Understanding Your Roofing Costs At Every Stage

Roof replacement carries a heavy price tag, and most homeowners dread having to tackle this home improvement project. But before you panic and jump at the cheapest option in a list of expensive choices be sure to consider all of the roofing costs.

Think about a roofing investment in the following stages:

  • lifetime cost
  • initial installation, including labor and materials
  • maintenance costs

The type of roofing product and the contractor that you choose will affect each of these stages. Compare the costs for each type of roof, including conventional asphalt shingles, metal roofing, clay tile roofing, slate or cedar shakes. In special cases products like solar roofing tiles or rubber membrane roofing may be used to achieve even greater cost savings and a longer lifespan.

The Life of Your Roof

To calculate the lifetime cost of your roof divide the initial installation cost by the number of years the roof will last and add in maintenance costs. This overall view helps you to make better decisions regarding the materials and contractor, as well as allowing you to see the long-term value in this essential home improvement project.

Depending of the type of roofing materials installed, your roof could last anywhere from ten years to a lifetime. Costs also vary with that expected lifespan. Conventional 3-tab asphalt shingles can run anywhere from $2.00 per square foot of roofing to $4.00 per square foot, while architectural asphalt shingles may go as high as $8.00 per square foot and will easily last twice as long.

Budgeting for a roof replacement project requires you to consider the lifespan of your new roof, and the cost for a second replacement project. Maybe you won't be living in the house at that time, but remember that the condition of your roof will affect the value of your home. Investing in a quality product will deliver better returns however long you remain in your current home.

Many homeowners balk at the initial cost of metal roofing, which tends to be at least twice the cost of asphalt shingles. Depending on the age of your home and the length of time you expect to live there, metal roofing may be cost effective. This product also delivers environmental benefits and a rock solid warranty. Be sure to obtain the materials from an established manufacturer and hire a contractor experienced in metal roofing.

Initial Installation Costs

Installation costs include both labor charges and materials. It is wise to obtain at least three estimates before making a decision and check contractor references and product warranties thoroughly beforehand.

It pays to hire an experienced professional to install your new roof. Although their labor rates may be higher than fly-by-night contractors, you're investing in reliability. Established roofing installers have adequate insurance to protect you against accidents and offer warranties you can depend on. A lower estimate may tempt you, but the risk involved is greater than any savings.

Be aware that the quoted price for your roofing project may change once the shingles have been removed. Rotted sheathing will need to be replaced. Your contractor typically expects to replace one or two plywood sheets, but if moisture has been a long-term problem more sheathing will be required. Vents and other roofing elements may need to be replaced as well, and that could affect the overall price.

You can also save a fair amount of money by installing new roofing materials over top of the existing roof. This may not be possible if the roof deck is spongy or leaks have been detected inside the house. But if this installation method works for your home, it can shave a sizable amount of money from the total cost. Removal and disposal prices add up, and many consider this process to be more environmentally friendly as well.

Maintenance Costs

Low maintenance design is a must for roofing materials. The materials installed must be strong and able to withstand the weather and the effects to time. You may never run into a problem with your roof, although that depends on a number of factors both within and beyond your control.

Think about the exposure of your home. Do you live in a sunny area of the country, where excessive heat and the sun's rays require reflective roofing materials? Metal roofing comes in a wide range of profiles and colors that suit any home design and last for decades, even against extreme heat.

Other homes are faced with heavy winds or hail storms. These roofs must be finished in thicker, more resilient products like architectural shingles. This product will adhere well to the roof deck, can be nailed down tightly and will stand up well against heavy hailstorms thanks to thicker profiles.

When you choose the right type of roofing material maintenance costs are kept at a minimum. Installation methods will also help to reduce or eliminate maintenance costs. When the proper amount of flashing and ice and water barrier are installed you can expect the roof to last. Avoid leaks and premature deterioration by choosing an experienced contractor that will ensure your project is completed properly.

Roof repairs may be necessary due to storm damage, improper installation or faulty products. Your warranty may cover the materials, but often the coverage is prorated and limited. Spot repairs are possible in some cases, but often a widespread problem like leaks or curled shingles require a complete replacement. Roof patching should always be handled by a professional, and are considered a short-term solution to a major problem.

Roof replacement projects are expensive, yet necessary. Make the best decision by understanding the roof costs at every stage, from overall lifetime costs to initial installation charges and maintenance expenses. Once you have a handle on the value of your roof, investing in a quality product and hiring an experienced contractor will make the most sense.

Posted by: diana
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