July 15, 2024


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What You Need to Know About Replacing a Roof


Your basic asphalt shingle roof will last around 20 years. Of course, with tens of millions of single-family homes in the US, that means millions of homeowners will do a roof replacement in any given year.

If you’re looking at replacing a roof for the first time this year, you’re probably asking a lot of questions. If so, keep reading.

We’ll give you a quick guide to the essential information you should have about roofs, materials, costs, and hiring roofers for the job.

Types of Roofs

There are several common types of roofs found on homes, such as:

  • Gabled
  • Hip
  • Flat/low slope

The other types of roofs you see are typically variations on these basic designs. You should know what type of roof you have because it can affect what roofing materials you use. We’ll discuss roofing materials in the next section.

Roofing Materials

Most homes use one of a handful of common roofing materials. The most common choices include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Tiles
  • Metal roofing
  • Slate shingles

Most people opt for asphalt shingles because that’s what is already on their roofs, but you can change it up.

Flat roofs are a different matter, though. Those roofs typically get membrane, built-up, or rubber roofing material. Flat roofs are relatively uncommon on homes, though.

Cost to Replace a Roof

Figuring out the cost to replace a roof isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The average cost is a little over $8000, but that doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll pay in the end.

The roofing material itself can drive the price way up. Slate roofing can cost more than 10 times what asphalt shingles cost for the same home. Stainless steel can cost almost six times as much as asphalt shingles.

The average cost of labor can change substantially based on your location. If you live in a major urban center, such as Philadelphia, your costs will typically run higher.

Hiring a Roofer

You should take some care when hiring a roofer to help you avoid roof scams. Ask for recommendations from people you trust that got a roof replacement. Investigate contractors online and look for license information if you live in a state that licenses roofers.

Ask for estimates from three or four roofers and see what they offer. Most of the estimates should come back with a final cost in the same general range. Watch out for especially high estimates or especially low estimates.

Replacing a Roof and You

Replacing a roof is a major investment for most homeowners. That means you want to enter the process armed with information.

Figure out what type of roof and roofing material is on your home. While you might decide on a different material, knowing will give you a starting point. Figure out a budget, since that will often determine what kind of roofing material you end up with on your home.

Investigate any potential roofer before hiring them to help avoid scams.

Looking for more home improvement tips or news? Take a look at the articles in our Home Improvement section.