How Much Does a Torch Down Roof Cost?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated May 10, 2022
A house with a flat roof
Photo: Grispb / Adobe Stock


  • Torch down roofing costs between $7,000 to $14,000 on average.

  • Labor accounts for roughly 60% of the installation cost.

  • Your roof size and whether or not you need to remove an old roof can strongly affect the final cost.

  • Torch down roofing can cost hundreds more per roofing square in regions that have mainly pitched roofs.

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If your roof is sporting a flattop or has a minimal slope, you might choose torch down roofing for your new roof. Torch down roofs typically cost between $7,000 and $14,000, with most homeowners paying about $10,400. Let’s break down the cost of torch down roofing to help you better calculate your total project budget.

What Is Torch Down Roofing?

Torch down roofing, or modified bitumen, is a popular roofing type for homes and buildings with flat roofs. This type of roofing material rolls onto the roof in either a two- or three-layer system containing asphalt, a plastic polymer, and sometimes rubber. 

Torch down roofs get their name because, once they’re rolled onto the roof, a professional installer melts and adheres the material to the surface of your roof using (you guessed it!) a propane torch—and a meticulous hand. This creates a durable, weather-resistant, and waterproof seal.

What Is the Average Cost of Torch Down Roofing?

The average cost of a torch down ranges between $7,000 to $14,000 with a typical average of $10,400, including installation. The material alone typically costs between $2,300 to $4,600, and the labor costs between $4,600 to $9,200.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average size roof in the U.S. as of 2020 was 2,300 square feet, so if your home is smaller than average, expect to pay on the lower end of this estimate, while if your home is larger than average, you should expect to pay more.

Torch Down Roofing Cost Breakdown

The main components of a torch down roofing job breaks down to materials and labor. Most projects come out to 40% for the materials and 60% for the labor, making it easy to break down the cost of a new roof.

  • Roofing Materials: The torch down roofing materials cost $1 to $2 per square foot on average.

  • Installation Costs: Labor runs at $2 to $4 per square foot, though you may have to take into account extra expenses like warranties, add-ons, and job complexity—such as removing an old roof.

Cost of Installing Torch Down Roofing Near You

Cost of Installing Torch Down Roofing Near You
Photo: Elroi / Adobe Stock

There is little price difference based on region, with most torch down roofing in the U.S. falling between $300 to $600 per 100 square feet (also called a roofing square). Some regions may have higher average cost estimates for homes because the average size of the home is larger than other areas, so always factor in the square footage of your home when budgeting for a new roof.

Regions With Lower Costs

You’re also more likely to see regional variations depending on local competition and the availability of torch down roofing installers. In areas where the majority of homes sport a flat roof or one with a minimal slope, there will be a higher demand for this roofing, making prices more competitive and likely to fall on the $300-end of the price range. Areas like this include arid climates, such as that of the Southwest region. 

Regions With Higher Costs

On the opposite end, if you live in a region where pitched roofs are the architectural norm, such as the Mid-Atlantic, there will be a lower demand for flat roofs and therefore torch down roofing, making it harder to find a professional roofer near you who can do the job. This can hike up the price towards that $600 range, as a torch down installation requires a hand-torch and experience in applying the roofing.

Torch Down Roofing Cost Factors

There are a handful of factors that can affect the cost of your torch down roofing installation. These include:

  • Number of roof layers. A two-layer torch down roof will cost slightly less than a 3-layer torch down roof; however, it won’t last as long—closer to 15 years compared to a 3-layer roof’s 20 to 25-year lifespan.

  • Size of roof. A larger roof will amount to more expenses than a smaller roof, with every additional square foot of material costing approximately $2 more in materials and labor. 

  • Regional installation variation. Depending on your region, demand for torch roofs may be lower and therefore could cost you $1 to $2 more per square foot than an area with higher demand.

  • Materials. Though most torch down roofs use asphalt and plastic, some manufacturers offer add-ons that prevent fires, customize the roof color, provide insulation, or even protect the roof from UV rays.

  • Removing existing roof. You likely already have a roof on top of your house, and that roof will need to go before installing your new roof. The cost of a roof replacement is $1,250 on average.

  • Roof warranty. Roofing contractors often offer warranty deals in case something happens to your roof. This additional and optional expense can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000. 

  • Obtaining a permit. Depending on your local municipality, you will need to pay between $100 and $1,000 for a permit to build a new roof.

  • Seasonal installation differences. Demand is higher and more costly for roof installations in the fall and slower in the winter, so know when the best time to install a roof is for your area.

Cost to DIY a Torch Down Roof Installation

Since labor is around 60% of your total roof installation project, you can shave that much off your total expenses by DIYing your roof installation. However, attempting to install a roof yourself can result in physical injury, incorrect installations, and costly repairs. For these reasons, it’s best to hire a local roofer to do the job. 

Your roofing pro is trained to safely apply your roofing in a way that ensures a long-lasting roof. You can also pay for a warranty that protects your wallet from any issues that arise years after the installation, making your investment a safer one.


How long will my torch down roof last?

A torch down roof will last between 15 to 25 years, depending on if you opt for a two-layer or three-layer material. You can install 1-ply version as well, and the warranty is generally about 12 years.

Does torch down roofing installation come with liability? 

More and more insurance companies are writing torch down applications out of their liability insurance for contractors. If torch down is covered, they generally require a worker to stay on site two hours after the last flame is extinguished.

For this reason, cold application modified bitumen—also known as “peel and stick”—is becoming more and more popular, and torch down is decreasing in popularity. Modified bitumen is taking its place, as it uses both hot and cold applications.

But roofing pros often consider torch down to be the better quality product when installed properly, but may hesitate to do the job due to the insurance liability.

Can I DIY a torch down roof installation?

While two-layer torch down roofs are easier to install than three-layer roofing, it’s best not to DIY the installation. Torch down roofs require expert knowledge of the application process to get it right the first time and prevent leaks or poor craftsmanship. Not to mention, roof work can be dangerous.

What other roofing options are available?

Torch down roofing is only one roofing option available on the market. If you have a pitch type of roof, like a gable or hip roof, torch down roofing won’t work for you. Asphalt, metal, and clay shingles are just a few popular roofing options for your home.

For flat roofs you can also explore products like TPO, which have a 20-25 year warranty, and EPDM. 

Modified bitumen is not made to handle ponding water, so if your roof is super flat, you should go for TPO or EPDM.

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