Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

Understanding the Wild Variations in Metal Roof Pricing - Even in 2017

I was in a roof contractor’s office earlier today and he asked me to ball-park a metal roof for him.  
“Just roughly, how much a square foot?” he asked.
I’ve heard the question a thousand times and even with metal roofing being more popular than ever and more competitors coming into the market with more and more variety and solutions for roofing, my answer rarely changes:
“It depends!”
Just this week we put together two material packages for customers. One was a large but simple roof on a single story apartment building, and the other was a very unusual custom home on the ocean. The owner of the apartment needed the value of a low cost but durable roof that could be installed over his existing asphalt shingles. His entire metal roof order, delivered to his door will be about $2 a square foot. Installation by his local roofer is going to cost him about another $2 a square foot, so his completed job will end up being $4 a square foot or so.
The other job is a pre-aged copper tile with custom details on a two-story beachfront home that has to be rated for 130 MPH winds. The material for this job is going to cost the owner somewhere in the range of $20 a square foot, and the local roofer who specializes in these very high end architecturally unique residences will end up staging for and completing the removal of the existing roof, upgrading the roof deck, and installing the copper tiles and copper details for another $15 a square foot or so.
The total is about $35 a square foot, or nearly ten times the price of my other customer’s job!
Can you see how difficult it can be to answer the “Give me a ball park number” question?
There are two primary costs to a metal roof job, obviously: materials and labor. In both major categories, there are wide variables that can effect the price of a job. Most of the commonly used metal roofing systems in steel (the most common metal used in most of the country) cost between about $1 and $4 a square foot. Aiming in the middle of that (and adding for accessories and delivery) will give you a useful ballpark for a “typical” metal roof (if such a thing even exists!).  Labor can vary just as significantly, and without seeing a job it’s nearly impossible to offer a useful approximation.
  • Are you tearing off what’s there?
  • Do you need a permit?
  • How’s the access - easy or difficult?
  • Are there particular local code requirements to account for wind or snow?
  • What about architectural and working restrictions?
  • What's the pitch of the roof (steeper is slower and more expensive)?
  • How about the complexity of the roof?  
  • Where's the location of the job?  
Every one of the answers to these questions will have an effect on the price of the job, and then there are even more variations in the type of roof contractors themselves. Big roof contractor with all the the insurance overhead, and service to mtch? Or a guy living in his mom’s garage and behind on his truck payment?  I can promise the rate to install will vary significantly between these two options!
If you need to get an idea of metal roof prices for your particular job, best to get an idea of what type of metal roof you prefer, how your roof is configured, and who you want doing the installation. If you need help there are plenty of online resources, or you can contact or call us, but having at least an outline of these elements will give you a decent basis for the answer to the age old question!

Topics: metal roof pricing