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What's the Average Cost of a New Roof?

When it comes time to start thinking about replacing your roof, many homeowners will turn to online search engines and type in something like, “what is the average cost of a new roof?” to aid in their budgeting and planning. The results of the search will often yield examples and  figures that highlight the average cost of a roof in your area. You take the figure, tweak it a little, and then start contacting roofing companies for quotes. When the quotes come in, you’re shocked to see that only one of the quotes you received is anywhere close to the “average”. How can this be? The internet just told you the average cost of a roof replacement – are these roofing companies crazy?!?!

The reality is that many of the results you'll receive from online searches like this are far from accurate. Even trustworthy home improvement websites can muddy the waters on this subject by providing figures and stats for homeowners to take as gospel. In most cases, these average cost scenarios for roof replacements are derived from the average square footage of houses in a given area, along with the prices a segment of homeowners in that area paid for their new roofs. The problem with this method is three-fold: First, the square footage of a home has almost nothing to do with the cost of a new roof; second, the price component is flawed because, in most cases, these scenarios only factor in the cost to install new shingles as opposed to installing a full roofing system; and third, it’s often the same roofing contractor’s figures that are used for the “average” (that is to say, they re-roof one house in an area and then the neighbours also hire them, etc.), which makes the average cost of a new roof look significantly biased.

The biggest problem with these average cost scenarios is that they fail to take into account all of the variables that go in to a professional roof replacement quote, and do an amazing job of confusing homeowners in the process. It’s not accurate to say, “the average cost to replace the roof on a 2,000sqft home is X”, because that statement has not factored in the three components every professional roofing company requires in order to prepare an accurate quote for a homeowner – the pitch of the roof, the intricacy of the roof lines, and the type of materials being installed.

Pitch & Square Footage - The pitch of a roof is going to determine a large portion of the overall cost of a new roof installation. Pitch is the steepness or slope of a roof, which is measured using the rise-over-run equation (e.g. the number of inches the roof rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally). In roofing, pitch is displayed as a fraction like this – 4/12, 8/12, 12/12, etc., which basically means the higher the numerator the steeper the roof. Most roofs will have multiple pitches on them, so all of the pitches on a roof need to be accounted for in an estimate for two reasons: 1) to calculate the total sqft of the roof line to ensure the correct amount of material is ordered for the job, and, 2) to account for proper labour costs and any safety precautions required on the project (the steeper the pitch, the more it costs to install in that area, which also requires additional safety precautions).

The square footage of a home has virtually nothing to do with the cost of a new roof because a home’s size is based on a horizontal footprint, whereas a roof’s size is based on a vertical footprint. You could have a 1,500sqft home and read somewhere that the average cost of a roof for that size home is $8,000. But if that 1,500sqft home has a roof pitch of 10/12, that roof is likely going to cost over $10,000. It’s not uncommon for a roof’s square-footage to increase 1.5x to 2x the size of the home depending on the pitch. So, your 1,500sqft home with a 10/12 pitch may have a roof line that is closer to 2,300sqft, which is what the roof replacement quote will be based on. This element is almost always left out of these average cost scenarios.

Intricate Roof Lines - Most of the average cost scenarios you’ll find online assume a simple roof line, but we know that only a handful of houses actually have a simple roof line (i.e. gable roof, barn-style roof, single peak, etc.). Most homes will have a combination of transitions, valleys, dormers, vents, chimney’s, jut-outs, skylights, etc., which all add to the complexity of a new roof installation. If you’ve received a quote for $8,000 and the next closest quote is $11,000, you may want to take a closer look at the $8,000 quote to see exactly how they arrived at that price and whether the quote has accounted for all of the specifics of your roof. Often, these low-balled quotes are designed to win over the homeowner on price but leave out the intricate details associated with the particulars of your roof. It’s more likely that the $11,000 quote has carefully considered every aspect of your roof and is installing all of the materials as per manufacturer specifications to ensure proper performance, durability and longevity.

Roofing Materials - The most obviously glaring omission from these average cost scenarios is their failure to account for both the type of roofing materials to be installed, and the rising cost of construction supplies. To be fair, some websites have taken an extra step and added average cost scenarios for different types of roofing materials (i.e. asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, metal roofing, etc.). Yet, they seem to have glossed over the fact that many of these materials have increased in price as much as 30% over the last few years thanks to COVID. In addition, the majority of these average cost scenarios are based on the main roofing component – the shingles. But shingles are only one part of a roofing system! Sure, the average cost of the shingle portion of your roof may be $7,500, but then you have to account for the underlayments, starters, valleys, roof vents, etc., which is where the total of, say $10,000, comes from!

There are a lot of roofing companies out there that focus on making their quote look the most appealing. That is to say, they work very hard to showcase an exceptionally low price and convince the homeowner that they’ll receive a quality roof installation. These low-priced quotes are a contributing factor to the inaccurate “average cost” scenarios found online. It’s hard for the homeowner to resist these attractive prices, especially if they don’t plan on being in the house for another 20 years! But the key thing to look for in all of the quotes that you receive is to understand what exactly is being installed on your roof, how those materials equate to the price in the quote, and where the materials are coming from. If the $8,000 quote is saying they’ll replace the shingles, but the $11,000 quote is saying you’ll receive a full roofing system installation with both a labour and a manufacturer warranty, you now know what you’ll get for your money and what materials (or lack thereof) will be installed on your roof.

How Can We Find The Average Cost of a New Roof? - The easiest way to determine the average cost of a new roof is to take advantage of the free quotes offered by many roofing companies. Get yourself between four and six quotes and, upon receipt, study the quotes and examine the level of detail contained within – do the quotes clearly display the entire scope of work, or is it more of a synopsis? Do they outline all of the different materials that will be installed on your roof or just highlight the shingles? Then, ask questions to gain a better understanding of the specifics of the quote. Questions like, “where do you buy your roofing materials?”, and, “does the crew have experience installing this brand/system?”, go a long way to providing you with additional information about the quote and the company. Remember, it’s completely normal to gravitate towards the lowest price. But when it comes to roofing, the lowest price is rarely the best option. And don’t let these average cost scenarios fool you into thinking you can get a new roof for a certain price when the realities of the day suggest something completely different.

Rovis Roofing offers residents of Newmarket, Aurora, Stouffville, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Thornhill, and surrounding areas full roofing system installations. Contact Rovis Roofing today for more information about our services and see why we’re the #1 roofing company in York Region.