How much does it cost? Is this the first thing that pops into your mind when a Contractor tells you that you can’t repair your roof and it is in need of a replacement and soon? If so then join the club, we ALL want to know how much it costs. We all want to know how much is too much to pay for a roof replacement. Let’s take a few components and talk cost.

1. To tear off the old roof or go over the top? This is a fair and legit question to ask before considering a total price of a new roof. After all if I don’t have to pay for dump fees, labor and insane amounts of clean up then surely I can save some cash. Yes you can and here are some things to consider before you decide. During a tear off you can see down to the wood deck that the shingles are nailed into (so you can see if the wood has been wet and it rotted or not). If you have bad wood you can easily replace it during a tear off of your roof and not have to worry about mold or allergies due to moisture in the attic. You can also address loose wood decking where the nails have backed out due to some expansion and contraction. It is nothing to renail some areas before you put your felt paper or other underlayment down for your new roof.

Of course if you know you don’t have any rotted wood because you were able to do an attic inspection then you get to save some money in dump fees and labor fees. The cost for a standard tear off with a dimensional shingle is going to run you in the $255-$265 per square range (a square is a 10 ft. by 10 ft. area). So for a roof with 30 squares it would cost roughly $7,650-$7,950. For a standard 25 year shingle that is a 3-tab design (basic shingle) your cost on the same size roof would run you between $7,050-$7,350 which is $235-$245 per square.

When you are talking about a recover your roof, then you can figure around $20 per square less due to the saving of dump and labor fees. But $600 is $600 no matter how you look at it. You just have to make sure that the roof-shingle manufacturer such as www.gaf.com or www.certainteed.com will still give a product warranty on recovers (roof overs). In most cases they will but it never hurts to check with your Contractor to double check.

2. Ventilation: Each and every roof needs to be ventilated. Vents allow the roof to breathe. A roof must be able to circulate fresh cool air in order to keep the shingles as cool as possible to make them last as long as they should. You will find that the number one reason for premature roof failure is inadequate ventilation hands down and not even a close second place. There are many different kinds of vents, some of the most common are: ridge vents, static vents, whirly vents as well as power vents. These are all types of exhaust venting. There is another kind of vent that doesn’t get much love but is just as important is the intake vents. These are the vents on the under side of your soffit (your overhand behind your gutters). If the roof cannot get air into the attic space then it cannot have a moving current to exhaust from and the roof will not stay as cool as it should. This will cause higher heating and cooling bills in addition to causing premature roof failure. So the best thing to do is to ask for a properly BALANCED ventilation system. Balanced with the amount of intake and exhaust. 50% to 50% ratio is acceptable and if you must have more of either one…use more intake. Your contractor should know how to measure the attic to ensure the balance is good. The cost on vents as a part of the roof will add around 4%-8% for exhaust (which is included in the total cost above usually). The cost for intake vents can range greatly depending on what kind you use but they can add between 7%-10% (which is rarely included in the above total costs). Be sure you ask for proper vents as they will make all the difference in how long your roof lasts.

3. Upgrades: It is not always a bad thing to upgrade some things on your roof. Just because it is presented doesn’t mean you are being sold, actually most of your good reputable contractors will at least show you some upgrades that can make your roof more attractive or maintenance free. You will ALWAYS get what you pay for so when coNsidering upgrades. Realize you may not have accounted for these costs with some of your other bids so don’t throw them out until you weigh each bid on what exactly it will include. Upgrades include what kind of metal to use of walls and chimneys…aluminum (which is thin and more flimsy), painted steel (which is thicker and has more color options) and copper (which doesn’t need an explanation). As you can see each of these will be a different cost point so consider carefully. Asphalt felt paper or Synthetic underlayment. Closed cut shingle valleys, Painted Steel (metal) valleys or Copper valleys. Plastic neoprene pipe flashings or lead pipe flashings. Chimney cap or leave it alone…there are several options for upgrades that are not sales tools but real life time and money savers down the road.

If you get 10 different estimates for your new roof…and I hope you don’t waste that many people’s time…you will see that no one prices exactly the same. No estimate is exactly like anyone else’s so take your time when you get bids, ask questions, compare the warranty periods, do you like the sales person who showed up, did he or she represent the company well and do they have a good reputation in the local community? Once you have your estimates for your new roof and begin the process of making a decision, don’t let it overwhelm you. Take 3-4 days and go with the one that your gut tells you. But whatever you do…don’t make your decision on who seems to be the cheapest price on paper. I’ve said it a million times…YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR when it comes to roofing.