Category Archives: Asphalt Shingles

Roof Replacement Cost 2017-2018: Roofing Installation Prices per Sq. Ft.

It’s time to replace that scrappy old roof. Are you wondering how much it will cost to install a new roof on your home or garage? If so, check out our just-updated new roof pricing guide for homeowners.

A beautiful cabin with combination roof

To help you with your pricing research, our very own RoofingCalc’s Special Agent went on a secret mission to find the latest roofing materials and installation prices, so you don’t have to do all the legwork!

Straight Off the Bat: It needs to be stated that not all roofs are made the same and not all roofers charge the same prices. That being said, most roofing contractors (and many insurance companies) will price their roof replacement services within $3.50 to $5.00 per square foot or $350 to $500 per square of architectural shingles installed. A square is equal to 100 square feet of roof surface. An average roof size is about 1,700 square feet.

asphalt shingles costs breakdown and material specs

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The above price range will normally include the removal and disposal of up to two layers of old shingles, and installation of new underlayment and ice-and-water shield at the eaves and valleys of the roof in accordance with the local building code requirements. All the necessary building permit expenses should also be included.

Note on a Wider Pricing Range: Depending on the type and overall complexity of the roof (number of floors/levels, number of skylights, chimneys, and dormers, ease of access, and overall roof difficulty), choice of shingles, your home’s geographic location, and the contractor or weekend warrior you choose to hire, your total average cost for a composition shingles roof could range from as low as $2.75 to as high as $7.50 per square foot or $275 to $750 per square installed.

Geographic Considerations:

There will always be significant variations in quoted roof prices, depending on the contractor you choose to hire and your home’s location. For instance, roof prices in the deep South (think South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and most of Louisiana) will generally be significantly lower (as low as $2.50 to $3.00 per sq. ft. installed) compared to prices charged in the North East or on the West Coast (which can be as high as $5.00 to $7.00 per sq. ft.).

Did you know? A typical ranch style or four-square single family house in the US will have a roof area of about 15 to 20 squares. — On the low-end, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 for a simple roof replacement job on a typical four-square or ranch style house, while on the high-end, your total cost could range from $9,000 to $14,000 (or even more in some cases) for a more difficult installation, premium materials, and comprehensive workmanship warranty.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Why is there such a Wide Pricing Range?

On the low-end, you may have roofers underbidding their jobs because they are either desperate for work or they happen to work on volume with razor-thin margins. For example, a contractor that is just starting out may be more willing to complete a roofing job for less than a more established company would. There are also smaller companies with no office and little overhead that can afford to charge less for the job and still be profitable.

Note: A low bid for a roofing job (such as a bid that is significantly less than $2.50 per sq. ft. or $250 per square) can also come from the so called weekend warriors or storm chasers working without any liability insurance and no worker’s comp, which could be a liability for the homeowner.

On the high-end of the price range, you have bids for fully-warrantied jobs from reputable exterior remodeling companies. — Keep in mind that a high price doesn’t always mean quality, especially if the contractor you hire is using sub-contractors to do the actual work. Subcontractors normally don’t get paid much, so they work on volume, which means that sometimes they may have to cut corners. 😉

Asphalt Shingles Materials and Labor Costs

Many professional roofing contractors employ a “40% materials / 60% labor” as their costs-breakdown formula. Of course, this pricing structure is just a guideline not set in stone. Some contractors include their overhead in the cost of labor, while others calculate it separately. All roofers use “squares” to measure and estimate roofs. A square equals to 100 sq. ft. of roof the surface.

That being said, below is the breakdown of typical roofing costs you can expect for materials and professional installation:

1. 3-tab Shingles
2. 30-Year Architectural Shingles
3. Premium Shingles

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Roofing Shingles Vs. Cedar Shakes – Costs and Pros & Cons 2017-2018

Before we head up onto the roof to discuss shingles and shakes we need to begin our story inside the house, with artificial lighting. In fact, our story begins all the way back in London, England in 1812 with the organization of the Gas Light and Coke Company. The founders had discovered a new way to produce light — by burning coal in an oxygen-poor atmosphere and creating “manufactured gas”. Thus was born the gas lighting industry.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

One of the waste products of this manufactured gas was the tar left behind from the burnt coal. The coal tar was useless and an expensive pain to haul away from the plant. Enter Samuel Warren, who spent much of his young adult years in self-study, attempting to rescue his family’s faltering foundry.

In 1846, Warren began experimenting with coal tar and discovered it made an excellent adhesive. He perfected the process for manufacturing a waterproof roofing material by applying coal tar to paper.

Warren opened a plant in Cincinnati to produce “tar paper” and the business was immediately profitable — not the least because gas companies paid him to take the coal tar off their hands.

As the composition roofing business spread, the gas companies would eventually charge for their residue and naturally occurring asphalt was substituted. By the end of the 19th century, the tar paper was coated with granulated stone and sold in large rolls as roof covering for mostly industrial buildings, garages and barns.

Asphalt Shingles Roof

In 1903 Henry M. Reynolds, a contractor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, got the idea to carve those big sheets into individual shingles – which he did by hand with a knife. In 1911 the National Board of Fire Underwriters went on a kick to get rid of the most popular residential roof covering of the day — wood shingles.

Asphalt shingles quickly gained favor and by 1930 the composite shingles had displaced wood as the most commonly specified material for residential roofing in America (an American invention, asphalt shingling is still rare on roofs outside North America). Wood and asphalt are still the kingpins in shingle selection today.

Let’s examine the pros and cons of both asphalt shingles and wood/cedar shingles & shakes. But first, an explanation of composition.

The Difference Between Wood Shingles & Shakes

Cedar shakes around a skylight Source: Kuhl’s Contracting

When used in roof covering, wood can be either shakes or shingles. Wood shakes have been used for centuries. They are split from logs and often left as split to retain the textured, rough-hewn effect. A wood shake is instantly recognizable by its thick butt end. With the advent of commercial sawmills a wood shake was often sawn after splitting to achieve a uniform back side.

These sawmills also produced a completely uniform product with an even taper and identical thickness by sawing shakes on both sides. This manufactured product is known as a wood shingle.

California redwood, western red cedar, cypress, spruce and pine are all used to manufacture wood shakes and shingles. Cedar is the most popular wood for shakes, southern yellow pine is also popular. Wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

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Tamko vs. Owens Corning Roofing Shingles: Cost, ROI – Definitive Guide for Homeowners

Owens Corning Roofing Shingles Display

Owens Corning and Tamko are two asphalt shingle manufacturers sharing the adage, “we’re second-best, so we try harder.” CertainTeed is the consensus leader for overall asphalt shingle quality. GAF is the largest producer of shingles, and its products get high marks. Right behind those giants are Owens Corning, certainly one of the most recognizable names in roofing products, and Tamko (or TAMKO), a brand that has its fans, too.

The Bottom Line from the Beginning

The bottom line, which all the details in this guide lead to, is that the Owens Corning vs. Tamko comparison is about as even as it gets in the roofing products industry. Both get ratings in the “good” to “very good” range from roofing contractors who install them every day and from home inspectors who have seen their share of durable shingles and shingles that have failed before they should.

What it comes down to is the quality of the installation. You’ve got two above-average shingle brands that can deliver superior durability for 20+ years, fail in just a few years or perform somewhere in the middle. What makes the difference is how well the installers do their job.

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More on the installation below. Along the way we’ll address where each brand has bragging rights. While OC and Tamko are close to equal in total score, each brand has strong and weak points.

OC vs. Tamko: Quality and Reliability

Quality is a product of the materials used and the production process. Here’s an overview of Owens Corning and Tamko shingle construction.

  • Owens Corning: OC makes three tiers of shingles in basic (Oakridge, Supreme), better (Duration, OC’s best-seller) and best (Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire) categories.
  • Tamko: This brand makes a very similar lineup with basic (Elite Glass-Seal), better (Heritage, Heritage Woodgate) and best (Heritage Premium, Heritage Vintage).

All shingles from Owens Corning and Tamko feature fiberglass mat bases saturated with asphalt and dressed with coated granules to resist the sun’s UV radiation. Each shingle is constructed with fused layers. When installed, less than half of each shingle is exposed. The result is that 3-tab roofs (OC Supreme and Tamko Elite Glass-Seal 3-tab) have 2-3 layers of coverage at any given point on your roof.

All other shingles from both brands are architectural style shingles with 4-5 layers of coverage. The result are shingles with wind ratings of 60mph for 3-tab products and 110/130mph for all others. The brands have the same ratings in most ASTM materials and fire rating tests. Both are on par or superior to most other brands including CertainTeed and GAF.

Bad shingles are often the result of production rather than the materials used. The production processes for these brands are similar. The processes are slightly tweaked, even from run to run (runs of shingle batches).

When errors occur, a bad batch of shingles, such as layers that don’t properly fuse, are produced. What makes a brand worth considering is the consistency of the quality from run to run. Owens Corning and Tamko deliver good consistency.

Advantage—Tie: We’re not afraid to take sides, but there’s no clear winner here. These brands are rated about as equal as you will find in terms of quality and reliability, especially the two most-popular series, the Owens Corning Duration and Tamko Heritage.

Owens Corning vs. Tamko: Cost

Since these brands compete aggressively head to head, their prices are comparable across all products (and are very competitive with GAF, too).

Here is a breakdown of the shingle series and their costs from both brands:

Prices are per square, which is 100 square feet of coverage (and 3 or 4 bundles of shingles, so check product specs for the bundles-per-square).

3-tab shingles:

  • OC Supreme: $70-$85
  • Tamko Elite Glass-Seal: $72-$77

Average architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration: $110-$120
  • Tamko Heritage: $84-$100

Best-selling architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration Designer, STORM & COOL: $105-$135
  • Tamko Heritage Premium: $90-$105

Premium, architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire: $175-$280
  • Tamko Heritage Woodgate, Heritage Vintage: $180-$205

Advantage – Tamko: As you can see, Tamko offers better value in each tier of products. It always makes sense to get written estimates on the specific roofing materials you’re considering, to get a direct comparison of cost.

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