How much does Roof Labor Cost?
Roofing labor costs are an inevitable part of any quotation for roof repairs or renewal and usually make up around 40%-50% of any roofing quotation. Find out the cost of labor for roofing below.
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Roof Labor Costs Explained
Here are some sample labor charges based on a roof renewal and the size of house plus time taken. Roofers can vary in how they work out their labor charges and some will list the labor separately but with these prices which are totally inclusive, you can work on a 60%:40% split for labor and materials. These rates include all the work involved to renew the roof.
|Size of Property||Total Cost with Labor Rate||Length of Time|
|Semi-detached house||$4,250 - $4,750 (labor $2,550 - $2,850)||3 – 4 days|
|Detached house||$5,250 - $5,750 (labor $3,150 - $3,450)||4 – 5 days|
|2 valleys – semi-detached||$5,750 - $6,250 (labor $3,450 - $3,750)||5 -6 days|
|2 valleys detached home||$6,750 - $7,250 (labor $4,050 - $4,350)||6 – 7 days|
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What are the factors that influence roofing labor costs?
There are a number of key influencers on roofing labor costs split into two categories. First, the things that can influence the hourly rate which you can’t really do anything about:-
- The state – roofing labor costs vary across the US
- Zip code – some areas are definitely more expensive for labor than others with urban areas and cities usually dearer than rural locations
Next are the factors that determine how much labor you are going to need for your roofing job:-
- The difficulty of the job - sometimes complex repairs can take a disproportionate amount of time compared to the installation of a new roof
- Site access – if it is difficult to bring a dump truck alongside the property to remove an old roof or to winch up roofing materials to repair or replace the roof then this is going to increase the man hours required for the work
- Roof design and features – complicated roofs with features like chimneys, skylights and dormer windows or lots of different elevations are always going to take longer to work on than a simple ranch style roof
- Roofing materials – some materials are simpler and easier to work with like asphalt shingles, they are lightweight and quick to install whereas other products are heavier and more time consuming so they are bound to increase your labor charges
- Hidden damage or defects – if you are opting for a new roof then it can be difficult to always make an accurate assessment of the roof deck until the old roof is torn down To be fair to the roofer, there is not much they can do if once they start work or tear off the old roof, they find rot or damage which was totally hidden from view. A roofer may also discover that your roof deck needs upgrading in line with the local roofing code although if you know how old the roof is then it is usually possible to cost this element of the work before the job starts
- Roof pitch – the steeper the roof pitch usually the harder it is to work on and this can impact on labor costs
- Roof overlays – some houses have two or even three overlaid roofs, this can impact on the time taken to tear down the old roofing material and strip the roof back to the wooden deck
- Roof codes – every area has a roof code, a set of regulations to ensure that building work is safe and compliant with modern standards and produces a result that is as sustainable and energy efficient as possible. If your roof is old then your roofer may have no choice but to bring it in line with the latest roof code in your area
- The size of the company – medium and larger sized companies tend to charge a higher hourly rate but they can often get the work done more quickly that one or two men working alone
- Local real estate market dynamics – these include lots of different factors like the strength of the market for sales and letting, the number of contractors in the area versus the demand for work and local factors like severe weather events which have caused damage in the neighbourhood
Understanding how labor charges work
Some roofers will charge per roof square when they quote meaning the price on the estimate reflects both the cost of the roofing material and the labor per unit whereas other roofers will clearly split the amount of labor and the cost for roofing materials into two separate figures.
Be really clear with your quote about what is included and how the labor rate is reflected; it can be easy with a quote that shows the amount per roof square to assume that labor is included. Make sure all the costs are listed and clear up front before work starts.
Are roofing labor costs the same for installation as they are for repairing defects?
Usually most roofers will charge the same hourly rate whether they are tackling repairs or roof renewal although it can sometimes be harder to accurately gauge how long some roof repairs will take as the extent of the work is not always easy to assess.
Nailing down the labor charges
If you have asked a roofer to quote for your job then you probably won’t be able to do anything about the hourly rate unless you use a different company. What you can do however is to make sure the quote is as accurate as possible so that the labor charges don’t spiral out of control.
Always make sure the roof is properly assessed by a roofer prior to quoting, this could involve lifting sections to make a thorough and proper inspection. Some roofers will charge for this – ballpark figure around $200-$300 – but will often deduct this from the cost of the works if you go ahead with their quote.
Don’t accept just an hourly rate, a good roofer should be able to quote a figure for the total cost of the labor and only add to this if anything unexpected shows up. If you don’t nail down a price for the labor then you run the risk of a big bill and also the uncertainty of not knowing just how long the work will take.
Always keep a reserve of 10%-15% of the total quoted cost to cover any extra labor charges for unforeseen problems or the requirement for additional materials which were not included in the original estimate.
Finding the right roofing contractor
Roof repairs or renewals are expensive and it’s easy to focus on the lowest labor rate or overall quote but this isn’t always money well spent.
It is really important to have a thorough and professional job done with roof work, after all, this is what keeps your home warm and dry. Poor or shoddy work won’t last and will impact on your energy costs and the overall curb appeal of your house when it comes to sale time.
Ask friends, family or work colleagues for a recommendation. Use social media platforms with care as the names that come forward may well be from people you don’t know who are just recommending their buddy.
Obtain three quotes minimum so you can compare costs; labor rates should be pretty similar if the roofers are all quoting for the same thing but if they are not then find out why.
There are trader platforms online which can find local roofers in your area ready to quote for your job. Some of these are little more than glorified advertising platforms so need to be used with discretion.
Questions to ask your roofing contractor
Roofing estimates are not always the complete deal, there can be other costs which apply which either your roofer doesn’t bill for directly or which get overlooked. Here are some useful questions to ask your roofer before you accept the estimate.
- Is the figure on the quote the final amount you will pay?
- Are there any third party costs like scaffold hire which will be billed directly to you by that contractor or extra costs that will show up like dump fees for old roofing material?
- Are building permits required and how much do they cost?
- Is the renewal or repair likely to trigger any upgrades because of the local roofing code?
- Does the work come with any warranties or guarantees and will they be given in writing at the end of the contract?
- Can you see examples of other roofs your contractor has worked on in the local area?
- Find out what type of insurance they have
- Ask whether any of the work is subcontracted as this can affect workmanship and you could lose control of the labor costs
- Does your contractor envisage any unforeseen problems which might come to light as the work progresses?
How to reduce roofing labor costs
It is quite hard to shave off roofing labor costs without ending up with poor workmanship or a shoddy job. Here are some techniques to lowering your quote:-
- Ask your roofer if you can use a cheaper or easier roofing material or shingle, lightweight materials can be quicker to work with and take less time
- Prepare the site so access is as quick and easy as possible. It is ideal if trucks can pull alongside the house to help with scaffold set up and to winch material straight up onto the roof, this also makes tearing down old roofing material easier straight into the dump truck
- If you have access and the right tools and equipment then you could remove the old roof yourself although there are risks attached to this not least of all working at height if you are not used to it. You might also unintentionally cause damage to the roof deck so it is best to discuss this first with your roofing contractor
- Consider a roof overlay which will significantly lower labor costs as the old roof remains in place avoiding time spent tearing down and dump fees. Some roofers won’t entertain this type of work because it can be fraught with problems and difficult to achieve a professional result and some local roof codes don’t permit it so check this out first if you are considering roof overlay as a possible option. It does save money in the short term but your new roof won’t last nearly as long and your household insurers will only cover the top layer not the ones beneath
Roof flashing FAQs
What happens if I am dissatisfied with the roofing labor cost on my roof job?
It’s difficult to argue once the work has been carried out as the time has been taken to do the repair or renewal and if this is an accurate reflection of the actual man hours then there is little room for challenge. There may be options for redress if you can demonstrate that some of the work was unnecessary or took longer than it should have done. If the work hasn’t started yet then negotiate with the roofer about the roofing labor cost or use a different contractor if you think it is too high.
Is the roofing labor cost different for repairs compared to whole roof renewal?
Not usually but it can sometimes be harder with repairs to accurately gauge how long they are going to take as sometimes this is not truly apparent until the job is underway. Contrast this with a roof tear down and renewal for which an experienced roofer should easily be able to calculate a labor cost.
What is the usual split on a quote between labor and materials?
On average, the usual split on a roofing estimate between labor and roofing materials is 60:40.
Does the labor on a roofing job come with any sort of guarantee or warranty?
The labor on a roof renewal or repair should come with a warranty on workmanship in addition to any guarantees offered by manufacturers for different roofing materials like shingles and underlayment.
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