How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Flat Roof in Massachusetts?

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Flat Roof in Massachusetts?

So you’re considering replacing your flat roof in the Boston area.  There are probably a few different reasons for doing so.  Perhaps the old roof has seen better days, or perhaps your utility bills indicate that it may not be as energy efficient or as good at keeping out the weather as it once was.  Another common reason for replacement in the Boston area is simply the fact that hail or snow, or even moisture from the ocean can cause significant wear and tear over time.  Whatever the reason for wanting a new roof, you’ll want to determine a basic price for replacing your roof.  After all, if done correctly and with good materials, a flat roof in the Boston area should last for quite a few decades before you begin the process anew.  Mass-Tech Roofing and Building Co. wants you to take into account these few factors when budgeting for a roof replacement in Massachusetts.

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The Overall Size of the Roof

As you can imagine, the overall size of the roof is certainly an important factor in deciding how much a new roof is going to cost.  The size of the roof will often affect the overall cost of materials, the time needed to get the job done, as well as the amount of labor needed.  Thankfully, most flat roofs are actually a little bit easier to work on than sloped roofs, but often doing so can lead to more back strain due to the fact that there is more bending and twisting to make sure the seams and materials are installed correctly.  In addition, knowing the overall size of the roof to be replaced can help give you a rough estimate of the overall cost.  This is due to the fact that many reputable roofing companies in the state of Massachusetts make it a point to price their time and materials to the client in a unit called a “square” which is equal to 100 square feet.  It frankly makes doing estimates a lot easier in the long run.

Of course, the overall shape of the roof is also something to consider in budgeting for a new roof.  Quite a few commercial buildings around Boston are rectangular in shape, but certainly not all of them.  Buildings that have odd shape such as multiple overlapping squares, triangles, or even containing half circles can certainly affect the overall cost due to increased labor or the cost of “wasted” materials and disposal.

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The Cost of Materials

One of the most common materials used in flat roofs is a material commonly called EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer.  It’s a rubberized membrane material that is great for repelling water, damage from the sun and weather, and protecting the overall investment that is the home of your business.  And as you can expect, the type and thickness of EPDM that is used can certainly affect the overall price of roof replacement.  Generally speaking, the price to have EPDM installed professionally, which we highly recommend due to safety and quality assurance reasons, can vary between $2.50 and $5.00 per square foot.  So a roof that measures 40 x 40 square feet for example can cost between $4,000 and $8,000 in some cases.

Of course, EPDM isn’t the only option available in Massachusetts when it comes to a new roof.  Other materials that are becoming more and more popular include metal roofing or even PVC and TPO materials as well.  An then there is the old standbys of the built up roof and the asphalt roll as well.  Each of these roofing materials and methods have their own advantages and drawbacks, so of course the overall price can vary as well.  Depending on the material used, prices for installation can vary between about $3.00 per square foot all the way up to close to $18.00 per square foot.  So that 1,600 square foot building can have an overall cost of between $4,800 and $28,800.  As you can see, even for a sizable business, replacing their roof in Massachusetts can be serious investment.

Of course, the actual roofing material isn’t the only material that you’ll need to factor into the overall cost of roof replacement.  Buildings, and more specifically roofs and the underlying material can take some serious abuse, especially during the harsh arctic-like winters that we can see in this area.  Often things such as the roofing insulation, support materials and even parts of the roofing structure itself need to be replaced or repaired during the process.  While many reputable companies attempt to factor these prices into their estimates and overall cost per square foot, sometimes these factors just cannot be completely accounted for.  So remember, when you get an estimate for a roof replacement to ask about these items to see if you should budget for additional cost.

The Cost of Labor

In addition to the overall cost in regards to the size, shape of the roof and the materials used, you’ll also need to consider the cost of paying the people you are trusting to work on your flat roof.  After all, this is a sizable investment, not something that you want amateurs working on.  Any roofing company that is worth their salt will have their team continuously undergoing training for safety, being certified by roofing material societies , and the best industry practices.  All these things are necessary to make sure that the roof you want is installed the right way the first time.  As you expect, all these necessary things cost money, which is often passed onto the consumer, at least partly in the form of an hourly wage.

For most reputable roofing companies in the South Shore area, this hourly rate is included in the overall estimate for the roof replacement.  Often it varies based on the complexity of the project, and any deadline stresses that may exist.  For the most part, however, you can expect to see an hourly rate of somewhere between $50 and $80 per hour. 

The Cost of Complexity

As you can imagine, some types of roofing material that are popular for flat roofs are easier to put on than others.  A simple tar and gravel roof, while messy and somewhat smelly to apply is one of the easiest methods to use, and therefore the labor cost and time needed to complete the project may be a bit less.  One of the best examples of this is a spray polyurethane foam roof.  Essentially, the new roof is sprayed over the existing one.  It’s a great and easy choice for those times when the previous roof hasn’t given you any issues, but you simply want an upgrade.

Of course, the more complex the roofing system used, the longer the time needed for completion, and the labor cost per hour may be significantly higher.  For example, installing a TPO or a PVC roofing system has quite a few different steps that must be completed in order to get a proper installation.

Putting it All Together

In the Massachusetts area, the cost of replacing a flat roof can vary widely, and is based on a number of vital factors including the size of the roof to replace, the cost of materials, the cost of labor, and the time needed for the project completion.  It’s nearly impossible to even give a general estimate that can be used for every situation, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.  First, the larger the size, or the more complex the roof, the higher the price overall is going to be.  Second, the different types of materials used will affect the cost as well based on the availability, the cost of production, and the market value of the raw material used.  Another factor to consider is the overall cost of labor and the time needed to tear off, dispose of the old roof, and install the new roofing system.

As an example, let’s say that Martha, the owner of Martha’s Gift Boutique wants to replace her worn out built up roof with a modern PVC roofing system.  She shops around, and finds a reputable roofing company that agrees to tear off her old roof, make any necessary repairs to the existing structure, dispose of the old roofing material properly, and to install a new, environmentally friendly PVC roofing system.  Her roof is approximately 2,000 square feet in size.

The company quotes her an hourly rate of $50 per man-hour for the tear off, repair, and disposal, and a per square foot installation rate of$7.00 for the PVC system. When everything is said and done, it takes a total of twenty-five man-hours to remove the old roof, so the cost for removal comes to a total of $1,250.  Add to that the cost of the installation of $7.00 per square foot, the total cost of the flat roof being replaced for Martha comes to be $15,250.

As you can see, the overall cost of replacing a flat roof can vary, but for most people and businesses it’s an investment well worth the price.