Does your roof look a little worse for wear? Are you hesitating to get it replaced? Unlike a kitchen or bathroom renovation, a roof isn’t a space that you can necessarily enjoy. That said, it is a smart investment that’ll protect your home from things like water damage and mould. Whether you’re looking to learn everything there is about roofing or about the basic roofing types and costs, we’ve got you covered.
Pitched roofs vs. Flat roofs
Flat roofs are on average less expensive than pitched ones. The latter is more difficult to clean. It’s also harder to spot damage, especially towards the top, for pitched roofs. These realities often sway homeowners towards flat roofs. However, if you’re already heading in that direction, keep in mind that while the initial installation may be cheaper, a flat roof will often require more maintenance and could end up costing you more in the long run, mainly because of drainage issues. Flat roofs don’t drain as well, which can lead to quicker clogging and leaking, meaning that you’ll have to spend more time and money inspecting and taking care of it.
The average cost for a roof replacement in 2023
Pitched roof cost
|Double Storey (pitched roof)|
|Luxury Home (multiple slopes)|
|Asphalt Shingle||$11 255||$14.5K|
Flat roof cost
|Triplex (1,600 sq. ft.)|
|Asphalt & Gravel||$18K-$23K||$21.5K-$30K|
|Duplex (1,000 sq. ft.)|
|Asphalt & Gravel||$11K-$14.5K||$13K-$18K|
|6-plex (5,000 sq. ft.)|
|Asphalt & Gravel||$30K||$36K|
Roof costs per square foot in 2023 & their lifespans
|Roof Type||Average Cost – Montreal||
Average Cost –Toronto (GTA)
|Asphalt Shingles||$7/sq. ft.||$9/sq. ft.||15 to 25 years|
|TPO/EPDM||$11 – $14.5/sq. ft.||$13 – $18/sq. ft.||25 to 30 years|
|Elastomeric Membrane||$19 – $23/sq. ft.||$23 – $30/sq. ft.||20 to 30 years|
|Bitumen||$11 – $14.5/sq. ft.||$13 – $18/sq. ft.||15 to 30 years|
|Metal||$20.5 – $36/sq. ft.||$25 – $43/sq. ft.||50+ years|
|Slate||$30 – $42/sq. ft.||$36 – $50/sq. ft.||75 to 150 years|
*Many factors can influence the total cost of renovations, including, but not limited to, the type of work to be done, the area of the city, the type of building, the required labor, the needed materials, the protective measures, the length of the project (faster=higher cost) and contingencies.
Consequences of COVID-19 on the construction and renovation sectors
Keep in mind that certain unforeseen events due to COVID-19 may affect the cost of renovation projects without notice. For example, the industry has come across a treated lumber shortage since the first lockdown, resulting in a massive fluctuation of prices. Other construction materials are likely to experience similar issues. For more details, read our article: Rising Lumber Prices: Another COVID-19 Effect?
For each roof type, you’ll have several material options, with details, below.
Cost may vary significantly between two similar roofing projects because of numerous factors, such as:
- The incline depth of your roof
- The architectural complexity
- The materials chosen
- The warranties offered
- The square footage
- Other additional work (e.g. if ventilation needs to be added)
- Labour costs (experienced vs novice workers)
Let’s take a look at which materials might work best for you.
What is the cost of asphalt shingles?
Asphalt shingles are most commonly used for residential roofing because of their relatively low cost. They’re commonly seen on pitched roofs due to their versatility — they can be adapted and laid in different angles and shapes, and can be designed to look any way you want (mainly in terms of colour).
From a durability standpoint, asphalt shingles can withstand direct impact quite well (like from hail or falling branches). They can also hold up when there are winds of over 200 km/h and have a Class-A fire rating, which means that, should a fire start in your house, they can prevent it from spreading up and out. The only downfall is that asphalt shingles tend to dry out and crack with time (20+ years nowadays – so, not too much to worry about) due to the sun.
As for your personal quality of life, asphalt shingles are in first place when it comes to sound protection. They’re also quite easy to install for those who wish to do so themselves.
Cost-wise, asphalt shingles are least expensive – going for approximately $6/sq. ft. on the lower end of the scale – which would come out to about $6,000 for an average-sized bungalow.
How much does metal roofing cost?
Metal roofs and steel roofs may have a few obvious downsides. Colour stability being a big one, as are noise and price. But the pros are definitely impressive.
Firstly, metal roofs last between 40 and 70 years, almost four times longer than asphalt shingles! They can withstand stronger winds, won’t crack or corrode, and don’t need the routine maintenance other roof materials need.
The most beneficial aspect of metal or steel roofing, though, would be their eco-friendliness. Most metal roofs are made from between 25% and 95% recycled materials. Should you ever decide to change your roof, a pre-existing metal roof is 100% recyclable. And, because they reflect solar heat, metal roofs can reduce cooling costs by up to 25%.
Pricing for metal roofing can vary between $20.5 and $43 per square foot. The cost of its installation for a home of about 2,000 square feet will vary anywhere between $42,000 and $90,000.
What’s the cost of slate roofing?
A slate roof scores highest on the curb appeal scale, hands down. It’s made of 100% natural stone and its colouring is always intact (read: always gorgeous). In terms of practicality, slate roofs are fireproof, environmentally friendly and do a great job of insulating from above. They’re also the most durable of any roof surface — if you take care of your slate roof, it could last up to 150 years!
However, slate roofs have two significant drawbacks: price and weight. They’re most certainly on the expensive side of things ($30-$48/sq. ft.) – which is partly due to their weight. Most roof decks will need reinforcement to hold the additional weight of 800-1,200 lbs (360–540 kg).
These two drawbacks make slate roofs quite uncommon, meaning roofers generally have less experience installing them, creating potential issues if you choose to go with this roofing option.
How much do TPO/EPDM roofing materials cost?
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) are rubber compounds commonly used for roofs. TPO is the most common roofing material because it’s least expensive, is of a neutral colour (typically white) and is easy to install: it can be screwed in or glued. If you’re looking to save money on your roof, TPO is the way to go.
EPDM is a step up from TPO in terms of rubber compound roofing. The most notable difference is the colour: most EPDM roofs are black instead of white (although you can get white EPDM, it is not recommended). EPDM is better at handling rain, snow, UV rays, abrasions, ozone and temperature fluctuations. It’s also easier to install than TPO because the sheets are bigger. An EPDM sheet can be as big as 50’ x 50’, whereas a TPO sheet width normally maxes out at 12 feet.
TPO & EPDM roofing – being the cheapest roofing materials for flat roofs – have a similar lifespan to that of asphalt roofing shingles (used on sloped roofs) of 25 to 30 years. Cost-wise, they go for approximately $11 to $18 per square foot.
How much is an elastomeric membrane roof?
Seeing as installing an elastomeric membrane can be done at practically any time of year, it is often the go-to roofing choice for Canadians. Besides its installation being highly practical, there are many benefits to choosing this material. For instance, seeing as it is installed in 2 layers, it is more durable for accessible rooftops. This elastomer coating can last from 25 to 30 years and requires fairly low maintenance, rendering it a pretty good investment.
However, this process isn’t without downsides. It requires highly specialized contractors and there is a fire risk. Additionally, the material isn’t a friend to the environment and is not recycled in Ontario, nor Quebec. As for its cost, elastomeric roofing can cost up to $30 per square foot.
What’s the cost of multi-layer roofing (gravel & bitumen)?
Bitumen is modified asphalt used on flat roofs. The primary advantage with it is that it’s essentially painted on versus laid down, making it seamless and less prone to leaking. Bitumen also has a high tensile strength, lowering its chances of cracking or getting damaged like other roofing surfaces.
The major downside of bitumen roofs is the way they absorb heat, which can lead to overly warm rooms below. Cost is another downside (although a minor one). You can save money with 1-ply bitumen, but we’d discourage you from choosing that because it is not as durable a 2-ply or 3-ply, which would be the better choices. However, you’d be looking at a fairly significant price increase.
What about green roofs?
You’ve no doubt seen these leafy roofs. They’re currently on trend for a number of reasons: they increase biodiversity by promoting habitat for birds and insects, reduce stormwater runoff and lower energy costs. These roofs are increasingly gaining popularity among building owners.
There are two common types of green roofs: extensive ones – with no cultivation being done; and intensive ones – where people actually put in place produce gardens.
Although it sounds like a great idea, green roofs can also be quite prohibitive. First off, they’re expensive to install and require a lot of maintenance. Also, they’re only effective on angles of less than 25 degrees (although the Europeans are experimenting with green roofs at 45-degree angles). And, you’ll need to invest in special soil because regular garden soil will compact and kill the plants.
15 questions you need answered before settling on a renovation contractor
How to find the best roofing companies at the best possible price?
Now that you’re up to speed and ready to talk roofing, RenoAssistance can start you out with three quotes from 53-point Verified Contractors, with no obligation to move forward. We only work with the best roofers and roofing companies in your area and make them compete on your project so you get the best possible price. It’s free and there is no obligation.
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