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If you own a house you have to maintain it and one area that will need occasional checking and maintaining is your roof. If you leave a roof needing repair this is not just going to affect the roof and your heating bills, it could lead to thousands of dollars in house repairs in parts of your home that are below the roof. At some time though you will reach a point where repairs and patching is not enough anymore and the whole things needs to be replaced. Replacing your roof is not a small project, and for first time house owners it can be quite daunting. It can be difficult choosing between the various contractors in your area but it helps if you understand the process so here is a guide for you.

Cost of replacing your roof

Your first action needs to be getting a bunch of quotes and then choosing a contractor as prices can range quite widely. Do research more than one place so that you get a good deal and look at things like are hey licensed, what do previous customers have to say about their work ethic and their results, do they have a physical place of business. After you have several estimates to compare you can choose the one you are happiest with before you sign a contract. You can find more info about the different types of roofing at eHomeDirectory.


Understanding how pricing is done helps at this stage. There are a variety of factors that affect the cost of the replacement such as what materials you want, where in the country you are, the size of your roof, and how much it slopes. If your roof is one of the trickier ones to navigate being slippery and steep it will cost more to replace the roof than a roof that is easy to access. Height is also a factor – two story homes are more expensive to replace their roofs than a single story. Easy access for workers and safer access brings the prices down.

If you live in an area where the cost of living is high then your roofing replacement is going to be higher too. Your locality also affects how often a roof might need replacing. Roofs in the Midwest tend to need replacing more often because of the extreme weather conditions it sees. Places like Southern California where it is mild all year mean homeowners need to replace their roofs less often. Extreme weather fluctuations also have an impact places where there are temperatures over 100 degrees during the day and then a drop at night to 40 or 50 degrees like you can see in places like new Mexico and Arizona.

You also need to decide on the roofing materials you want to use when replacing your roof as that has a big impact on cost. There is a large range with some materials only costing $1 a square foot and others going all the way up to $40 per square foot.

Most house owners opt for asphalt shingles which are fairly inexpensive and should last between 20 to 30 years though that can lessen depending on the weather conditions where you live. Hurricanes, storms, high speed winds, and fluctuations in temperature that are dramatic can all lower the life span on your roof. Places like Arizona and New Mexico would see a life span of 15 years rather than 20. You can get a variety of colors to make it look good and they need very little maintenance.  The average home is looking at a cost of $1500 to $9000 depending on where the house is and how big it is.

Wood shake is another option, more costly than asphalt but very attractive. Costs come in around $6 and $9 a square foot and the wood is usually cedar. It does not have the durability of asphalt either lasting between 12 to 15 years and it needs a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

Metal roofing is more durable than wood shake but something like aluminum or copper is expensive coming in around $15 to $20 a square foot.

Tile roofing like terra cotta is typically used in certain types of architecture like southwestern and has a cost more comparable to wood of $6 to $9 a square foot but less maintenance. However is you live where there is a lot of rain or snow tile roofing is not a good idea as they will leak.

Slating is popular as roofing material because it is so durable (lasts for up to 200 years) but this is also the most expensive option costing up to $40 a square foot. A home that has a 3000 square foot roof would cost $120,000 or more to replace if using slate. People with upscale homes and lots of money will use slate quite often.

The final cost may be higher than the estimate you received too for a number of reasons so, be prepared for that difference. If there was unnoticed or unforeseen damage that took extra time and materials to sort out, if there is rotting or water damage beneath the roof that needed repairing, if the support system beneath the roof needed replacing, that can all add a lot of additional costs onto the final bill. That is why you need to maintain and look after it up there so that there is less chance of shock damage or costs next time.

Choosing a roof contractor to replace your roof

Always ask for references when getting in a contractor to do work for you. You should see work they have done previously and even talk to previous customers. When contractors come to give an estimate they usually go up and take a look at your roof then give you an estimate based on several factors like stripping and discarding the old shingles, cost of labor, and cost of materials. If he does not mention removing and discarding the old material bring that up and ask. You want to try to avoid unforeseen costs being added. With several quotes or estimates you can choose who you want to sign a contract with.


After visiting they will write up a contract for you to sign. That contract should cover a description of the work they are carrying out, when they will be doing the work and the payment schedule. Make sure you keep a copy of that contract too. When you have settled on a contractor and the roofing materials you want to be used it is time to agree on when that work is going to start. Replacing a roof can take anywhere from several days to a few weeks depending on weather conditions, any surprises when up there and the size of the roof. It would be a good idea to have someone home during that time so that questions and problems can be discussed promptly. Do not pay anything up front. Roofing is typically paid for when it is completed.

The work begins

Before the contractor and his worker arrive to do the job it would help if you made sure there is nothing out there to get in their way of their ladders. Working on roofs is a dangerous enough job already without having to contend with windows opening, kids toys in the way, pets! The roofers’ first job will be to rip off the old roofing shingles and take care of damaged or rotted wood in the roof. They then put down a base on which to lay the shingles made of the material you selected. The work is noisy with people moving back and forth, hammering, pieces of debris being chucked down to the ground, talking and so on. While it is not invasive like when you have a kitchen renovation you will notice them but the noise is not avoidable.


Once the old shingles are off any portions of the roof that are unfinished will be covered with a tarp so that overnight you have protection from the elements. When the new roof is finished you should make sure they clean up to your satisfaction. Some companies are not as good at this part! Make sure the old material is disposed of as agreed too. A good company will have some cleaning up equipment like magnetic brooms that pick up old nails. It is okay if you find the odd one or 2 shingles in your yard after but it is not okay if your yard is a complete disaster zone. When you are happy you can pay them for their job.

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Categories: Roofing

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