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How Much To Replace My Roof?

“How much to replace my roof?”, and, “Can I get a ballpark cost for a new roof?” are some of the most common questions fielded by roofing companies every year. We understand – as a homeowner, you just want to get a sense of the cost of a new roof before you proceed further with the process. But the cost of replacing a roof isn’t something that can be “ballparked” or “guesstimated”. There’s a number of variables that go into the expense of a new roof replacement project that need to be considered for each individual property.
“My home is about 2,000sqft – how much for a new roof?” Well, it’s not that simple.
Just because the house is 2,000sqft that doesn’t mean the roof is also 2,000sqft. Here’s a fun fact – the square footage of the house has little to do with the overall cost of a roof replacement! The most important components a roofing company considers when preparing a roof replacement estimate for a homeowner are the pitch of the roof, the intricacies of the roof lines, the materials that will be installed, the number of layers, and the available access to the property.
Pitch/Slope - When you hear the term “pitch” in roofing, it’s simply referring to the steepness of the roof. A roof's pitch is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally (the rise over run equation). So, when you hear roofers say things like, “that roof is a 6/12”, or, “the main house is 10/12 and the detached garage is 4/12”, they’re referring to the pitch/slope of the roof line of the house. The pitch of a roof will determine a large portion of the labour costs associated with a roofing project, which is why it's incredibly important to establish both the dominant and sub-pitches of a house in order to prepare an accurate estimate for a homeowner. The steeper the roof, the more expensive the installation will be. If you have a 2,000sqft home with an 8/12 pitch and your neighbour has the same 2,000sqft with a 4/12 pitch, your roof replacement will cost more than your neighbour even though the houses are the same size.
We previously mentioned dominant and sub-pitches on a house. Most houses tend to have multiple pitches on their roofs. Take your typical 2-storey detached family home. Perhaps the garage is a 4/12 pitch that blends into a porch roof with a 6/12 pitch, while the main roof over the house is an 10/12 pitch with a couple of dormers at the front that are 12/12 pitches. All of this matters when preparing a quote because every individual pitch needs to be factored into the estimate.
A chart of various roof pitches on a residential house
Intricate Roof Lines - When we talk about the intricacy of a roof line, what we’re referring to is how the various areas of the roof are constructed. For example, if you have a barn-style/gable roof (a roof with a single peak), that’s not a very intricate roof line. But most homes will have a combination of valleys, transitions, dormers, jut-outs, etc., which all aid in determining how intricate a roof line is. And there’s also something known as “skirts” or "eyebrows", which are defined as small, usually false portions of a roof between stories. You and your neighbour may have the same sized house but if yours is littered with skirts, valleys, dormers or bay windows, your roof replacement will cost more than your neighbour.
Materials - Aside from pitch, the component that largely determines the overall cost of a roof replacement project is the choice of materials that are installed. Your home could be an identical cookie-cutter copy of your neighbours in every way, but if you elect to have a higher-quality roofing system installed, your project will cost more. There are many roofing companies out there that provide a quote for just the replacement of roof shingles, but as we've showcased on our website (Roofing 101), shingles alone do not constitute a roof!
If you’re getting quotes for $10,000 and your neighbour is getting quotes for $7,000, chances are they’re not getting a complete roofing system installed and will likely run into problems sooner than later, while you’re enjoying a brand-new roof for the next 30 years! The market is flush with a variety of low, medium and high-grade roofing products and materials. Be sure that any estimate you receive clearly details what products will be installed on your roof so you can make a proper apples-to-apples comparison between the quotes and the value they offer, and arm yourself with all the information to make the best decision for your home and your family. If your quote isn’t detailed, ask the roofing company for specifics. If they can’t provide responses to your satisfaction, you may want to consider looking elsewhere.
Layers - Layers in roofing refers to how many layers of shingles are currently on a roof. There should only be ONE layer of shingles on a roof, but some houses have had what’s know as a “roof-over” or “recover”, which is the process by which new shingles are installed over top of existing shingles (the old shingles aren’t removed). The more layers of shingles on the home, the more expensive the labour and disposal fees will be to remove them. All of this needs to be factored into an estimate.
A residential roof with multiple layers of shingles on it
Years ago, it was common practice for roofing companies to send a technician out to a property to physically measure the roof and verify the number of layers on it. While that practice is still applied today, it’s becoming less common due to how costly and time consuming it can be, as well as new technologies that have emerged allowing roofing companies to receive high-quality imagery of houses where they can measure the specifics of each property with ease. What’s more common nowadays is to have a line item or section somewhere in the estimate or contract that states a firm price in the event that multiple layers of shingles are uncovered during the project. If this is absent from any roof replacement quote you’ve received, you may want to think twice about engaging that company because you could be in for a surprise when the final invoice comes!
Access - Access in roofing refers to the ease of entry the roofing crew and material delivery personnel have to the property when arriving to start a job. The roofing crew needs to park their trucks somewhere; the materials need to be delivered and stored at the site; the disposal bin needs to be seamlessly placed and removed from the property. If access to the property is tight based on the area in which you live or how the streets are laid out, it may impact the cost of the roofing project.
For example, if you live in an area where the houses are essentially kissing (meaning they're built very close to one another) and the roofers can’t get a ladder up safely between them, this would be considered poor access and will result in more safety precautions needing to be taken by the roofers in order to safely complete the scope of work, which will increase the cost of the project. Another example might be if you live in an area that doesn’t have driveways but has laneways around back with a detached garage. In this case, the disposal bin could only be placed in front of the detached garage around back (you can’t place a disposal bin on a municipal street). This means that the roofing crew will need to manually haul materials and debris back and forth from the front of the house to the disposal bin at the back, which will increase the labour cost of the project. 
Remember, most roofing companies offer free quotes, so take advantage of this and get a true idea of the cost of a roof replacement without speculation. Be wary of any roofing company that gives you a figure over the phone or shows up to look at the house and quotes on the spot without any sort of written estimate or detailed breakdown of what will be installed on the home. You may be in for a real shock once the final invoice is submitted despite how “friendly” the quoted cost may be!
Rovis Roofing is an award-winning residential roofing company serving residents of Newmarket, Aurora, Stouffville, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Thornhill, and surrounding areas, with Roof Replacements and New Roof Installations. Contact Rovis Roofing today for your free quote and see why we're the #1 roofing company in York Region.