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Roofs confuse me.

I know that issues with a roof can make or break a deal or turn a big profit into a loss, but I'm a bit lost in the roof lingo. When a listing claims "new roof" can this mean multiple things? And what does a "new tear-off roof" mean, if something different?

I'm told it only costs $1.5-3k to put new shingles on a roof. And I'm also told it costs a whole bunch more if you have to repair/replace the actual hardware of the roof. What warrants either one, and what is the best way to evaluate a roof when you're looking at a property? Can your average general contractor find roof problems?

Thanks for any help!

A roof on a single family home is generally not that big a deal if it needs to replaced. However, if the roof has been leaking for some time you need to check for other damage. If the roof is in really bad condition a lender may not approve a mortgage unless it is repaired. A tear-off would indicate that the old roof had been removed prior to installation of a new roof. A new roof may also be installed over the old roof if it is still in decent condition. It is not unusual for some repair to the roof deck to be needed but unless the roof was in really bad shape it does not usually need to be replaced. If a roof is listed as new it SHOULD mean that is was recently installed but I would always asked when it was done. A general contractor should be able to give yoou a good idea of what is needed, if he says it is bad have a professional roofer look at it as well. A roof on a commercial property can be much more involved and cost quite a bit more.


The cost of a new roof (like a lot of other things on a house) is driven by several factors;

1. Size-how many "squares" (100 square feet) is the roof. This is the most basic measurement and will drive the cost of shingles, nails, drip edge and...

2. Labor-obviously the large the area of roof the more labor it takes to install it. If you're in an area where a ROOFER has to have insured and workers' comp. covered employees then labor will cost a lot. If you're like me and do it yourself, or get a few "braceros" to help you labor will cost less.

3. Pitch-the angle of the roof relative to the ground. The steeper the pitch the more difficult to roof-think safety ropes.

4. Valleys, dormers, hips and ridges. The more "cutting" of shingles at an edge the more labor and the greater the amount of wasted material.

5. What you put on the roof, standing seam metal roofs cost more than "comp" shingles, "archetectural" grade (dimensional) shingles cost more than "3 tab" shingles.

6. Number of stories. A 2 story house will always cost more than a comparable single story.

I did my first roof about 15 years ago and recently celebrated my 59th birthday on a roof. I don't consider myself too old to do it, it was a "layover" and I replaced the vents and added ridge vents. IIRC the dimensional shingles were about $40/square.

Back when I was getting ready to do my first roof I obtained "Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual" from the local roofing supply house-I've never seen HD have the best price-and I also got "Modern Roofing, Care and Repair" at a yard sale for 50 cents. Every roof I've done I've figured would be my last, but I keep seeing "professional roofers" DOING THEM WRONG at the starter course so I'd as soon do it myself.

all cash