Roofing Types and Relative Costs

By Todd Fratzel on Roofing

Here is a great article about roofing types and relative costs. This will help you with a great overview if you’re thinking about a new roof for your house.

Home Building – Roofing by Tammy Crosby-Editor, Dream Designs

The type of roofing material you choose for your new home will depend on the style of your home, your budget, your location and the makeup of the roofing material. With so many materials being manufactured these days there are many options to choose from to create a top that is not only visually astounding, but can weather the elements. In most cases, it is best to pick your basic style and color and then focus on the technical requirements and cost for installing the material. Choosing a Roofing System When you begin to choose your roofing system you’ll need to consider several factors like the style, color, material, weight and cost. Here’s some helpful information to get you started. The style of the roof on a house used to be dictated by where you lived. In the Northeast it was slate, the South was wood shingles or metal, the West was wood shingles and shakes and Southwest was tile. This has all changed with the introduction of asphalt shingles, which can imitate the look and appearance of traditional roofing material at a much lower cost. It is estimated that 70% of new homes are being built using some kind of asphalt shingle. Whatever style you choose it should not only match the style of your home, but other homes in your neighborhood. Some style points are: slated roofs work best with brick houses, wood exteriors tend to look nice with a wood shingle or shake or a slate look and clay or concrete tile really top of a stucco house.


There are many different colors to choose from because manufacturers are now able to imitate most colors and shades. Slate and wood tend to only come in their natural form and color. Choosing a color is usually determined by what would work best with the style of your home and what color siding or exterior color you are striving for. The color of your roof can also affect energy efficiency. Lighter colors will tend to reflect sunlight, which can be helpful in warmer climates, where darker roofs may be more beneficial in colder areas due to heat absorption.


The roofing material you use can be influenced by local building codes. In general, most areas require that the roof material you use meet local fire ratings. The most flammable material is wood shingles and shakes, which are now required to be pressure treated with a fire retardant. Some neighborhoods have restrictions that only certain types or styles of roofs may be built, such as requiring that only wood shingle or shake roofs be constructed. This is usually in neighborhoods that have been classified as historic areas.


The weight of the roofing material you choose is important to know, since it may not be suitable for the roof framing you’ve had built. The weight can range from 250 lbs.. per 100 square feet for asphalt shingles to 2,000 lbs.. for slate. Anything over 600 lbs.. per 100 square feet will require you to strengthen your standard roof framing.


Cost can be a major factor in what type of roofing material you use. Asphalt shingles are the least expensive with material costs around $25 to $30 per 100 square feet compared to slate which can run in upwards of $500. You might want to weigh the cost of each material versus life span. For example, you’d be lucky to get 20 years out of a cheap asphalt shingle, but a good slate roof could easily last over a hundred years. Once you’ve selected a material, don’t cut corners when it comes to picking a roofer. The material won’t matter if the roof isn’t properly installed.

Types of Roofing Material

Asphalt Shingles $50 to $150 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) Life span: 12 to 25 years. Asphalt shingles are the most popular material for steep-slope roofs and can be reinforced with organic or fiberglass materials. Although asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around much longer, fiberglass-reinforced products (called architectural shingles) now dominate the market. Like most other roofing materials its fire resistance is categorized by Class A (most fire-resistant), B or C. Most fiberglass shingles have Class A fire ratings, and most organic shingles have Class C ratings. These shingles offer great style, color and versatility and even come in laminated grades that offer a textured appearance. If algae is a concern, you can have zinc or copper-coated ceramic granules applied to the shingles to resist an algae attack.

Wood shingles and shakes $100 to $165 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) Life span: 25 to 75 years.

Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar (the more expensive wood), redwood, southern pine and other woods. Wood shingles are machine sawn; shakes are handmade and rougher looking. Since most wood shingles and shakes only have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all, you’ll want to find out what your local building codes are before choosing wood. For an additional cost, you can find Class A wood shingle products from certain companies that apply a fire resistant treatment.

Clay tile $300 to $600 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) Life span: 50 years.Clay tile is very durable and comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Keep in mind it’s a weighty material.

Slate $550 to $1000 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) Life span: 50 to 100 years. Slate is by far the most durable material you could choose and most expensive since its application requires special skills and experience. Your choice of color and grades depends greatly on where you buy it from.

Metal starts around $100 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) but can run up to $600 for coated steels and copper. Life span: 20 to 50 years.
There are two types of metal roofing products: panels and shingles, which come in numerous shapes and configurations. Metal shingles typically simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles and tile. Aside from its longevity, metal shingles are much lighter than most materials and very resistance to adverse weather.

Fiber cement $500 per square (10 x 10 area = 100 square feet = 1 square) Life span: 20 to 30 years. Fiber cement is durable and available in a variety of textures and colors. It’s a good choice for homes that are near the ocean and must withstand salt air and wind and for homes in very hot, humid climates. The only drawback is it is very heavy and difficult to repair.

Concrete is now a roofing material. Shingles, simulated wood shakes, lightweight tiles and concrete panels are being manufactured from a variety of fiber-reinforced cement products. Some are coated with plastics, enamels, or thin metals, and some contain recycled material. The advantages of concrete roofing vary from product to product, but generally they all have a long life span, require low maintenance, offer good fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects. The drawback is the high cost, which varies from manufacturer.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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