Single-ply membranes are one of the top materials used on commercial roofs, and one of the biggest questions asked is, “How much will a membrane roof replacement cost me?” It’s tough to give just one answer because so many factors can affect membrane roofing prices, from climate to installation to the size of the building! Of course, we can give a good ballpark estimate using today’s market prices and give customers a good idea of what to expect.
Membrane Roof Replacement Cost in 2021
We recently did a pricing round-up for different types of roofing materials and how they compare. Flat roofs, overall, have very similar installation. So the price of labor won’t vary much, but the overall material cost can change drastically depending on which material is used. For example, you’ll find that rolled membrane can cost about $6.50 – $8.00 per square foot compared to rubber roofs at $7.50 – $9.50 per square foot.
Overall, the cost for membrane roofs has increased by about $0.25 per square foot since 2019 and will continue to rise until at least 2023-2024. This is due to new tariffs imposed on imported steel this year, which affects all industries, including construction materials like membranes.
Factors That Can Affect the Cost of Your Membrane Roof:
As we said, flat roofing prices can be tricky to decipher because so many factors come into play, and the final price will vary depending on the size, location, and installation. Here are the factors that can change how much your membrane roof installation will cost and how much.
The Size of Your Roof
Because flat roof materials are generally priced by square footage, the size of your roof has a direct impact on how much the total cost of installation might be. It’s also one of the most accurate depictions of the cost, and you can determine a lot of that material cost before you begin. However, some other factors like the cost of installation and labor costs are much more flexible and can change at a moment’s notice. The size and material cost is the one price you can rely on.
Which Membrane Type You Install
Some membrane types (or roofing types in general) can vary significantly in costs based on how simple vs. complex their construction is. For example, a rolled membrane is a pretty basic material and can cost less, while built-up roofing requires more materials and manufacturing to be as strong as it is—driving up the cost.
The Installation Process (how, where, when)
Installation is where labor costs can skyrocket, and of course, this can depend on many things. But, first, if the roof is easily accessible, the roof can be done much more quickly and efficiently when materials can be easily hauled up and down. Compare that to a commercial roof with poor roof access where contractors have to spend valuable time hauling materials rather than working on the installation itself.
Second, depending on the climate during certain times of the year, contractors might charge more due to poor installation conditions. This not only increases the danger for them during rain or windy weather but how the timeline can go and if they need to halt installation due to weather.
Each type of roofing membrane can be installed in a few different ways, some costing more than others. For example, TPO and EPDM membranes can be installed by both ballasted and fastened options. Ballasted is one of the more cost-effective methods because it seals the membrane by placing gravel, dirt, sand, etc., on the top.
However, this also increases the weight of your roof and can put a lot of pressure on the building’s structure. Fastened installation means fastening the membrane to the building’s roof frame with metal plates and screws, also increasing the weight on the roof.
Lastly, a chemically adhering membrane to the roof can create air and water-tight seals that can stand the test of time and weather. This is the most premium option and costs the most, but also, the payoff is huge as it creates such a tight seam.
The Number of Roofing Penetrations
Roofing penetrations such as pipe boots, vents, and large HVAC units also drive up the cost because these areas require contractors to cut the membrane around these areas and spend diligent time sealing them with flashing, roofing sealant, and caulk. This adds both time and material cost to the project but is a necessary step to prevent leaks. So obviously, the more roofing penetrations there are, the more it will cost.
The Current Condition of Your Roof
For large-scale roofing replacements or repairs, the current condition of your existing roof can drastically drive up the price as it increases the effort required to tear down and dispose of the current roof. Stripping and removal of a roof can cost anywhere between $1 to $4 per square foot.
To wrap things up, these factors that can come into play in determining the roofing replacement cost can vary greatly. The more complexities and, ultimately, the mere size of the project will mostly affect how much you can expect to pay for a membrane roof replacement.
It’s important to take these things into account when you’re looking at what type of membrane material you want to be installed on your building, plus the time of year, the extent of the replacement, and how soon you want it done. By knowing how to avoid excess cost, you can have a better idea of how to budget and plan for your membrane roof replacement in 2021.