The Cost of Asphalt Shingle Roofs: Total Cost of Materials and Installation in 2017

The biggest bang for your buck. That’s what Asphalt Shingles on a roof can provide to you, the homeowner. It’s not the most durable material. Durability and longevity belongs to metal roofing and natural slate. For the value, though, Asphalt Shingles are hard to beat, especially when viewed through the prism of its low upfront cost and near-term home improvement ROI. An asphalt shingle roof can often be installed for under $10,000 on a small or mid-sized single family house. For a relatively modest upfront cost, you can expect to get at least 10 to 15 years of roof protection for your home.

A Wee Bit Of History

For a long time, slate tiles were the cream of the crop when it came to roofing a house or building. In the early 20th century, that changed. America went from using slate and cedar (wood) shakes and shingles as predominant materials for covering their homes, to what was at the time the newly unveiled asphalt shingles. The reason for this was two-fold; The new asphalt shingle was made to look very similar to the slate tile, but at a much more affordable cost. Like all things mass production, it allowed millions of homeowners to enjoy decent roof quality without the need to spend a whole lot of money on a roof. Yet, like many things associated with mass production and usage, it lead to a significant, and ongoing issue with the disposal of old asphalt shingles.


Understanding Asphalt Shingles Roofing Options

Back in the day, it used to be that asphalt roofing was rolled onto roofs. Cloth-like paper, with layer of asphalt, coated with stone granules. In the early 1900’s, the rolls were sliced into individual pieces. Add in the political pressure from the National Board of Fire Underwriters, who thought this material was much better for a home covering than the popular wood shakes alternative, and a monumental industry was born! 😉

3-Tab Shingles


Strip shingles, or what we call 3-tab today, used to be the standard for nearly half a century. They offer a single layer, uniform look for the roof. They are light-weight even in today’s market. But, they are considered cheap and less durable than the next step up, or what we call architectural shingles.

Architectural Shingles are thicker, heavier and offer far more variety than their predecessor. With 50% more weight than a 3-tab shingle, architectural shingles come at a higher cost. Though, the cost is easily justifiable with more durability, service lifespan and the idea that shapes of shingles can be different. Architectural shingles are also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, because there is an appearance of more depth to the roof than what 3-tab/strip shingles provide.

Many routinely refer to architectural as the premium product, but they are really middle of the road product.


Premium shingles can offer even more depth and variation. These are luxury shingles are known for their totally different look. Truly premium shingles are designed to be as durable and long lasting as possible. Here, multi-colored options exist, along with cool-roof asphalt shingles, and other cutting edge technological advancements.

To be clear, the architectural shingles are the predominant product in the asphalt shingle market today. The other two options are also being sold, and are quite popular in their own right. 3-tab makes for a great starter row on any type of asphalt shingle roof. Plus 3-tab is sufficient wherever economical considerations may outweigh quality, such as on some low-priority commercial buildings and value residential roofs. Premium shingles are deemed by many as too luxurious, but there are people willing to pay nearly twice the cost for a better designed, longer lasting roof, which the luxury shingles provide.

Another consideration which each of the three options has to do with how the product can perform during storm weather and strong wind uplift. Essentially, the cheaper the product the less wind it can withstand before the 3-tab tiles curl or are even blown off. This pertains directly to product warranty. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • 3-tab shingles are rated for 60 to 70 mph wind uplift, usually holding to a 20 to 30 year product warranty
  • Architectural shingles are rated for 110 to 130 mph winds, with 30 to 50 year warranties
  • Premium shingles are rated for up to 110 mph uplift, and usually come with limited lifetime warranty

For more visuals and info on the three variations of Asphalt Shingles, see this page from the IKO Roofing Manufacturer’s website.

Costs and Values of Asphalt Shingles

First things first. It helps to know who the major manufacturers of asphalt shingles are. This includes:

  • CertainTeed
  • Owens Corning
  • GAF
  • IKO
  • TAMKO
  • Sherriff-Goslin Co.
  • and more

Buying the Materials

Owens Corning and GAF make their products available at mega home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. CertainTeed and other manufacturers normally offer their products through the local building supply stores aka suppliers, which generally means that their products are available for sale to contractors only.

Is Asphalt Shingle a Viable DIY Option?

While installation of Asphalt Shingles is certainly a product that a DIY’er can handle, it’s still wise to consider going with a professional contractor. Roofers, are often contracted with supply stores of some sort and buying their products in bulk, and so are likely getting shingles at a discount. Plus they can do the job much faster, handle all the waste, overcome problems during the installation much quicker, and offer warranties.

Material Costs

With that said, the price of just the roofing material is often conveyed in terms of bundles. A bundle amounts to about 33.3 sq.ft. As that is an odd number to keep track of, roofers usually go with a “square.” A square equals 100 sq. ft, so 3 bundles per square for 3-tab shingles, 4 bundles per square for architectural shingles, and four or five bundles per square for premium shingles. A roofing surface covering 2,000 sq. ft., would be 20 squares.

  • 3-tab shingles cost about $75 to $90 per square
  • Architectural shingles cost about $120 to $160 per square
  • Premium shingles cost about $200 to $250 per square (and up)

Then there are the accessories like fasteners/nails, underlayment, ridge cap, ventilation, flashing, drip edge, and possibly more. These aren’t terribly expensive, but if sticking with a 3-tab shingle, then the price is closer to $125 to $150 per square for all the materials required for the job.

So, a 20 square (2,000 sq. ft.) roof would cost $2,500 to $3,000 for the materials, not including plywood or wood boards. That’s relatively low compared to most other roofing materials, and well under the $10,000 number we started with. But, that’s without the cost and the hassle of pulling the building permit, performing the tear-off, having the benefit of general liability or worker’s comp insurance. Essentially, this the bare-bone cost to expect should you decide to go the DIY route.


Understanding How a Roofing Job is Priced

When it comes to any roofing job, there are a few things that need to be determined before any material is bought, and a pro will have these down to standard operating procedure. Items like: pitch (or slope) of the roof matter in terms of how efficient the overall job will be and how much area of the roof needs to be covered. Is a tear-off of the previous roof needed? Usually, it is not, which means an extra layer of protection. Yet, if it is needed, that will likely be an added cost of about $150 per square to remove and dispose of the old roof. — A pro knows the answers to the above questions, and when he tackles the above items, he does so in a fashion that is likely the most economical. With added weight, especially with premium shingles, it is wise to understand if the structure of your home can handle the extra weight. And what is sufficient amount of material to get? If you get the exact amount, but waste even a tiny bit, you will have under bought in materials. If you overbuy, that obviously impacts cost.

It’s challenging to quote costs for roofers as that varies by location, and really how prevalent such contractors are in your area. A fair range is $250.00 to $400.00 per square for labor. So, double or even triple the earlier prices. Such that a 2000 sq. ft. roof, would be $375.00 to $550.00 per square installed, or $7,500 to $11,000 overall. The latter number is over the $10,000 figure, but a more competitive pricing would likely be closer to the $7,500 – $10,000 range.

Most roofing products will last a minimum of 10 years, and that’s being very conservative, if it is properly installed, which is what pros do. 15 to 20 years is a more fair minimum for a 3-tab shingles roof. It’s also a reasonable number for a limited warranty on the materials. Some manufacturers boast as high as 50 years material warranties, yet our research shows that to be mostly a gimmick. Then, there’s the warranty on workmanship or what the contractor is providing in terms of proper installation. If something is going wrong, it’ll usually occur sooner rather than later, as in 5 years or less. Though some contractors will think they are doing you a service with a 6 month or a full year warranty. We’d suggest you strongly consider a 5 year or longer labor warranty as the standard. If a contractor is offering you a low overall cost (say $6,000 total on our earlier numbers) with 1 year warranty, then they may not necessarily be providing you a fair deal.


Continue reading “The Cost of Asphalt Shingle Roofs: Total Cost of Materials and Installation in 2017”

Zinc: The Dark Horse of Metal Roofing – Zinc Roof Costs and Pros & Cons in 2017

There are not many roofing materials that can match the longevity, durability, malleability, flexibility, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness of Zinc. Not even aluminum nor copper! Zinc roofs are known to last for hundreds of years, even in the most extreme environments. Truly unmatched durability, longevity, and classic beauty — that’s what Zinc roofing offers to a homeowner. At $15 to $20 per sq. ft. installed, it is the kind of value that is simply unmatched in all other roofing materials.


Zinc – Most Amazing Roofing Material You’ve Probably Never Heard of

In the US, the whole idea of using Zinc as a roofing material for a house sounds other worldly. Aluminum and Steel dominate residential metal roofing market, while asphalt shingles are by far the most popular overall roofing material. When you also factor in natural slate, clay tiles and cedar/wood roofing options, Zinc barely registers on most people’s radars. Though this trend is changing, slowly.

Did you know? 70% of residential roofs in Europe are covered with Zinc. In Paris, this number goes up to 85%.

via Metal Tech USA


Metal roofing is often chosen for its durability and longevity. All properly designed and correctly installed high-end metal roofs are likely to last at least 50 years. Yet, in order for that to hold true for Steel, for example, it must be coated with metallic finishes such as G-90 or Galvalume, along with high quality paint finishes such as Kynar 500. With Zinc, as well as copper, that is not the case.

Both Zinc and Copper form protective patina, meaning they will not rust nor be adversely impacted by weathering. Both of these metals benefit from aging, and their patina process. With Zinc, it starts out dark, as in dark gray / near black and then changes to a patina light gray or bluish color. Zinc can also be painted virtually any color, which serves as a sacrificial layer prior to the patination process.

Did you know? Thanks to Zinc’s naturally forming self-healing properties, it can provide years of virtually maintenance-free roof and building envelope protection

Zinc Standing Seam Roof with level changes on a House
via CraftCorp

What makes Zinc truly fascinating is its resiliency. All metal roofs, including Zinc, can be scratched. With Steel, scratches in its coating layer will expose the base material to the effects of oxidation and corrosion. With Zinc, it actually self-heals. You read that right, Zinc if scratched will self correct. The protective (patina) layer of Zinc is technically hydroxyl carbonate that will, over time, reform itself and thus eliminate blemishes or scratches. This is one, of a few reasons, why the market for Zinc will often sell pre-patinated Zinc roofing.

As you may have guessed, Zinc is extremely durable. When steel is “galvanized” it is really just adding a protective layer of Zinc to the Steel base to protect it from oxidation, as Steel is naturally corrosive, or will rust when exposed to salt, water, or moist environment over a long period of time. Galvanized and Galvalume Steel will forgo that aging for a couple of decades.

Like most metals, Zinc is insect-proof, fire resistant, and mildew / fungus-proof. Zinc also benefits from being non-toxic. Because of its low to non-existence toxicity level, soft zinc is marketed as replacement for flashing material for all roofs. Back in the day, the traditional material was lead, then steel, but soft zinc, offers virtually the same level of durability with no known toxicity impact.

Run-off water from Zinc is considered ‘clear’ or contaminant free, which most metals can’t readily claim. Thus, a zinc roof is a great option for homeowners interested in rain water collection.

Like many other metals, zinc is fully recyclable. Plus, it will reflect solar radiant heat, as most metals do to some degree, which prevents the unwanted transfer of heat from the roofing material into the attic space. Note: Asphalt shingles gain a lot of heat during the day and transfer much of it inside your home.

Moreover Zinc has even greater environmental value in that it takes less fuel to manufacture it, really to boil it and shape it into finished roofing product.

Did you know? Aluminum and steel use a good two to four times the energy in their production as compared to Zinc!

All this value would make you think it’s gotta be at least as expensive as Copper. Nope. Not necessarily.

Installation Costs and ROI for Zinc Roofing

Copper averages around $20+ per sq. ft. when installed as roofing. By far the most expensive metal material sold in the residential market. Steel can be had for as little as $6 to $10 per sq. ft. installed depending on the system. Aluminum installed can range from $7 to $12 per sq. ft. Zinc comes in at only a slightly higher price point $15 to $20 per sq. ft. installed.


Continue reading “Zinc: The Dark Horse of Metal Roofing – Zinc Roof Costs and Pros & Cons in 2017”

Kitchen Remodel Cost – How Much you should pay to Remodel a Kitchen in 2017

Your kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of your home, or in more modern terms, the core of your family’s command center! 😉

amazing-yet-modest-kitchen


Whether your goal is to increase the value of your house or you’re simply wanting to make it a more enjoyable place to live, choosing to do a remodel or renovation is one of the best decisions homeowners can make. Breathing new life into an outdated kitchen adds value to a home in numerous ways.

Our pricing guide will break down the steps to planning your renovation and provide a breakdown of expected costs for the following:

  • Basic Kitchen Remodel
  • Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel
  • Deluxe Kitchen Remodel

Make a Plan

To get the most bang for your buck it’s important to set a budget from the start, know your needs and understand where the money will go. Before shopping for appliances, tile or flooring, know your personal needs and goals for the outcome of the remodel. Then you can create a wish list of desired components and begin your search for a contractor.

Recommended Budget

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has a recommendation for the value of a kitchen remodel to help homeowners set an appropriate budget. As you create your budget, there’s more to consider than the amount of money you can afford to spend. Essentially, putting too much into a home improvement project can affect the rate of return on your investment.

The NKBA recommends budgeting 15-20% of the value of your hom.

For example:

$250,000 home = $37,000-$50,000 kitchen remodel budget

$500,000 home = $75,000-$100,000 kitchen remodel budget

Once your budget has been determined, cut it by at least 25 percent. Set the extra money aside as a cushion to make unexpected surprises much less stressful.

Cost Breakdown

The NKBA’s guide for an average kitchen remodel is as follows:

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%


Continue reading “Kitchen Remodel Cost – How Much you should pay to Remodel a Kitchen in 2017”