Roofing Calculator APP Updated to ver. 2.0 – Many New Great Features Added

We are pleased to announce that our already popular Roofing Calculator PRO app, that is available for iPhone / iPad (now with Native iPad support) and Android, is updated to version 2.0. It includes MANY new and exciting features, that will help you Estimate ANY Roof even faster and more accurately.

You have spoken and we have listened – based on YOUR comments here on our website and those in App Store / Android Play Store, we added ALL the things you’ve asked about, and MANY more!

Download Roofing Calculator PRO V2:

Roofing Calculator app for iPhone

Roofing Calculator app for Android

Roofing Calculator 2.0 for IPhone – Screen Shots:

image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Main Screen image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Roof Prices image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Settings Screen image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Results Export Screen

New Features Include

  • Multiple Roof Sections!
  • Valley Calculation!
  • Dormer Calculation!
  • GPS Location to get and Record Job Address!
  • Save and Modify Calculation Results!
  • Results Exporting as PDF / Plain Text for Your Records or as a Formal Roof Proposal!
  • Your Company Info, that will appear on the Letterhead of your Exports!
  • Miscellaneous Costs (Permits / Dumpsters / Equipment, etc) and Sales Tax!
  • More Intuitive App Navigation – All Features are listed as logical groups!
  • Native support for iPad 10″ screen!

Let’s take a closer look at all the new features:

Calculation Improvements

image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Multiple Roof Sections, Dormers, Valley, MISC costsMultiple Roof Sections:

In Version 1, you could calculate only 1 roof at a time. While this worked for most estimates, there are always houses with very cut-up roofs, or multiple buildings on the property, that need to be re-roofed. Now, you can have as many as 10 roofs or sections in one calculation.

All results are combined to give you an overall snapshot of all costs and sizes, and broken down into detailed materials, prices and sizes list for each section!

Valley Calculation:

In version 1, we were also missing the ability to calculate a valley – a common feature on many roofs. One of the reasons it was not added to the initial release, was the fact that we were not sure how you wanted it, and how we could implement it, so it does not confuse you, when estimating a roof.

The way it’s done now – there is a set cost per 1 linear foot of valley (valley labor cost), and it also automatically adds Ice & Water Shield (I&W) to the Underlayment section in the results. For valley length between 1 and 60 feet, we add 1 roll of I&W. For valley longer than 60 feet, additional rollas are added, is steps of 60 feet.

Optional: We are considering adding 3 sq. ft. of roof shingles for every foot of valley – let us know how you feel about it – should it be done as part of the valley calculation, or go into the roof waste factor? Please voice your opinion in the comments section below.

Dormers Calculation:

Now you can set a specific price for EACH dormer, and just enter the number of dormers on the roof.

We figure that dormers do not take extra shingles (maybe 20-30 sq. ft. of shingle more than if a dormer was not there), but take a long time to work around. Between doing roof to wall flashing, and doing a valley at the top of a typical gable or hip dormer, you can spend a few hours on each dormer easily. So just figure out your cost or price for each dormer, and it will be calculated as Labor Cost.

Miscellaneous Costs / Charges:

Although this is already implemented in the Roofing Materials Section, there are charges that cannot be tied to material prices, and pertain to the job as a whole. Examples are Building Permits, Dumpsters / Disposal Fees, Equipment Rental, etc. You can add these MISC costs on the main calculator screen.

Sales Tax:

Is it April 15th again? No – but you still need to pay the “dreaded” taxes on the materials you buy (unless you are doing a tax-exempt job). In the general Roof Settings, you can now enter your state’s sales tax (even with decimal points for states such as MA, where sales tax is 6.25%). Sales tax will be automatically added to the materials cost.

Saving, Modifying and Exporting Calculated Results:

image of Roofing Calculator v2 - Saved Calculation ReportYou can now also save your calculation results, email them to yourself for your own records, or send it to your customer as a formal proposal / estimate! This Results Export option is available in PDF and plain text format.

With the addition of GPS Positioning / Location, the address of your roof estimate is auto recorded when you click the “Calculate” button, and is saved with the results. You can always change the address, phone number, add Notes (such as details about the project, materials, customer, etc.).

You can even open an “old” saved report, and go back to modify your calculations without typing in the setting you used. This could be useful if, for example, you did the estimate many months ago, but the materials prices have changed, or the customer wants to use a different type of roofing shingles.

With Modify option, you will not need to remeasure the roof, or type in individual details for each section – all your options are saved and ready for your use!

Company Profile:

In this section, you can enter information about your roofing company, such as Name, Address, Phone #, Website / Email, and Construction License #. This information will appear on the Letterhead of your Exports and Proposal to the client, to make the proposal look official and presentable.

You can also register your copy of Roofing Calculator App – if you do, we will be able to send you updates/news about our app, and about new apps and services that will be useful to you. We pledge not to send you spam, or “regular news letters” or sell your information to a 3rd party. This is only for our records and so we can communicate with you and know who our customers are.

FREE Gift To the First 100 Users Who Register Roofing Calculator App

We are going to send you a thank-you gift for buying our app – a high-quality T-Shirt with a funny Roofing Calculator design on it. We are working on the design now, and will take your suggestions!

The iPhone version is undergoing App Store review process (as of July 12, 2012) and should appear in the App Store within a couple of days.

The Android version will be available within a week, as we are finishing final tests and bug-tracking.

Thank you for purchasing our app!

Roof Construction – Framing, Substrate, Underlayment and Shingles

A roof is one of the most essential parts of your home, that keeps it safe and protected from adverse natural elements.If you are thinking of replacing your old roof, it is important to have a general sense of roof construction. This information will help you be a more discerning consumer, and will assist you in dealing with contractors, so that you can get the best roofing products that suite your budget and needs.

A roofing system consists of several parts that are constructed in a step by step process. Each component of the system is described below, from the rafters that come first to the skylights and chimneys that sit on top of the complete roof.

Roof Construction Video

1. Rafters

A rafter is one member in a series of sloped beams that are designed to support the roof deck and its associated loads. Rafters are typically made of wood and exposed rafters can be a feature of traditional roof styles. In modern construction, there is a preference for trussed rafters, which are made of one or more triangular units constructed with straight members, whose ends are connected at joints. Trussed rafters are manufactured off-site, use less materials, are easier to construct and therefore cost less than traditional rafters.

image of Roof Construction - framing, substrate, underlayment, and roofing shingles diagram

2. Deck / Substrate

A roof deck is a roofing material layer installed on top of the rafters and right under the insulating layers of underlayment. The primary function of a deck is to act as a unifying structural diaphragm by tying all the components of a roof together. In construction, a roof deck is also known as sheathing or substrate. All three terms refer to the same thing. A deck can be made from plywood, OSB/boards. A high quality roof deck must be rigid, should eliminate excessive positive or negative deflection under load, and needs to have a smooth surface free of any large cracks or gaps. It is critical for the deck to be evenly and securely anchored to the building structure. It must have a proper water drainage system, without which a roof performance will be compromised, if it is exposed to prolonged periods of ponding water.

3. Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a special barrier that is installed between the deck/substrate and the surface material, such as roofing shingles, tile, etc. Underlayment is installed in an overlapping sequence from the bottom of the roof, going up. It provides added protection to the structure and the interior of the home against leaks, caused by rain and ice dams. There are three types of underlayment: felt, ice shield and synthetic underlayment. Felt underlayment is tar or asphalt saturated paper made with some fiberglass. Its the cheapest underlayment available, but it does not perform as well or last as long as other types of underlayment.

Ice shield underlayment is also known as Ice and Water Shield or I&W. It is a thick asphalt or bitumen based reinforced membrane that has a sticky surface, that adheres to the substrate. This membrane does not tear.In Northern states and Canada, building codes require the usage of I&W. This shield protects the roof from ice dams. For the best performance it should installed at the bottom 3 ft of the roof. The rest of the roof can be covered by regular underlayment (felt or synthetic).

Synthetic underlayment is an expensive substitute for felt. It lasts longer, is more tear proof, usually does not deteriorate, can be breathable or non-breathable. Non-breathable underlayment acts as a vapor barrier, meaning it traps moisture under the roof. This is bad because it makes the substrate rot and also causes the formation of allergenic mold and mildew. Read more about different types and uses of roofing underlayment here.

4.Roofing Material

Roofing material is nailed over the underlayment to the substrate. There are a wide variety of roofing materials available to homeowners that range in durability, longevity, level of protection, aesthetic look and design, as well as price. Materials include asphalt shingles, metal shingles, synthetic slate shingles, cedar shingles, clay and concrete tile, standing seam metal panels, EPDM, TPO and PVC membranes, copper materials, etc.

Asphalt shingles are a cheap material that is widely used in residential roofing, while metal and tile roofs are premium materials that are very costly, but offer superior lifetime protection and energy savings for your home.


A dormer is a structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface. They can be used in original construction or be added on later. They create extra usable space in the roof by adding headroom as well as allowing the addition of windows. If a dormer is not properly constructed it can lead to leaks and very expensive repairs. There are different types of dormers: shed, gabled, hipped, eyebrow, segmental. The most common types are gabled and hipped. A Gable dormer has a gabled roof, with two sloping planes that meet at a central ridge. A Hipped dormer has a hipped roof with three sloping planes that meet at the top.


A valley is formed when two portions of a roof meet at an inside angle. These valleys are common to many roofs. Many times, a valley is created where the roof on the main part of the house meets the one on the garage, or when an addition is put on the original roof. A valley is a vulnerable area on the roof, as it can collect leaves, and other debris. In the winter, ice collects in the valley, and as the ice freezes and thaws, the shingles get worn down and often require repair or replacement.

7. Skylights, chimneys and other protrusions

Skylights, chimneys and other protrusions are the top elements of the roof structure. A skylight is a structure that allows light on the roof to travel to the interior of a home. Skylights are useful in spaces that do not receive a lot natural daylight. They offer an environmentally friendly solution to brightening a home. Using natural light rather than electricity as a light source can save energy and reduce electricity bills.

A chimney is a vertical structure for venting combustion gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere through the roof.

8. Roof Installation Costs

On most installations, you will not be dealing with framing or substrate, as those are usually associated with new homes. On existing homes, you may encounter framing and substrate repairs / replacement only if your roof suffered severe damages, due to prolonged leaks.

If you are faced with roof replacement, you can use our calculator to estimate roof replacement cost for most items listed above: new underlayment, plywood replacement, chimney and skylight flashing, etc.

Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Is it time to replace your old roof, and you are looking for the right roofing materials? Figuring out which one to install is an important matter, and you need to consider what would be the best choice for your budget, geographic location and style needs. Roofing shingles are a viable choice if you want a roof that is economical, but still offers, such desirable features as safety, quality, low maintenance, and ease of repair and installation. This combination of decent quality and price makes asphalt shingles the most popular and competitive material on the market, favored by homeowners and contractors alike.

image of a house with asphalt shingles roof

Estimate the prices of new asphalt shingles roof with our Roofing Calculator.

Different Types of Asphalt Shingles

Within the class of asphalt shingles materials there are different options you can choose from, ranging from the most basic 3-tab shingles to upgraded, superior quality laminated shingles. Some of these options are more expensive than others, and you will have to decide whether their extra benefits are worth the extra cost.

Classic 3 Tab Shingles

image of three tab asphalt shingles If you are on a budget and are looking for the most basic yet quality shingle material for your roof, the classic 3 tab shingle is a great option. For decades, this has been and still continues to be the most commonly used shingle on most residential roofs in the US. The 3 tab shingle is about 1-ft. tall x 3-ft. wide, and has the same thickness throughout. From the bottom end, narrow slots are cut about half-way up the shingle to create three tabs. Each one is about 5-in. tall x 12-in. wide. This construction results in a clean, flat look throughout your roof.

The 3 tab shingle offers a number of benefits and safety features. It typically carries a 25-40 year prorated warranty (for details read our section on asphalt shingles longevity and repair, below). It is wind resistant up to 60 miles per hour and carries a 5 year warranty, which should be just fine if your house is located in a region that is not prone to strong winds.

Laminated / Architectural Shingles

image of architectural (laminated) asphalt roofing shingles It is easy to get confused when shopping around for an upgraded version of an asphalt shingle, since this shingle has a number of different names. Laminated shingles, architectural shingles and three-dimensional shingles all refer to the same thing. The main difference and advantage of these shingles is that they have at least two layers of fiberglass matting that are individually coated in asphalt, and then laminated together. This construction creates extra thickness. Laminated shingles have a warranty that is correlated with their thickness; the thicker the shingle the longer the warranty. For example, triple laminate shingles carry a lifetime warranty. This feature enables laminated shingles to have better tear off resistance; some are rated to resist winds of 120 miles per hour. If you live in a hurricane prone region of the US, investing more money for the added security of your home is a smart financial decision. Another important safety feature of laminated shingles is strong fire resistance. This is especially true of laminated shingles that have a heavy granulated top coat, which provides the highest Class A fire rating.

Premium Style Options with Laminated Shingles

image of premium laminated asphalt roofing shingles If you would like your roof to have great curb appeal, laminated shingles are the right choice for creating a variety of custom looks that will suite many home styles and different aesthetic tastes. Unlike other asphalt shingles, the laminated ones create visual depth on a roof, which is why they are also called three-dimensional shingles.

Depth is created by a special process of installing thick and thin shingles side-by-side. This is done by taking a flat shingle and trimming it to have tabs that are separated by large gaps. Next, an extra shingle layer is bonded below the tabs.

This added shingle is a large, solid rectangle whose surface is hidden by the overlying tabs, and is therefore visible in the spaces between the tabs. The result is a roof that looks like it is made with thin and thick shingles placed in a natural and random, yet orderly way.

In addition to offering a great look, laminated shingles have a special design feature that helps prevent a common aesthetic problem: black streaks caused by algae. This problem is very typical on shingles in regions with high humidity and frequent rainfall. Laminated shingles are more algae-resistant, because they are coated with copper or zinc granules, which leach over time, inhibiting algae growth.

Longevity, Repair, and Environmental Concerns

How long do asphalt shingles last?

Typical 3-tab or “30-year” architectural shingles will last 15-25 years, and ONLY when properly installed, and with adequate roof ventilation. If your attic is not ventilated, shingles will “cook” from excessive heat, dry up, become brittle, and the roof will begin to loose granules (which protect shingles from UV radiation). Inevitably, leaks will occur, requiring occasional roof repair or a complete replacement.

See a special report video by CBC, on how long asphalt shingles REALLY last, and what your warranty covers (or not):

Environmental Considerations

If you are giving purchasing asphalt shingles serious thought, you should also be aware that this is not the most environmentally friendly material on the market. Since asphalt shingles are made with petroleum, their manufacture contributes to the negative environmental impacts of recovering and processing petroleum. These include water pollution and emission of toxic gases that contribute to global warming.

Another issue is that at the end of their service life, asphalt shingles have to go to our landfills, which are already overflowing. While theoretically they can be recycled, the logistics and costs are usually too high. Contractors must go out of their way to recycle old shingles, which includes separating them from other debris during roof tear-off, and coordinating with a recycling company for storage and pickup of old shingles. Since most roofers do a roof / day, they will not bother with recycling old asphalt shingles. Additionally, there are very few companies that engage in asphalt shingles recycling, and are not present in most states (in part due to tough regulations and costs).

Asphalt shingles are also NOT a “cool roof”. They attract solar heat and store it all day long, transferring the heat into the attic space, which drive up cooling costs. While some asphalt shingles come with “cool roof” coating, they or only marginally cooler than regular asphalt shingles.

Consider Roof Slope When Choosing Asphalt Shingles

NOTE: You should not install any type of asphalt shingles on a roof pitch of less than 3 in 12.

Because asphalt shingles are designed to help rainwater run off a roof, a minimum pitch of 4 to 12 is required to install asphalt shingles correctly, and avoid premature leaks.

To learn more about what roof pitch is, and how to calculate it, click here.

Brands of Asphalt Shingles

There are more than a dozen asphalt shingles manufacturers in the US and Canada, and many of them specialize in manufacturing of other roofing materials, as well as a complete line of accessories that goes along with their asphalt shingles.

These accessories include:

  • Roofing underlayment (felt / tar paper, Ice & Water Shield, synthetic underlayment, etc).
  • Ridge Vent
  • Flashing
  • Static or power vents
  • Ridge cap shingles
  • Drip edge metal
  • Step flashing
  • Many more roofing accessories.

The most prominent manufacturers include: GAF / Elk, Certainteed, Owens Corning, Tamko, IKO and others. Please note that the order in which these companies are listed does not imply that one is better than the other, or that the first company is better than the last. Judging which one is better is very subjective, and you need to look at MANY aspects, before making your decision as to which brand to use. In our experience, most asphalt shingles are more or less equal in quality, and you should be choosing a contractor first, and a shingles material second.

Alternatives to Asphalt Shingles

One of the best alternatives to asphalt shingles is metal. Metal roofs typically outlast asphalt by 3-4 times (35-50 years) and often last much longer. Metal roofs are cool – they reflect solar heat, instead of storing it and heating your attic. They are not prone to ice dams, which are the leading cause of leaks in the northern states and Canada.

image of asphalt shingles vs steel shingles

Metal roofs come in a variety of styles and colors – you can get traditional vertical panels (standing seam) look, metal shingles that resemble real slate, cedar shingles or tile, and many other profiles. Check out our metal roofing guide for more info.

Best Phone for Roofing Contractors (no, it's not iPhone – it's Samsung Galaxy Note)

The best phone for roofers is Samsung Galaxy Note – it has 5.3″ screen, stylus (S-pen) note taking, great camera, and it’s super fast! Watch this “quick” video to see how Galaxy Note stacks up against iPhone and HTC Inspire 4G, and how I use it in my daily roofing work (video is 10 minutes long):

Updated Jan 25, 2012 – Galaxy Note will be available on AT&T on Feb. 18 (rumored release date) for $299 + tax, with 2-years contract. Your monthly bill on AT&T will be over $100.

However, I recommend getting the unlocked European version, and using Galaxy Note on Straight Talk with a $45 Unlimited plan – unlimited minutes, 4G web and SMS text messages!

Straight Talk (ST) is essentially an AT&T network, so you get the same coverage and save at least $50 / month. To get Galaxy Note to work on Straight Talk, basically all you do is buy an ST Nokia e71 phone for $49, pull out the SIM card and put it into the UNLOCKED (European) Galaxy Note – and enjoy great cell coverage, speed and savings!

Read more details about this at the end of this article.

Why Roofing Contractors need Smart Phones:

In the 21 century, if you as a contractor cannot communicate with your clients, suppliers and employees in real time – and I don’t just mean phone calls – you are behind the curve, and your competition is beating you. You NEED a smart phone!

As for me, I felt the need for a true smart-phone ever since I became a roofer (no – not those ridiculous and useless HP / Compaq PDAs or Windows 6 phones). Since I am a geek and a roofer, I look at smart phones from a perspective of both – a roofing contractor and a phone geek. Three years ago I felt a real need for a smart phone.
Following a friend’s advice, I got a Nokia E71 on AT&T. Unfortunately, AT&T really crippled this phone and also the small non-touch screen limited it’s internet capabilities, making it rather useless for what I was looking for – an ultimate phone for full internet access, easy email communication, ability to send and receive pictures, PDF and DOC files (to review the roof blue prints and photos of roofs).

Two months later I got rid of Nokia and got an iPhone 3GS, which at the time met ALL my requirements and had REAL competition. Existing Android devices (at the time – summer 2009) were not ready for me. Later that year, when Nexus one came out, it pretty much matched the iPhone 3GS and surpassed it in some areas, but I was already under contract, and did not want/need to switch.

My iPhone 3GS and Inspire 4G side-by-side (both running our Roofing Calculator App)

image of Roofing calculator iphone & android - side by side

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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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