If you’re planning to install a new roof or replace your existing one, understanding the costs involved is crucial. One significant aspect of roofing expenses is the cost of labor, specifically, how much it costs to install a square of shingles. In this blog, we’ll break down this cost, providing you with a clear picture of what to expect.

Understanding the Basics

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s clarify what we mean by a “square” in roofing. In roofing lingo, a square is a unit of measurement equivalent to 100 square feet (10 feet by 10 feet) of roofing material. This standardization makes it easier to estimate and compare costs.

Factors Affecting Labor Costs

Labor costs for shingle installation can vary significantly based on several factors:

1. Geographic Location

The cost of labor varies from one region to another. In areas with a higher cost of living, labor rates tend to be higher. Conversely, in more rural or economically affordable areas, labor costs may be lower.

2. Roof Complexity

The complexity of your roof plays a role in labor costs. A simple, gable roof is generally easier and faster to install than a roof with multiple angles, hips, valleys, and dormers. The more complex your roof, the more labor-intensive the installation becomes.

3. Roof Pitch

Roof pitch, or slope, also affects labor costs. Steeper roofs can be more challenging to work on and may require additional safety measures, increasing labor expenses.

4. Tear-Off and Prep Work

If your old roof needs to be removed (tear-off) or if there are repairs or preparations required, this will add to the labor costs. Ensuring the roof deck is in good condition is crucial before installing new shingles.

5. Roofing Material

The type of shingles you choose can impact labor costs. For example, architectural or premium shingles might take longer to install than standard 3-tab shingles.

Example Labor Costs

To provide you with a rough estimate, let’s consider an average scenario:

  • Geographic Location: We’ll assume you’re in a moderately priced area with labor rates of around $50 to $75 per hour per worker.
  • Roof Complexity: We’ll consider a moderately complex roof that’s neither too simple nor too intricate.
  • Roof Pitch: A moderately pitched roof, not too steep or shallow.
  • Tear-Off and Prep: No major repairs needed; the roof deck is in good condition.
  • Roofing Material: Standard 3-tab asphalt shingles.

Under these conditions, labor costs for installing a square of shingles (100 square feet) might range from $250 to $375. Keep in mind that this is a ballpark estimate, and actual costs may vary.


When planning a roofing project, it’s essential to account for labor costs as they can make up a significant portion of your expenses. To get an accurate estimate for your specific project, it’s best to contact local roofing contractors who can provide you with quotes tailored to your needs and location. Additionally, consider other costs such as materials, permits, and any potential roof deck repairs to get a comprehensive view of your roofing budget.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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