What to Consider for Your New Roof Line

What to Consider for Your New Roof Line

Whether you’re putting the roof on a new home, having your current roof replaced, or just getting some repairs done, one thing that you’re going to need to put some thought into is the roof line. What’s a roof line? It’s the supporting structure around the house at the edges of the roof that consists of the fascia, soffits, bargeboards, cladding, dry verge and, in many cases, gutters.

If those words sound like another language to you, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Talk to your roofing professional for an in-depth description of what each one does and how they work together. All you really need to know to get started in thinking about adding a roof line is that it holds up gutters, covers rafters, keeps animals and the elements from getting into your roof while allowing for ventilation, and acts as a finish between roof tiles or shingles and the edge of the eaves.

Roof lines are an important part of the roof structure, and there are several things that you should think about before adding one to your home.

What colors will mesh best with your roof and home? Most people tend to like the dry verge to match their roof fairly closely, and many decide to go with the exact same color they use for their gutters. Soffits, bargeboards, cladding, and fascia, however, are often comprised of colors that contrast with the roof and exterior walls of the home. For example, a house of red-brown brick with a red roof might have a white roof line (excluding the dry verge, of course).

How much area do you need to cover? Roofers can give you numbers, which helps when you’re trying to calculate the expense. But most people also like to be able to visualize how much space their roof line is going to take up and see how much of it is going to be truly visible. One of the best ways to do this is to have a site plan created for your house so that you can pencil in ideas and get an idea of what your house will look like after the roof line is added.

Do you prefer wood or synthetic material? Roof lines were traditionally made out of wood, but in recent years synthetic materials such as plastic and aluminum have actually become more popular. Why? Because wooden roof lines require far more maintenance (including yearly repainting) and will need to be replaced if they rot. Synthetic materials don’t have these issues. However, some people still prefer wood because they like the look of it better. Ask your roofer to show you samples of different kinds of materials so that you can make an educated decision. 

The Complete Cost of Changing a Roof Line

Is your home starting to feel small? Has your family outgrown your current one? Maybe you have an elderly parent you would like to live with you but don’t have enough space available. Maybe you could just use more storage but don’t have space outside to build a storage shed.

Is moving your only option? The very thought might even make your head spin.

What if you remodeled your home instead? Even if you don’t have space on the ground, you can raise the roof to add a full or partial story to your home. Let’s take a look at the cost to raise a roof. 

Are you interested in adding a pool or extending your driveway? Check out MySitePlan for an affordable site plan.

Reasons for Changing the Roof Line or Raising the Roof

old home with roof falling apart

First of all, let’s look at why people choose to raise the roof or change the roofline. Common reasons include:

  • The home doesn’t meet your family’s needs, but you still love the location
  • Remodeling the home would be cheaper than moving (i.e. realtor fees to sell, moving expenses, etc.)
  • You want to add your own unique character to the home
  • The home’s low slope or flat roof is having problems with leaks

There are a few different methods for raising the roof. You might raise the entire roof to add another story or expand on your attic space. You can change the pitch of the roof for aesthetic purposes or to avoid leaks. Finally, you can add interesting elements like dormer windows (which also creates a little more usable space) to add a unique touch to the home.


The Cost to Raise a Roof and ROI

Let’s start with the cost of raising the entire roof. You may do this to add a new story or simply raise the ceiling. Some older homes have 7-foot ceilings and today’s typical ceilings around between 9 and 12 feet. 

Obviously, it will cost more to add a whole new story, but let’s give you some estimates to work with.

Costs of Planning and Permits to Raise a Roof

Even though you own your home, you’ll still need a permit to raise the roof. This is to ensure that the work is planned and completed to meet safety and structural regulations. You’ll need:

  • To have an engineer or architect draw up plans for the new walls: $250-$700
  • To create a site plan detailing the changes that you can submit to your local building or development department, and possibly your HOA for approval: $99-$159
  • A building permit. The cost will vary depending on what the permit covers: $450-$1500

Once you have secured your permits, the work can begin. It starts with removing the old roof.

If your current roof is newer or still in really good shape you may be able to save some of the materials. This will cost more to remove but will lower your new construction costs.

  • Remove the roof and dispose of it $4-$7 per square foot
  • Remove the roof and preserve materials for reuse $6-$12 per square foot

The home is now exposed to the elements so the new walls must go up quickly. Plan to spend $14-$22 per square foot. Any elements such as chimneys, vents, and stacks must be extended as well. 

Then the new roof goes on and the new exterior walls get siding $15.00-$18.00 per square foot.

Cost of Finishing the Interior

The cost of finishing the interior will depend on how fancy you want to get. Basic drywall is cheaper than adding windows or decorative elements. Plan on $5-$16 per square foot.

After all this, what’s your ROI? If you’re raising the roof just to heighten your ceiling, you’ll get a fairly low ROI of around 47%-53%. If you’re adding a new story, expect an ROI of around 70%, depending on how you finish it. For example, a guest apartment gets a higher ROI than a bonus room.

person holding a stack of hundred dollar bills

The Cost and ROI to Increase the Pitch of Your Roof 

Increasing the pitch of your roof incurs many of the same costs. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Engineer or architect fees: $250-$500
  • Site plan: $99-$159
  • Building permit: $450-$1,000
  • Remove the old roof: $5-$8 per square foot
  • Extend gable walls: $14-$22 per square foot
  • Build the new roof structure: $16-$22 per square foot
  • Install new roof and siding: $15-$18 per square foot
  • Finish the interior of the gable walls: $5-$16 per square foot

Increasing the pitch does wonders for improving the aesthetic of a boring, flat-roofed home. It also improves the home’s structure and reduces the potential for leaks. However, overall the ROI isn’t that amazing. Expect only around 50%-54% for a project like this.

Are you thinking about remodeling your home? First, you need to get a floor plan before getting a permit. Contact us for a custom quote! 

The Cost and ROI of Dormer Windows

Adding dormer windows is an excellent way to create more usable space without raising the entire roof. This is most practical when you already have a small attic that you can extend out with dormers and create a kid’s play area or small office with lots of natural light. 

The project is less extensive, helping to keep the costs down. You’ll still need plans from an engineer or architect $250-$500 and the building permit $450-$1,000.

Aside from that calculate:

  • Removing the portion of the roof and cutting the roof deck: $3-$4 per square foot
  • Framing the dormer: $19-$32 per square foot
  • Installing the siding and new roof: $15-$20 per square foot 
  • Finishing the inside: $50-$110 

While dormers are less expensive overall and add some usable space, which is better for ROI, it doesn’t add much. The ROI for this project is still quite modest at around 52%-58%.


modern home with outdoor lamps turned on

MySitePlan Can Help with Building Permits

Ready to get started on your project? MySitePlan can help you get the site plan you need to submit to your building department to get the go-ahead for your project and keep your cost to raise a roof low. 

Our service is fast (you’ll get a plan for review within 24 hours!) and comes with guaranteed acceptance. Just ensure that your building department doesn’t require that the plan is drafted by a surveyor, engineer or architect as our plans are uncertified. Contact us today to get started!



FAQ Answer
What are the most cost-effective materials for a roof line? Synthetic materials such as plastic and aluminum are generally more cost-effective for a roof line. They require less maintenance and are durable against weather conditions, reducing long-term costs compared to traditional wood.
How often should I inspect my roof line for maintenance needs? It's advisable to inspect your roof line at least twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. This helps identify any potential issues such as cracks, rot, or loose components early, allowing for timely repairs that can prevent more significant damage.
Can changing my roof line improve my home's energy efficiency? Yes, updating your roof line can improve energy efficiency, especially if you include installing soffits that allow for better attic ventilation, reducing overheating in summer and moisture accumulation in winter. Choosing the right materials can also add insulation properties to your roof.
What is the best color match for my roof line relative to my home’s exterior? Typically, the dry verge should closely match the color of your roof tiles for a cohesive look, while soffits, fascia, and bargeboards can be selected in contrasting colors that complement the main color scheme of your home's exterior. This approach not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also defines the architectural details of your home.
Is it necessary to hire a professional for installing or modifying a roof line? While some DIY enthusiasts might handle basic repairs, significant modifications or installations such as changing the structural elements or materials are best handled by professionals. This ensures the work complies with local building codes and safety standards. Professionals can also provide valuable insights into material choices and design considerations.
How does adding dormer windows affect the structural integrity of my roof? Adding dormer windows involves cutting into the roof structure, which can affect its integrity if not done correctly. It's crucial to work with a qualified architect or structural engineer to ensure that the roof's strength is maintained and that the addition complies with all building regulations. Properly designed and installed dormer windows should not compromise the structural integrity of the roof.

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  • Ryan Crownholm