How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Roof in California?
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Roof Replacement in California Cost Guide
Updated: August 8, 2023
Whether your roof has been impaired from a weather event, suffered water damage, or is simply well past its prime, a roof replacement could be on the horizon. If you are in this situation, the first thing you’ll want to know is what a roof replacement costs in California.
Keep reading to find out the full cost breakdown of a roof replacement in California and some ways to finance the roofing project.
The average cost of a roof replacement in California
On average, it costs between $12,000 and $20,000 to replace a roof in California, with most homeowners spending around $15,000 to replace a 1,700 sq. ft. shingle roof. This cost will vary depending on your choice of material, the square footage of the roof, the pitch and shape of your roof, and whether you are tearing off or building over the existing roof.
It is important to note that these figures, and the rest you will find in this guide, are estimated costs of a roof replacement in California. To get an exact figure for your roof replacement, you should request a quote from two to three local roofing contractors who can inspect your home in person.
Factors that affect the cost of a new roof in California
With the material cost of a new roof taking up more than 50% of your budget, and with each material sitting at a different price point, it is clear that the type of roofing material you opt for will significantly influence the overall project.
Due to the Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, many parts of California are required to use cool roofing materials. Most homes in California use one of five materials - asphalt or architectural shingles, metal, concrete, slate, or clay tile. Each of these roofing materials comes in a wide range of styles, and most have options for cool roofing, helping them meet the new regulations. With these different materials and the need for many parts of the state to have cool roofs, there is a wide range of material costs associated with roof installations in California.
As for what roofing material you should choose, this largely depends on your budget and what part of the state you live in. Asphalt and architectural shingles are used on most inland homes in California and are also one of the most affordable roofing materials. But new materials like stone-covered metal and reflective metal roofs are also becoming increasingly popular, as they help meet cool roof standards.
The table below illustrates the average roof replacement costs for each of these materials in California and the national average costs.
Cost per sq. ft. (California)
Cost per sq. ft. (national average)
$5.50 - $11.50
$6 - $13
$8.50 - $20
$10 - $20
$10 - $24.50
$4.76 - $33.15
$10 - $24.50
Size of your roof
Like most areas, the roof size will greatly impact the project’s cost. In most instances, the bigger the roof, the more material you will need, and as a result, the higher the overall costs.
A larger roof will increase your material costs and labor costs. It will take more time and effort to install the new roof and take longer to tear out and dispose of the current roof.
To work out the cost of a roof replacement based on the size of your roof, all you need to do is take the cost per square foot (installed) of the material of your choice and multiply it by the square footage of your roof.
The pitch of your roof
While material and size are two of the biggest factors impacting the total cost of your replacement, the pitch or slope of your roof can also have an impact. This is due to the roof pitch influencing both the materials you can use and the installation cost.
The pitch or slope of a roof refers to the angle of the roof and is usually presented as the inches of vertical rise over 12 inches of horizontal run. A flat roof is anything from 0/12 to 2/12. A conventional pitched roof, seen on most homes in California, is considered between 4/12 and 7/12, while a steep roof is anything over 8/12.
Many residential homes in California have conventionally pitched roofs, while some modern homes may have flat or low-pitched roofs. Steep-pitched roofs are uncommon in Southern California but may be found in some Northern areas.
The shape of your roof
One of the biggest influences on the costs to reroof your home is the shape and style of your roof. Most roof types will fall into the same cost range, but some very complex designs, such as roofs with dormer windows inset and mansard roofs that change pitch steeply, can change the cost. The most common roof types in California include gable, hipped, and dutch roofs, but both flat and butterfly roofs are becoming increasingly popular with modern homes.
The cost of a roof replacement will vary depending on the type of roof. Some roofs, such as hipped and Dutch roofs, require more material and have a more complex installation process. Therefore, these roofs may be more costly than other roof types. Below, you can see some of California's most common roof shapes and average costs.
Removing the old roof vs. roofing over in California
Depending on the type of roof you have and what you intend to replace it with, you may only need to tear off your existing roof after installing a new one. This is known as a roof-over, and while uncommon in California, it is a potential option.
Some homeowners will opt for a roof over as it is lower than the cost of removing and disposing of the old roof. On average, homeowners spend about $1 per square foot to remove their old roof. But, while a roof over provides upfront savings, it will not have the same lifespan as a new roof and could lead to a more costly replacement.
In California, a roof over will only be permitted if your roof meets specific criteria, including the material type, its condition, the roof slope, and how the roof over is done. For example, a roof over can only be completed if the materials are asphalt, composition shingle, wood shingle or shake, or older mineral aggregate built-up roofs. Because of these parameters and roofed-over roofs not lasting as long as new roofs, it is fairly uncommon to reroof in California.
California roof replacement pricing tiers
Replacing your roof on a low budget in California
If you need a roof replacement but want to keep the upfront costs to a minimum, opt for one of the more affordable roofing materials. In California, your most affordable roofing material will be asphalt fiberglass shingles. Using these new shingles will save on upfront costs but can cost you more in the long run due to requiring more frequent maintenance and replacements.
Another way to save money on a roof replacement is by doing some work yourself. While we strongly recommend that you leave the installation process to the professionals to abide by building codes and maintain your warranty, you could DIY the removal of your old roof. Just make sure you take the appropriate safety precautions and do your research, as every type of roof is removed a little differently.
Finally, a great tip for achieving a roof replacement on a low budget is to look around for a good deal. Roofing contractors will vary their prices based on their demand or reputation, so take the time to find one in your price range. We recommend getting a quote from at least three contractors before making any decisions.
Mid-range roof replacement in California
With a bit more room in your budget, you’ll have more freedom with your selections and can put more of the workload on professional roofers. You can also opt for one of the mid-range roofing materials, such as architectural-grade shingles. These materials come at a higher cost but will perform better under the hot California sun and provide you with a longer-lasting roof.
A mid-range roof replacement will also see the professionals handle everything from start to finish. This means you won’t have to cut costs by removing and disposing of the roof yourself.
Top-tier roof replacement in California
A high-end roof replacement is where the only thing you are worried about is getting the best roof replacement possible. While you may think this means choosing the most expensive options, that is not always true. The best roofing material depends on several factors, so we suggest listening to the recommendations from your roofing contractor. Once they know that the budget is not so much of a concern, they will be able to identify the best-suited material for your home.
With a high-end roof replacement, you will also be free to choose the roofing contractor with the best reputation and quality of service, regardless of the price. While a highly regarded roofing company will likely cost you more, you can be much more confident in the end result.
3 ways to finance a new roof in California
Home equity loan (HELOC)
One of California's most popular options for financing your roof replacement is a fixed-rate home equity loan or HELOC.
Home equity loans allow homeowners to borrow against the equity they have built in their homes. Your home equity is the difference between the perceived market value of your home and the amount you still owe on your mortgage. In most cases, if you have over 15% equity in your home, you could be eligible for a home equity loan.
The benefits of home equity loans are that they give you access to the fund quickly and provide you with a fixed low-interest rate with lower borrowing costs. However, ensure you can make the monthly repayments, as your home will be used as collateral.
Using an insurance claim to pay for your roof replacement can be a more tricky and challenging method, but it may be worth investigating.
If you’re looking to replace your roof due to its deteriorating condition, financing through an insurance policy will be virtually impossible. This is because homeowners’ insurance companies will rarely cover wear and tear on your roof. If this is your situation, you may not be able to lean on an insurance claim to finance your new roof.
However, if your roof was majorly damaged from a weather-related event, you may have more success making an insurance claim. If your roof has substantial damage from something such as wind or hail, then you should get in contact with your insurance company as soon as possible.
Another option to pay for your roof replacement in California is with a personal loan. To get a personal loan, you can go directly to one of the many lenders offering home improvement loans or through certain roofing contractors who will offer financing options.
While a personal loan can be a great financing option for many homeowners, not everyone will get through the application process. When applying for a personal loan, the lender will look thoroughly into your financial situation. The lender will also run a hard credit history check which may temporarily affect your credit score. After examining your financial position, the lender will decide on your eligibility. You will likely need a credit score above 600 to qualify for a personal loan in California.
If you choose to finance your roof replacement with a personal loan, do your research. Before getting any personal loan, you should review all the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, loan length, and monthly payments. This will ensure you avoid getting stuck in a dangerous or predatory loan.
Other factors to consider
Permits in California
Before you can alter or replace your home’s roof, you are legally obliged to obtain the relevant permits. Permits typically cost between $400 and $1,000 but vary depending on your location.
In almost all cases, your roofing contractor will handle the task of acquiring building permits. However, you should discuss this with your contractor and ensure the permit cost is included in the pricing.
When searching for a roofing contractor, you must check their licensing before looking any deeper into a potential relationship. In California, all roofers must be licensed to perform a roof replacement.
Ensuring your roofer has the proper licensing will protect you, your home, and those working on your roof.
Inspection cost in California
No matter where you live, it is strongly recommended that a roof inspection is conducted once every 3 to 5 years. A professional roof inspection can help you to find faults in your roof layout and allows you to catch problems before they lead to major repairs or a complete roof replacement.
A qualified roof inspector can also provide you with possible measures that can be taken to ensure your roof is capable of withstanding the California climate. The average cost of a roof inspection in California is between $100 to $600.
Replacing your roof in California
If you require a roof replacement or are concerned with the condition of your roof, the first step is getting a roof inspection. A professional will help determine the exact state of your roof and recommend your next course of action, whether it’s minor roof repairs or replacing your entire roof.
If your roof needs a full replacement, you must understand what your roofing options are in California and how they can impact your expenses.
If you’re still looking for more information and want to know exactly what you will pay for a new roof, the next step is to contact local roofing contractors and receive some estimates.