Ben Franklin said, “nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.” That is mostly correct, but when it comes to roofs, there are at least two other certainties.
Every roof will eventually wear out. The cost of roof repair will be a major expense.
With those two certainties in mind, here is what you can expect for roof repair costs if you are facing the dreaded decision of whether to do roof repairs or a full roof replacement.
What Goes Into Roofing Costs?
Multiple factors influence the average cost of roof repair. While coming up with a specific dollar amount for repairing or replacing a roof is difficult because of all the variables, there are some general assumptions you can make that will help you formulate an estimate.
Where You Live
If you live in an area of the country with a lower cost of living, your roofing costs will be lower on average than if you live in an area with a high cost of living. For example, the cost per square foot to repair or replace a roof in New England or California will cost more, on average, than replacement or repair costs in the deep south.
A good way to get an idea of how much your location will impact your roofing costs is to use an online roofing costs by zip code calculator.
National Economic Factors
For over two decades, inflation had little impact on the national average roof replacement cost. However, inflation has been a significant factor in construction materials costs increasing dramatically over the last two years. Unfortunately, that trend is likely to continue, so you need to act quickly to capitalize on existing roofing materials and labor costs.
Your roof materials play a major role in the overall costs of repair or replacement. A slate roof will cost a lot more than if you use traditional asphalt shingles. Metal roofs will fall between the two materials, as will wood shake roofs.
Here are some general averages of costs for popular roofing materials:
- Asphalt shingle roof: $3.50 PSF
- Vinyl, foam, and rubber roof: $4.40 to $6 PSF
- Wood shingles and Metal roof: $8 PSF
- Slate roofing: $13 PSF
- Concrete roof: $15 PSF
- Clay tile roofs: $15 FSF
- Solar: $22 PSF
The type of roof you have factors into your overall replacement cost. Flat roofs will cost less to repair or replace than houses with a steep pitch. A roof with many features, such as roof flashing, soffits, skylights, a roof deck, or sheathing, will increase the price.
A roof’s condition will factor into the estimated cost as well. A sagging roof that needs structural work or major work like roof truss repairs will cost more than repairing minor issues like replacing a few missing shingles or making a roof vent repair.
Implementing a roof repair for a leaky roof will usually cost less than hail damage roof repair costs that require a complete roof replacement. The catch with that is if the roof leak is difficult to find. In that case, making a roof leak repair can quickly turn into a replacement if you fail to find the true source of the leak.
The size of the entire roof space that needs repair or replacement also factors into the overall roof repair cost. It is always easier to swap out roof shingles and underlayment for a smaller roof than to fix heavy roof damage on a larger surface.
Likewise, a larger surface with moderate roof repairs, such as missing or broken shingles, will cost less than a smaller one needing major structural repairs.
Local Laws, Building Codes, and Regulations
Building codes, laws, and rules that govern your area also influence your roof repair cost. If, for instance, you live in a more regulated area where you need a roof inspection before the roof repair project is complete, your cost will be higher than if you live in an area with no such requirements. Other areas that local factors can influence include:
- Roofing material requirements (for example, in some areas, asphalt shingles are recommended over wooden shakes because of fire hazards)
- Pre and post-project roofing inspection (usually required at least for emergency roof repair)
- Environmental requirements of the roof material
- Homeowner Association Requirements
Your Best Judgment
Your choice of whether to repair or replace your roof factors into the overall cost as well. Suppose you have extensive roof repairs and insist on repairing over replacing. In that case, your overall repair cost per square foot will probably cost more than if you just replaced the existing roof, although a full replacement will mean a higher initial cash outlay.
It is also important to remember that sometimes you can be “penny wise and pound foolish.” What that means is that you might save in the short term by initiating what seems like common roof repairs for only what is broken or damaged but end up with a higher roof repair cost because your fixes were only “band-aid” solutions.
Having skilled personnel from a reputable roofing company climb up on your roof and fix a few shingles, or replace your entire roof, will cost you money. The labor cost depends on where you live and the work you need to be done, but for typical roof repairs, labor costs should not exceed $3.00 PSF.
There are a few extra costs that go into any estimate. One is the cost of any building permits. Another is for the removal of the old roof if you are doing a roof replacement. Additionally, you will be charged for installing flashing or sheathing and fixing any decking or soffits.
Because of the variables mentioned, coming up with anything more than a general estimate of a roof replacement cost would result in an unreliable figure. The national average for a roof replacement is around $7,000. Understanding what goes into that figure will let you determine if the estimate you receive from a roofing company is fair.