While metal roofing is primarily measured by the square, which is one hundred square feet, we are routinely asked for metal roof prices by the square foot. Here's what you need to know.
When shopping for a metal roof and establishing a budget, there are primarily three elements to include in your calculations - the metal material and profile; accessories and underlayment; and installation costs.
- Material & Profile
There are literally hundreds of types of metal roofs you could purchase. From the thinnest steel in simple panels to the heavyweight "exotic" metals like copper, zinc, stainless steel and others in shingles, diamonds, tiles and additional patterns, the prices range from cheap to very expensive. In the cheap category are simple, thin, painted steels that range between about $1 and $2 a square foot. Upgrading from there are heavier, better metals and finishes with more sophisticated profiles. This "middle quality" category usually ranges between about $2 and $6 a square foot. At the high end of metal roofing are options like copper and zinc. These premium choices usually range between about $8 and $15 a square foot. There are exceptions and caveats to every one of these price categories, but for budgeting purposes you'll find these quite useful. Consult a knowledgeable metal roof source for help in narrowing down the many, many options.
- Accessories and Underlayment
Once you've chosen the primary metal roof option, you'll likely want a set of matching accessories. These include the drip edge, hip and ridges, valleys, and the other flashings you'll need to complete the job. Plus, most metal - like other roofs - will sometimes require some sort of underlayment, like felt or other secondary water-proofing. There are many types and the best one for your application will depend on the specifics of your job. A rule of thumb that can help with your budget is 20-30% of the price of the roofing should be expected for these secondary components. Complex roofs with elaborate details will likely be more, and the simplest roof line with simple details will be less. Again, when you're getting ready to make a decision you should consult an expert, but at least you have a rudimentary formula for estimating the total material price.
Cost of Installation
With almost as many variables as there are metal options, it can be very challenging to prepare a budget for installing a roof. In the case of a re-roof project, preparing the existing roof for the new metal can involve creating access, removing the existing roof covering, repairing damaged structure and carpentry, and then finally installing the new metal roof. Choice of installer will impact the final price significantly as well. From doing it yourself to hiring a full-service, well-equipped roof contractor the installation prices can range from nothing to over $15 a square foot.
Full service contractors pay a lot of money to make sure that they are in compliance with all laws, have all the right equipment and training for their people, and have enough in their prices to provide service during and after the job - and then they have to make enough money to justify their risk. While it's not rocket science, it's also not an easy business if you plan to stay for the long-term. Budgeting for the installation of a new roof without knowing something about the intricacies of such work is always a bit of a shot in the dark, and as the old saying goes, "The devil is in the details!" However, for the purposes of this article, you could use a formula like this: Installation labor for a simple roof by a roofer (not necessarily a roof contractor), $1-$2 a square foot. Installation of a walkable pitch residential roof by a full-service contractor, $2-$5 a square foot. Installation of a steep, intricate roof - up to $10 a square foot or more. I know these descriptions are almost too vague to be useful, but when one considers the almost endless variety of roof configurations, it begins to make a little sense.