Best Shed Roofing Material

Ratings, Costs, and Installations

Work Shed with Rolled Roofing
Westend61 / Getty Images

Homeowners who would never consider roofing their home often entertain the idea of roofing their backyard shed or workshop.  

Two reasons: the area to roof is far smaller than a house and the risk tolerance for leakage is far lower.  

Shed roofing materials tend to be different from materials that roof houses. They are cheaper, less durable, more about function than aesthetics, and easier to install.

Here are your best bets:

Rolled Roofing (Mineral-Surfaced Roll)

Roll roofing is similar to conventional 3-tab shingles in that it is an oil-based asphalt product.  Other than that, rolled roofing is far thinner, less expensive, and easier to install.

Each roll is a square (100 sq. ft.), so one or two rolls should be sufficient to cover the average shed or workshop.

High Point

The easiest shed roof to install of all of them.

Low Point

Rolled roofing is not considered to be very attractive and will do nothing to raise your property's resale value. Five years is a comfortable life expectancy of roll roofing before it needs to be replaced.


  • Roofing: About $0.50 per square foot, based on a purchase of 36 in. x 33 ft. 4 in. Black Mineral Surface Roll Roofing at Home Depot.
  • Fasteners: About $6 per 400 count large head corrosion-resistant roofing nails, 11 gauge. Heads should be at least 3/8” in diameter. 

    Corrugated Steel, Fiberglass, or Polycarbonate

    Corrugated panels--mainly steel--has been the classic shed roofing material for ages.  

    The large panels install quickly (rather than shingle by shingle); edges overlap with adjacent edges; materials are extremely durable; and they can be installed over existing roofing--no shingle removal required.

    Corrugated steel panels are not the same as standing seam metal roofing.  Standing seam is a more expensive roofing with sealed edges that is only installed by qualified roofers, not by homeowners.

    High Point

    With some corrugated steel companies, you do not need to re-invent the wheel. Entire systems are available in addition to the panels: closure caps, valleys, ridge caps, hip caps, and all other accessories used in roofing a home. Southeastern Metals (SEMCO) is one such company.

    Low Point

    Local building codes may not allow corrugated metal applied over existing shingles. Note that homeowner's associations often will outright ban corrugated metal roofing.


    • Roofing: About $1 per square foot, based on 8' x 25.75" galvanized steel panels.
    • Fasteners: About $15 per 250 count. Use #9 galvalume wood fasteners, between 1.5" and 2.5" (length as needed). These are hex head fasteners with built-in washers.

    Composite (Asphalt) Shingles

    Asphalt three-tab shingle is a compromise between the utilitarian (galvanized steel or rolled asphalt) and the gorgeous (cedar shake).  

    Lowe's and Home Depot sell individual three-tab composite shingles, though limited to basic browns, tans, and blacks. However, for many homeowners, any shed that is not made of corrugated metal or rolled asphalt is considered an upgrade.

    High Point

    Composite shingles mean that you can install a shed roof that matches, or comes reasonably close to, the color and look of your home's roof.

    Low Point

    Roofing with three-tab shingles can be tricky because they have to be laid in a certain fashion. Be careful when handling since each bundle of asphalt shingles weighs about 75 pounds and is unwieldy to pick up.


    • Roofing: About $1 per square foot for GAF shingles from Home Depot.
    • Fasteners: About $25 per 1,000 count plastic cap roofing nails.