Best Shed Roofing Materials

Good Options for a Cheap, DIY Shed Roof

Work Shed with Rolled Roofing
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Many homeowners who would never consider roofing their home often entertain the idea of roofing their backyard shed or workshop. Shed roofs are much smaller and more manageable, and they tend to be much closer to the ground than house roofs. It's also not such a big deal if you end up with some leakage in a shed roof (but you'll try to avoid that in any case). The same roofing materials used on homes (namely, asphalt shingles) make perfectly suitable shed roofs. There are also some lower-cost roofing options that you might not choose for your house but are just fine for most sheds.

Roll Roofing

Roll roofing, also called mineral-surfaced roll or MSR, has a similar makeup to conventional asphalt shingles but it comes in wide rolls. It is also thinner, less expensive, and easier to install than shingles. Roll roofing can be installed with nails, as long as the roof has some pitch (slope) to it. For flat roofs, it is usually installed using a torch-down method.

A standard roll of roll roofing is 36 inches wide and covers 100 square feet, an area that roofers refer to "one square." In most cases, one or two rolls should be sufficient to cover the average shed or workshop.

High Point

The cheapest shed roof material and the easiest to install.

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.

Cost

  • Roofing: About $0.50 per square foot
  • Fasteners: About $6 per 400 count of large-head, corrosion-resistant roofing nails; 11-gauge 

Corrugated Roofing

Corrugated roofing panels come in three common materials: metal (galvanized steel or aluminum), fiberglass, or polycarbonate plastic. The metal version is the classic roofing you might call a "tin roof." Corrugated roofing panels are 8 feet long and about 2 feet wide and install very quickly. Their edges overlap at the seams to keep out water, and the panels are installed with special nails or screws that have neoprene gaskets or washers to create a watertight seal.

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 products, entire roofing systems are available that include closure caps, valleys, ridge caps, hip caps, and other accessories used in roofing a home.

Low Point

Homeowner's associations may prohibit the use of corrugated metal roofing.

Cost

  • Roofing: About $1 per square foot, based on 8-foot-by-25.75-inch galvanized steel panels
  • Fasteners: About $15 per 250 count (#9 Galvalume wood fasteners with built-in washers

Composite (Asphalt) Shingles

Standard asphalt three-tab shingles represent a compromise between the utilitarian (galvanized steel or rolled asphalt) and the gorgeous (cedar shake shingle). You can buy asphalt shingles at your local home center in a limited range of colors. For a shed, a standard-grade shingle is sufficient, unless you want the look of a thicker, premium-grade material.

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

Installing three-tab shingles is a bit more involved than corrugated and roll roofing.

Cost

  • Roofing: About $1 per square foot for standard-grade 3-tab shingles
  • Fasteners: About $25 per 1,000 count of roofing nails