November 1, 2023

What is a Roofing Square in Measurements?

A common question asked by many new to roofing involves roofing squares – namely, “What is a roofing square in measurements?”

Time to read:
5 Minutes
Written by
Jennifer Cote

A common question asked by many new to roofing involves roofing squares – namely, “What is a roofing square in measurements?” That's probably because it's a term used so often, you can't go very long without encountering it. It's important to speak the same languge as other roofers with this term since roofing squares impact a lot more than you'd think.

While roofing squares can be seen as a simple unit of measurement, it actually has a lot of uses and applications. To help you master the roof square, we're diving into everything you need to know. We're covering:

  • What a roofing square is
  • Its size
  • Why accuracy matters when measuring
  • How to calculate it

What is a square for roofing?

The term roofing square is a measurement used to standardize sizing when talking about roofing. It helps determine the amount of materials to order, roofing project size, duration, and required workforce for a job. It doesn't matter where they're from, when a roofer says "roof square", it means the same thing in every situation.

Don't confuse a this term with a square construction tool. These "squares" are L-shaped tools used to measure straight edges and calculate 90-degree angles. While roofers can use these tools for measuring and cutting sheathing, it isn't used to to measure square footage or size of a roof.

What size is a roof square?

A roofing square is a 10X10 foot area, totalling 100 square feet on a roof. Roofers often refer to it as "one square".

So, if a roofer says that a roof is 30 squares, that means it's 3,000 sq. ft.

Having this standard language simplifies all aspects of the industry; It means that roofers across locations, or different manufacturers of shingles all have one consistent measurement to keep in mind.

It's important to remember that roofing squares doesn't mean literal squares. Once you have your completed measurement of a roof done, you can convert that into roofing squares and order your materials.

Educating homeowners about roofing squares

To help yourself stand out from the competition, explain this form of measurement to homeowners. It will make it easier for them to compare you to any other quotes they get. Plus, it will help them see you as someone that's helping them instead of just selling to them.

If you use this measurement on your quotes, make sure you tell them what it is and don't assume they already know.

Why an accurate roof measurement matters

If you don't have the correct roof square, it can negatively impact your job. You could:

  • Order the incorrect amount of materials.
  • Quote a customer either too high — or too low.
  • Impact the length of the project.
  • Assign too many or too few contractors to the job.

If you struggle with inaccurate measurements, it may be time to swap to a satellite roofing measurement software. This type of software automates a previous manual process and helps you get accurate measurements every time. It also stops roofing contractors from climbing on roofs, which is always great for safety.

Buying materials in roofing squares

When roofing materials are sold, they are packaged based on the amount that will be used in one square. Typically, the following amounts of materials are needed for each one:

  • Three bundles of asphalt shingles (for most styles)
  • Five bundles of wood shakes
  • Four bundles of wood shingles
  • One-half roll of felt
  • One roll of cap sheet
  • Approximately 320 nails

While these numbers may change depending on roof type and the weather conditions of the area, they are generally a good starting point for estimating the cost of materials. Along with labor costs and roof pitch, this measurement will be used to create your total roofing estimate.

How to calculate a roof square

If you are using Roofr, the number of roof squares will be called out on your measurement report.

If you are measuring a roof by hand, you'll want to take a few steps:

  1. Measure each plane on a roof, length and width, by feet. Multiple the two together to get the square footage For example, if a plane measured 27X36 feet, then it would be 972 square feet.
  2. To calculate the square footage of a roof, add the square footage each plane on the roof together.
  3. Take that total square footage and divide it by 100 to find the numbers of roofing squares.
    If the roof has a total square footage of 3,250, then it would have 31.5 squares.

Roofing square foot costs

Roofing costs are generally quoted on a square basis. That price — covering 100 square feet — including labor and materials. Labor costs can vary depending on location, roof size, year, job type, and employment type. Labor costs could range anywhere from $150 - $300+ per square, depending on all these factors.

‍Other things that impact the price per roofing square are:

  • Roofing material
  • Number of shingle layers
  • Existing roofing structure
  • Roof type
  • Location‍

A standard roofing measurement

A universal understanding of this roofing measurement term is what keeps communication clear throughout a project. Whether you're measuring, communicating a roof size to your team, ordering materials, or quoting a customer, it's so important to understand what this measurement means and how to use it. Now that you know, you can measure roofs and quote jobs with confidence.

If you're tired of doing all this work manually and want to let us help you out, try Roofr for free today or book a call with our team. Our satellite measurements calculate roofing square for you within the report.

If you're curious about roofing software and want to learn more, our blog can help: What is Roofing Software and How Will It Benefit Your Business?

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