The roof is one of your home’s most critical structural elements. It may be time for a replacement if it’s cracked, sagging, leaking, or damaged. The national average cost of a new roof is $8,850, according to Angi.com. It can also include additional costs if the underlying roof deck or beams need to be repaired or replaced.
How much you’ll spend on a roof also depends on the roof’s pitch (or angle), the home’s size, the roof’s surface area, and the materials you choose.
If you’re considering buying a home that needs a new roof, it may be worth it to purchase the home as-is and have a new roof installed by a roofing contractor once you own it.
In this article, we’ll explore the average cost of roof replacement. Use this guide to decide if you should buy a home that needs a new roof.
Should I buy a home that needs a new roof?
Sellers often repair or replace a roof before listing their home for sale. In fact, sellers may recover up to 100% of the cost of replacing their roof in the price of their home. This leads most sellers to replace their roofs before they list. On the other hand, some sellers don’t have the money, time, or inclination to undertake a roofing project and choose to sell their home as-is with a roof that the buyer will need to repair or replace.
Buyers should estimate the cost of a new roof and consider the materials they’ll use, the size of the roof, and the cost of roofing installation.
What if the home you’re buying needs a new roof?
When you’re negotiating your home offer, you can use the fact that the home needs a new roof as leverage to get seller credits or a lower price. Compare the cost of purchasing the house and installing a new roof to buying a turnkey home that doesn’t need repairs.
When should I replace the roof?
A roof protects the home’s interior against mold and structural damage from leaks. If the roofing material is cracked, brittle, covered in debris, or even missing, there’s a good chance that moisture will leak through the roof. Once moisture hits the underlying roof deck and beams, you can expect structural damage to the home.
Constant leaks, curled roof shingles, or if the roof is sagging are all good signs it may be time to replace your roof. But if your roof is damaged in a specific spot from a fallen branch, you will likely be able to repair the roof without replacing the whole thing.
The roof’s age also influences when it should be replaced. Most roofing material lasts 20-30 years, while slate and clay can last over 100 years. So if the roof is in good condition and you regularly inspect it as part of your yearly home maintenance, you may have quite a bit of time before a roof repair or replacement is necessary.
What goes into the cost of a roof?
The cost of replacing a roof varies widely depending on the size of the roof, the roofing material, your geographic location, and the amount of damage to underlying elements like the underlayment, decking, flashing, and beams.
There is also a cost associated with tearing off and disposing of the old roofing material. In some cases, it is possible to delay this cost and layer the new roofing materials over the old, but doing so can make it more difficult to spot damage to the underlying roof structure and reduce energy efficiency by trapping hot air in between the layers.
In addition to the cost of materials and labor, you may also need to pay for permits and homeowners association fees. You should also contact your local government office to discuss how the project could impact your property taxes.
Get an estimate from a few different roofing companies to better understand what you’ll end up spending.
Roof style and size
Your home might have been built with a gabled roof, flat roof, or any other types of rooflines and combinations of rooflines. The style of your roof determines a portion of its replacement cost. Generally speaking, the more complicated your roofline, the more expensive it will be to replace. Size also factors in, with larger roofs needing more material and labor to get the job done.
The overall roof replacement cost depends heavily on the type of roofing materials you choose for the project.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the U.S. They are made from a fiberglass mat coated with waterproof asphalt and covered with ceramic granules. Over time, these granules can wear down, exposing the underlayment and roof deck to leaks.
Asphalt shingles are also susceptible to mold and mildew growth and can become brittle, cracking upon impact, or after freeze and thaw cycles. This type of roof can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance.
Metal roofing can mimic other styles of shingles like slate and barrel tiles. It’s durable and able to withstand high winds and heavy snowfall. Thanks to rust-proof coatings, a metal roof won’t corrode or crack. It’s available in various colors but can be expensive to install. This expense may make sense if you factor in the number of times you’d have to replace asphalt shingles over the roof’s life.
Metal roofing is also sustainable as it is fully recyclable. Because it is so light, it is often installed directly over asphalt shingles without compromising the structural integrity of the roof’s support.
Composite shingles are a great alternative to traditional materials like slate, cedar shake, and clay barrel tiles because they can mimic their look without the downsides of specialized installation or the additional weight placed on the structure that comes with slate and clay tiles.
Composite shingles are, however, more expensive than other types of shingles. This cost is offset by the fact that they require very little, if any, maintenance over their lifespan. This type of roofing is also made from recycled materials and is typically fully recyclable at the end of its life.
Cedar shake shingles are a traditional material that uses split cedar to form roof tiles. This material is a beautiful nod to the past, but it requires substantial maintenance and can be a fire risk. They create a beautiful aesthetic, especially on homes that embody the design styles of early America.
Slate roofing is heavy, requiring additional structural support before it is installed. It is a beautiful and long-lasting material, but a slate roofing specialist must install it. The job’s complexity and shipping of the heavy tiles will increase the roof replacement cost.
Replacing a roof in 4 steps.
1. Determine that it’s time to replace your roof. This may happen as part of the homebuying process if you know that the home needs a new roof or if the home inspection identifies the roof as a problem area. If you’ve been living in your home for a while and haven’t had the roof inspected, getting a professional opinion on the roof’s condition may be a good idea.
2. Choose the roofing material. While there’s not much you can do about the style of roof you’re replacing, you do have a choice when it comes to roofing material. And the cost of a roof replacement will vary greatly depending on the type of roofing material you choose.
3. Ask for a quote from a qualified roofing contractor. It’s good to get a quote from multiple contractors so you can compare costs and timelines.
4. Schedule the roof replacement. This may come down to when the contractor is available to replace the roof, but it can be a big, long-term job, so plan ahead.
How to save money when replacing a roof?
- Check with your insurance company. If you need to replace the roof due to storm damage, your insurance policy may cover some or all of the replacement cost.
- Do it yourself. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have experience (or friends with experience), you may be able to save on labor costs by doing the work yourself.
- Check the warranty. If you bought a house that is still under a home warranty, check to see if the cost of replacing the roof is covered. It never hurts to ask!
- Repair instead of replacing. If most of the roof is in good condition, you may be able to do some repairs rather than replace the entire roof.
- Get multiple estimates. Shop around to see who has the best prices for roof replacement.
Replacing a roof: what to know
Whether you bought a home knowing you need to replace the roof or are replacing the roof of a house you’ve owned for years, you’ll be able to recover much, if not all, of the costs of the work when you go to sell the house. If you plan to live in the home for a long time, a new roof can provide peace of mind and protection while you’re living in it.
Weighing the cost of different roofing options and installation, along with the durability of the material and cost requirements or savings for maintenance, will help you decide when to take on the project.