the 4 biggest pricing factors in roofing

There will always be price variances in estimates from roofer to roofer, but knowing the biggest pricing factors affecting roofing costs will give you an idea of what to expect for your project.

The Big 4

Are you in the process of looking for a licensed roofer? Visit our post, Questions to Ask When Hiring a Roofing Contractor, to serve as a guideline when comparing prospective contractors for the job. 

Roof Pricing Factor #1: Roof Size 

Not surprisingly, the size of the residential or commercial roofing project is the first pricing factor. The larger your roof is, the more materials are required and the higher the number of labor hours.  

Most roofers will measure the roof surfaces’ total square footage. They divide this total by 100 to arrive at a number called “the roof square.” So, one roofing square is 100 square feet of roofing materials. They use this number to drive materials and labor estimates. 

Roof Pricing Factor #2: Roofing Materials 

Here’s the tricky thing about a roof’s size and how that relates to price. The desired roofing materials can be just as important as the roof’s size. For example, a small residential roof may cost more than a larger home’s roof depending on the materials selected 

The scope of the roofing project is also included in this. For example, if the shingles need to be replaced but your flashing and underlayment are in good shape it will cost notably less than if all of the roofing components and materials need to be replaced. 

Roof Pricing Factor #3: Labor Costs 

Here in the Bay Area, labor costs are substantially higher than they are in other parts of the country. This is an important item to analyze when comparing estimates from two different roofers.  Keep in mind that labor costs account for: 

  • Hourly wages 
  • Experience/history with the company 
  • Health insurance 
  • Paid vacation and sick time 

If a lower roofing estimate comes in and you notice that a contractor’s labor costs significantly less than his competitors, it could be that he uses less-skilled labor, or that he doesn’t compensate his employees well. These factors will show up in terms of quality workmanship, as well as employee and job site safety. 

Roof tear-off time affects labor costs, too 

Keep in mind that roof tear off time also affects labor. So, let’s say that Contractor 1 wants the job. He knows your underlayment and flashing should probably be replaced, but he needs the work. So, he gives you a quote that only includes the removal of your shingles or tiles, laying the new stuff right on top of the deteriorating underlayment figuring he’ll be long gone before you know the error of that decision. 

Contractor B, on the other hand, knows that your roof is past its prime and the whole kit-and-caboodle needs to be removed and replaced. That quote will be higher, but you’ll reap the benefits of a high-quality roof replacement that lasts another 20 years, and with minimal chance of major warranty issues. 

Roof Pricing Factor #4: Roof slope and features (peaks, valleys, accessories) 

If you have a flat or minimally pitched roof, without features such as skylights and solar tubes, the process is simpler. It’s more difficult and requires more labor to repair or replace than a steeply pitched roof, or a roof with additional penetrations. Likewise, a more complex roof design with peaks and valleys requires more materials and labor time than a roof with a basic, A-line shape. 

Bay Area Bonus Pricing Factor: Roof Accessibility 

The Bay Area, particularly the denser urban areas can have accessibility issues. Installing a new roof on a rural home in Sonoma County is much easier than installing a new roof in the hilly, narrow streets of San Francisco. Multi-story buildings – anything over two to three stories – or homes surrounded by tall redwoods or mature oak groves may also pose accessibility issues.  

In these cases, you may see a steep charge on your estimate that reflects that heavy equipment, traffic permitting, additional labor to direct traffic and accommodate parking needs, or additional safety equipment costs. 

Additional Roof Pricing Factors 

After those top 4, additional factors that affect the price of a new roof are: 

  • Roofing system components 
  • Updates in the attic (such as insulation, ventilation, moisture barriers, etc. that improve roof function) 
  • Type(s) of warranty offered (some roofing contractors offer extended warranties on labor or materials) 

We’re Here When You’re Ready

Pacific Coast Roofing Services has provided trustworthy, high-quality, and competitive priced roof repairs and replacement for nearly 20 years. The large majority of our business comes from word-of-mouth, proof that we are doing something right. Contact us510) 912-5454, to obtain your free, fair estimate.