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How Much Does a Roof Replacement Cost?

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Apr 29, 2022
13 min read

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As the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” The same can be said for your roof. Sure, replacing your roof may not be as Pinterest-worthy as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but hear us out. A simple leak or issue with your roof can have a domino effect, causing significant damage not just to your ceilings and walls, but to all your precious possessions within them as well. 

Add to that the challenge of maintaining a roof in Canada, where every square foot needs to stand up against our extreme weather patterns. The reality is that if you own a home for any extended length of time, at some point, you’re probably going to need to pay to replace it. So, let’s get into how much it could cost you.

Average roof replacement cost

How much will my roof replacement cost?

Let’s start with a 2,000 square foot roof as an example. For basic shingles, the average cost to install a roof ranges from $6,000-$13,000, plus labour. If you’re considering using more premium roofing materials, such as metal or solar, that number could jump to $15,000-$65,000 for a roof of the same size. Tear down and debris removal are extra, which we’ll explore further.

While materials can impact the cost of a roof replacement, there are several others to consider, including:

  • Climate and weather in your province
  • Accessibility for installation and repairs
  • Inflation, labour, and pandemic supply shortages
  • Insurance and tax incentives for sustainable energy roofing solutions
  • Waste removal of the original roof shingles
  • Interlocking or overlapping panel design
  • Waterproofing underlayers or support for heavier types of roofing

With so many factors driving up renovation costs across the board, you’ll want to make sure you compare quotes and suppliers, and ask your contractor about the right options for you. 

Average roofing material prices per square foot

When it comes to remodelling projects, repeat after us: Paying less up front won’t always save you money in the long run. For example, a less costly roofing shingle that requires replacing every ten years could end up costing you more money (not to mention time and stress) than a pricier option that you don’t need to re-do as often. 

What does “cost per square” mean?

A roofing square is calculated per 100 square feet. So if you see a price that says $200 per square, that means each square foot is $2. To calculate the cost of a roofing square, multiply the cost per square foot by 100 — or simply move the decimal two digits to the right.

Asphalt

Asphalt is one of the cheapest — and by extension most popular — roofing types in Canada. It offers a few different kinds of shingle varieties, each with different benefits and price points. Three of the most common ones include: 

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles – the most common ones you see on homes today
  • Fibreglass shingles – thinner, easier to install, and may be more durable
  • Organic shinglesheavier, with an inner core of felt paper, and are (contrary to the name) less environmentally-friendly. 

Benefits of asphalt

Apart from asphalt being budget-friendly and durable (asphalt can last anywhere from 15-30 years, depending on the climate), it’s also aesthetically versatile. Since asphalt tiles come in an array of colours and textures — including options that mimic more expensive materials like slate — an experienced roofer can arrange them to create depth and dimension, and easily match them to suit your home’s overall aesthetic. 

Disadvantages of asphalt

Warmer climates can be tough on asphalt roofing, causing cracks and discolouration over time. As a result, asphalt shingles need to be replaced more often than other roofing types. Plus, they’re typically sent to landfills after removal, so they’re not the most sustainable option.

Cost of asphalt roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $2-$6 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $4,000-$12,000 + labour 

Vinyl

Vinyl roofing is made from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and is typically used on sloping or variegated roof types like those on retail and condo buildings.

Benefits of vinyl roofing

While vinyl is relatively cost-effective and comes in styles that can mimic more expensive materials like slate, one of the other major benefits of a vinyl roof is how well it stands up to the elements. Due to its ability to expand and contract without losing its shape, vinyl can withstand extreme weather like snow and hail, as well as damage from UV rays, water, and fire with relative durability for up to 50 years.

Disadvantages of vinyl roofing

Vinyl roofing can cost twice as much as cheaper alternatives like asphalt shingles.  

Cost of vinyl roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $4.50-$5.50 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $7,000-$12,000 + labour 

Foam

Made from polyurethane and elastomeric coating, foam roofing is most popular in residential buildings or businesses with flat roofs. Some foam roofing systems include a more expensive reflective coating for added insulation and energy savings. 

Advantages of foam roofing

Foam roofing can deflect sunlight to help regulate internal temperatures. It’s also a fairly smooth material with fewer cracks or overlapping spots where water can seep in, making it a good choice if you live in a particularly rainy region of the country (looking at you, Vancouver). Unsurprisingly, foam is also pretty lightweight so it can help structures bear the weight of a heavy Canadian snowfall or ice. 

Disadvantages of foam roofing

Foam roofing requires regular inspection to ensure that debris and thinner patches don’t accumulate waste or pool water, especially when damage isn’t properly addressed. 

Cost of foam roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $4.50 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $7,000-$10,000 + labour 

rubber-roof

Rubber

Rubber roofing, also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), is a sustainable, and sturdy roofing material with relatively lower roofing costs than clay, slate, or metal. 

Benefits of rubber roofing

Rubber roofing is fairly easy to repair with a sealant or a shingle replacement in a smaller area. This is a good option if you’re looking for a cost-effective, low-maintenance roof that will last 15-30 years, especially since most manufacturers offer 30-year warranties. If you live in a rainy climate like Vancouver or St. John’s, rubber roofing may be appealing for its mildew-resistance. Rubber roofing shingles are also primarily made with recycled materials, making it an energy-efficient option.

Disadvantages of rubber roofing

Rubber roofing holds up well in wet weather, but conversely, needs dry conditions to install, which can be tricky to coordinate if you live in a rainy area. The same consideration applies if you experience weather hazards like falling trees, since rubber is more prone to puncture than a material like asphalt. Another disadvantage is rubber fades over time and tends to look less high-end than other roofing materials. 

Cost of rubber roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $6 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $8,500-$15,000 + labour 

 

Wood shake

Nothing says New England-charm or conjures up the bucolic scenes of the Cotswolds like a wooden roof. In Canada, almost all wooden roofing is cedar, but you can also consider pine or teak. Wood roofing is a great option for historic homes or for those seeking a timeless look. 

Wooden shingles come in different grades and cuts, with prices ranging wildly between them. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for with a wood roof; the better the grade of shingle, the less likely it is to curl/warp or needs to be replaced. 

Benefits of wood shake roofing

Cedar shake roofing can be incredibly durable, lasting 20-50 years when installed properly. On average, it can take 15-20 years for water to penetrate cedar shingles, so they’re relatively capable of withstanding typical Canadian weather conditions, and usually last longer than a low-to-mid end asphalt shingle. Wooden roofing gets bonus points for its tendency to be recyclable, making it an eco-friendly option. 

Disadvantages of wood shake

Wood roofing requires regular maintenance to ensure its longevity. Parts of Canada may also have legislation around wood shake to prevent forest fires, while other regions with high precipitation might make wooden roofing more prone to mildew. Ask your contractor about the kind of wooden roofing that’s right for you, and consider alternatives like rubber synthetic wood roofing if you want the same look in an area that doesn’t permit wooden shingles. 

Cost of wood shake roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $8-$16 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: approximately $18,000 + labour 

Metal

While metal roofing is expensive, those who invest in it do so knowing that they’re getting a roof that can offer more than three times the lifespan of an asphalt roof. The kind of metal used for your roof has a big impact on the cost. Aluminium and steel are commonly used for their relative affordability and reliable performance. Copper, stainless steel, and zinc offer incredible quality but are more costly options that can be out of reach for the average Canadian. 

Benefits of metal roofing

A metal roof is energy efficient, durable, light, and long-lasting. Metal roofing can last from 30-70 years depending on the size, installation type, and environment.

Disadvantages of metal roofing

On average, metal roofing is triple the cost of asphalt — and can be trickier to replace. While some enjoy the romance of rain falling on a metal roof, others might be deterred by the sound and minimal insulation that it provides. Metal also contracts and shifts with colder weather, so proper fastening by a skilled roofer is imperative.

Cost of metal roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $12.50 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $15,000-$30,000 + labour 

 

Concrete

Concrete roofing is popular in Canada for its ability to withstand harsh winters. Concrete tiles come in a variety of cuts, including its signature curved style à la Tuscan villa and Spanish-colonial architecture. Contemporary concrete tiles can be cut in a flat shape to look modern and sleek, with clean contours and sharp lines.

Benefits of concrete roofing

Apart from being non-flammable, concrete roofing can help your home or business retain heat and deflect UV rays. It’s also incredibly durable, lasting for 25-30 years. 

Disadvantages of concrete roofing 

The most obvious ‘con’ in concrete is its sheer weight. Concrete is one of the heaviest styles of roofing, and the installation process can be more complicated than most other roofing types.

Cost of concrete roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $15 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $23,00-$47,000 + labour 

 

Clay

Tracing back to the Neolithic Age, clay roofing (also known as terracotta or ceramic roofing tiles), is known for its superior durability. It’s also incredibly attractive — think: Old Hollywood estates or the cinematic scenes of the Spanish countryside. 

Clay isn’t just for warm climates though; it can withstand moderate amounts of snow and cold. Homes based in a comparably milder climate like Ontario could be well-suited to a clay roof, but perhaps less so for provinces with more extreme weather, hail, or year-round heavy rainfall. 

Benefits of clay roofing

Clay is one of the most long-lasting roofing types. It maintains its shape as the weather changes — clay is fire resistant and cools homes in scorching temperatures — and clay tile repairs can be relatively easy. With proper maintenance, a clay roof can last for 80 years or more.

Disadvantages of clay roofing

Clay tiles are heavier than roofing materials like asphalt, foam, or wood, so you may need reinforcement to ensure your home can withstand their weight. Clay can also chip easily with heavy hail or bigger pieces of debris.

Cost of clay roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $15.50 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $28,000-$35,000 + labour 

Slate

Is money no object? Slate, like other naturally-sourced stones (marble, travertine, to name a few) is one of the most expensive options when it comes to roof replacement cost.

Benefits of slate

Slate is a luxe option suitable for a variety of high-end properties. Longer lasting than metal and asphalt, it’s also sustainable. 

Disadvantages of slate roofing

Steep cost aside, slate can become brittle if exposed to continuous hail or extreme weather conditions. It’s also important to be careful if you’re on the roof or have a contractor working on the roofing, since slate can break more easily with impact. 

Cost of slate roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $14-$38 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $45,500 + labour 

Solar

As its name suggests, solar roofing is a sustainable energy system designed to convert sunlight into heat, energy, and electricity. Although usually a similar size as other roofing shingles, solar roofing is more expensive than any other type of roofing in both material and labour. 

Benefits of solar roofing

With the potential to power 100% of your home’s energy, solar shingles can be a climate solution and save you money. Some solar roofing systems are also eligible for tax incentives like Canada’s Greener Homes Grant which offers up to $5,000 for eligible applicants.

Disadvantages of solar roofing

Solar shingles aren’t just an expensive type of roofing tile; they can also be costly to install and replace. In areas with heavy snow that doesn’t melt for extended periods of time, solar shingles may be affected. 

Cost of solar roofing

Average roofing cost per square foot: $26 + labour
Average cost for a 2,000 square foot home: $42,000-$62,000 + labour 

Average roofing labour cost per square foot

Once you’ve calculated your roofing material cost per square foot, you’re still going to need a professional to go up there and get the job done. Labour makes up about 60 per cent of overall roofing costs, so hiring the right contractor and adding labour cost per square to your estimate is essential. 

Most contractors charge installation prices that range from $2,000-$11,000, depending on the job. Each type of roofing material has a set of labour costs that vary along with it. For example, foam roofing costs go up if chimneys or skylights need to be sprayed, but the cost of repairs is low because it’s easy to spray over the problem area at a low cost.

Materials like rubber, asphalt, and foam have lower average labour costs than materials like wooden shake, concrete, and solar roofing. If you’re installing a solar roofing system, explore Canadian tax incentives that are geared to help afford the cost of solar installation.

The labour cost of roofing per square is added to costs like disposing of the old roof tiles, removal of the current full or partial roof, and installing the new roofing materials. And while the labour cost per square foot is generally lower for a larger surface area, expect to pay more for shorter timeframes and challenging accessibility, such as tall or super slanted roof planes. 

Cost to tear off and replace roof

If your roof is old or the integrity is compromised, it could be more cost-effective to completely tear off and replace your roof. If you’re replacing a roof that already has a sturdy underlayment that shields your home from ice, snow, and water, then your roof can be installed on top of this. But if you’re tearing off a lighter shingle and installing a new, heavier shingle, you may require a more sturdy underlayment — or you may need to replace the underlayment that exists, which will drive up labour costs.

The cost of roof replacement varies on the size of your project: 

  • Full roof replacement:  On a 1,000 square foot home with a low to mid-range roofing material, expect to pay at least $5,000 to tear off and replace your roof.  
  • Partial roof replacement:  If you can effectively remedy one part of the roof, you will save money on a partial roof replacement. Costs vary, but a full replacement usually costs at least $7,400 for a 2,000 square foot home, while a partial replacement could cost considerably less. 
  • Shingles replacement: If you’re replacing shingles with a heavier material or live in an older home where the rafters need to be replaced, you might be looking at additional costs of $1,000-$14,000 to replace the infrastructure that supports your new roof.
  • Re-roofing a 3,000 square foot home can cost anywhere from $10,200-$25,000, depending on the slope of your roof, your roofing type, the cost of labour, and the accessibility of your roof.

If you’re considering replacing your roof, having a solid understanding of costs — from estimates on shingles to calculating labour prices — will help you make a more informed choice. Well-installed, quality roofing, after all, can substantially increase the value of your home, and save you money on energy and electricity costs, too. Come snow, hail, or rain, once your project is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a solid roof over your head. 

Get Free Estimated Roof Replacement Cost

Want to know how much your roof replacement will cost? Use Smart Reno Estimator to get a sense of how much your roofing renovation might cost based on where you live, the type of roof you have, and the kind of shingles you’re considering.

Smart Reno helps you find trusted contractors

There’s nothing better than a reliable referral when it comes to finding a contractor you can trust. Talk to an expert about home renovation financing, find skilled contractors for your home or business, and learn more about roofing renovations.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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