How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost, and Why? Take The Guesswork Out Of The Process By Involving a Professional.

Among many of the frequently asked questions we receive, the first and most prominent of them all is, of course, “How much does a metal roof cost?” This is the number one question our consultants receive from homeowners all over New England. This is also the number one question we usually cannot answer over the phone. To answer quite bluntly, giving an estimate over the phone for an aluminum metal roofing system is a metal roofing contractor’s nightmare – there are simply too many complex factors involved. Save yourself the trouble and speak with a reputable metal roofing contractor to set up an appointment for a free estimate – you will save yourself the trouble of trying to figure out the price on your own, become aware of the potential scope of your project, and become much more educated on the variety of different metal roofing products.

One Shortcut to Establish a “Ballpark” Range

First, keep in mind that a full contract for aluminum metal roofing will be about 2 ½ to 3 times the cost or more of an asphalt roofing contract. One way to find out if metal roofing cost is in your potential scope *without* meeting with an aluminum metal roofing contractor, is simply to contact a few local, competent asphalt roofing contractors for their quotes, and then just multiply by 2 ½ to 3. Understand that prices for asphalt roofing can vary greatly depending on the company – be sure you meet with a few licensed and insured contractors so you know that you are getting accurate pricing based on your local area’s roofing industry standards. Surprised that the Metal Roofing Blog is suggesting you to meet with an asphalt roofing contractor? You should be – as discussed earlier, an aluminum metal roofing installation is 2 ½ to 3 times the cost (or more, depending on the product) of asphalt roofing. Do the math – figure out if aluminum metal roofing is in your ballpark, then move forward by meeting with a metal roofing contractor to see what product will be the best fit for your criteria and your home. This is the simplest way to get a ballpark price for aluminum metal roofing without actually meeting with a metal roofing contractor, and it has the added advantage of allowing you to consider whether an asphalt roof might actually be an ideal alternative for you.  Finally, save yourself the trouble and meet with a reliable, reputable metal roofing contractor, who can guide you through the decision process and greatly reduce the effort required to research your options.

If you are still reading at this point, we are guessing you still do not want to meet with a metal roofing contractor. You think you want to find out on your own how much to expect to spend on metal roofing costs for your home … but remember, many contractors are more than willing to do this for you for free. Good luck. Oh well – what do we know?

Calculating a Metal Roof Cost Estimate Range for an Aluminum Metal Roofing System

Begin by picking up the following tools to aid you in this complicated process: paper, a tape measure, a calculator, and a pen or pencil. The first step is to figure out the total square footage of your roofing. To do so, use the tape measure to find the length of your roof surface from one side to the other. Find the width of your roof from the eave to the ridge, and multiply the length and width to find the area. If the roof is awkwardly shaped (anything other than a rectangle), find the area of smaller sections at a time and add them together. Repeat all of this until you have measured all of the roofing surfaces. Add them together. You now have the square footage of your roof.

Unfortunately, the square footage is not the only factor that determines the price point for a metal roofing system. Be mindful of all of the complexities of your roof, because, well, they are complex. The complexity of the roofing is a major factor affecting the price point. These complexities include (but are not limited to) multiple angles and pitch, valleys, and hips.

Penetrations through the roof are just as important, such as: pipes, vents, skylights, and chimneys. Understand that these penetrations require detailed flashing, and usually, the difficulty of the flashing is highly subjective due to the many different styles of homes.

Understanding what metal roofing product meets your criteria and your home affects the price due to many factors, but more importantly, the price point can be greatly affected depending on the condition of the asphalt and the amount of layers. Excluding standing seam aluminum metal roofing, a traditional metal shingle roofing system can be installed over one layer of asphalt – provided that the single layer of asphalt and the decking is in sound condition. So, what about standing seam? Standing seam lays flat on the surface and will cause irregularities in the panel over a layer of asphalt, so all of the previous material must be stripped.

You are probably asking yourself, “I just got the square footage. I have a couple skylights, now what?”

We are going to conclude with a sample estimate based on the standard 2014 New England metal roofing industry prices. This is going to be a ballpark range and is not, by any means, a concise estimate. Take it with grain of salt, and it should only be used as a reference point. That said, we will provide a simple sample metal roofing cost of an aluminum metal roofing system – broken down piece by piece. Compare your findings to the following figure to find out your ballpark price range for an aluminum metal roofing system.

The Simple Sample Aluminum Metal Roofing Ballpark Price Range

*(PLEASE note that these figures are as of April, 2014, for the New England metal roofing industry)

Consider the following – try to relate it to your home and your measurements …

Our sample is going to be a house with a full shed dormer off the back.
1.) Flashing the cheeks of the dormer will generally cost between $700 – $900.

2.) This house will require head wall and sidewall flashing, the cost being $500 – $700 to re-flash around metal roofing.

3.) This house has a footprint of 60’ x 40’ and has valleys and vinyl siding. Figure that the roofing surface sums up to 2075 sq. ft., which equates to 21 squares. For aluminum metal roofing, the average New England metal roofing industry cost would be about $1100 – $1400 per square (10’ x 10’ area), which makes the bulk of the metal roofing cost between $23000 – $29000.

4.) Remember that complexities will greatly influence the price. This sample roof has 2 bathroom vent pipes, which usually cost $100 – $200 per pipe. Figure this house has 2 skylights on the front of the roofing, measuring approximately as 16’ x 40’. In this case, it would cost between $200 – $300 for the flashing around each skylight. If, like in many cases, this house needs replacement skylights, you are looking at around $800 – $1200 per skylight – plus the cost of the skylight. This is to remove, replace, and re-flash.

5.) Continuing with this simple sample home, let us say this house has a center chimney measured to roughly 3’ x 3’. Chimneys in New England are usually flashed with copper and lead, so understand that they must be flashed with the same type of material as the roofing or it could be subject to electrolysis. Electrolysis takes place when one metal eats up the other, so if you are considering an aluminum metal roofing system, your chimney will probably need new flashing. The New England metal roofing industry cost for chimney flashing is usually between $500 – $1000+ depending on the size of the chimney and the condition it is currently in. Occasionally, the chimney will need to be re-pointed because dealing with a chimney in poor condition after a metal roofing system is already installed could create future problems.

6.) Rule of thumb: the lower the pitch of the roof, the lower the metal roof cost; the greater the pitch, the greater the metal roof cost. We will say that this roof has 1 layer of asphalt in good condition – as in, the shingles are lying flat and not crumbling. In this case, we will say the roof is about 15 years old. The roof deck, which is the wood under the shingles, is in considerably good shape. Because of this, this is a job that could have an aluminum shingle layover without stripping the asphalt. The chimney would have to be re-flashed because it is a different metal. Both skylights are in good condition so they also just need to be re-flashed. There is no ridge vent or gable edge vent on this house, so the venting needs to be corrected. Answering a common question among homeowners, “Can you vent a metal roof?” – The answer is yes. This is done by adding soffit vents and cutting in a ridge vent. The price range for this would be between $500 – $1000 depending on what needs to be done.

Break down:

  • Cheeks of the dormer flashing – $700 – $900
  • Head wall and side wall flashing – $500 – $700
  • 2075 sq. ft. = 21 squares – $23,000 – $29,000
  • (2) bathroom vent pipes – $100 – $200
  • Flashing around (2) skylights – $800 – $1200
  • Flashing around the chimney – $500 – $1000
  • Soffit Vents – $500 – $1000

Total estimated ballpark range price without ever visiting the property = $26,100 – $34,000

Note: Specialty Materials Can Lead To Significantly Higher Costs

An in-depth review of other metal roofing types besides aluminum is beyond the scope of this article. A copper or zinc roof both have additional advantages, however, they significantly add to the cost burden of a metal roof. That said, copper roofs and zinc roofs can be a wonderful enhancement to a home’s visual appearance and value.

Conclusion

Do not fall for the gimmicks that many metal roofing contractors use to get you to their websites. No website will ever tell you exactly how much a metal roofing system will cost for your home. Why? Because it is impossible, as you can see by the widely ranged ballpark estimate we have presented here. Gimmicky advertisements, such as metal roofing calculators, discounts, and the like – are almost always SCAMS. Lastly, we do not want you giving yourself a headache when trying to estimate the cost for a metal roof for your home. As outlined earlier, this is as ballpark range as it gets and there is so much involved when calculating the price for a metal roofing system, that the best approach is simply to have a professional come out and actually observe your situation with his own eyes. We mean it when we say it: save yourself the trouble and meet with a professional metal roofing contractor.

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