it going to cost me?”

That’s a good question, but it’s difficult to answer. There are so many different factors that affect the price of a roof — square footage, material type, and the quality of your contractor can all affect the total price you pay by thousands of dollars. While you might use your homeowner’s insurance to pay for sudden damages, anything outside of that will likely be an out of pocket expense.

Let’s break down everything that can affect the cost of a new roof in detail, so you know what to expect and how to get the best roof for your money.

Roof cost by material type

The average cost for a new asphalt roof in 2021 was about $28,256. Inflation was up 8.5% on average for the last 12 months (ending in March 2022). With this in mind, you can estimate that the average price for an asphalt roof will be about $30,700 in 2022.

However, cost varies widely based on the type of roof you choose. Let’s look at the cost of different roofs from lowest to highest.

Asphalt

Asphalt is by far the most cost-effective roofing material. Because of this, it’s also the most common type of roof, with four out of five homes today sporting this kind of roof. Asphalt shingles typically cost between $5.50 and $12.50 per square foot. For a 3,000-square-foot roof, you can expect to pay anywhere from $16,500 to $27,500.

Cedar shake

Cedar shake is a great roofing material that has aesthetic appeal and offers greater energy efficiency. Cedar shakes typically cost between $15.00 and $25.00 per square foot. For a 3,000-square-foot roof, you can expect to pay anywhere from $45,000 to $75,000.

Metal

While some metal roofs look nice on certain home styles, metal roofing is most often chosen for its longevity. Metal roofs can last up to 50 years. These materials often cost $18.00 to $28.00 per square foot. For a 3,000-square-foot roof, the total material cost is likely to be anywhere between $54,000 and $84,000.

Slate

Slate roofs offer the greatest longevity by far, with some lasting up to 200 years. That said, slate roofs are heavy, difficult to maintain, and expensive to install. They also vary widely. They typically cost anywhere from $29.00 – $57.00 per square foot. This puts the total cost of materials for a 3,000-square-foot roof between $87,000 and $171,000.

Synthetic

Synthetic shingles are made from recycled materials, including plastic and rubber. Homeowners often choose synthetic roofing because it is environmentally friendly, durable, and usually designed to look like slate or wood shake without the extra weight. However, synthetic roofs tend to be very expensive, priced at around $16.00 – $27.00 per square foot. For a 3,000-square-foot roof, that’s about $48,000 – $81,000.

Factors that influence cost

Now that we’ve broken down the cost of different roofing materials, let’s look at how other factors will influence the cost of your roofing job.

Constant factors

Constant factors are things that will always affect the cost of your roof, including the scope of the project, materials, roof shape and similar factors.

Scope of project

The standard scope of a roof replacement typically includes:

  • Removing the old shingles
  • Replacing the underlayment
  • Replacing the shingles
  • Installing new flashing
  • Applying sealant

If the scope of the project includes any more than this, you may incur additional costs for any additional labor.

Disposal fees

Part of the cost of installing a new roof includes the disposal of previous materials. When the roof project starts, your roofing contractor will need to remove the previous shingles and load them onto a trailer or into a rented dumpster. If your roof was installed with two layers of shingles, the roofer may charge extra to remove an additional layer.

After the project, the roofer will also need to arrange for the dumping or recycling of old roofing materials. This may factor into your total bill. The average fee in Chicago for dumping in a landfill is about $95.00 per ton. The average asphalt recycling fee is about $85.00.

Roof shape and size

Size is a huge actor in estimating the price of a new roof. The larger your roof, the more it will cost in both materials and labor.

While many material prices are listed in square footage, many roofing contractors list their job prices in terms of roofing squares. A roofing square is 10 ft. x 10 ft. (100 square feet), usually drawn across the roof in chalk.

Beyond that, the pitch (steepness) of your roof can also affect the price. A higher pitch may increase the price of a new roof by 15 – 50%. The price will increase exponentially as the roof gets steeper. This is mainly because steeper roofs require special installation and safety equipment. Anything higher than a 6/12 pitch ratio (where the roof height increases by 6 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal distance) will need special equipment to install.

The number of corners on the roof can also affect the price. More corners typically means that the installers have to cut shingles in order to fit the space. Since these cut shingles can’t be reused, they’ll have to be thrown away. However, you will still pay the full price of the shingle even if all of it isn’t used.

Lastly, the penetrations in your roof may require additional flashing and sealant to ensure your home is protected from leaks. If you have a lot of chimneys, roof vents, or skylights, you will need to pay for the extra materials and specialized labor to ensure the work is done well.

Additions

If you decide to replace or add other parts to your roof during the project, these will obviously add to the total cost.

Here are a few examples of add-ons you may consider:

  • Skylights – These can cost around $6,000 (on average) per skylight for new installations.
  • Gutters – Replacing your gutters costs around $18.00 per foot for standard aluminum. However, they may cost up to $40.00 per foot if you choose copper gutters.
  • Chimneys – If you decide to have part of your chimney repaired during the roofing process, this can cost $2,500 – $7,500 (for a full rebuild). You may also need to pay another type of contractor to do this job.

Materials

Aside from the type of material you choose, the quality of the materials also affects the price. For example, you may decide to choose architectural shingles over standard 3-tab shingles. This one choice may raise your material costs by as much as 50%.

Low-quality materials will usually cost less, but they may not be able to hold up against harsh weather the same as higher quality materials. This means you may have to replace your roof a second time. The only thing worse than paying for an expensive home improvement project is paying for it twice.

Aside from that, replacing other parts of the roof (such as the underlayment) may add $60 – $90 per square to your total material cost. If you have to replace the plywood decking underneath, this may add another $260 – $290 per square to your bill. If you also need to add an ice/water shield, this may cost an extra $100 – $125 per square.

While paying extra for higher quality materials is a wise choice, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a stronger roof. What matters most is the quality of installation. Even the highest grade shingles, decking, or underlayment will fall apart in just a few years if not installed properly.

Labor

The traditional model for calculating roof costs is 40% materials to 60% labor. For an asphalt shingle roof, some figures estimate that roofers charge between $5.50 and $7.25 for labor per square foot.

However, working with a roofing company that hires skilled workers to complete the project will almost certainly cost more. The median salary for a roofer in 2022 is $41,900 per year. However, highly skilled people who are really good at their craft often earn more. In order to pay the salaries of these few highly qualified workers, roofing companies need to charge more for labor.

Beyond that, changes in scope require extra labor charges. For instance, when the roofer removes the old materials, they may find that the roof decking is deteriorated. If this happens, you can expect a labor charge increase that wasn’t on the original estimate.

Permits

Part of completing a legitimate roofing project means pulling the right permits from the city government. Permits are important for two reasons:

  1. They provide a check against the roofer in case they don’t install the roof properly. If something goes wrong or the roofer doesn’t complete the job according to scope, the permit provides evidence of what the roofer was contracted to do.
  2. They provide a record of the installation for future inquiries about your home. This is important for when you decide to sell your home because it gives the buyer proof of the accurate age of the roof.

The fees associated with building permits vary by state, but many cost between $50 and $500, depending on the scope of the project. In most cases, the roofing contractor will add this on to the total cost of the job.

Insurance

One mark of a responsible roofing contractor is having the proper insurance to protect you the customer against damages and accidents. If a roofer without workers compensation or liability insurance has an accident on your roof, you could be responsible for paying their hospital bills or paying to repair your own property.

While the cost of the contractor’s insurance policy isn’t usually added to the cost of the roofing project, it will likely cost more to work with a contractor who is properly insured. Insurance costs are often built into their labor costs. On the other hand, if you get an estimate from a contractor who has incredibly cheap labor charges, this may be a sign that they aren’t a legitimate business. Many contractors try to avoid getting proper insurance so they can afford to offer customers a lower bid.

Location

The total cost of your roofing project also depends on where you live. Things like climate, cost of living, local legislation, and permit fees are all things to consider when it comes to location. Living near a major city often means your roof will cost slightly more than average.

Current outliers

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices have soared for a variety of reasons. While these factors are affecting the cost of a new roof right now, they may also simply be a product of the times we live in. In a few years, these outliers (such as extreme stress on supply lines) may not be as prominent as they are today.

Inflation

From 2020 to 2022, inflation has increased prices of services and goods by about 10% across the board. Roofing is no exception. However, costs may go down with time as long as businesses and factories continue to re-open. That said, the average cost of living also affects everything (including materials, labor, gas prices, and more).

Material shortages

When many businesses shut down during the pandemic, supply chains were affected in a number of ways. In 2022, roofing material prices increased by about 6%-8%, and may continue to rise by 10%-12% within the next year. This includes the prices for shingles, underlayment, decking, and other essential materials for a high-quality roof.

High gas prices

In April 2022, gas prices in the United States reached record highs. This affects the cost of living all over the country and increases the cost of home improvement. Transportation to and from the job site is more expensive now, especially in large cities. The same goes for shipping and other transportation costs associated with ordering roofing materials. Employees need to make enough to pay for gas to and from the job site. This means roofing companies need to charge more per job in order to pay their employees a livable wage.

Labor shortages

The United States is currently suffering from labor shortages as well. Not only are there fewer workers available in the roofing industry, but there are shortages in virtually every industry in the supply chain. This gives the worker the advantage over the employer. With more job openings, laborers have more career options to choose from. In order to keep qualified employees on the payroll, more companies are paying higher wages (as much as 3.4% higher year-over-year). This in turn increases the cost of roofing projects so that roofing companies don’t have to settle for cheap workers that may be unqualified.

How to get the best deal on a new roof

Now that you understand how multiple different factors can influence the total cost of a roofing project, let’s look at how you can get the best deal on a new roof. This doesn’t mean picking the cheapest estimate. Instead, you want to focus on getting the best value for your money. If you do it right, your roofing project may even increase the value of your home over time.

Don’t pick the lowest bid

If you’re comparing estimates from multiple roofing contractors, you may be tempted to take the lowest bid. But while roofing projects can sometimes be shockingly expensive, choosing the lowest bid won’t guarantee a high-quality roofing job. Instead, roofing contractors that try to win business by offering the lowest bid are often cutting costs in other areas. They use low-quality materials, unskilled workers and fake insurance policies to get around the cost of doing legitimate, high-quality work.

Paying more for a roofing project isn’t the only way to guarantee quality. However, it often means you’re paying for a roofer that knows what they’re doing. Roofing is expensive if done properly, so you want to work with a roofer that charges enough to do the job well.

Financing your roof

When you first see the estimate for your new roofing project, you might realize you don’t have enough money saved to pay for it up front. That’s okay. Rather than waiting until you have enough money saved up or taking out a high-interest loan, you may be able to finance the project through your roofing company.

By financing, you can complete the project up front and pay it off in increments. In the meantime, you can reap the benefits of a new roof right away and use other funds to improve the rest of your home.

Choose a trusted roofing company

One of the most reliable ways to get a great deal on a roofing project is to hire a great roofing company to complete the job from the beginning. When looking for someone to hire, find a roofer that you trust to act in good faith and complete the project with an eye for quality.

But no matter who you choose, your roofer should always conduct a roof inspection first. If a contractor just hands you an estimate without first coming to your house to look at your home in detail, they aren’t providing accurate figures.

Here are a few things to look for to help you spot a great roofing contractor:

  • Great reviews – If you want a roof that provides a great ROI, look for an established reputation for high-quality work and great customer service. You can start by checking the roofer’s website, Google Maps, Yelp, and other review aggregators. But you should also keep in mind that sometimes word of mouth is the best way to judge a person’s reputation.
  • Good workmanship – High-quality materials aren’t always the most reliable way to ensure a quality job. Instead the most important trait of a good roofing contractor is great workmanship. In fact, poor installation is the top reason new roofs fall apart due to wind or hail damage. High-quality installation can help your roof last its full lifespan and maintain a beautiful aesthetic.
  • Charging enough to get the job done right – While price isn’t a guarantee of good work, it can be a good sign. When a roofer charges a higher price, it often means they’re charging enough. High-quality materials and skilled labor cost money. Legitimate roofers know that, and they don’t try to cut corners to save a few bucks.

Final thoughts

Buying a new roof can be a financially tough decision in 2022. But think of it as an investment rather than an expense. Whoever you hire and whatever type of roof you choose, you want it to provide as much value to your home as possible. If you’re buying a new roof anyway, go with one that you can trust to protect your roof for many years to come.

At Baltic Roofing, we can offer you just that. We’ve been serving Chicagoland for more than 17 years, and we have a portfolio of high-quality roofing which you can see all around the city. With every repair or replacement project we do, we strive to give your home the best roof possible.

Contact us for a roof inspection and estimate today to see how much it will cost to install a new roof on your home.

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