Replacing the roof of a home is one of the biggest expenses you'll have to face as a homeowner. If you're wondering if you can replace a roof yourself, you're not alone because many DIYers have wondered this same thing.
It can be a difficult and lengthy DIY if you want to replace the roof on your own and hiring a professional company will be expensive. But by learning more about your options and finding different ways to cut costs while still ending up with a quality end result, you can make it much more affordable and perhaps easier to get the roof you want.
What Type of Roof Should I Choose?
Though it's probably most common to see shingle roofs, you actually have a number of options when it comes to the type of roof you choose.
There are several different materials that can be used to create a roof, and you may find that one of these less traditional options is actually the right one for you.
Asphalt shingles, a common building material, are also used for roofs. They will last 15 to 30 years and cost, on average, $100 to $150 per square foot for materials.
Clay tile is one of the most durable roofing options. This stuff will last 75 years or longer before it needs to be replaced.
This tile costs around $800 to $1,800 per square foot.
Concrete tile is a highly durable material. You can expect this roof to last 30 to 50 years before it needs to be replaced.
This tile costs $150 to $250 per square foot, on average, for the price of the tile alone.
A metal roof is a long-lasting roof option that should last a good 50 years or more before it needs to be replaced. Depending on the type of metal you choose, you'll pay $120 to $900 per square foot for this roofing material.
Plastic polymer roofing material has a lifespan of about 35 to 50 years and costs between $400 to $1,200 per square foot for the material only.
A slate roof is the most durable option money can buy. This roof will outlive you.
Slate roofs have a lifespan of about 125 to 200 years. However, you will pay for this longevity.
The material alone for a slate roof will run you between $800 and $1,800 per square foot, on average.
A wood roof is a lovely-looking option. Cedar, one of the most popular choices for a wood roof, costs between $25o to $600 per square foot and lasts for 15 to 30 years.
Other Things to Consider
Choosing the roofing material is a big step, but it's really just the first step. You will also have to make some decisions and factor in some considerations in order to complete this project.
If you need to replace the flashing and gutters, along with the roof, this will add a lot of extra cost and time to this project.
You do not have to remove the gutters to replace your roof, so unless the gutters are damaged you can leave them as is. The flashing, however, will be removed during roof replacement.
If your flashing is in near-perfect condition, it can be re-used with your new roof. Otherwise, you're going to want to replace the flashing.
Add the cost of flashing to the total price of the roof replacement project if you find that you will need new flashing.
If the structure of the roof is damaged, the framing will have to be replaced. Roofs are typically framed in two-by-four pieces of wood, a very standard size that is easy to find.
Wood is not incredibly expensive, but replacing framing will add time and materials to the overall project. However, it is absolutely essential that you make these replacements if there is any damage or wear to the roof framing.
Depending on the laws and ordinances where you live, you might be required to take out a building permit with your local government or even obtain permission to replace your roof with the homeowner's or neighborhood association you belong to.
Check into this and find out the cost of the permit, if needed, when you're calculating the cost of this project.
You may also be required to have a roof inspection in order to maintain compliance with local laws or ordinances. This will add more cost to the project if this is necessary and in some cases, you may wish to have an inspection anyway for your own piece of mind.
In some cases, you might have the option to choose a re-roofing, rather than a full roof replacement. To replace the roof, you will first have to rip away the old one and take up the flashing.
Replacing a roof entirely is a lot of work that begins with demolition and then requires a brand-new roof to be installed. If you choose to re-roof, you can build the new roof right on top of the existing roof, which saves both time and effort.
As this takes less time and eliminates the need to remove roof flashing, this is typically a much more affordable option. However, it's not always an option due to damage to the existing roof or because of the added weight of the new roof.
Have a professional check the roof and the house to determine if the home can support the additional weight of a roof placed on top of the roof that is already in place.
How Much Roof Do You Have?
It is much easier to figure out how much you will spend on your roof if you know how big the roof is. But because there are different angles and the roof has a pitch and all that, it can be impossible to figure out the square footage unless you're some kind of a math whiz.
Use a free roofing calculator online to figure out the cost of materials for replacing a roof. These calculators are easy to find online and they are easy to use.
Most roof pitches range between 4 and a half and 9 and a half inches, which is just a measure that determines the slope of the roof. Anything lower than four and a half inches is a low-slope roof.
The average home is around 2,500 square feet. So if you need a roof to cover 2,500 square feet of home with a pitch of 6 inches, which is right inside the average, the roof area will be over 3,000 square feet and require about 34 roof squares for complete coverage.
The cost of the squares, of course, depends on the material you choose to cover the roof.
Don't forget other materials you need to install the roof, such as flashing, felt or paper, and nails. You will need roofing tar as well in order to create the watertight seal that protects the interior of your home from the weather.
Once you know the size of the roof, you will know how much material you need for the roof and you can accurately calculate how much this project will cost.
Is Repair an Option?
Even when you're making all the best decisions and using money-saving DIY measures, replacing a roof is incredibly expensive. Can you have the roof repaired instead?
If a repair is a viable option, consider doing this rather than replacing the roof. The national average for roof repair is $400 to $2,000 to repair 50 to 200 square feet of roof.
This price is far less than the average cost of replacing a roof. If the damage to the roof is extensive, it may be more cost-effective to replace the roof instead.
As long as you are working on your roof, you might want to consider adding features that are a huge investment opportunity. It will cost more to add solar panels to the roof but this will end up saving you a great deal of money in utility bill costs in the future.
Green features like solar panels are a huge selling point for realtors, and they add a lot of resale value to the home.
You can also consider a solar roof, which costs around $1,200 to $2,500 per square foot, a price that is comparable to other roofing materials you might consider.
A solar roof will pay you back by providing you with clean, renewable, free energy, which is a pretty big bonus feature.
Doing Roofing Yourself
You will save money by taking on your roof replacement as a DIY project. Labor costs to have a professional do the job cost around $150 to over $300 per square foot of roofing space.
To use the example from earlier with a roof that covered 2,500 square feet of living space, the labor alone would cost you thousands of dollars. In fact, labor is about 60 percent of the total cost of a professional roof replacement.
The average price of replacing a roof if you hire a pro, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just over $9,000. Compare this to slightly over $5,000 if you do the job yourself.
So Can I Replace My Roof Myself?
If you're wondering if you can replace your own roof, absolutely you can. It will take more time and more effort for you to do this job as a DIY project, as opposed to hiring professionals, but it is absolutely doable.
But before you work on your own roof, get yourself a tall ladder that can reach the roof and all the proper safety gear. Invest in a pair of roofing shoes that have gripping tread on them that will help you stay securely on the roof.
You will also need safety glasses and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from damage while you are working.
Once you have what you need, wait for a stretch of weather that's predicted to be sunny and not too windy, and get started on this massive DIY.
With a lot of hard work and some time, you can absolutely replace the roof yourself and save a lot of money while still ending up with a great finished project.
DIY Roofing FAQ
How long does it take to replace a roof?
Professional roofing crews can actually replace a roof on the average-sized home, a roof about 3,000 square feet in area, in a single day. If weather or other problems intervene or if extra work is needed, such as replacing framing in the roof, the project can take three to five days.
If you're doing this as a DIY project, however, it can take you up to two weeks. You will likely be working on the roof in your free time, as this is not your profession, so this adds extra days to the project because you only have a few hours per day to get the work done.
How long should a new roof last?
The durability of a roof depends entirely on the roof material you choose. On average, a standard roof will last anywhere from 25 to 50 years, though this number does vary greatly depending on the type of roofing material used.
What's the best roofing material?
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material but are they the best? It's hard to answer this question because "the best" roofing material depends on what the best means to you.
If the best roof is the longest-lasting roof, then you will want to use slate. This roofing material can last for a century or longer.
If the best roof is the most affordable, asphalt shingles are the choice for you. Asphalt shingles last around 20 to 25 years, on average, before they need to be replaced.
If you think a roof that pays for itself is the best roof, choose a solar roof. The money you save on utility bills will pay for the cost of the roof in time.