Different Roofing Materials: Pros and Cons

Choosing from different roofing materials is crucial in home construction and remodeling. Choices range from durable metal roofs and elegant slate tiles to classic asphalt shingles. This decision requires balancing aesthetics, longevity, and cost. Each option offers unique benefits for your home’s durability and style.

Different Roofing Materials

In this article, discover a variety of roofing materials to evaluate as you plan your next roof renovation or replacement.

Understanding Roofing Replacement Costs

Factors affecting roofing costs include material choice, roof size, and regional labor rates. On average, installing a new roof costs between $5,000 and $10,000 nationwide. Specific factors to consider:

Vary significantly based on the type of roofing material. For instance, asphalt shingles are generally more affordable, while metal or slate roofing can be more expensive.

Larger roofs and those with complex designs require more materials and labor, increasing the cost.

Depending on your location, labor costs can vary, impacting the overall price.

Structural repairs, permits, and warranties also contribute to the final cost.

Types of Roofing Materials

1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

Average Cost: On average, installing asphalt shingles costs about $140 to $255 per square foot. These prices may fluctuate depending on the roof’s size and your geographical location.

Renowned for their affordability and adaptability, asphalt shingles reinforced with fiberglass are a top choice in roofing materials. Available in a diverse array of colors and styles, they seamlessly complement a multitude of architectural themes.



Suitability and Recommendations: Ideal for homeowners looking for an affordable and practical roofing solution. They work well in various climates but may require more maintenance in areas with extreme weather. Asphalt shingles are a great choice for those seeking a balance between cost and durability.

2. Fiberglass Shingles

Average Cost: While specific costs can vary, the average price range for fiberglass shingle roofing is generally higher than that of asphalt shingles, falling between $270 and $495 per square foot. This cost is influenced by factors such as roof size, complexity, and location.

Fiberglass shingles are a popular roofing choice, known for their durability and versatility. They consist of a fiberglass mat, coated with asphalt and topped with granules. This composition offers a lightweight yet strong roofing option.



Suitability and Recommendations: Ideal for diverse housing needs, fiberglass shingles excel in regions with frequent high winds or elevated fire hazards. They offer homeowners an optimal mix of affordability, longevity, and visual charm. In colder climates, it’s important to assess their performance under extreme temperatures to ensure long-term durability and effectiveness.

3. Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Average Cost: Standing seam metal roofs are priced between $300 and $1,800 per square, reflecting their premium status in the roofing market. Costs vary based on material choice and the complexity of installation.

This roofing type features sleek, continuous panels extending from the roof’s peak to the eaves, with distinctive raised seams. Its design not only offers a modern look but also enhances overall roof strength.



Suitability and Recommendations: Perfect for those seeking a roofing solution that balances upfront investment with long-term value. Standing seam metal roofing suits contemporary architectural styles and performs exceptionally in areas facing harsh weather. Its durability and low maintenance needs make it a wise choice for long-term savings and reliability.

4. Aluminum Shingles

Average Cost: The price range for aluminum shingles is generally between $3.15 and $6 per square foot, positioning them as a mid-range option in metal roofing.

Aluminum shingles stand out for their combination of lightness and strength. They are particularly favored in regions prone to corrosion, such as coastal areas, due to their rust-resistant properties. These shingles are designed to offer the aesthetic appeal of traditional roofs with the added benefits of metal.



Suitability and Recommendations: Aluminum shingles are a smart selection for properties in coastal or high-corrosion areas. They cater well to those seeking a roofing solution that blends lightness with robustness. Despite a higher upfront cost, their durability and minimal upkeep make them a prudent long-term investment.

5. Stone-Coated Steel Shingles

Stone-Coated Steel Shingles

Average Cost: Typically, stone-coated steel shingles are priced between $10 and $15 per square foot. The price varies based on design specifics and quantity ordered, positioning them as a high-end roofing choice.

These shingles are a fusion of steel’s strength and stone’s natural beauty. Steel shingles are coated with stone chips for enhanced texture and color, offering a robust yet attractive roofing solution.



Suitability and Recommendations: Stone-coated steel shingles are a superb option for those valuing durability alongside aesthetic variety. They excel in areas prone to extreme weather, offering long-lasting quality. The initial higher cost is offset by their enduring nature, minimal upkeep, and visual appeal, making them a wise investment for a blend of traditional and contemporary roofing styles.

6. Corrugated Steel Roofing

Corrugated Steel Roofing

Average Cost: Typically, corrugated steel roofing is priced from $5 to $10 per square foot. When factoring in installation, the cost may increase by an additional $2 to $7 per square foot, positioning it as an affordable option in the metal roofing category.

Corrugated steel roofing, known for its signature undulating design, offers a blend of lightweight attributes and strength. Its popularity stems from its versatility, making it a suitable choice for a range of building types, from homes to commercial facilities.



Suitability and Recommendations: Corrugated steel roofing is a smart pick for those looking for a roofing solution that balances cost and durability. It’s especially suitable for industrial settings, agricultural structures, and homes with a contemporary design. While it’s robust, considering extra insulation for noise reduction and committing to ongoing maintenance are important for its upkeep.

7. Solar Tiles

Average Cost: Typically, solar tiles, including solar shingles, are priced from $21 to $25 per square foot. This cost reflects their status as a premium roofing option that offers additional energy-generating capabilities.

Merging solar technology with traditional roofing aesthetics, solar tiles are a cutting-edge choice for homeowners. These tiles are crafted to integrate into your roof’s design seamlessly while harnessing solar energy.



Suitability and Recommendations: Solar tiles are a forward-thinking choice for eco-conscious homeowners keen on renewable energy solutions. Best suited for areas receiving abundant sunlight, they represent a significant initial investment but offer long-term benefits in energy savings and environmental impact.

8. Slate Roofing

Slate Roofing

Average Cost: A natural slate roof typically costs between $9 and $20 per square foot. This pricing makes it one of the more premium roofing options available.

Slate roofing is renowned for its natural beauty and longevity. Made from natural stone, it is one of the most durable roofing materials, often seen on more traditional and high-end homes.



Suitability and Recommendations: Slate roofing is best suited for those who are looking for a long-term investment in their property and appreciate the natural, classic appearance of stone. Ideal for homes that can support its weight, it’s a great choice for a durable, fire-resistant, and low-maintenance roof, especially in areas not prone to earthquakes.

9. Synthetic (Rubber) Slate Tile

Average Cost: The price range for synthetic slate tiles is usually between $6 and $12 per square foot, presenting a cost-effective option compared to traditional slate.

Crafted from a blend of rubber and plastic, synthetic slate tiles are designed to replicate the look of natural slate. They are gaining popularity for their adaptability in both new builds and remodeling projects.



Suitability and Recommendations: Synthetic slate tiles are a great choice for those desiring the elegant appearance of slate at a more accessible price point. They are especially apt for buildings that cannot bear the weight of real stone. While they provide an economical and attractive roofing solution, it’s important to weigh factors like their durability and potential for color change over time.

10. Wood Roofing

Wood Roofing

Average Cost: The cost to install cedar wood shingles ranges from $4 to $7.25 per square foot, while cedar shakes are generally more expensive, averaging $6 to $9.50 per square foot. These costs make wood roofing a mid-range option in terms of price.

Wood roofing, which includes both shingles and shakes, offers a natural and traditional aesthetic. Cedar shingles are machine cut for a more uniform appearance, whereas cedar shakes are hand-split, giving them a rustic look.



Suitability and Recommendations: Wood roofing is ideal for homeowners who value the classic, natural look of cedar and are willing to invest in regular maintenance. It’s particularly well-suited for traditional or historical homes. While wood shingles and shakes provide a unique charm, they require a commitment to upkeep and may not be the best choice in fire-prone areas unless treated for fire resistance.

11. Clay and Concrete Tile Roofing

Clay and Concrete Tile Roofing

Average Cost: Clay or terracotta roof tiles typically cost between $7.44 to $14.87 per square foot, while concrete tiles range from $5.06 to $19.20 per square foot. These prices position them as a mid to high-range roofing option.

Clay and concrete tile roofing are known for their durability and distinctive styles. Clay tiles offer a classic, elegant look, often seen in warmer climates, while concrete tiles are praised for their sturdiness and versatility.



Suitability and Recommendations: Perfect for those valuing both the timeless beauty and enduring nature of tile roofs. Clay tiles excel in arid, warmer regions, offering a traditional charm, while concrete tiles are well-suited for a broader range of weather conditions, known for their resilience. Despite the upfront cost, the long-term benefits of these tiles, such as their lasting durability and minimal upkeep requirements, render them an economically sound option over time.

12. Green Roofing

Green Roofing

Average Cost: The investment for green roofs ranges from $15 to $50 per square foot. This cost variation accounts for the diversity in green roof designs and their installation complexities.

Green or living roofs transform rooftops into vibrant ecosystems. These innovative roofs support a variety of plant life, providing ecological benefits and enhancing urban environments.



Suitability and Recommendations: Green roofs are a prime choice for those dedicated to environmental stewardship and innovative urban design. They are most effective in city settings where greenery is scarce. Despite the upfront cost, the environmental advantages and energy efficiencies they offer can make them a wise long-term investment for both homes and commercial properties.

13. Rolled Roofing

Rolled Roofing

Average Cost: Rolled roofing costs between $2.00 to $5.50 per square foot installed, making it a budget-friendly option for roofing. The material prices alone are $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot.

Rolled roofing is a practical and straightforward solution, particularly for flat or low-slope roofs. Made from materials like asphalt and rubber, it comes in long strips that are rolled out and adhered to the roof surface.



Suitability and Recommendations: Rolled roofing is an excellent choice for budget-conscious property owners, particularly for secondary structures like sheds, garages, or barns. It’s also a viable option for temporary fixes or where simplicity and cost are major considerations. However, for primary residences or buildings requiring a more refined look, other roofing materials might be more suitable.

14. Membrane Roofing

Membrane Roofing

Average Cost: The installation of membrane roofing, including rolled membrane and rubber options, generally ranges from $6.50 to $9.50 per square foot. This pricing variation is indicative of the material’s superior quality and the intricacies involved in its installation.

Favoured for flat or gently sloping roofs, membrane roofing encompasses resilient materials such as EPDM, PVC, and TPO. These materials are celebrated for their robustness and adaptability.



Suitability and Recommendations: Membrane roofing is an excellent selection for both commercial and residential buildings with flat roofs. It performs exceptionally well in areas prone to significant rainfall or harsh weather. Despite a higher upfront investment, the longevity and minimal maintenance requirements of membrane roofing render it a financially sound choice for flat roof solutions.

15. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Average Cost: While the cost of Built-Up Roofing varies, it’s often seen as an economical solution for large-scale commercial and industrial roofing needs. Factors influencing the price include the choice of materials, the overall size of the roof, and the intricacies involved in the installation process.

Known for its layered approach, BUR, or tar and gravel roofing, is a robust system comprising multiple layers of bitumen-saturated felts or mats, finished with a protective gravel or stone layer.



Suitability and Recommendations: BUR is a top pick for flat or gently sloping roofs in commercial and industrial settings. Its effectiveness is most notable in regions prone to heavy rain or harsh weather. The initial effort and cost are offset by the system’s long-term resilience and minimal upkeep, positioning it as a dependable, long-term roofing solution.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Needs

When selecting the perfect roofing material, it’s essential to align your choice with specific requirements and environmental conditions. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Different materials excel in different climates. Metal roofs, for example, are ideal for heavy snowfall areas, whereas clay tiles are better suited for warmer regions.

Consider the trade-off between longevity and cost. Slate roofs are highly durable but come at a premium, while asphalt shingles offer affordability with a shorter life span.

Maintenance varies across materials. Wood shingles require frequent care to avoid deterioration, whereas metal roofs are more low-maintenance.

Choose a material that enhances your home’s architectural style. Slate and wood can complement traditional designs, while metal or synthetic options may be more fitting for modern aesthetics.

Some materials, like green and solar roofs, provide better insulation and contribute to energy conservation.

It’s crucial to ensure your structure can support the weight of the material. Heavier options, such as slate, might need additional structural reinforcement.

Taking these factors into account will help you choose a roofing material that not only aligns with your aesthetic taste but also caters to your functional needs and budgetary considerations.

Get Expert Roofing Advice Today

Seeking expert insight for your roofing project? Look no further than Affordable Quality Exteriors. Our seasoned professionals are equipped to guide you through the myriad of roofing choices, ensuring a match that resonates with both your home’s requirements and your personal style.

Reach out to us for tailored advice that prioritizes durability, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal in your roofing selection. Connect with us now to delve into your roofing possibilities and discover the ideal solution for your abode.

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Billy Lee Heinkel II is the heart and soul of Affordable Quality Roofing & Exteriors in Perry, Iowa. With a rich experience spanning over 20 years, Billy and his skilled team specialize in roofing, siding, and other exterior services. They’re known for their top-quality work and dedication to customer satisfaction. Billy’s strong ethics and focus on excellent service ensure every project is handled with care, delivering outstanding results for all their clients’ exterior needs.