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Understanding the cost of your roof

When preparing your estimate, roofing contractors consider many variables that are specific to your roof, your preferences, your budget and goals, and even where you live.

How roof costs are determined

While you ultimately need to know the overall price of your new roof, roofing contractors get to that estimate by adding up several factors. To deliver an accurate cost estimate, roofing contractors do the following:

    1. Measure the roof – Most measurements are obtained digitally, using satellite imagery or drone technology, and include the slope, peaks and overall complexity of the roof.


    1. Do an inspection – With a thorough roof inspection, contractors are able to assess the condition of your roof and determine the project scope.


    1. Recommend products – Next, your contractor will outline the best roofing system materials for your project (shingles, ventilation and accessories) and warranty options.


  1. Calculate costs – With the information above, your contractor can bring all the costs together: labor, materials, warranty, and applicable fees and services (permits, preparation, clean up).


The size of your roof is the most significant cost factor. Divide the square footage by 100 to get the approximate roofing square number for your estimate. A cost “per square” usually includes both materials and installation. According to the U.S. Census, the average residential roof in the United States is 17 squares, or approximately 1700 square feet.


Asphalt shingles are the most popular and least expensive type of residential roofing material. A metal roof, or roofs made with wood, slate, clay or solar tiles typically cost more. Roofs made from these other materials may have other benefits, like providing solar power to your home for example, but there are other trade-offs you will want to consider.


Steeper roofs require more need for staging, safety precautions and will likely take longer to install. The pitch also determines the type of underlayment needed for the highest level of fire safety. Roofing contractors also calculate features like chimneys, skylights and ventilation pipes that they need to work around, and complexities like the number of facets–or faces–the roof has.


You can expect to pay a different amount for a roof replacement depending on where you live in the U.S. Cost fluctuations may reflect the general cost of living differences in each region, and possibly the different material needs, or local code requirements, based on varying climates and other factors.

Considerations for your new roof

    • Be sure to get more than one estimate and compare the details closely. See our tips choosing the right roofer here.


    • The lowest estimate may not be the best choice – costs will be higher for higher levels of installation quality, product durability and warranty protection.


    • Insurance may cover some or all of your costs if your roof sustained damage from a storm. Check with your agent before signing a contract with a roofer.


    • If you are in a storm market, paying for a stronger warranty now may save you a lot of money later. Learn about GAF Enhanced Warranties here.


  • Remember – in addition to protecting your family and belongings, your roof can represent up to 40% of curb appeal and contribute to the value of your home, too!

Options for managing costs

Roofing can be expensive, but there are a number of ways to manage costs and stick to your budget.

Financing Options

  • Contractor Financing
  • Insurance Coverage
  • FHA Title I Home & Property Improvement Loan
  • Home Equity Loan
  • Personal Loan

Project Scope

Work with your contractor to understand the variables impacting your cost estimate – such as issues being addressed, and product and warranty choices – and align on a plan (e.g. repair now, replace later) to protect your home and family, and stay within budget.