This is probably the most common question we hear. And, of course, it’s the most difficult to answer because there are so many variables. It’s a little like asking, “How much does a car cost?” But here goes.
It’s not uncommon to see an advertisement for a metal roofing material priced at say, $2 a square foot. To the casual observer, it would seem a simple task to measure the square footage of a given roof (say it totals 1000 square feet, which is 10 squares), multiply by 2 and conclude that a price of $2000 should be expected. But there’s a bit more to it. Here’s the general idea:
Material price per square + waste percentage including details + shipping + labor = total cost of roof
Let’s break this down a bit. While it’s true that you may be able to purchase basic metal roof material for the $2/sq ft price, the vast majority of roofs (of all types – not just metal) cannot be installed without some degree of waste in the process (similar to installing flooring in a series of rooms). It’s usual to approximate waste factors of 5-7% at the lower end up to 20% plus at the higher end (depending on the complexity of the roof in question). Add to this waste factor details like drip edges, gable edges, ridge caps, valleys, fasteners, pipe flashings, freight, sales tax, crating and handling charges, and other possible options PLUS the labor to install the metal roof and it’s quite easy for that $2 a square foot roof to cost the end user $5-10 a square foot for the finished project. So much for a $2000 expectation.
Keeping in mind that any approximation is just an educated guess (emphasis on guess), I think it’s fair to say that a low end metal material package (including the matching accessories) can be had for about $2 a square foot, a medium quality package for $3-$5, and a high end material package (copper or zinc, for example) might cost $10-$15 a square foot (more or less). If you want to include the (many possible) variables of hired roof installers, the range for that might be as little as $.50 a square foot up to as much as $10-$15 a square foot on top of the material. You can see that there is an enormous range of prices – just as there exists an enormous range of roofs styles, shapes, complexities, and slopes. Every one of these variables, plus the capabilities and competency of the installer, will affect the final number.