What is a Roofing Square?

A roofing square is a term used by contractors, roofing manufacturers, and shingle suppliers to describe a specific amount of roofing materials or the size of a roof. A roofing square is a 10×10 section of the roof, which equals 100 square feet.

When you need to order roofing material (or when your contractor does this for you), the supplier must know the number of roofing squares to provide adequate material. For example, a roof with 1,500 square feet of surface will require 15 squares of material.

Roofing Square

How to Determine Roofing Squares (Or Roof Square Footage)

While you probably know the square footage of your home, it doesn’t translate to the square footage of your roof. Depending on your roof’s design, slope, and dormers, the roof will have more square footage than the home’s first floor. Here’s how to figure it out.

Step 1: Break Your Roof Down Into Sections

Unless your roof is a perfect square with four equal sizes, you must break it down into easy-to-measure sections. Before getting on the roof, make sure you have safety harnesses and take all necessary safety precautions. You’ll also need a partner to help you measure.

Break your roof down into square or rectangular sections, and measure the length and width of each section in feet. Make sure to measure any dormers, as well. 

Step 2: Multiply the length by Width to Determine the Square Footage of Each Section

Now that you have the measurements for each section multiply the length by the width and write it down. Once you have all individual square footage written down, add them together. The result is your total roof’s square footage.

Step 3: Divide the Square Footage by 100 To Determine Number of Roof Squares

Divide the total square footage by 100 to determine the number of roof squares you need. Always round your measurements up to ensure you have enough material for the job.

How to Estimate Roof Square Footage from the Ground

A roofing contractor can give you the best and most accurate roof measurement. However, if you want a basic idea of your roof’s square footage or the number of roofing squares you need, you can use this equation for an estimate.

(Length X Width ft.) Roof’s Pitch Factor

Step 1: Measure the length x Width of Your Home

Measure the length and width of your home in feet and multiply those numbers by one another.

Step 2: Measure Square Footage by the Roof’s Pitch

The higher the roof pitch, the more materials needed. Multiply the figure from the first step by your roof’s estimated pitch for total square footage.

Roof pitch factor based on slope:

  • Low-sloped roofs (like a hip roof): 1.4
  • Medium sloped roofs: 1.6
  • High-pitched or complex roofs: 1.8

For example, if your home measured 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, you’d multiply 60 x 30 for a 1,800 square-foot footprint. If you have a high-pitched gable roof with dormers, you’d use the 1.8 roof pitch factor.

1,800 x 1.8 = 3,240 square feet

Step 3: Divide by 100 for Roofing Squares

To determine the roofing squares, divide the total square footage by 100. In our example, a roof with 3,240 square feet of surface equals 32.4 roofing squares.

What are the Average Material Costs per Roofing Square?

The average cost for a roofing square depends on the material and your location. Expect to pay the following:

  • 3-tab asphalt shingles: $80-$130
  • Dimensional asphalt shingles: $100 – $250
  • Metal roofing: $100-$800
  • Cedar shake: $300-$700

These averages are for material only and don’t include installation. Installation costs will vary depending on the slope of your roof, condition, and locality.

How Many Bundles of Shingles Are in One Square?

There are three bundles of asphalt shingles in one square. Each bundle contains enough shingles to cover a 32.8-square-foot section of the roof.

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