Budgeting for a Roof Replacement

At some point during home ownership, most homeowners find that they must replace their roof. In areas with bad weather, that time will come sooner rather than later. The total price to replace your roof will depend on where you live; the size and complexity of your roof; and the materials you choose.

Costs for roof replacement are broken down into three main areas:

Materials – the type of shingles (asphalt, clay, slate, wood, or metal), underlayment, drip edging or gutters, protective coatings and other options offered by your contractor.
Labor – the cost to hire skilled workers who will first tear off old roofing materials and then install the new roof.
Disposal – once the old materials are removed, they must either be recycled or disposed of in the trash. Either way, disposal requires a container to gather the materials and someone to haul them away.
Knowing what goes into the cost of the replacement is only part of the picture. There are also a few things you can do to help keep these costs down while becoming an educated consumer as recommended here.

Do your homework. Understand the details about the size and complexity of your roof. A Tudor home will have a much more complex roof than a southwestern home with flat roof. Before you start getting bids, know the exact type of shingles or material you want.

Shop around. A good consumer always gets multiple bids. A little healthy competition is a good tactic to use. Be sure to get references and check them before you hire someone. Be wary of extremely low bids, this could indicate someone who doesn’t do the same quality of work as the other contractors.
Timing. Whenever possible, schedule your replacement during less busy seasons. Roofers are always busiest right before the seasons with the most inclement weather for the area. In Illinois, that means the busy times are late summer and fall. If you can schedule your work in late winter or early spring, you might save some money.

Homeowner’s insurance. If there is damage to your roof from a storm or anything other than neglect, you may want to contact your insurer to pay part of all of the cost.

Once you have the basic information, you can set up your roof replacement budget. Most contractors will allow payment plans or you may have time to save money and pay for the project up front. Some homeowners like to be involved and put a little of their own elbow grease into a job, but before you decide to do this, remember that roofing is messy dangerous work. If you pull off the old materials, you may have to figure out how to dispose of them. Once those materials are off if there is a delay in delivery of the new materials or your contractor is not able to start right away, you might find yourself with an exposed roof. There can also be underlying problems that are not discovered until the project is underway, especially damage to the frame underneath the roof and your contractor must be aware of this and plan for this as part of the project. Your roof is a long-term investment, so it is best to avoid any shortcuts. Look for a licensed, professional contractor to do the work and plan ahead whenever possible to get the job done right.