Getting your roof replaced is a big decision, and there are a lot of things to consider before taking the plunge — especially since a project of this scope can get pricy.
So, how much does it cost to replace a roof? And can you ever get financing for a roof replacement? Or can you get by with a simple repair? See — so much to think about!
These are the questions that homeowners want honest answers to when pursuing a roof replacement, and we want to help! In this ultimate guide for homeowners, we’ll provide in-depth insight into a variety of topics related to residential roof replacements, including:
- The ways your roof can be damaged 🏚
- How to identify roof storm damage or general wear 🔍
- How to determine if you need minor repairs or a full replacement 🤷♂️
- The average roof replacement cost (and factors that can impact your roof cost) 💰
- Common mistakes to avoid when you replace your roof 🚫
- How to find the best roofing contractor to complete the job 👷🏼♂️✅
If you’re in need of a new roof, whether it’s because a big storm came through town and blew off shingles or due to your outdated roof simply reaching the end of its lifespan, read this guide to learn everything you need to know about your upcoming roofing replacement.
Topic #1 – How Do Roofing Materials Get Damaged?
As the primary barrier between a home and the outside world, every homeowner hopes that their roof stays sturdy and damage-free over their family’s head. However durable and strong your roof might seem, they’re still susceptible to damage, whether that’s due to standard wear or a severe storm. Learn more about how your home’s roof can be affected by both age and weather conditions below:
Storms and Weathering Will Take a Toll ☔️
Storm damage is one of the most common reasons homeowners seek out a roof replacement. Your home can easily be damaged by weather conditions and unexpected events, including:
- High winds
- Heavy rains
- Forest fires
- Fallen trees and debris
- UV exposure
- Icicles and ice dams
- Lingering moisture
- Pest infestation
The Age of Your Roof Also Matters ⏰
Every roofing material has an average life expectancy as well and will last for decades with proper care and maintenance. You might require a roof replacement if your home’s roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Take a look at the average lifespan for each type of roof:
- Asphalt shingles: 15-30 years
- Composite shingles: 20-30 years
- Metal roofs: 40-70 years
- Cedar shakes: 30-50 years
- Tile roofing: 50-100 years
- Solar panels: 30 years
Topic #2 – Identifying Roof Damage
Now that you’re aware of the different ways a roof can get damaged, you’ll be better able to assess your roof and identify any issues that might require repairs or a replacement. Inspect your home from the following areas to find out if there is any roof damage:
- The ground – Can you see signs of visible damage like a fallen tree from here?
- Inside your attic – Is water leaking into the attic during rain storms or is sunlight shining through during the day?
- Your home’s interior – Are there any soft water spots, stains, or other signs of water damage inside your home?
- In the gutters – Are your gutters broken and hanging down or filled with excessive granule buildup from asphalt shingles?
- On a ladder – Look for loose, cracked, or missing shingles from here.
- At your roof’s surface – Up here, you can spot missing flashing or damage to roof features like vents, chimneys, and skylights.
Topic #3 – Make Repairs or Go With a Full Roof Replacement?
Knowing when to get a new roof as opposed to just a professional cleaning or repair can be tough. While modern tile or metal roofs and shingles are made to last, the wear and tear of the elements will take their toll over time. When you find yourself wondering, “do I need a new roof?” look for these six signs:
- Your roof fails a visual inspection. If your roof is showing obvious signs of wear that you can see without getting up on a ladder or inspecting closely, including issues such as sagging, dark streaks and discoloration, or even moss and algae growth on shingles, it’s likely time to get a new roof. Structural and physical damage that’s easily spotted from the ground after a storm is also a good sign you need an emergency roof replacement.
- You’re finding asphalt granules in your gutters. Although some granular loss is to be expected after installing new asphalt shingles, excessive amounts of this finely ground, dark substance clogging up your gutter system is a surefire sign your ready to re-roof.
- Your shingles are showing other signs of damage. Granule loss isn’t the only type of shingle damage to watch out for. Asphalt shingles can also curl, crack, buckle, or blow entirely off, which can be another reason to re-roof your whole home.
- Sunlight is shining into your attic. Okay, this is an obvious one; If there are apparent beams of light shining through holes in your roof through to the attic’s interior, you need to schedule an immediate roof replacement. Otherwise, winter leaks, water damage, and even costlier repairs with lengthier timelines will be in your future down the line.
- Your neighbors are installing new roofs. Just like trends in fashion and popular music, architectural styles and home aesthetics are constantly changing. When the rest of your neighbors are giving their homes a facelift, you might find yourself feeling left out and decide to look into re-roofing your home for this more cosmetic reason. And that’s okay!
- Your roof is reaching its 25th birthday. Although most modern roofing materials are built to last for what might seem like a lifetime with minimal maintenance, many older homes still have their original roofing. If your home’s roof is nearing the 25-year mark in it’s lifespan, it might be time to talk with a roofing professional to determine if your roof has finally run its course.
Topic #4 – Average Roof Replacement Cost by Roofing Material (Asphalt Shingles, Metal Roofs, & More)
Once you’ve recognized some roof damage on your home, you’ll probably start to get a bit concerned about the cost of a roof replacement. Re-roofing a home is an expensive undertaking no matter how you look at it, but the total cost will ultimately hinge on a few factors, including:
- Roof size and pitch – How big is your home’s roof? Is it easy to access, or are there many ridges and steep pitches that will slow down installation?
- Roofing materials – Roofing material costs can vary dramatically, so the final total is almost entirely affected by the type of roof you choose. (See below for a breakdown.)
- Extent of existing roof damage – If a huge tree has fallen onto your roof, requiring professional removal and an extensive replacement, you’ll definitely be paying more than if you only needed minor repairs.
- Where you live – Like any other product or service, prices can also be connected to where your home is located. Places like New York and California might have higher average costs for a roof replacement than a rural area in the Midwest.
- Labor costs – The labor costs related to replacing a roof will also vary, as some materials like heavy slate and traditional cedar shakes are more challenging or complicated to install than common materials like asphalt shingles.
- Insurance coverage – Homeowners dealing with storm damage might not have to pay much out-of-pocket for a roof replacement, but this all depends on the coverage and deductible associated with your personal policy. (Confused? Your insurance agent or even your contractor should be able to offer insurance claims assistance.)
It’s clear to see that the cost of a roof replacement can differ greatly in every circumstance, given all of the various factors that go into your final quote. Even so, we can provide you with a solid estimate of roofing costs by material based on national averages.
- Typical Range: $5,500 to $25,000
- National Average: $12,500
Of course, every material differs in price point, so let’s explore the cost of some of the most popular types of roof you can install right now:
- Asphalt shingles: $4,800 to $9,600
- Composite shingles: $4,000 to $9,000
- Metal: $8,000 to $20,000
- Wood shake: $8,000 to $12,000
- Slate: $10,000 to $30,000
- Tile: $8,000 to $15,000
- Solar: $16,000 to $24,000
Topic # 5 – The Real Cost of Making Some Common Mistakes
Any kind of home improvement can get expensive, but with the roof that protects your home and helps it run efficiently, the last thing you want to do is cut corners. Many homeowners make a few crucial mistakes that can mean an increased likelihood of needing more repairs or experiencing further damage to other parts of their home in the future. Follow these general tips to avoid that same fate:
Cheap Labor Causes Costly Repairs
One of the most prevalent ways people try to cut costs on roofing repair projects is through labor. Opting for the lower estimate with inexpensive labor is often a sign of inexperienced workers. They may get the job done, but that doesn’t mean it’s done well. An improper roofing installation will most commonly cause you to need further repairs when the poor craftsmanship inevitably fails.
Instead of falling for an almost unbelievable estimate (and trust us, it is), you want to compare multiple quotes from reputable contractors and find one you can trust to get the job done right the first time. This is especially important because your homeowners insurance company may deny a claim if your roof was installed incorrectly.
Lower-Quality Materials Will Lead to Damage
You might also be inclined to cut corners when it comes to roofing materials, but this can cause problems too. As the saying goes: “You get what you pay for.” And this is particularly true in terms of home construction, including your roof.
If you opt for cheaper roofing materials, the odds are not in your favor for avoiding future repairs. There’s a reason homeowners shy away from corrugated tin roofs and turn to tough as nails metal materials like steel and copper instead, and the same can be said for things like ridge vents and the underlayment as well. All in all, always go for better quality goods.
Watch Out for Red Flags During Estimates 🚩
As we already mentioned, but can’t continue to emphasize enough, make sure you’re working with a trusted roofing company or contractor to complete the re-roof correctly. Look out for long turnaround times or teams that agree to work on your home without ever inspecting it in person. That probably means they’re just looking for fast payment, and won’t finish the work. After all, how can they give you an accurate estimate without seeing the damage themselves?
Another red flag to remember revolves around permitting and building codes. If your contractor ever asks you to obtain the necessary permits for a roof installation — run. That’s a good indicator that they’re not properly licensed and likely don’t have the knowledge, skills, or experience to provide you with quality workmanship.
Don’t Get Duped by Storm Chasers
The other big issue surrounding re-roofing after storm damage is a common scam ran by people that we in the biz refer to as “storm chasers.” Like those TV-infomercial-ambulance-chasing lawyers we all know and love (or love to hate) from our local areas, a lot of less-than-morally-correct contractors (and con-artists in general) go out of their way to ambush, swindle, and ultimately take advantage of unsuspecting people when they need emergency repairs.
If someone shows up on your doorstep the day after a severe storm hits with a too-good-to-be-true estimate in hand, it’s easy to feel like you should jump at the offer. However, many times, these quotes are too good to be true in actuality, and it’s just a scam to get you to fork over cash immediately for construction that’ll never occur.
The worst aspect of storm chasing is how often these money-hungry scammers typically hunt down and target the elderly, who often live alone and can’t get a second opinion from someone they trust. This newscast dissects this disturbing issue even further:
Topic #6 – Choosing a Roofing Contractor You Can Trust
Now that you know what happens when you hire cheap labor, order inexpensive materials, or work with an experienced roofing team, let’s talk about what you should take into consideration when selecting a trusted roofing partner to complete your replacement. Every good roofing company or contractor should possess these traits:
- FREE estimates – Most all roofing companies offer a free estimate and charge a minor fee for a more detailed inspection and diagnostic report of your roof. Always compare multiple roofing estimates to find a reasonable quote from the best contractor.
- Positive reviews & referrals – Of course, you’ll want to do some initial research online to learn more about each contractor or company’s expertise. Read through reviews from real customers or check out their ratings on Google and the Better Business Bureau to get a better idea of how reliable these roofing companies actually are. You can also ask around with friends, neighbors, and coworkers to get referred to someone who’s guaranteed to do good work.
- Comprehensive warranties – Any reputable roofing company will offer two types of warranties: one for the roofing materials themselves, called a manufacturer’s warranty, and one for the construction, referred to as a workmanship warranty. Typically, the work will be guaranteed for at least 10 years, while a manufacturer’s warranty might be upwards of 20 years or more. This ensures that you’re covered in case of any unexpected issues or material failures when your roof replacement is finished.
- Licenses & certifications – You also want to look for a company or contractor that is completely licensed, certified, and (especially) insured to do work in your area. Not every state has the same licensing requirements, or any at all, so look for your location on this list to see what’s needed where you live.
- Permanent business location – You might not think it’s important to find a roofer with a real, brick-and-mortar location for their business, but this is actually a crucial step in choosing someone you can trust to replace your roof properly. Established roofing companies typically have a home office somewhere around town, while a less experienced or entirely unlicensed contractor might work out of their home’s garage and won’t have the right tools or skills to give you quality services for the same project.
- Prompt response times – There’s nothing more frustrating than playing phone tag or being left hanging when you have a roof replacement to get done. During your initial search, take note of which contractors supply you swift responses and detailed information about your quote before deciding who to work with. That will save you a lot of time and from weeks of frustration when you need a roof replacement.
- Transparent communication – Along with fast responses, you really want to find a contractor who offers clear and concise communication throughout your re-roofing project. Transparency is one of the top traits to look for in a roofing company, so you can rest assured that all of your questions and concerns will be addressed, and your home’s roof will be in the right hands.
The Roof Replacement Partner You’re Looking For
If you are looking for a company that possesses these qualities, knows roofs like the back of their hand, and can offer premium-level service with a guarantee to match, reach out to First American today!
We are among only 2% of contractors cross-country who have achieved a GAF Master Elite certification, meaning we go above and beyond what is required for contractors because we want our customers to have the highest quality homes around.
We also offer the GAF Golden Pledge Warranty, which is the best roof warranty available. It includes a 25-year water-tight workmanship warranty, as well as coverage for your home’s entire roofing system against material defects for 50 years.
You can find our trusted team of skilled roofing professionals, with nearly two decades of combined industry experience, at our business location in Onalaska, Wisconsin. We’ll come out to inspect your roof, provide a free quote, and work quickly to resolve your roofing issues with honesty, transparency, and integrity.
Make sure to head to our blog for more tips and tricks when it comes to home performance, roofing, siding, and more, and make your appointment today to start a new roof replacement with our trusted team.