When Do I Need a Roofing Permit?

man working on roof braces

Obtaining a roofing permit is a vital step in the process of any major roofing project. The types of permits required for different renovation and construction projects vary from state-to-state. We'll outline average prices, the permitting process, and what could happen if you fail to obtain one.

Roofing permits 101

Your roofing contractor should obtain the permit for you, usually from the local city or township hall.

Every location is different in terms of what types of permits are required for different renovation and construction projects.

The average cost of a standard demolition permit is $430. They may cost as little as $250 for a small repair job or as high as $500 for major construction work on a large home.

Because roof renovations usually involve some form of demolition (tearing off old materials), the demolition price model remains relatively accurate.

In general, permit costs are based on the size, type, and scope of the project. It’s typical for permits to cost around $0.79 a square foot for new construction. Homeowners can expect permits to cost between $200 and $500 on average.

When do I need a roofing permit?

Permits are generally required for new roofs, roof replacements, and major repair work. However, each city has its own list of construction and renovation projects that require a permit.

Most cities do not require permits for minor roofing repairs on projects less than 100 square feet. Roofing permits for single-family homes usually don’t require a plan review and are expedited through the process.

Most cities will require a permit for the following roofing projects:

Roofing Project Cost of Permit
New Roof Construction $0.79 per square foot
New Green Roof Construction $0.59 per square foot
Roof Repairs and Renovations $250 - $500 depending on the size of the project
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to permit pricing except that you’ll almost always need one for a serious roof project. A respected contractor will take care of the process for you, but the cost of the permit will likely be reflected in the overall budget.

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Why are permits required?

Cities require building permits for a number of reasons, but their primary concern is public health and safety as well as proper construction practices.

If a roof is not installed correctly, it could leak or fail prematurely.

Failing to follow proper construction practices could lead to confusion for future contractors as well as instill hesitation among future buyers. Worse, it could even collapse, endangering the lives of homeowners and their family members.


How to obtain a permit

signing paperwork

Your roofing contractor should obtain the proper permits for you. But if you’re performing serious roof work yourself, you’ll have to file the necessary paperwork. In order to do so:

  • Go online, call, or personally visit your local town or city hall to find out what permits are necessary, if any, to properly do the job.
  • File detailed plans for the work you wish to accomplish. Include what types of materials will be used, how long it should take, the total cost, and when you’d like to start and end the project.
  • Pay the permit fee.

Once the permit has been approved and processed, the project needs to be completed by the timeline outlined therein. Extensions can be obtained but at extra costs. An inspection of the completed project should take place to make sure it meets proper building codes. Once the project passes inspection, the permit is deemed closed.

Failing to get a permit

If your contractor fails to file a permit or you proceed with the work yourself without getting one, and the city catches word of it, a fine might be issued to the contractor, the homeowner, or both. Fines for failing to obtain the right permit may reach up to $500.

While it’s unlikely the city will catch word of roofing renovations going on without a proper permit, it creates further problems down the road.

Selling a home that’s been renovated without meeting building code standards is difficult, and some banks and insurance companies won’t issue loans or insurance without the proper permit paperwork. So while you may be saving money in the short term by failing to get a permit, you’ll end up paying more down the road.

Find the best roofer for the job

Navigating the permit process can be a tricky business. With the right roofing contractor, you shouldn't have to deal with any applications, fees, or local red tape.

An experienced professional will take care of the process for you. Hometown Roofing Contractors makes it easy to find affordable roofers who deliver quality results. Customers can find licensed roofers familiar with the permit process, request quotes from different companies to find the most competitive rate, and see how other customers have to say about their experience.

Find a qualified roofing contractor near you