Roofing Squares: A Way To Measure Your Roof

So you’ve decided to re-shingle your roof, you’ve called the contractor and all seems well until the contractor comes down and you hear a term you’re not familiar with, “ roofing square”

“What?” you ask yourself, wondering what exactly the person you hired just said to you, did they mean a square foot, a panel, something else entirely? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a question we at Rennison Roofing get all the time!

experts at Rennison discuss roofing squares

So What Is A Roofing Square?

A roofing square is a measurement, but it has nothing to do with square feet, meters, yards, or miles. A roofing square is commonly used by roofing companies and is roughly equivalent to 100 square feet. This measurement does not change whether it is a square of shingles or a square of tarp. This is because roofing squares are used to make calculating the cost of materials and labor easier than if you had to use square feet or yards.

roofing shingles samples by GAF

Who Uses Roofing Squares?

The roofing square size form of measurement is only used within the roofing and construction industries. Though you can use the measurement yourself to try to calculate the cost of re-shingling your homes, such tasks are usually best left to an experienced roofing contractor. Nonetheless, even if you have confidence in your ability to determine the correct amount of materials needed, there are still a few steps you should take before you try.

Measuring Your Roof

All right so there are a few things you should do before you even attempt to measure your roof up.

Make sure you’re secure– Before you start trying to take any sort of measurement it is critical that you find a ladder that is good repair, and make sure it is secure so there is no danger of you falling off on your way up to the roof. Once on the roof, it is critical that you are wearing shoes with proper traction such as work boots.

Measure twice, order once– One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to measure, well, anything really, is that they don’t measure carefully. This is especially important in the case of ordering roofing materials, where mis-measurement can greatly increase your costs.

Calculate the square footage– Once you’ve managed to measure the length and width of your roof without falling off, all that’s left to do before you can calculate the roofing square value you need is to determine the square footage of your roof. To do this simply multiply the length by the width, and voila, you’ve got the square footage of your roof!

Calculate the roofing square to square feet value– This is perhaps the simplest part of the process simple divide the square footage by 100, for example, if you had 1000 square feet of roofing needed, you would need ten squares of roofing material. Usually you add extra to ensure you have enough for any surprises. 


Accounting for Pitch

This is both the most difficult and most dangerous part of measuring your own roof. We really do not recommend you do this yourself, but instead call professionals like ourselves. But if you must, please make sure you follow the coming steps exactly.

  1. Take a look at your roof, and estimate the pitch at low medium or high.
  2. Climb your roof, bringing a two foot level with you. Place the level at the peak of your roof, make sure the bubble is in the center and then take your tape measure and measure the distance between the end of the level and your roof.
  3. Now using your earlier estimate multiply your measurement using the numbers that follow:
    • High-1.36
    • Medium-1.185
    • Low-1.07
  4. Congratulations! You now know how much roofing material you need!


Well there you are, you now know what a roofing square is and how to measure them. Just remember that if you are at all doubtful of your abilities, it is always strongly recommended to leave these things to the professionals.