What is the Cost to Raise the Roof on a House?
Sometimes also called a roof lift, the total average cost to raise the roof on a house is between $15,000 to $50,000, this compares with the average cost to replace or install a new roof on an existing home which is between $8,000 and $15,000 across the US.
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Raising the roof on a house can transform the interior adding high ceilings and creating light and space in upstairs rooms, upscaling interiors and changing up the design on the first or second floor. Another popular reason to raise the roof on a house is to add another new level of accommodation or just to provide extra storage.
If you happen to need a new roof as well then you can solve both problems in one hit and replacing a roof is a good time to have the conversation about whether you should be raising the roof as well.
Table of costs to raise the roof on a house
There are many elements to raising the roof on a house but here are some of the key expenses.
|Structural engineer fees $350-$750|
|Building permit fees||$400-$2,000|
|Roof trusses cost||$7,200-$12,000|
|Removal of the old roof and new framing work||$7,400|
|Gable walls extension||$14-$22 per square foot|
|New roof structure, labor and materials||$16-$22 per square foot|
|Roofing and siding installation||$15-$18 per square foot|
|Electrical rewiring and plumbing reconfiguration||$4,200|
It is more expensive to extend the wall height and increase the roof pitch sometimes than investing in a pre-made frame for your roof which is made off site and lowered into place by a crane. If you are raising the roof to add more accommodation then you will also need to factor in the cost of fitting out and decoration, expensive if you are adding another bathroom or a kitchen for a self-contained flat. Even additional bedrooms or a studio for work or entertainment may include possible extensions to plumbing and heating.
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What are the factors which influence the cost in a project to raise the roof on a house
What are the factors which influence the cost in a project to raise the roof on a house?
There are many variables which can impact the cost of raising a roof on a house. Here is a list of some of them to take into account when you are thinking about pricing up this work.
The total square footage of the house so essentially the size of the new roof
- The structural work which needs to be undertaken to the house itself to raise the roof so building up and strengthening gable walls and possibly the foundations of the building to bear the increased weight of a higher roof
- The style of house, homeowners may pay less cost to raise the roof on a ranch style house as it is more straightforward with less labor costs than a Cape Cod-style home which is complicated and features dormer windows
- The complexity of the roof, are you adding chimneys or skylights or dormer windows because you are converting the loft space into new accommodation?
- Access to the site, can the roof be made off site and lowered into position via a crane or does it need to be built on site?
- The tear down and disposal costs including dump fees of getting rid of the old roof
- The zip code which impacts on local labor and installation costs
- Whether or not the house requires strengthening or shoring up to bear the increased load of a new roof
- What type of roof frame the house has currently, a stick frame is the older style with rafters which span from the top of the exterior walls to the ridge, it is more labor intensive to raise this type of roof as you have to remove and rebuild it. A truss framed roof is the newer type found on modern homes and is constructed from triangular truss units which are simpler and cheaper to raise as a pre-made frame can be made off site
What are the advantages of raising the roof on a house?
There are several advantages to raising the roof on a house not least the factor that this may be a house that you love and don’t want to leave – you just need more space. You may also find it cheaper to develop your current home than to move house. Some of the clear advantages include:-
- Increasing space and light in the upstairs rooms which may have low ceilings or sloping ceilings and suffer from small or inadequate windows which causes restrictions on the type of furniture. Raising the roof can offer higher ceilings or the opportunity to remodel to a different ceiling type
- Adding new accommodation or extra storage space in the loft by way of conversion, raising the roof can make a loft conversion possible or make it easier by avoiding the expense of adding dormer windows or the difficulty and cost of a mansard loft conversion where you are short of height
- A loft or roof conversion solves the problem for homeowners who cannot expand their property either at the back or to either side
- A new roof type which is higher can better resist bad weather and minimize leaks or pooling water.
Understanding what’s involved
The driver behind a roof raise is really important to achieving the outcome you want and being fully aware of all the cost implications. The first point to consider is the existing construction of your home, for instance, if you just want higher walls and a vaulted ceiling and you have a stick-framed house then you probably already have an attic with sufficient space and don’t need a roof lift as by removing the ceiling joists, you can get the room and look that you want. There is still additional work like adding ridge beams and collar ties but it can avoid the cost and work of a roof raise on your house.
A roof lift can involve re-routing electrics and plumbing which can have a big impact on cost and involve you in works that you might not have thought of initially. If you want a whole new second storey then you can’t just dump a new gable wall on top of an old one as it will affect the load bearing capacity of the whole structure. Adding a second floor has implications for the HVAC system and existing plumbing and electrics which may need renewing or upgrading, all of which impact significantly on the cost of the project.
Other factors that impact on the cost of raising a roof on your house
This is not just about a new roof, there are lots of possible implications on the rest of the property. These include:-
- Electrical wiring – where is it installed?
- HVAC ductwork – is it blocking the area? HVAC ductwork channels move air via vents and ducts throughout the building
- Plumbing – is there a water tank and plumbing in the roof or part of the roof that you want to raise
- Chimney – is there a chimney in place on the roof which will need to be removed and possibly reinstated?
What is the best type of roofing contractor to hire to raise a roof?
Use a roofing expert as raising the roof on a house is a complex and expensive job. Your roofer should be licensed, insured and fully aware of all the permit requirements which need to be in place before work starts. A good roofing contractor will keep the site and occupants safe from accidents and should offer all the relevant and necessary guarantees and warranties when the work is finished.
Finding the right roofing contractor
Raising the roof on a house is not a simple job nor is it cheap so you might need to look beyond your regular roofer if you are interested in this type of project. This is pretty full on construction work so choose a firm that has done this before and ask to see their portfolio or back story.
A recommendation from a friend or work colleague is a good way to go or there are online trader platforms which can make it easy to get a new roof quote from a company in your area or neighbourhood but bear in mind, some of these platforms are little more than advertising directories so there is no verification of the people and companies who are listed. Some people resort to social media but recommendations can come from people you don’t really know who might just be promoting a buddy’s business. The advantage of local recommendation is that you might be able to go and see a project that has already been completed and talk to the homeowner.
Always get three quotes before you decide on the right contractor. Make sure the quotes are similar in that there is a proper breakdown of both labor and materials as it will make it easier to compare them.
It’s easy when you see the quote from the roofer to not think about the cost of all the other factors which might be involved in this project and which are not the responsibility of the roofing company so won’t appear on the quote. Professional fees for architects and surveyors plus the cost of building permits are often overlooked. Ask your contractor if you should expect any other costs which are not listed such as scaffolding hire which some contractors don’t put on the quote.
If you are raising the roof to add extra accommodation then you could consider the project in two stages to help spread the cost of installing the new, higher roof and then wait awhile before converting the loft space. If you are just opting for new living accommodation, then you could do the decoration yourself although don’t overlook plumbing and electrical costs in the new space.
Keep wriggle room of 10%-15% once you accept the quote to cover the cost of hitches or unforeseen problems or just increased labor due to the delay imposed by extraneous circumstances like the weather.
Managing the cost to raise the roof on your house
The cost to raise the roof on your house is going to be significant, no two ways about it, even if your roof is small and you can save money by using a pre-manufactured truss roof unit which is made off site. So, funding this work is a key question for many homeowners. Here are some suggestions for finance options.
Approach your mortgage company to ask for a loan or further advance to do the works, you will need enough equity in the property and must be able to demonstrate to the lender that you can meet the monthly repayments. As these are spread over the term of the mortgage then they can often be quite affordable
Some roofing contractors will offer finance options via a link with a third-party finance provider, this is because roofing costs are never cheap even if you are just renewing a roof or undertaking repairs
There are government grants available towards the cost of a new roof but most of these either at federal or state level, are aimed at low-income families, elderly people or those who have suffered a housing emergency due to adverse weather. However, in some states, there are town-based or regional grants which focus on increasing the environmental profile of a house. This might be aimed at reducing emissions from the property and/or using green materials or fitting a totally green and sustainable roof. The sustainability route is a good option if you want to lower your energy costs and will increase curb appeal when you come to sell your home. Grants need to be checked carefully for criteria and applicant eligibility and a good roofing contractor should be able to advise you of what if anything is available in your area to help with costs
Roof lifting cost for a garage
Raising the roof on a garage can be a good way to add extra space without the expense of full house roof lift. Costs vary and will depend on whether the garage is detached or attached and whether you need to shore up the structure and foundations to bear extra weight. The average cost is $15-£20 per square foot. Don’t forget material removal and electrical work and plumbing. Ironically, it can work out cheaper sometimes to build a new garage than raise the roof on an existing one.
Saving money on the cost to raise the roof on your house
This is not a cheap project so saving bucks may only make a bit of a dent in the overall bill, but it is still worth doing. Here are some options to trim back the spend:-
- Look for grants at federal and local level, it might be possible to shape your project to fit within certain criteria so you can get a contribution to the overall cost but you may be underwhelmed at what’s on offer as many grants have a cap per household and are pretty modest compared to the overall cost to raise the roof on your house
- Try and re-use existing materials from your current roof although the labor involved in doing this can sometimes outweigh any of the savings
- 40% of the cost will be the materials so ask your contractor if there are cheaper options available that might lower the bills without affecting the integrity of the roof or the aesthetic look
The return on your investment is going to be the uplift in the value of your home plus lower energy costs due to a more weather efficient roof.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you raise the roof on every house?
Not always, a lot depends on how the roof was originally constructed so work out whether your roof is either stick or truss before you go any further. The roof type determines how easy it is to do and how much the cost to raise the roof on the house will be. If you have the original house blueprints then this is one way to establish what type of roof you have or ask a roofing contractor to confirm this for you. A truss roof is the easier of the two types to raise. It is often worth paying architect’s fees initially to obtain a survey or review of the house and your current options as this can save you from going down blind alleys and wasting your money. An engineer or architect can advise you on what is possible and won’t necessarily have the vested interest or bias of a roofing contractor looking to win the biggest project he can.
Do you need a building permit to raise the roof on your house and how much does this cost?
Because you are essentially modifying the roof line then you will always need a building permit and you obtain these from your local residential permit department. A good, licensed roofing contractor can help you with this in your area and you should get the permit before you start work on the roof. When you come to sell your home, then you will need to show evidence of this permit to demonstrate that you had the right permissions in place to do the job. Building permits cost anywhere from $400-$2,000 depending on your zip code and the type of environment your house is located in and there may be conditions attached plus the cost of inspectors looking at the work either part way through or on completion.
How long does it take to raise the roof on your house?
The average timespan is four to six weeks assuming there are no unforeseen problems or unexpected delays due to adverse weather events. There is quite a lot of preparation involved so the condition and status of the existing roof plays quite a big part in how long the whole project will take. Houses that don’t need restructuring or modifications to plumbing, HVAC or electrical wiring will be quicker than the ones that do.
Is the cost of raising the roof on your house worth it?
ROI stands for ‘Return on Investment’ and there is undoubtedly a real return on investment if you raise the roof on your house and add a whole new storey of usable accommodation. Raising the roof to increase ceiling height upstairs is clearly going to add less ROI and will be more akin to the value added when the house is fitted with a new roof. The best return is usually on smaller properties when comparing the cost to raise the roof of the house with the uplift in the value of the home when the work is complete. The average ROI to raise the roof on a house is between 50% and 54% which is not as high as other home improvements like a kitchen remodel or stone veneer façade all of which come in at over 75%. Much will depend upon the reason for raising the roof and whether or not you add another storey of accommodation.
What are the guarantees and warranties in place after a roof raise on a house?
A roofing contractor should offer you a warranty for his work and there will also be separate guarantees and warranties attached to the roofing materials so a considerable amount of paperwork. Manufacture guarantees for materials are only valid if they are correctly installed by the roofer. Some roofing grants will come with conditions attached and these are usually to do with how long you remain in the property post the grant award.
What is the roofline on a house?
When your roofer refers to the roofline he is talking about the area where the roof meets the walls of the house and this includes the bargeboard, soffits, fascia, cladding and dry verge.
The cost to raise the roof on a house is significant but there are numerous benefits to doing this type of work ranging from better weatherproofing to more accommodation and almost all of them will uplift the value of your home once work is complete.
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