Roofing Square – How Contractors Measure And Price Roofs

Roofing square is the most common measurement unit used by roofers, as well as contractors from many other trades. It greatly simplifies communication between architects, contractors, roofing manufacturers, suppliers and even clients. It’s much easier to say 25 squares than 2507 square feet, and there is less information lost in translation.

What is a roofing square?

Essentially it is 100 square feet or a 10×10′ block. Because roofs, siding and other big projects are … well, big, using a square foot as a unit of measurement gets complicated. Also, roofing and siding are a commodity now days, so even if you are off by a few sq. feet, it is fine. It’s not marble flooring, where each tile costs $20 + installation, and when you are off by 30 sq. feet, you can be down $1000. In roofing, 30 square feet is a bundle of roofing shingles, and costs $27.95 at Home Depot.

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A roofing square is universal unit of roof measurement in all English speaking countries – US, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. It makes it easy for contractors and other people in the roofing and construction industry to communicate with each other – for example on forum, etc. If someone said 193 square meters, every roofing contractor on that forum would be like “WHAATTT???”. But with a roofing square, everything is in harmony.

How Roofing Squares Are Used

Contractors use squares when pricing a roof, 95 percent of the time, and use this measurement to figure out their pricing. When they talk to building inspectors, they don’t say 1453 square feet – they say 14.5 squares.Roofing suppliers / manufacturers have their roofing materials prices per square (though some still use square feet – for example IB Roof’s price list has a roll of membrane and size is 540 sq. ft.) Our roofing calculator uses a set price per square when you calculate a roof. Different roof types have different prices, but it is still per square.

Metal roofing shingles are priced per square, and in most cases are shipped in boxes containing 1 square or 1/2 square, depending on the profile of the metal shingles.

At the same time, standing seam metal roofs are priced per square foot and linear foot (Most standing seam panels are 16 inches wide, so you multiply the sq. ft. price by 1 1/3). Still, the price per square foot of standing seam metal is dependent on how many roofing squares is in the order (economy of scale so to speak).

Asphalt shingles is the most common type of residential roofing, holding a comfortable and dominating lead over other materials. Asphalt Shingles account for about 90 percent of all residential roofing materials sold each year in the US. Whenever a contractor is measuring a roof, they know that each square of roofing shingles is 3 bundles (for the most part), and if you have 20 squares of roofing, you will need 60 bundles of shingles.

Square Used Outside Of the Roofing Industry

First and foremost, squares are used in siding installation and pricing – one of our sister sites – also uses squares when you calculate prices to install vinyl, cedar or or fiber-cement siding.

Heavy industries, such as industrial pool lining companies, also price their work by the square. Even landscaping contractors use squares, if lawns had regular shapes, but because most lawns have rather weird shapes, I have no idea how much they charge to cut one square of grass…Painters also use squares – it is the same as in siding, only the job is much dirtier and pays less – nominally speaking.

Who Does Not Use Squares?

Most flooring contractors use square feet instead of squares when calculating flooring prices, unless of course the project consists of 200 squares of carpet or laminate flooring. Electricians, Plumbers and Brick layers, etc., do not use squares.

Also Europeans don’t use squares – as I said before they use square meters, but the idea is the same – you don’t say 1260000 square centimeters – one can break their tongue trying to say things like that 10 times a day – it is 126 square meters. They merely use different measurement units, but also simplify things.

Related Topics

Roof measuring guide demonstrates the practical use of roofing squares.

Roof Estimating – Learn How to Estimate a Roof like a Pro (roofing contractor / estimator).

And it is very simple – just copy the short code and paste it in the content of your website (very easy to do in WordPress).

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8 thoughts on “Roofing Square – How Contractors Measure And Price Roofs

  1. Pingback: Benefits of Asphalt Roofing Shingles

  2. Pingback: Roof Estimating – learn how to estimate roof prices.

  3. Action Administration

    your explaination is simple, perfect and accurate. Thanks for sharing and making your knowledge known. Very professional.


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