Roofing Cost Breakdown: 7 Factors to Consider

The roof is a valuable asset in both residential and commercial buildings. It is mainly responsible for protecting the occupants and interior belongings from harsh weather conditions, such as hailstones and damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. A well-designed roof over your head is a key tool in maintaining the comfort of your home and your safety. Without it, you will likely experience an array of issues, such as patches of mildew on your ceiling and walls, and water leaks in the attic.

Roofing Cost Breakdown: 7 Factors to Consider

Not all roofs are built the same. Every factor – from the expertise of the roofing contractor to the type of roofing membrane and quality of reflective coating used – plays an important role in determining the total cost of a new roofing system. For this reason, not all roofers will provide the same roofing estimate for the same project.

To help you understand, here is a typical breakdown of what goes into the cost of a new roof:


On the market, there are plenty of roofing materials. Some of the most popular roof coverings are asphalt shingles, metal roofing, cedar shakes and slate tiles.

Performance, longevity and product cost are three prime indicators of the quality of the roof. For example, the asphalt shingle covering is widely used in North America because the material comes in at a lower price range than other roofing types, such as natural slate tiles. Despite the low cost, asphalt shingles are known to be durable and can withstand hail, snow and rain. And, if properly installed and maintained throughout its lifespan, an asphalt shingle roof can last for at least 15 to 30 years.

Additional costs of brand-new underlayment, starter strips, flashing, paint, ridge caps, roof vents, chimneys and fasteners or nails also affect the total price of the roofing system.


A roof replacement starts with the removal of the old roof. Not only is stripping off an entire roofing system time-consuming, but it is also labor-intensive on the side of contractors. Some houses have angular and complicated rooflines. In most cases, the contractor will reasonably include this factor in the total cost, increasing the price of your new roof by up to 25%.

Similarly, replacing an existing roof with durable and heavy materials, such as concrete or scalloped clay tiles, may add to the total price of the labor cost category.

Another thing to consider is the square footage of the house. The average size of a roof is around 1,700 square feet – or 17 squares in roofing terms. A contractor may need more days to complete a roof replacement job on a much bigger house, potentially adding to the cost of the newly remodeled exterior.

If you choose an overlay instead of a whole replacement, it may reduce labor costs to nearly 25% of the budget. This is due to that fact that overlay work often only requires one day to finish.

Expertise of the Contractor

It is recommended that you get three to four roofing bids from different roofing companies before deciding on a contractor. This practice allows you to weigh your options more carefully and find an overall better deal.

A roofer who underbids is typically inexperienced or desperate for clients. For instance, a newly established company may be willing to provide the same services for less cash since they are still in the process of building a reliable client base.

This thinking applies to storm chasers – or roofers, often fraudulent, who hop from town to town after a severe storm event to offer shoddy roofing services. They find frantic homeowners who are in dire need of roof repair or replacement, usually use low-grade materials, and do not have proper installation techniques. After making a quick buck, storm chasers leave their customers without any trace or contact.

Be sure to hire a licensed and certified roofing contractor to ensure premium services and a safe transaction. Ask for a copy of their documents, confirm whether or not their employees are insured, read customer reviews online, ask your trusted neighbors for references, and check their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.

Keep in mind, however, that high prices do not necessarily mean superior home improvement services. There are companies who hire subcontractors to do the construction work. Unfortunately, most subcontractors are paid less than the traditionally employed workers.


All non-recyclable materials end up in a landfill. As mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), roofing contractors need to add disposal fees to the total cost of your new roof. Most of the time, this includes the fee for renting a dumpster site.

To help reduce the waste that goes into landfills, consider getting a new roof that is made of materials that are nearly 100% recyclable. Some examples are metal, reclaimed tiles and rubber. Being conscious of the sustainability and energy efficiency qualities of the components of your house can significantly help the environment and people.

Jobsite Extras

A roof replacement requires detailed preparation. To ensure safety and efficiency on the job-site, professional roof contractors utilize proper construction equipment and procedures. These include a crane that will be operated to carry bundles of heavy shingles up to the roof. Other contractors also choose to rent scaffolding and portable toilets, especially when the job needs longer hours and several days to complete. All of these account for at least 5% of the total roof replacement budget.

Meanwhile, some roofing contractors use a roll forming machine to produce their own metal roofing panels. This custom machinery eliminates panel shipping damage and delays, providing a higher quality of end product. However, it also entails additional manufacturing costs and employee training. Though you can guarantee perfect custom-made panels for your roof, the extra expenses will likely go into the total cost of your new metal roofing.

Building Permit

A building permit is generally a proof of safety, uniformity of design and compliance with the law of the roof replacement project. Before the construction begins, the homeowner and contractor need to secure legal requirements and ensure that local regulations are followed. The process of approval requires a thorough inspection of the building, including architectural plans and seismic analysis by a government representative. Only after will the building permit be released.

The average cost of one permit when re-roofing a home is expected to range between $225 and $500. For one-off projects, a roofing permit is a separate requirement. It commonly covers the first 1,000 square feet. Higher fees will be required if the roof has exceeded the standard square footage.

The final bill of your roofing project includes the cost of roof permit.

Equipment Maintenance

The maintenance costs for vehicle and equipment are also included in the breakdown of a new roof. Unlike amateur roofers, professional installers use quality tools to ensure consistent high-quality craftsmanship. Compressors, air guns and tires are only a few of the tools that they need to maintain.

Remember that it is always recommended to ask for a detailed breakdown of total roofing cost from your contractor, and, when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask any questions.

If you are planning to remodel your property, turn to Paddy’s for a smooth and stress-free experience! Our team offers professional exterior remodeling services – from roof replacement to siding repair, window installation and chimney rebuilding. Call us at (302) 208-9510, or fill out this contact form to set an appointment with one of our specialists.

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