Way back in 1896 American author Stephen Crane wrote, “I knew this was the way it would be. They got cold feet.” It’s probably the first printed appearance of that phrase about having second thoughts. Crane was not talking about homeowners signing contracts for new roofs, though he could have been. Before you sign a contract, you should know what roof replacement costs are, and what goes into your roofing estimate.
As you look over a roofer’s written estimate for your residential roof replacement, look at it with the calm, cold eyes of a shark. Seriously, consider what is before you. The three prospective roofers (you did get three quotes, didn’t you?) are asking you to trust your Twin Cities-area home to their hands. Their written estimates need to deal with issues large and small, like your home’s height.
The higher your house (the more stories, the more challenging the property), the more expensive your roof replacement project will be. More labor is involved with getting materials and workers up onto your roof. More safety steps are needed.
Your roof’s square footage is not the same as your home’s. Even if you own a one-story house in the Twin Cities area, it’s a cold comfort to know its roof has a much greater surface area than your floor plan. The roof is pitched, or angled, to shed water and snow.
The greater the square footage, the greater the costs of roof replacement. For example, one square of shingles covers 100 square feet. A typical house needs about 30 squares, or 3,000 square feet, of shingles. That house could have a floor plan of only 30 feet by 40 feet, or 1,200 square feet per floor. Yet the roof is more than twice that square footage.
Cold hands, warm heart, so they say. Roofers often get cold, clammy hands laboring on steeply pitched roofs; it’s dangerous work! They require safety equipment like fall arrest gear, roof jacks, and netting when the steep-pitch roof is really steep.
The steeper your home’s roof is, the harder it is to work on, the more time-consuming the safety measures will be, and the higher your roof replacement cost.
The large, flat sheets of plywood or Oriented Strand Board (OSB) that lie beneath your chosen roofing material are installed with little spaces around them. That allows for thermal expansion and contraction during heat waves and cold snaps.
Your roof’s sheathing is a vital layer of your entire roof system, so those sheathing sheets must be in excellent shape. While a few sheets are usually included in a typical roof replacement cost estimate, once your old roof comes off, your roofer may have to replace more sheets than expected. That will add to your overall project costs.
Some local building codes allow homes to have up to two layers of shingle roofs on them. Your home could have had that done, with an earlier roofer turning a cold shoulder to the harsh reality of the weight those two layers bring to your Twin Cities-area home.
Your current roofer may have to remove two layers of roofing. No, that will not double your costs, but it will definitely double the carting volume for a container to take all that construction debris. It will also greatly increase the time needed for the roofing crew to tear off the old roofs.
With the added carting costs and time, expect the roof replacement cost to rise.
The roofing material you select greatly affects roof replacement costs, since you can opt for economical, thrifty three-tab shingles or go for more sophisticated (and expensive) roofing choices:
- Architectural shingles
- Cedar shake and shingles
- Metal roofing
In addition to the costs for the materials, labor costs differ for each type of roof. Asphalt shingles are commonly available in several price points, from simple three-tab shingles up to luxury shingles. Architectural shingles are generally twice the thickness of standard shingles, requiring more work to install.
Metal roofing is tricky stuff, necessitating highly trained and well-paid technicians familiar with the material. Panels must be cut cleanly, with precision. They must be installed correctly, with the right mechanical fasteners in just the right places.
Cedar shakes and shingles require different installation techniques than either asphalt shingles or metal panels. They are natural, no two alike, and can be delicate in untrained hands.
A good roofer familiar with the different materials will provide an excellent installation, regardless of the price level of the material. A careless roofer could ruin an expensive roof.
Your home’s best ally against a cold, cruel Mother Nature is Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows. Contact us today to learn all that we can do to help make your Twin Cities-area home warm, comfortable, and safe.