Roof costs are a significant concern for all homeowners, if not the most important consideration when it’s time to replace a roof. There are two distinct ways to analyze whether a roof is affordable or not. One deals only in current dollars, while the second method looks at how much will be spent during a homeowner’s lifetime in a house.

Roof Costs in Today’s Dollars

Sometimes, a homeowner’s current economic climate is the overriding factor for any major purchase. For example, perhaps that $1,500 vacuum that’s guaranteed to last a lifetime would be a smart purchase if you looked at how much you may spend on vacuum cleaners over a 30-year period. But if you don’t have $1,500 now, the argument is moot. Here’s a quick breakdown on different roof costs:

  • Asphalt composite roof. The general cost per square for asphalt – specifically the three-tab variation – is about $75 to $100 per square. None of these prices take into account the cost to remove an existing roof or complications or difficulties in the installation process. A square is 100 square feet.
  • Laminated asphalt. The thicker and more expensive version of composite roofing costs about $125 to $175 per square for installation.
  • Wood shake or shingle. A middle-of-the-road installation cost of about $400 to $500 per square.
  • Metal roof. A metal roof costs between $250 and $350 per square to install, not including copper, which costs closer to $800 per square to install.
  • Clay tile. Expect to pay close to $1,000 per square for clay tile with a number of variations possible, particularly for hand-made varieties that are much more expensive.
  • Concrete tile. A concrete roof costs about $500 per square to install. As with other extremely heavy roofing products, this estimate doesn’t include any cost to support a roof to be able to handle the load from a concrete roof.
  • Slate. Probably the most expensive type of roof on the market, slate costs anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 per square to install.

Lifetime Roof Costs

The other way to make the calculation on roof costs is to figure in all anticipated roofing costs for your home as long as you expect to there. Let’s say that’s in the area of 40 years. You would conservatively estimate the life of various roofs, from composite to wood, slate and various tile roofs. A slate roof costs at least three times more than a composite roof, but could last three times longer and require less maintenance. It’s that kind of long term calculation that can allow you to spend more for a roof know with the knowledge that you’ll pay much less over your lifetime in the house. With some roofs, the added advantage is knowing there will still be value in your roof when your family is finally ready to sell the house.