Ask The Maintenance Experts: Roofing Materials Prices Increasing

Published in the ECHO Journal, July 2008

This column addresses specific maintenance concerns that most associations face. Our panel of experts is here to help answer questions you might have. We hope that you will find this page to be informative and—please—Ask The Experts!


With gas prices increasing so fast, what increased costs should I expect for re-roofing my complex?


The answer to this month’s question is provided by Brian Seifert, who heads Roofing Division at Draeger Construction.

As we see the price of gasoline continue to rise as a result of the crude oil price increases, we also see rapid and dramatic increases in the costs for asphalt roofing products, because asphalt is one of many products produced from crude oil. Most roofing products have some asphalt-based product relating to the waterproofing component for the roofing material. In asphalt composition shingle construction both the shingles and the felt underlayment are constructed with asphalt as the key waterproofing component. For both wood shake and tile roofs, the secondary waterproofing layer, the underlayment, is commonly asphalt felt paper. Built-up roofs, modifieds and self-adhered membranes are all asphalt-based products used on low slope (flat) roofs. Although single ply thermoplastic roofs and metal roofs are not asphalt based, prices for these materials have increased as a result of the transportation costs.

So far in 2008 roofing manufacturers and distribution companies have announced material increases of between five and ten percent for each of April 1, June 1 and July 1. In addition, surcharges of $65.00 to $150.00 per load are being added to orders to cover the increase in transportation costs. Our own costs for fuel to transport the roof debris to dump sites and associated other transportation costs are increasing. Additionally, labor prices will increase as the cost of living increases as a result of the fuel prices. The ultimate increase the consumer can expect this summer will be ten to fifteen percent and possibly more by the end of summer. In other words, if a composition re-roof use to cost $3.50 per square foot, it will now cost about $4.00 per square foot.

There is currently no real way to avoid these price increases. However, discounts may be available for volume purchasing; in other words, if you can afford to roof your entire complex instead of phasing the project, some savings can be realized both in material and efficiency costs.

Unfortunately the price of roofing will continue to increase over the foreseeable future. Changes are occurring so rapidly that most contractors can only guarantee their quoted prices for short periods of time, possibly only ten days or less. Therefore, it is important to stay in contact with your contractor or construction manager concerning price changes. If a decision to re-roof is delayed, there is a good chance you will receive a price increase from the one originally quoted. Be aware of this volatility in the market place, and use your experts to help you make the best decision.

Please use this information as a guide. It is recommended that you seek advice from your professional association manager or affiliated service provider. If you have a question for the ECHO maintenance experts, please contact us at the ECHO office via email at or FAX the panel at 408-297-3517.