Roofing Guide for Homeowners – Repair, Materials and Prices

Most homeowners do not start thinking about their roof until it leaks. It’s understandable, but if your roof is already leaking, and you can see it inside your house – it means that it has been slowly leaking for a while, and the damage is probably more extensive than what you see.

We understand that roofing is not the most exciting topic. However, if you have problems with your roof, you will want to know as much as possible about how to fix them quickly and without breaking the bank.

This is just the place for homeowners to learn about roofing!

In this Roofing Guide for Homeowners you will find information on how to prevent and repair leaks, how to choose the longest lasting roofing materials, how much a new roof should cost, how to choose a contractor, and many other related topics. We separated this guide into three sections:

  • Roof Leaks Prevention and Repair
  • Choosing Roofing Materials and Hiring a Contractor
  • Roofing Prices Guide
  • Miscellaneous Roofing Articles for Homeowners

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Using Roof Pitch to Choose Roofing Materials

Roof pitch is an essential metric when it comes to choosing the right materials and accessories for your new roof. Of course, you will most often go with what’s aesthetically pleasing for you, and fits the budget. However, it is very important to consider the pitch of your roof, before making the decision on materials.

Many roofing materials are designed for a certain roof slope and will not work properly, if at all, if the correct pitch is not met. The most common example is with asphalt shingles and most types of metal roofing, which are designed for a minimum of 3 in 12 pitch roofs.

Everything below the 3 pitch, is considered a low slope, and requires a special low-slope or flat roofing material, to work properly. Therefore, while asphalt shingles will not work on low-slope roofs, they often still get installed, in violation with manufacturer’s minimum pitch requirement, and thus voiding the warranty.

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Metal Roofing Cost or Why are Metal Roofs so "Expensive"?

A metal roof typically cost about three times the amount you would pay to install a 30-year laminated (architectural) asphalt shingles. It is hardly any surprise that a sticker / price shock is a strong deterrent for many people, who would otherwise prefer to install a metal roof.

image of Standing seam metal roof

Frankly, metal roofs are not for everybody. If you have a simple roof with medium pitch, and minimal penetrations, a regular asphalt shingles roof may work just fine for you. However, in some situations, a metal roof may be the only viable option. For example, if your roof has serious ice dam problems, and it’s impossible to improve your attic ventilation / insulation at a reasonable cost, then a metal roof may be your only solution or salvation.

But, enough with the rhetoric, and back to metal roofing costs…

First and foremost, a metal roofing system is far more expensive to manufacture, and its installation requires many specialized accessories, such as end-wall, valley trim and drip edge, and gable flashing. Residential metal roofs are usually made of high grade galvanized steel (G-90 galvanized steel or Galvalume) or rust-proof aluminum, and painted with a premium Kynar 500 paint.

Besides the high cost of metal roofing materials, you also would want to use premium synthetic underlayment instead of roofing felt (this is not a must, but it is highly recommended). The synthetic underlayment costs about 3 times more than a 30 lb. felt. Overall, one square of standing seam materials with all the accessories and underlayment will cost about $400 for a simple gable roof. As you get into cut-up roofs, the cost can be as high as $500-600 per square. On top of that, you need to consider the fact that there are very few qualified installers who will not butcher your roof, and instead, will actually make sure that it is watertight and will last you for the promised lifetime. Continue reading