How to Measure a Roof Yourself to Get an Accurate Quote


Home DIY : Measuring a Roof Yourself to Get an Accurate Quote

There’s perhaps nothing a Dallas / Ft. Worth contractor dreads more (except for not getting paid) than a potential customer calling up and asking “how much to build a garage” or “what would it cost to remodel my basement”? There’s simply too many details that go into any contracting project for it to be fair to the customer or the builder to give a rough quote over the phone.

Along those same lines of common projects with almost unlimited variables is putting a new roof on your house. Factors such as how many layers of shingles underneath need to be torn off, the condition of the plywood sheeting, and the type of new shingles being installed all change the estimate of a new roof. For somebody with a roof leaking into the house, time is of the essence and you might not be able to wait for a contractor to get to your home, measure the roof, and draw up the bid. One way you can narrow down prospective roofing companies is by measuring your own roof with these steps and asking for a quote based on your exact square footage and design.

Know Your Roof Type

There are three main types of roofs common on most of the homes in the Dallas area. There is the one-plained square or rectangle shed roofs that can be measured up in seconds. Another common roof is the gable which goes up one side, meets in a triangle, and then slopes down the back side. These are also easy to measure but involve a little bit of adding for the total square foot. Hip roofs are the third type and are a little trickier because they feature four triangle-typed shapes that angle up towards a central peak.

Get a Friend, Get On the Roof, and Measure

The first way to measure your roof involves physically climbing up with your tape and taking down the measurements. Roofs are measured in square foot so if you had a simple rectangle shed that was 12′ x 12′ you’d have 144 square feet you need shingled. Finding the square footage of a gable roof works in much of the same way, if the two plains are both 15′ X 30′ you’d have 450 square feet on both sides, or 900 square feet total.

Hip roofs require some geometric calculating to get the proper square footage. Generally hip roofs feature two trapezoids and two triangles. To calculate the area of a trapezoid you add the length of the bottom base plus the length of the top base and multiply it by the height. You take that number and divide it by 2 to get the area of one trapezoid base. The area of a triangle is calculated by taking the base multiplied by the height and dividing by two. Hip roof square footage is then figured by adding all the sides together.

Make a Blueprint and Calculate Roofing Square

If you’ve seen a majority of homes in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, you’ll know that the roofs are very rarely one type of the other. You could have a hip roof with a gable dormer coming out of it in a number of different geometric shapes. The best plan of attack is to break the roof down into individual shapes and sections meaning you’ll calculate all the rectangle parts then add and subtract trapezoid or triangle areas as needed.

Once you’ve created a blueprint and calculated the total square footage, you need to convert that into roofing square. A roofing square is 100 square feet this means that if the total area of your roof after adding together all the plains was 2000 square feet, you’d divide that by 100 to need 20 square of shingles.

It’s important to remember to use proper safety precautions while climbing around your roof and if it’s too steep or you’re not comfortable with heights estimates can be taken from the ground. Once you’ve figured out how big in square footage and roofing square you need replaced you can call around in detail to get a more accurate bid for your project. 

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