Roof Framing Cost Per Square Foot Guide

Roof Framing Cost Per Square Foot Guide

If you’re here reading this, then you’re probably trying to find out roof framing cost per square foot. Whether it’s building a new home or renovating an existing property, framing is a big part of any roofing project, and you’ll want to get it right. 

Most people need a quote on roof framing because they’re putting on an addition, building a new custom home, or trying to reframe an older roof to make adjustments for height or add weight capacity for a heavier roof material. 

Cost is always a consideration – you want to know that you’re getting a fair shake, but just know that it’s not the only thing to base your decision on. Finding the right contractor that can meet your timeline and deliver the quality you expect at the right prices is the sweet spot.  

If you’re starting to learn about roofs – either with a view to replacing or repairing your own home’s or just to know a little bit more about how the construction process works, then you’re in the right place.

Before you can start thinking about tiling or waterproofing a finished roof, you’ve got to get there in the first place. And you’ll normally start with roof framing. In this article, we’re going to look at the roof framing cost per square foot framing, as well as drilling down on how much it really costs to frame a roof, and what can affect this cost.

So, let’s have a look…

Roof Framing Cost per Square Foot – What Is Roof Framing?

Roof framing is building the first frame construction that the rest of your roof sits on. The frames usually make out the shape of your roof, and unless you’re having a flat roof installed, you’ll need a frame before you can move onto the next building stage. 

Hiring a contractor is always an important decision. The right contractor makes life easy. Not-so-great contractors end up making your life miserable and costing you a lot of money – both something that you want to avoid. 

As you can imagine, roof framing costs will vary based on materials, project size, any special custom requests, and other considerations. We’ll dive into the details in a moment. 

In general, though, just know that what we’re giving you here today is a ballpark figure to help you get started making calls around town or talking through your project ideas with selected companies. 

First, however, you probably want to know a bit more about the roof framing process itself. Then we can get into why things cost what they do.

While most roofs might look similar from a distance, they generally come in five different shapes these days. They are:

  • Gable
  • Hip
  • Gambrel
  • Mansard
  • Shed 

Each type of roof has its own construction issues and will normally require a skilled carpenter to design and carry out. As you interview or research companies in your area, take a look at their portfolios to see if they’ve done anything similar to what you have in mind. 


Roof frames are typically made out of wood. Specialty shops with years of experience make them because they require precision and durability. Remember, modern roofs are designed to carry thousands of pounds of roofing weight on them depending on what material you choose. 

This basic set of shapes is usually enough to accommodate design flourishes in the form of trusses and dormers are becoming increasingly popular to add a bit of flair and personality to your roof finish.

Not all of these need to be constructed on-site by a carpenter. You can order trusses built in a factory and delivered to your build site. They may need additional help to install once on-site.

Some of these roof types will require experienced carpentry and roofing work. However, a couple of the design types, specifically shed and common gable are slightly easier to install and could even be carried out on a DIY basis.

But only if you’ve got the right level of skill and experience. Even if you decide to hire out an external roofer or carpenter – these will obviously be the two cheapest types of roofs to have installed, as they are the most straightforward in design.

What Are the Benefits of Roof Framing?

Unless you want a flat roof, you’ll need a framing. The level of complexity is up to you, and will affect the roof framing cost per square foot. But flat roofs aren’t recommended for residential dwellings. Water buildup can lead to leaks and damp, a pitched roof might even be required by planners in your area.

Depending on what the building laws are like where you are, you might have the option to go for a cheaper or more complex roof. In certain locations, roofs might have to fit those in your neighborhood, which could prohibit your options.

Let’s explore some of the benefits of roof framing.

  1. The Design Looks Great

With high-quality framing, you get that quintessential home look. A well-built framed roof looks amazing and will increase your property value if you ever decide to sell. Depending on what material you put on your framing, you can influence the aesthetic of your home a great deal.

   2. Framed Roofs Improve Performance

With a standard framed roof, you’re more likely to enjoy better long-term performance. That means fewer expensive repairs over the lifespan of your roof, and less impact from storms and other bad weather effects. 

   3. Lower Utility Costs

Done right, a framed roof offers enough room in your attic to facilitate better indoor temperatures. Things stay warmer when you want them warm, and air moves through your attic to keep things cool in the summers. It’s also easier on the wallet when you have good roof framing. 

   4. Fast Installation

These days, most homes come with standing framing dimensions in mind. This makes sourcing and procuring materials much easier because companies can make them faster versus doing a ton of custom jobs for each customer. 

   5. Better Load management

Quality roof framing reduces the load on your walls, meaning you enjoy greater structural integrity at home or whatever property you’re working on. 

How Much Does Roof Framing Cost per Square Foot and in General?

As you’ve probably already gathered, the cost of framing a roof can vary quite a lot. We’ll have a look a bit more closely at exactly what affects the cost of framing a roof in a minute, but things like materials and shape obviously play a factor.

General estimates for most roofs are around $9,000 to $13,500 for a 1,500 square foot roof. That comes out at about $6 to $9 per square foot. Lower estimates come in around around $4 per square foot for the simplest and easiest-to-install roofing options. A high estimate could run up to about $12 per square foot for the most complex of roofs in the most expensive areas, or $18,000 for a 1,500 square foot roof.

What Can Affect the Cost of Framing Your Roof?

As you can see, these estimates present quite a spectrum in price. In fact, the most expensive roofing option comes out at 3 times the cheapest. So what affects this cost difference?

Firstly, regardless of your roof type or size, location will play a role. Some areas are simply cheaper, and some are more expensive – as you probably already know. While this might often correlate with more expensive real estate areas and places with much higher property costs and average earnings, it isn’t always that straightforward.

Some locations might simply have an oversupply of roofing companies or roofing options, all competing for your business. This can drive down costs considerably in comparison to areas where your options might be limited.

Other than location, another huge factor is the shape of roof you want. Gable and shed roofs are considered the easiest to build, and are therefore the cheapest. More complicated roof designs will take longer and also cost more. Adding things like trusses and other design options can also increase the cost considerably.

While all roofs will need to be framed with strong and durable wood, you can also choose to spend a bit more here if you want to.

How to Reduce Roof Framing Costs per Square Foot

If you can do it safely and properly, the absolute cheapest way to frame your roof is to do it yourself. This will be easier with a shed roof or on a small home, of course. In general, hiring a professional framing company is the way to go unless you’ve got several complex projects under your belt. There is simply too much at stake here. 

If you decide to use a professional, you can also reduce costs by getting cheaper designs and using slightly cheaper materials. Obviously, the smaller your roof, the lower the overall cost will be – so this could be a factor as well. 

Choosing the Right Framing Company

Take a look at some of the most highly-rated framing companies in your area. Read their reviews and learn what others’ experience was. Call multiple contractors and have them come and give you an estimate. Weigh how you feel dealing with them and the price to make the best decision.