What is a Roofing Square? Homeowners Guide

by | Apr 26, 2021 | Roofing Square

If you’ve decided to replace your roof and are trying to estimate the amount of tiles, shingles, or other roofing supplies you’ll need, then you may have heard the term roofing square. Here’s everything you need to know about a roofing square and how you can use it to calculate the roofing materials you’ll need. 

What Is a Roofing Square?

The term roofing square is a measurement unit, but it doesn’t refer to square feet, meters, or yards. It’s equivalent to roughly 100 square feet and is often used by contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers as a shorthand to describe a roof’s size and calculate the amount of materials needed for roofing projects. For example, a 1,800 square foot roof is 18 square. A roofing square provides a standardized measurement no matter the shape or layout of the roof. For example, one square. 4′ x 25 ‘is equal to one square, and 10′ x 10’ is also equal to 100 square feet.

Measuring Roofing Squares

If you need to measure the number of roofing squares has, you will divide the roof’s total square footage by a hundred. But the calculation isn’t as simple as that. You’ll also need to know the roof slope and your roof’s planes’ size to account for headlap. This refers to the overlap of a row of shingles on top of the next row, which helps protect against water penetration. That’s why in most cases, one square of roofing is not 100 square feet exactly but is enough to cover 100 square feet of roofing care. 

Measuring Your Roof

The first step to calculating your roof size is to know exactly how big your roof is. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a tape measure, sturdy ladder, a notebook, and pencil, to get onto your roof and measure it safely. Measure the width and length of each plane of your roof and find each plane’s area by multiplying the width and length. Your roof may have more than two planes if it has features like dormers, valleys, covered porches, protruding garages, or skylights. Then add all the area totals together to get the total roof square footage. You can then use an online converter to convert the square footage into squares.

Accounting for Pitch

You’ll also need to know your roof pitch to get the actual measurements and, from that, an accurate estimate. To calculate your roof pitch, you need to know the rise (roof height, from the peak of the roof where the planes meet to the top of the wall) and the run (the distance between the roof peak or ridge and the roof plate) of your roof. The higher your roof pitch, the extra materials you’ll need to cover your roof effectively.

How Much Material is Needed?

The general rule of thumb is to order 15% extra to ensure you have enough materials to cover your roof entirely and cover any waste. The amount of roofing materials you’ll need will vary depending on the type of roofing material. For example, three bundles of tiles can cover 1 roofing square, while clay tiles can range from 80-100 per square. But tiles vary in size, so there can be a big difference in how many pieces will fill one square on your roof. 

What’s The Cost Per Roofing Square?

The cost per roofing square depends on the materials you choose to use for your roof. If you’re installing shingles, it may costanywhere between $300 and $450 per square, but tiles usually cost more.

What Affects The Cost?

Time of year can affect the total cost of your roof installation. For example, if you’re getting your roof replaced during the off-season, it may be less expensive. But other factors can also affect the cost per square. These may include:

  • Materials used: Each roofing material has different qualities which affect the cost. For example, shingles are cheaper than tiles. 
  • Size of the roof: The larger the roof, the more materials you need and the more labor involved.
  • Roof pitch: A steep roof makes installation more difficult 
  • Access to the roof: If your roof is difficult to access; it can increase the labor and time involved, raising the installation price.
  • Warranty: If your roof is under warranty, you may have a discounted price. When purchasing a warranty, remember that you get what you pay for — a cheap warranty may not cover much or last as long. 
  • Removing old material: If you’re replacing your roof, the installers will have to remove old roofing material before laying the new tiles or shingles, resulting in additional labor that will increase your roof installation cost. 

Call The Roofing Professionals

If you’re considering having your roof replaced or need a new roof installation, the experts at AWS Roofing would love to help. We will walk you through your roof installation or re-roofing experience. Contact us today for a free estimate!

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