Part 1: Asphalt Shingles
Homeowners across the U.S. now have access to low-maintenance homes, for the most part. Exterior siding, windows and doors, concrete driveway, sidewalks, and patios and all pretty well dialed in and durable. Deciding to change or upgrade these items is often more about aesthetics than need for a replacement. Roofs, though, are another story, as they are subject to the most punishment day-to-day of all of a home’s exterior components. So when the time comes, you might ask, “What’s the cost to replace my asphalt shingle roof?”
Most areas of Florida are challenging for roofing materials. Intense heat, humidity, sunshine, wind, and rain—not to mention the occasional hurricane—are anything but gentle on standard roofing materials. Those are asphalt shingles, concrete and clay tiles, metal sheets and tiles, and flat-roof materials. That said, Florida’s building code requires robust roofing, so when you elect to replace your home’s roof, you’ll end up with a solid product no matter which material you choose.
What dictates the cost to replace my roof?
It’s mostly about the building’s design and the material you choose. The majority of residential roofs have a pitched roof with a slope of 4:12 to 6:12. That means, in the case of a 4:12 roof, a rise of 4 inches and a run of 12 inches. A sloped roof over 7:12, as well as roofs with even steeper slopes, will cost more because there’s more labor required in that more challenging work environment. It’s tougher to work on a steeply sloped roof.
A simple gable roof on a small single-story home with easy access for materials is going to be a fairly low-cost roof no matter the material you choose. A complex roof, which could include steep slopes, several intersecting gables, parapet walls, and some flat areas, would require multiple different roofing materials and might be surprisingly expensive. That’s especially true if access is poor and the crew can’t get a machine close to the roof to deliver the materials.
Different roof slopes also require different materials. A low-slope roof requires specific materials, often a membrane and/or a liquid-applied roofing system. The cheapest option, which is usually asphalt shingles, requires at least a 2:12 roof pitch. Local codes can differ from that, however. Thus, a flat roof will probably require a different, more expensive roofing system than asphalt shingles on a basic gable-roofed house.
Another element that affects cost is the height of the roof. A multi-story building requires more work to access, especially if scaffolding is required, or there’s no room to have a forklift deliver materials, or a crane is required, and so on. Easy access for materials means a lower cost for that part of the job, no matter which roofing material you choose.
Why You May Choose Asphalt Shingles
First, this option is probably the lowest-cost option for your home. That’s why asphalt shingles are the most-used roofing material in Florida and across the country. You may be able to re-roof over your existing asphalt shingles, but your contractor will have to examine your existing roof and determine if the Florida building code requires removal and replacement.
When choosing asphalt shingles, you’ll have to choose between 3-tab and architectural shingles, also known as dimensional shingles. The latest architectural shingles offer a “built up” look with much more heft and thickness, and some shadow lines for more visual interest. They’re designed to look like cedar shakes or slate tiles, and they look good! And they’re available in multiple colors with some differentiation in warranties. Some offer 15-year warranties, and the premium versions offer a limited lifetime warranty with an algae warranty. That’s attractive with our high humidity here in Florida, where it’s commonplace to see green goop growing on roofs. Naturally, the high-end shingles are somewhat more expensive, but the labor is roughly the same for any asphalt shingle choice. That means you get a bit more for your money with an architectural shingle, considering the upgraded warranty.
Asphalt shingle roofs tend to be a standard type of project for contractors, and they’re simple and fast to install. Your contractor will handle whatever tear off is required, proceed to need repairs, then on to installation. In contrast to metal and tile roofs, shingles are typically cut with a utility knife, which is speedy. Cutting metal with snips and chop saws is slower, as is cutting either concrete or asphalt tiles with a power saw. Greater speed of installation for asphalt shingles equates to less time and less labor cost.
Drawbacks of An Asphalt Shingle Roof
Compared to metal, concrete tile, and clay tile, asphalt shingles are more vulnerable to extreme weather. Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions are becoming more common, and high winds in particular can wreck a shingle roof. In contrast, a metal or tile roof often coasts through those same windstorms. Hail, also, can cause enough damage to trigger a roof replacement.
What is that trigger? Florida code states that if a roof suffers damage to more than 25% of its area in one year, it must be replaced, rather than repaired. Asphalt shingle roofs, broadly speaking, are more susceptible to any type of damage than metal and tile roofs. This is an area where your insurance company will be calling the shots and your choices are limited, unless you’re not filing a claim and will just write the check to get what you want.
We’ll get into other roof types in this series of articles, but metal roofs are also vulnerable to hail and even to being walked on. Tile roofs can also suffer damage from being walked on, but hail rarely affects a tile roof.
Another consideration for choosing your new roofing material is your homeowner’s association (HOA). If you aren’t subject to a HOA, good for you! You can choose the roof you want. However, some HOA’s do not allow asphalt-shingle roofs. In fact, you may only have one choice: replacing with the existing roofing material. When you deal with a reputable local roofing company, their representative may know, just from your address, what your HOA requires. It’s in your best interest to confirm that requirement, though. Better safe than sorry.
How Much Does An Asphalt Shingle Roof Cost?
Roofs are typically priced by the “square,” which means 100 square feet. You’ll see shingles labeled that way, too. You have to start somewhere, and that standard works well for estimating a basic gable roof on a 2000 square foot, one-story home. Any roofing contractor will then consider other elements to deal with, such as the height of the building, the roof style, parapet walls, penetrations, presence of solar panels, access for materials and dumpster, and so on.
Here’s a handy site for starting your research and getting an idea of material costs.
So that’s the range for the basic roofing material, but getting an estimate of the cost to replace your roof is the only way to know what you (or your insurance company) will pay for your new roof. Finding a reputable contractor is your first step in getting that estimate. Much like finding a reputable mechanic, you can start with your own network. Which companies have your people been pleased with? Then you can check those companies out online. Do they have a professional web presence that suggests they run an honest business? Any contractor that does good work can easily get testimonials from satisfied customers. Are you seeing those?
We’re Here When You Need Us
If you’d like to talk about replacing your roof, give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and ask us, “what’s the cost to replace my roof?” and we will contact you.