If you are hoping to find a simple, straightforward answer to the most asked question in roofing – “what does it cost” – or even just looking for a ballpark figure, you could easily be disappointed. Sadly, there is simply no single, accurate answer that can be provided to satisfy your curiosity, as there are far too many variables to take into consideration in order to arrive at an accurate cost. However, we can discuss a few of the main reasons why roof prices can vary from job to job and inform you what factors can determine the final bill in relation to your property.
Size of the roof
We will start with the most obvious factor; it goes without saying that, the larger the surface area of the roof in most circumstances, the larger the bill. The bigger jobs often take longer to install and therefore incur greater labour charges. These jobs may also demand more manpower in order to ensure that the structure of the roof is covered and waterproof at all times until the work is complete. Another point is that the amount of materials required would also increase.
Regardless of the location where you live, there will be a variety of types of roof installed in that area. All of these types can differ in their shapes, sizes and life expectancies as well as the properties to which they are fitted, and these are all factors which can influence the total cost of installation. On a roof, older slate is often placed with newer slate (Spanish and Chinese slate are the most common types), or a manmade slate such as Rivendale or Eternit. In some cases, it’s also possible to strip the roof back to replace all of the older damaged slate and reinstall the good slate. Slating is an art and can take much longer than normal tiling, as slates all need to be graded first and are installed differently to roof tiles. Slate should be installed by a specialist slater whose rates are significantly more than those of a tiler. Natural Spanish slate tops the price scale for slates that are more easily obtained in the UK, followed closely by Chinese slate, although many people believe it lacks the same quality as the Spanish slate. Rivendale is a manmade slate which is designed to mirror the appearance of natural slates and sits in the middle of the price scale. Rivendale delivers a fantastic performance – but, in most instances, natural slate should outlast manmade slates. Eternit is a low-cost, manmade slate with a lifespan significantly lower than that of Rivendale or natural slate. If you happen to be on a budget, Eternit can reduce your cost by thousands. Concrete tiles, such as modern and double Roman tiles, are probably the most common tiles installed and can be reasonably priced, with a decent life expectancy when installed correctly and on the right roof. Finally, clay tiles such as plain, pan and Rosemary tiles should have a long lifespan and are more costly to purchase than concrete tiles. Rosemary tiles are particularly small in profile, so this significantly increases the number of tiles necessary for covering a roof. As a result, it is necessary to purchase more tiles and so increase the time over which the roof will be installed.
This factor can determine what type of tile may be required for your property’s roof installation. Your roof could be within a conservation area where the rules stipulate that you change like for like – and, if this is slate or clay Rosemary, you may have to dig deeper in order to fund the project. Just as importantly, prices will differ depending on where you live in the UK. For example, labour prices in London will be greater than the cost of roofers in Edinburgh. Material costs can fluctuate across the country, so your own outlay can rely just on the manufacturer and prices in your area.
Quality of the workmanship, materials and installation
The common mantra that “you get what you pay for” certainly applies in the world of roofing. This includes the materials that are used – and you should remember that no two quotes are like for like. Different roofing firms will use alternative methods for installing new roofs, as well as have different manufacturers or suppliers and use different materials. This is why you should always receive a method statement at the point of pricing so that you understand what you will get for your money and can benefit from a full guide concerning what work they will carry out. In most instances, the cheapest quote will not represent the best value for money in the long run. Finally, checking that your roofers are fully trained, insured and reputable can save you a lot of hassle – as, unfortunately, there’s no shortage of cowboys and fly-by-nights in the roofing industry. A reputable firm should be able to provide you with all of the information that you need to verify their credentials before you make your decision. Another costly part of your project will be the scaffolding required. With regards to scaffolding, the more lifts needed and the larger the property, the greater the bill will be. Additional scaffolding will be required around chimneys and dormers and on roofs with a steeper pitch.
Scaffolding and unforeseen circumstances
Conservatories and lower-level extensions can also affect access and would most likely add to the amount of scaffolding required as well as the cost for skips, waste removal and a bumper lift. Most importantly of all, always budget for more than what the roofing firm has estimated for your roof works in case of unforeseen circumstances. A roof that has been stripped back and exposed can throw up unexpected issues from time to time. If your roof is particularly old and has long been neglected, don’t be surprised if you notice that water has penetrated the roof due to failures over the years. It’s not uncommon for timber treatments and replacements to be required once the roof is opened up with the aid of scaffolding. It’s clear, then, why it is important to arrange for a professional to survey all aspects of your roof to prevent or reduce the risk of later, unforeseen costs.
If you have problems or concerns with your roof or you have not had it checked for a while, you could arrange for a local roofing company to survey your roof. J.S. Winder Ltd offers this service for free.