Roofing Square: How It’s Calculated And More!

Roofing Square

Can there be anything more exciting than building your own property? There are so many things that go into building your establishment, be it commercial or residential.

You have to think of the location, the layout, the size and measurement of the rooms, and so much more. The type of roofing you will opt for is another important aspect to take into account. While all of this sounds exciting, it can be equally tedious. 

When you leave it to a contractor to choose a roof type for your home, or to replace the roof in your home, you may come across them using the following term, roofing square to describe the size of your roof. 

No matter how good you are at math, you may have found that your calculations in terms of how much roofing supplies are required to put up the roofing system in your home are entirely different from what the roofing contractors you hired calculate them. 

When it comes to building roofs, there are two important aspects to keep in mind:

  • Roof measurements 
  • Roofing materials estimation 

The one word that commonly gets thrown around in the world of roofing construction is roofing squares. Let’s look more into what a roofing square is and why and how it matters in evaluating the shingles or roofing materials you will require in the following sections.

 What Is A Roofing Square?

In the world of roofing, one roofing square is nothing but the quantity of material required to cover 100 square feet of roof area. 

You must understand that when it comes to the roofing industry, “square” is a unique term. It has nothing to do with square feet or square yards. Rather, it is a term of measurement on its own.

 1 Roofing Square is equal to 100 square feet.

So, a 1600 square foot roof is 16 square. An 1800 square foot roof is 18 square and so on.

So, the next time the contractors, manufacturers, or suppliers talk about roof square, what they really mean is the footage or the number of materials required to install your roof. This makes it so much easier to calculate how much the roofing project will cost. 

Can you imagine the kind of time, effort, and difficulty it would take to compute the square foot or yard? That would be quite an enormous number and one that would be just inconvenient to put on paper.

Why Use The Term Roofing Square?

Now, there are two major advantages with this kind of calculation:

1. You will get a clear idea of the quantity of material for covering 100 square feet of roof area for the building you are gonna build or the roof you are going to remodel for whatever reason.

2. Basically, a roofing square is a unit and in the roofing world – all contractors, constructors, manufacturers, suppliers-basically every roof professional or expert involved in taking care of the roofing needs of a house use this term “roofing square”, “1 roofing square.” What they mean by this is 100 square feet. 

So, no matter what material goes into the roof construction, we have a basic unit to denote the quantity of roofing substance needed to install the roof of your property.

A basic standard always comes in handy when you think about materials for roofing and the cost, and this is something that is understood by pretty much everyone in the industry.

No matter the substance used, layout, roofing type, and shape, when there is a standardized unit of measurement in place, it just makes understanding your roofing requirements so much easier. So, whether you are going with Flat roofs, Gable roofs, Mansard, Shed, or Gambrel roofs, each has its own set of dimensions. So, no matter which roofing type you go with, a standard unit will make computing the quantity of material and cost required so much easier.

Just think about this. A 10’*10’ is the equivalent of 100 square feet or one square. 5’*20’ means the same thing. Both these would require the same – one square material to cover.

Gable roof measurement is straightforward. On the other hand, the gambrel of even the mansard style of roof is a tad more complicated. It is because there is a lot of waste. Don’t scratch your head just yet! What we mean by waste is that when it comes to the more complicated and intricate mansard, hipped or roofing types, the shingles for building up the roofs will have to be precisely cut to fit into the tight spaces. 

In these complex roofs, not every square foot measurement is equal, and so having a “roof square” shorthand will help you understand and keep tabs on whether your roofing contractor will deliver the right quantity of materials. 

What Are The Factors That Determine The Cost Of A Roofing Square?

Various factors go into determining the roof pricing. The size of your roof, the area where your property is located, the roofing material you will be using, and the material quality are the main factors. These are the predominant factors. 

But there are other less obvious ones like for instance, the remaining warranty period post replacement, how difficult or easy your roof is to access, whether you need to root out the old roof, your roof contractor’s expertise level, how soon you want them to carry out the replacement of your roof, and of course, and the what is the current market for roofing materials (this means availability of the specific roofing material, how scarcely or abundantly it is available, and a whole lot more.)

How To Convert Square Feet To Roofing Squares

Roofing Square Conversion Calculator

If you have read it till now, you will know that converting square feet to roofing squares is fairly straightforward. You will just have to divide the area of your roof, which is measured in square feet by 100.

For instance, if your roof is 1600 square feet, then you will have,

1600/100 = 16 Squares.

Note that the calculation is not as simple as this. Why? Because every roof shape and style is different.

The Headlap: 

This is a must-know term if you are considering replacing your own roof. We saw in the above section how 100 square feet make up a roofing square. But this takes no account of the Headlap. So, what exactly is Headlap?

Headlap happens when roof tiles overlap one another to prevent water leakage, one of the major issues you have to face with roofing. To protect the water from penetrating through, overlapping of shingles when they are stacked one over the other. In other words, when all the materials are piled up, they don’t equate to 100 square feet of the roofing area, but they are more.

In simpler terms, one roofing square will have more than enough material to cover 100 square feet of roofing area. The additional roofing coverage is what is called a headlap. You should definitely not leave this out of the equation when you calculate the roofing square.

So, no matter what dimensions are specified for a roof type, there will still be a need for some additional coverage and this is what headlap is for. Headlaps protect your roof from leaks and prevent the water from seeping through.

How To Measure Roofing Square Feet

To measure the number of roofing squares, first, you need to measure the total square footage. Let’s see how to do this.


Your safety is always a top priority. And when it comes to safety, a sturdy ladder makes all the difference. Wear shoes with proper grip, so you don’t slip.

You could even ask your bud or family member to hold the ladder steadily just in case. You should have all the equipment handy. This includes a measuring tape, a note, and a pen. Climb up carefully, so you don’t take an accidental fall and end up hurting yourself (or worse?) the roof!


Now once you are up above, measure the length and width of your roof. Ensure that you include every roof design aspect in your measurement including the dormers, nooks, valleys; pretty much every area that is covered with the roofing material has to be measured.


Now the math is simple. Just multiply the length and width to determine the area of each plane. This measurement is nothing but square footage. Now simply add all the square footage totals together and this will give your roof’s total square footage.

Convert Square Footage to Roofing Square

The final step involves simply dividing the number you calculated in the previous step by 100. This is the number of roofing squares your roof contains.

If your roof is 1700 Sq. Ft., then you will have (1700/100) = 17 squares.


If you ever came across the term Roofing Square and wondered whether it means Squared Feet or Square Yards, we hope this article cleared all your doubts. A Roofing Square is a measurement on its own. Now that you know all about what a roofing square is, we’re sure you will have virtually no trouble in figuring out how many roofing squares your property will need. 

Forget about the roofing professionals, you too will now be armed with all the information to make out the supply of the roofing materials required and the potential cost. Good luck safeguarding your roof and giving it the enduring love it deserves!

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