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Roofing Resources

Avoid Hidden Costs During a Roof Replacement

Roof repairs can be some of the most expensive renovations for homeowners. So how do you ensure that your roof replacement stays in budget, and avoid hidden costs that could break the bank? Knowledge is key. To help with this stressful project, Modernize has created a series of articles that take you from finding damage in the first place all the way through installing your new roof. In this installment, we cover expected costs as well as how to prepare for unexpected costs during your roofing project.

Table of Contents

Basic Costs of a Roof Replacement

Begin by determining your baseline roof replacement budget. The average roof replacement cost is between $8,000 – $17,500 including installation, the cost of roofing shingles, removal of your old roof, disposal fees, permitting and labor.

Whether you are budgeting for a DIY replacement or accepting bids from roofing contractors, the cost of your project will be impacted by basic roofing considerations like:

Roof Dimensions

In short, the simpler the roof, the cheaper the replacement. The complexity, slope, and size of your roof will have a significant impact on the cost of your roof replacement.

Roofs (and roof repairs) are measured in squares, which are 10×10 foot areas. The more squares to be replaced, the higher the cost. Roofs with more slant have a larger surface area than roofs with less slant. And a roof with more level changes, hips, valleys and add-ons like dormers will be more expensive than a simple roof.

Roofing Materials

Roofing material prices range from very affordable options like asphalt ($150 to $550 per square) to options like slate (close to $385 to $800 per square). As such, the cost of raw materials will drive the price of the entire roofing project up or down.

In addition to shingles, building materials are another cost to consider. This includes, but is not limited to, boards and plywood, nails, drop cloths, calk, roof underlayment, flashing, and sheathing.


Labor costs will vary depending on the size of the crew, their experience, and the scope of your roofing project. However, Modernize encourages homeowners to not select a contractor based on price alone. The quality of work is especially important when it comes to roofing projects.

While some aspects of a roof replacement can be DIY, the smartest choice for such an important project is to partner with a reputable roofing contractor. The right roofing contractor will be able to help you set (and stick) to your roof replacement budget and have the experience to foresee any hidden costs.


While it is often possible to install new roofing over existing shingles, that can impact the quality of your roof and interfere with your roofing warranty. As such, your roof replacement will likely entail the disposal of your current roof. Shingles must be disposed of properly, so budget for a dumpster and additional disposal costs.

Inspection and Permitting

To determine the scope of your roof replacement, your roofing contractor will do an inspection of your current roof. Inspections are generally not free, but a roofing contractor may include the cost of their inspection in the price of a repair project after being hired. After an inspection, your contractor will be able to provide a more accurate quote and scope of work.

Depending on where you live, your contractor may also need to secure permits to complete a roof replacement. Your contractor will manage the permitting process, but be prepared for the cost. Depending on your region, a roof replacement permit may be a flat rate, or it could vary based on your home’s size or value.

The Most Common Hidden Roof Replacement Costs

No matter how well prepared and researched your roof replacement budget may be, keep in mind that construction may uncover additional costs that are beyond you or your contractor’s control. Especially if you live in an older house, it’s wise to be prepared. With that in mind, some common unexpected costs to be prepared for include:

Bringing Your Roof Up To Code

Your roof may have originally been built to meet decades-old building codes that will no longer apply to new construction. While this is great news for your home’s energy efficiency and sustainability, it is an added expense to keep in mind.

Pests and Mold

Especially in humid areas of the country, mold and termite damage can add hidden costs to your roof replacement. Whether it’s insects or decay, these problems will need to be addressed before new shingles can be installed.

Leaks And Rotten Plywood

Leaks in your roof can sometimes go unnoticed until the shingles are removed during a roofing repair. These leaks can cause damage to your home, like rot in rafters and other wood structures. If there is already extensive damage, the material and labor cost to replace that wood can quickly increase the roof replacement price by hundreds of dollars.

Poor Roof Design Causing Water Traps

Water traps are a common issue that homeowners are often unaware of until a roof replacement takes place. Water traps are areas that are prone to leaks due to runoff areas that direct too much water to one place. Water traps also lead to faster wear on your shingles and other materials like siding or brick. If your contractor uncovers this issue, you can expect to include the costs to mitigate the water traps in your roof replacement budget.


For many homeowners, a roof replacement is a smart choice to increase the value of their home. In that vein, you may find that upgrades to other elements of your roof are also in order during the roof replacement. Examples include upgrading to low-maintenance gutters, improving your roofing ventilation, or opting for a more durable type of roof underlayment. Discuss how these and other options can be worked into your roofing repair with your contractor. They can help you decide what makes sense to maximize the value of your home while staying within budget.

What to Expect During Your Roof Installation

Now that you've hired a contractor and know what all the costs will be, here's what to expect as your renovation finally begins.

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Tips To Keep Your Roof Replacement On Budget

Like any home renovation, there are ways you can prepare your home to minimize additional costs that can occur during the actual installation. Tips include:

  • Cut your grass short before roof installation begins. Shorter grass will make it easier for your roofers to use a magnetic nail finder to recover any nails or staples that go astray during a roof replacement.
  • Cover items in your attic with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Small gaps in your decking can allow shingles, nails and other debris to fall onto your insulation or valuables stored in your attic.
  • Where possible, move plants and lawn furniture far away from your home. This also applies to vehicles parked in your driveway. Relocating valuable items will minimize the chance of them being damaged while your roofing team hauls loads of debris over the side of your roof.

Now that you have the knowledge of the costs, both planned and unplanned, to expect during your roof replacement, all that’s left is to ensure you stick to your budget. To do that, you can:

  • Complete your roof replacement in the off-season. Demand for roof repairs is greatest in spring and summer, so the cost will typically be higher than when done in the cooler months when laborers’ time is in less demand. The price of new shingles can also be lower during the off-season.
  • Leave 15-20 percent of wiggle room in your budget. This will allow you to take any hidden issues in stride without impacting the rest of your roof replacement. This may seem like a large buffer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Establish great communication with your contractor. Let them know about your budget constraints up front. This will help them determine the most realistic way to reach your desired end result, and help them as they purchase supplies for the project.

All in all, having a reliable and honest roofing contractor is perhaps the easiest way to avoid hidden costs during a roof replacement. Take advantage of Modernize’s tools to find a trusted local contractor that can make the roof of your dreams a reality.

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