Replacing Your Church Roof: What Leaders Need to Know

Commercial | December 27, 2021  | By: John Esh

You’ve discovered that your church roof is leaking. Or maybe you’re working on next year’s maintenance budget. 

Maybe you don’t have records of what’s been done on the roof, and you need help determining its condition. 

What goes into church roof repairs and replacements, and what factors can help you determine what’s needed? 

We’ve put together a list of considerations to help trustees and other church leaders determine a course of action for their church roof. Knowing these facts will help you choose who to call and what questions to ask of a roofing contractor.

GAF shingled roof replacement for a church building done by Joyland Roofing

What determines whether you should replace or repair your church roof?


Material and roof type of current system (material type, roof type)

Firstly, you need to know the type of roof system currently in use. This is important because roofing contractors specialize in different types of roofing systems. Meaning, one roofer that does slate roofing may not have experience with shingles or metal, and vice versa. 

The same is true in regards to the type of roof structure. A flat or low-sloped roof requires an entirely different approach than a steep-sloped roof. And quite often, roofing contractors specialize in one type or the other.


Age of the current roof

The type of roof material determines the longevity of the system. A good slate roof can last 150 years or more, whereas cheaper roofing materials such as asphalt shingles typically have a lifespan of 25-40 years.

missing piece of slate was replaced on a church by joyland roofing

Condition of current roof

It’s helpful for a roofing contractor to know what kinds of repairs have been done to the current roof system over the years. If you have any records regarding such repairs, now is the time to pull them out and have your contractor review them. Your roofing contractor will want to know the history of any leaks you have. How long have they been present? What attempts have been made to fix them?


Thinking long-term instead of short term

Church buildings are multi-generational structures built to last and withstand the test of time. As such, you need to approach the question of maintenance with this perspective in mind. Materials that might make sense on a house may not be the best choice for a church. 

Over the lifetime of the building, a shingle roof may be replaced 6 or 8 times. A metal roof would likely last 2-3 times longer than a shingle roof, and slate even longer than that. 

More potential problems and money in repairs

A roof leak that damages the interior of a church may end up costing much more than a similar leak in a home. Repair costs for interior damage mount quickly due to high ceilings, preservation of interior designs and decorations, and so forth. 

Because of this, it is important to have a roof that is properly maintained, and replaced before leaks occur.

So when planning a roof replacement, think about what the best choice will be in light of the lifetime of the building. 


What is your budget?

Price is always a big factor in deciding what kind of roof to install. The price per square foot of roof area varies tremendously depending on factors such as the roof pitch, size, types of materials, complexity, and more. 

That being said, replacing a church roof isn’t a small fee. On the low end, it may be $5-$8 per square foot to replace an existing asphalt shingle roof with new asphalt shingles on a walkable pitched roof. While on the upper end, you can expect $25-$30 and more per square foot to replace a steep, complex roof with slate.


Will you be able to file an insurance claim?

If there has been a wind or hail storm within the last year, it is advisable to have an experienced, HAAG certified roofer assess the existing roof for storm damage. It’s important to understand you may be eligible for storm damage insurance because it could lead to a full replacement covered by insurance. 


Replacing Your Church Roof:

Best Materials to Consider for Roof Replacementroof repair work and replacement on church completed by joyland roofing

In terms of longevity, steep-slope roof materials can be listed as follows, from longest lifespan to shortest:

  1. Slate 
  2. Copper metal
  3. Synthetic slate and other composite materials
  4. Standing seam metal
  5. Asphalt shingles

If your church building is historic, you should consider slate and copper. A material that offers excellent aesthetic appeal at a good price is standing seam metal roofing. This material can last for 40-60 years, and can often be coated or repainted in the future instead of replaced. 

While an asphalt shingle roof won’t last 60 years, it may still be a consideration and is a good option when cost is a strong factor. Asphalt shingles are typically warranted by the manufacturer for up to 40 years for commercial applications. 


How to find the right roofing contractor:

  • Experience on similar projects

It’s comforting to work with a roofing contractor that has worked on church roofs before. They will be aware of what it’s like to work with church leaders and trustees. It’s also important they have experience with the type of roof material chosen!

  • Thoroughness of inspection and consultation

Identifying and producing a long-term solution for the church’s roof is critical. From the first conversation with your sales consultant to the on-roof inspection to the final project quote, there should be no part of the system unaccounted for. 

  • Communication frequency and style

Contractors have a bad reputation for not keeping the client updated in the process. Make sure to select a roofing company that is open, honest, and consistent with you before, during, and while finishing the roofing project.

  • Warranties

You’ll want to work with a roofing contractor that can offer both workmanship and material warranties. This means the roofers trust their work. The material manufacturers trust their product and they trust the roofers to correctly install their materials.

  • Online ratings

Read others’ experiences with the roofers. Look at reviews across the web like on Google, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau.

  • Capability (ability to get the job done quickly, on budget, etc)

Since March 2020, building materials have been and still are challenging to source. The type of roof you want to install and the schedule of the roofing contractor you select will affect how long it’ll take to complete your church’s roofing project.


Consider Talking to Joyland Roofing

We want to make the roof replacement stress-free for you and you church leaders. We have repaired and replaced asphalt shingles, slate, and rubber for churches in southeastern PA region.

We’d love to provide you with a free estimate!


        Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258