Lorain School Spray Polyurethane Foam Roof

How Much Will a New Roof for a School Cost?

Greg PalyaSpray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

The average school roof will cost between $5 and $20 per square foot.

Here are some variables that will sway a project toward $5 or $20:

  • Amount of wet or saturated insulation
  • R-value desired
  • Warranty length
  • Choice of roofing system

And so you’re aware, West Roofing Systems has been in commercial roofing since 1979. One of our main vertical markets is schools. Many schools choose the roofing systems we offer (spray polyurethane foam or silicone roof coating systems) because they are seamless, minimize tear-off, grant a new 10-20-year warranty, and reduce future energy costs.

Let’s get into the variables that influence the cost of a school roof.

Amount of wet or saturated insulation

No roof should ever be installed over wet or saturated insulation. The existing water can evaporate and damage the new roof. The water can travel down and make its way to the deck. Or it can stay trapped in the insulation and possibly produce mold.

Before a new roof is installed, core samples or an infrared inspection should be used to determine wet insulation.

This can be 0% of a roof or 25% of a roof. 

Removing wet insulation requires:

  • labor hours to remove the damaged areas
  • transportation costs to the landfill
  • landfill costs
  • the cost of purchasing new materials
  • and the labor hours to install the new material
EPDM roof renewed with silicone coating

R-value desired

Schools have tremendous heat and cooling costs. A great way to reduce these costs is to improve the roofing system’s R-value.

R-value is a measurement displaying a material’s ability to prevent heat or cool air from going through them. 

The higher the R-value, the less air passes through them, and the less your HVAC units need to pump new air.

More R-value requires more products to be installed.

On single-ply roofs, R-value is created with polyiso board.

On spray foam roofs, R-value is created by the product itself. 

Warranty length

Since we don’t do metal or single-ply roofs, I’m unaware of the warranties they offer. 

For spray foam and roof coating systems, the warranty is determined by the thickness of the installed coating.

For example:

A 10-year-warranty would receive a 20-mil thickness of coating
A 15-year-warranty would receive a 25-mil thickness of coating
A 20-year-warranty would receive a 30-mil thickness of coating

The longer the warranty, the more product that’s used (to get a thicker thickness), the more it’s going to cost. 

Spray foam roof at Mercer County Career Center in Mercer, PA

Choice of roofing system

The roofing system you choose for your school will cost differently. Here are the ballpark costs for the most popular systems:

  • Roof coating systems (urethane, silicone, or acrylic) – $4 – $8 per square foot
  • Single-ply (EPDM, PVC, TPO) – $6 – $12 per square foot
  • Spray polyurethane foam – $6 – $12 per square foot
  • Metal – at least $15 per square foot

Quick Tip: Get a quote for each roofing system. Some roofing systems might not require a complete tear-off. Avoiding the complete tear-off is the #1 way to reduce the cost of a roof renewal.


Hopefully, this will help give you a decent idea of what the cost of your school roof will be. The best next step is to get a roofing contractor on your school’s roof. Have them give you an idea of the amount of wet insulation.

The most cost-effective roof is a roof that can be restored with a roof coating system. If you’re looking to reduce energy costs, spray foam with its R-6.5 per inch of thickness is the way to go. 

The spray foam roofing cheat sheet - download now
About the Author

Greg Palya

Greg Palya is the Digital Content Manager of West Roofing Systems, Inc. He has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Akron and an MBA in Marketing from Walsh University. When he's not trying to teach others about spray foam roofing and silicone roof coatings, you can find him on the basketball court or golf course.