Basic Types and Cost of Roofing Materials

Popular as Well as Uncommon Roofing Materials

Roofing doesn't rate high on the list of exciting home remodeling projects. Most homeowners just want the thing done--attractively and at a reasonable cost.

Prices range from dirt cheap to blindingly sky-high. If you divorce the price of roofing materials from related expenditures--labor, market conditions, season, etc.--you see how raw materials drive the price of the entire project up or down.

Since asphalt shingles are derived from petroleum, and petroleum prices fluctuate wildly, asphalt...MORE shingles change from season to season. Similarly, copper roofing skyrockets in price due to the cost of raw copper.

Low-Cost Roofing Materials

Medium-Cost Roofing Materials

High-Cost Roofing Materials

  • Slate
  • Copper
  • "Green" roof
  • 01 of 05
    Composite Roofing Shingles with Metal Flashing
    Composite roofing shingles with metal flashing. Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

    Composite shingles--often called asphalt shingles--are the most popular type of roofing material around. 

    These three-tab shingles are made of fiberglass mat topped with asphalt and mineral granules.  An all-around good choice for most home roofing needs, composite shingles typically come with 20- to 30-year warranties. 

    Every roofing company knows how to install composite shingles, and should you lose a shingle down the road, they are easy to replace.

  • 02 of 05
    Rolled roofing. Lowe's

    Rolled roofing material is the mainstay of outbuildings and other less-than-beautiful structures, and of low-slope residential roofs.  Roll roofing, as the name implies, comes in rolls of 100 square feet, each about 3 feet wide.  It's a fast and dirt-cheap way to roof a building like a shed or workshop, where beauty isn't the most important thing.  It's a necessary material when covering a roof with no or low slope: roll roofing is good at holding back moisture.

  • 03 of 05
    metal roofing
    Metal roofing. The Aluminum Assoc., Inc.

    No, metal roofing isn't just for warehouses anymore.  Metal roofs have come of age--they look cooly industrial, even on high-end mansions; are fire-resistant, provide no food for wood-boring insects such as termites or carpenter ants; and can provide good resale value.  On the downside, metal roofs are more expensive than composite shingles and do require installation by highly experienced installers.  Eco-friendly is on everyone's mind.  If you are one, metal roofing is considered a sust...MOREainable building material.

  • 04 of 05

    Green Roof

    House With Grass Covered Roof
    Cellai Stefano/EyeEm/Getty Images

    A truly unorthodox type of roof, the green or living roof nevertheless holds much promise.  It can put oxygen back in the air, provide thermal insulation to your house, absorb rainwater, and even allow you to grow plants.  How? 

    Simply by layering your roof with a waterproof membrane and providing adequate drainage.  Green roofs can be "intensive," meaning capable of supporting large plants and people, or "extensive," which means thin and light-weight growth such as moss.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Slate Roof
    Slate roof. Public Domain: NPS

    A slate roof is for the dedicated home remodeler who will accept nothing less (not even rubber "slate" that looks amazingly like real slate).  Slate is real stone. Fortunately, slate has a tendency to cleave off in thin sheets, making it easy to quarry.  Slate is best installed only be highly qualified installers of slate--who can be hard to find, especially west of the Mississippi.  One DIY slate installer did his roof (2,240 sq. ft.) for about $15,000.  But remember, that was...MORE do-it-yourself and he only managed to install about 100 sq. ft. per day.