Did you just get the news that your roof needs replacing? Whether it’s due to storm damage or normal wear and tear, you’ve been searching online for how much it's going to cost to replace your roof and you’ve probably hit a roadblock. It seems no one wants to talk about this. 

This is something we’re happy to talk about and that’s exactly what we're going to do. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents of Nashville and surrounding areas with high-quality roof replacements since 1990. Our workmanship ensures you get the most out of your new asphalt roof. That's why we're proud to offer you a lifetime warranty

We're going to break down the average costs of an asphalt roof, what factors go into estimating the cost, and other things you should consider from a company who has 30 years of experience selling and installing roofs. And at the end of this article, we're going to give you a free checklist to help you find a great roofing contractor for your asphalt roof replacement needs. 

How much does a new asphalt roof cost?

There are many factors that go into the price of a new roof which I will get into later on. As mentioned above, all prices below are all based on an asphalt shingle roof.

There may be some variables that will set your roof apart, but for the most part you will get a good idea of what a new asphalt roof will cost you based on the information below.

The only way to be 100 percent accurate is to have a roofing company out to professionally measure your roof and give you a quote. 

None of the pricing below includes the replacement of any rotten decking because that is typically unknown until the roof has been torn off

The lower end cost for an asphalt roof:

how much does an asphalt roof cost

It’ll likely cost about $3.68 per square foot for a one-story house with a basic up and over roof with no penetrations and no valleys. This typically includes:

  • Basic builders grade architectural asphalt shingles, underlayment, and other roof components   
  • Proper ventilation
  • You will receive a base model roof 
  • Basic manufacturer’s warranty on the asphalt shingles

Average cost of an asphalt roof:

how much does an asphalt roof cost

It’ll likely cost about $4.76 per square foot for a two-story house, with a little complexity, and good accessibility. This includes:

  • A good quality architectural asphalt shingle
  • Using all of the manufacturer’s roofing components
  • Proper ventilation
  • Upgraded underlayment 
  • The enhanced 50-year manufacturer’s warranty 

The higher end cost of an asphalt roof:

how much does an asphalt roof cost

It’ll likely cost about $7.50 per square foot for a two-story house with a cut-up, complex roof, a steep pitch, and not easily accessible. This includes:

  • Luxury asphalt shingles 
  • Using all of the manufacturer’s roofing components
  • Proper ventilation
  • Copper Valleys 
  • Copper Flashing 
  • The enhanced 50-year manufacturer's warranty 

The cost for your roof can be more or less depending on any upgrade or downgrade you decide on. This includes the different types of asphalt shingles

To help you find the right asphalt shingle, read this article on which asphalt shingle is right for you

How to figure out the cost of your asphalt roof

To determine the cost of your roof investment you need to know the square footage of your roof. To figure out the square footage you must know the dimensions of the footprint of your home. The footprint is the measurement of the exterior of your home.

Square footage affects a number of cost factors including the amount of materials used, labor, and time. Below I give you the steps you can do to figure out your home’s square footage and a rough estimate calculation for your roof investment. 

1. How to measure your asphalt roof without getting on it

A person of average height will have a stride somewhere between 2 to 2.5 feet. You can step off the dimensions of your roof by counting the steps you take to get the length of your home. You will then step off the width of your home. If you are able to, you can also use a measuring tape. 

Length x width = your home's footprint

If you’d like to use the square footage of your home, you’ll only get a vague idea of what the square footage of your roof is. Bear in mind that the walls can be as thick as 8 inches (brick) and then you’ll still have the overhang of the roof to consider. 

Your calculations are going to be off but measuring this way can give you a basic idea of the cost. If your house is two-stories or bi-level, you’ll need to factor that in too. Square footage of a house does not equal the square footage of a roof.

2. How do you calculate the square footage of your asphalt roof?

Now that you have the measurements of your home's footprint, let’s figure out the square footage of the roof. 

Let's start with a simple ranch style home. This style of home has a gable roof on it.

Here's how you get the square footage of your roof:

Take the length x width = home's footprint x 1.3 = square footage of your roof. For example, if you have a house that measures 56 feet lengthwise and 28 feet widthwise your calculation will look like this:

   56' (length)

x 28' (width)

1,568' = footprint of your home

x 1.3  (for an easy up and over, walkable gable roof)

2,038 = square feet of roof area

3. Factor in the slope and complexity of your asphalt roof

You have to keep in mind the makeup of your roof when doing your calculations for square footage. The steepness and complexity will change the number you multiply the footprint by. 

For example:

For a hip roof with a low slope, you'll multiply the footprint of the roof by 1.4 to get the square footage of your roof 

For a steep and complex roof you'll multiply the footprint of the roof by 1.6 to get the square footage of your roof

4. Multiply by the asphalt roof costs to get a rough estimate 

Once you have the square footage, multiply it by the low end, average, and high end prices above to determine how much your roof replacement could cost. Let’s see how much that easy up and over, walkable gable roof from before will be. 

So, how much does a 2,038 square foot roof cost? 

 2,038 (square feet)

x $4.30 (average price per square foot as shown above)

$8,763 = the price of replacing this roof

These numbers aren't perfect because every roof is different, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect and what to plan for from a financial standpoint. If you want a calculator to do the work for you, check out our free Roofing Calculator for an easier way to get a rough estimate for your new asphalt roof. 

What factors go into the cost of a new asphalt roof?

No two roofs are going to be the same, so the price will vary from roof to roof. There are many factors that go into determining the cost of a new roof. So to better help you understand where your investment goes when making this purchase, I’ve comprised a list of the factors that have a direct effect on the price. 

  1. The type of materials you choose
  2. Labor and time
  3. Installation method
  4. Enhanced warranty requirements
  5. The roof’s accessibility
  6. The number of penetrations
  7. Roof size and the complexity of it
  8. The amount of decking that may need to be replaced
  9. Dump fees
  10. Operating costs

While going through these factors here are some things you should keep in mind for the rest of the article:

  • The appearance of your new roof, such as color and style.
  • The products and materials you choose to use. Think about things like longevity, warranty, quality and wind rating.
  • Your time frame for getting the work done.
  • Your budget.

1) The type of roofing materials you choose

Before we get to this first factor just be aware there are other types of roofs you can choose. These include metal, wood, and slate just to name a few. It’s all up to what look you want and your budget. These types of roof get expensive quickly and can be double or even triple the cost of an asphalt roof. Like I said before, we’re going to concentrate on asphalt for this article. 

The materials you choose will have the most impact on the cost of a new roof. The price of standard dimensional/architectural shingles across all the manufacturers don’t vary that much.  But when it comes to accessories, there is a huge price difference between them. 

The main materials you will choose are: 

  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation allows your attic to breathe and will allow you to get the full life out of your roof. There are different types of ventilation systems and vents that go with each. Proper ventilation is one of the most important components of your roof. 
  • Underlayment: This is the material that is used beneath your shingles. It’s an extra layer of protection. There are different grades of underlayment to choose from and the better the quality, the higher the price.
  • Shingles: There are several types of shingles with various styles to choose from. They range from builders grade all the way up to luxury style shingles that look like real slate.
  • Metal Flashing: This is the metal that will be used for flashing where the shingles butt up against places, such as a wall or a chimney, or in open valleys. Metal flashing stops water from being able to penetrate at certain junctions of the roof. The most commonly used are made from aluminum, steel or copper.

To learn more about these roofing materials, read this article on the 9 materials included in your roof replacement

2) Labor and time

Labor and time are two of the main factors a salesman takes into consideration when calculating the price of a new roof. 

The labor cost of each man on a crew is based on their skill level, experience, and how much they can get done in a day. 

The time it takes to do a job is also a factor. If the roof is complex and hard to access then it’s going to take more time and manpower to complete.

3) The installation method you choose

You do have choices. The truth is, there is a huge difference between installation methods. You can have your roof installed using the hand nailed or air nailed method. 

For most roofing companies, the air nailed method is the most popular method of installing a roof. The labor is cheaper and it’s faster which allows them to move on to the next project quicker.  

Hand nailing makes sure every nail is in the proper place before hammering it in. A well trained hand nailer can hammer in a nail straight, tight, get in a rhythm and go almost as fast as someone who is using an air gun. 

While the investment for hand nailing is a bit more, the skill, extra time, and extra labor is worth every penny to make sure your roof is installed properly to give you peace of mind. 

4) Choosing the enhanced manufacturer’s warranty

Only roofing companies that are certified by the manufacturer can offer you an enhanced warranty. The top manufacturers have a 50-year non-prorated warranty on the entire roof system and a 25-year warranty on the workmanship. 

In order to get the enhanced warranty, the roof system must be installed by a roofing company certified by the manufacturer and a minimum of three of the manufacturer’s components must be used.

To learn more about your roof warranty options, read this article on what roof warranties cover

5) Roof accessibility

Accessibility is the ability to access the roof for tearing off the old roof and getting those torn off materials into the dump truck and then getting the new materials back up to the roof for installation. 

What can make your roof hard to access?

  • The amount of shrubbery or landscaping you have around your house.
  • Having a fence.
  • How far away the materials and dump truck are from the place where the installers will be getting on your roof. 

For example, a home with rows of shrubbery, a fence, and a driveway that is far away from where the installers can get on your roof will have a greater cost than a home with a roof that is easy to get to.  

6) The number of roof penetrations

A roof penetration is anything that pokes out of your roof. Some of the common penetrations that your roof might have are:

  • Plumbing vents
  • Gas vents 
  • Kitchen and bathroom vents 
  • Skylights 
  • Chimneys

Pipes don’t add that much to the cost. But bigger penetrations such as skylights and chimneys take longer to flash and to work around so they naturally add more to the cost of a roof.

7) Your roof size and the complexity of it 

A large roof with many facets, hips, valleys, and pitches will cost more to roof than a simple ranch style roof. A roof that is cut up with a high number of facets at multiple angles, hips, valleys, and a steep pitch is more difficult and takes a lot longer to roof than a simple ranch style roof with only two or four roof facets. 

The taller the roof, the more precautions the installers have to take. For their own safety, they have to move slower and more carefully. This adds time to the job.

8) The amount of roof decking that may need to be replaced

Decking are the sheets of plywood that your roof is laid on. It can be difficult to tell what the condition of your roof’s decking is until the old roof has been torn off. If your roofer knows you need it replaced at the start, it will be included in the original estimate. 

On the other hand, if they find that your decking is bad while tearing off the old roof, the cost will be added to the final invoice. In your estimate, you will be given the price to replace any bad decking that is found during the tear-off phase.

9) Dump fees

When your roof is torn off, those materials go into a dump truck and are hauled off to a local dumpsite. The dumpsites charge significant fees for this service and they are going up all the time. Plus, there is the cost of the driver doing this job.  

10) The operating expenses of the roofing company you hire

Every company has operating expenses to keep their business going. These are some common operating cost:

  • Building cost and utilities, shop and truck yard
  • Advertising and promotions
  • Vehicles (fuel and insurance)
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Licenses and bonds
  • Training 
  • Payroll and payroll taxes
  • Taxes (Federal and local government)

These are just some of the fixed operating costs that it takes to run a business. No matter if a roofing company does a simple repair or replaces 10 roofs, these are the costs that have to be paid every day. 

No matter what work you get done or what service you need, operating expenses will always factor into an estimate or final cost.   

Make sure you find a great contractor to replace your asphalt roof

Like I said earlier, every roof is different. But now, you have an idea of how much you're going to have to invest in your new asphalt roof. 

After reading this, you're ready to hire a local roofing contractor to begin the process of replacing your roof. But how do you find a great roofing contractor? 

That comes down to asking potential contractors the right questions and knowing the right answers to get back. To help you even further, we're going to give you a checklist that will do just that. 

With the 16 question checklist, you'll be able to find a roofing contractor that does things the right way and gives you a stress free experience. 

At Bill Ragan Roofing, our customers are in the hands of a company who has more than 30 years of experience in the Nashville area. We give you an experience rare in the roofing industry with our high-quality workmanship, customer service, and honesty. If you're local to Nashville, don't hesitate to contact us to start the journey of giving you the beautiful roof you deserve. 

Here's your free Checklist of Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor so you have the information you need when talking to potential roofing companies in your area. 

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor