How Much Does a Flat Roof Cost Per Square Foot?

There are a number of factors to consider when replacing a flat roof.  These would include the size of your roof, what materials you are using, the type of weather that the roof may encounter, as well as the overall cost per square foot.  While all these factors are important, most of our clients consider the cost  first. 

How Much Does A Flat Roof Cost Per Square Foot

Generally speaking, the cost of flat roofs are provided in a measurement unit called a “square”.  Each “square” is equal to one hundred square feet.  In most cases, the general cost per square of flat top roof is somewhere between $350 and $1200, which means that a square foot of a new flat top roof, fully installed, including labor can cost between $3.50 and $12.00. It should be noted that these prices are only estimates based on industry standards, and a true estimate given by a qualified professional roofer is a more accurate method of determining costs.  At Mass-Tech Roofing and Building Co.​​, we believe in honesty and being a trustworthy contractor to every homeowner who reaches out to us.

Like everything else, the quality of the material used, as well as the kind of material used will adjust the cost.  And this is one area that you don’t want to mess around.  The brutal winters and storms that can frequent the Boston area can wreak havoc on a building’s roof, so choosing the right roofing material can mean the difference between having long lasting protection and replacing the roof in a very short time indeed.

The Different Types of Flat Roofing

There are four types of flat roof used in the Boston area.   

Perhaps the most well known type of flat top roofing is called the built-up roof.  This type of roofing consist primarily of several layers of materials that are laid down on top of each other.  The material used can be quite varied, including everything from hot tar, gravel, fiberglass and even roofing felt.  One of the significant advantages of this type of roofing is that it is fire-resistant, but because of the smelly nature of the hot tar used, using it on buildings that are regularly occupied isn’t always the best option. This choice can be a very economical one, with the cost per square foot of installation being somewhere between $3.50 and $7.00.

The Different Types Of Flat Roofing

Another option that is sometimes used for smaller commercial structures is a roof made of modified bitumen.  While it does use some similar materials as a built up roof, one of the significant differences in this style of roofing is that this system used only one layer of rolled material.  It is installed one of two ways.  The first is the torch down application method, where the roofer heat the materials on the roll as it is laid down.  A layer of felt is layer over the area, followed by a primer, and finally the strips of bitumen.  Everything is sealed together with a large torch or flame.  This method, because of the potential fire hazard, shouldn’t be used outside the world of professionals.  A second method used often by people who want to do their own roofing projects consist primarily of a type of peel and stick bitumen material.  The overall cost of installation should be about $3.00 to $6.00 per square foot.  This moderate price, as well as the longer 30 year lifespan that is typical make this choice a great one for those who are investing for the long haul.

When it comes to modern roofing, one choice that continues to make waves overall is the idea of using a membrane or “rubber” roof.  One of the most common materials used in this type of roofing is known as ethylene propylene diene monomer, or more commonly by its acronym of EPDM.  The best way to think of the material is like a flattened car tire that is resistant to sun damage, scuff marks and tears in general.  They also come in two colors, black which can absorb quite a bit of heat, and white, that can reflect a good portion of the heat from the sun and surrounding area.  As you can imagine, the black variety is most often used in the Boston area to help lower the overall heating costs during the winter months.  Another advantage of EPDM roofing is that it is typically an easy install, which can reduce overall labor costs.  Generally speaking, a cost per square foot of between $4.00 and $6.00 isn’t unreasonable.  It’s no wonder why most small or medium sized businesses choose this roofing system. 

Keep in mind though, EPDM membrane roofs aren’t the only choice available if you’re considering a membrane style roofing system.  Another choice is a PVC membrane roof.  Although it is a bit more expensive at $7.00 to $11.00 per square foot due to the increased amount of labor, it does have some significant advantages.  One of the most notable is the sheer overall durability of the roofing system.  Another is the fact that it is one of the most environmentally friendly options on the market today.  It’s also resistant to many chemicals, moisture, wind, fire and even some chemicals.  As you can imagine, a roof made from this material has a significant chance of surviving here in Massachusetts.

And finally, the metal roof is also considered a viable choice for flat top roofs.  While the material is often used as accents for other roofing systems, it does have a few advantages that are quite useful in the south shore area.  These roofing systems are often great at shedding snow, require very little maintenance, and offer protection from both wind and fire.  Unfortunately, the cost of a standing seam or aluminum metal roofing system can initially set you back quite a bit – between $9.00 and $12.00 per square foot.  However, considering the many advantages, it can be an investment well made.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a new flat roof, and cost is certainly one of them.  Each system has their own advantages, and disadvantages, and the overall cost per square foot will certainly reflect that. 

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