Roofing Materials and Costs - What's Best For Your Home
There are so many decisions you need to make when building a home. You have to pick the perfect location, set a budget, decide on the exterior style, paint coloring, floor materials...well, you get the picture. But there’s one choice that might be one of the most important that is often rushed through in the process. Roof selection. The roof has the essential job of regulating your home’s inside temperature and protecting you from the elements of the outside world, such as bad weather, local pests, etc. With this in mind, the choices made around roof type, material, and style are some of the most important when building a home! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. Here’s what to know about each option's costs, benefits, and drawbacks.
What are the different types of roof materials?
While there are dozens of options when selecting roofing materials for your home, these are the most commonly used options in both new builds and remodels:
$4.00 to $8.50 per square foot (includes installation)
Pros of shingles
Due to their popularity, shingles tend to be one of the most affordable roofing materials. They are relatively low-maintenance and are very easy to find in a variety of colors. Shingles can be recycled at the end of their life, making them a great green option. Additionally, shingles work well in most climates.
Cons of shingles
The main drawbacks are that certain types of shingles are especially prone to wind damage, but all are susceptible to discoloration due to the sun, making their lifespan relatively short compared to other roofing options.
This stunning 4-bedroom farmhouse plan has an asphalt roof and a metal roof. With a welcoming front porch, 3 baths, a 3-car garage, and over 3900 square feet, your whole family has more than enough room. (Plan #165-1175)
Metal (Shingles, Standing Steam)
What does metal roofing cost?
$10 to $18 per square foot (includes installation)
Pros of metal roofing
Metal roofing is lightweight, low-maintenance, and durable. It can easily mimic other roofing types like slate or wood and comes in a variety of colors. Additionally, if you do not like the look of the metal seams, steel or aluminum shingles are now available for about the same cost.
Cons of metal roofing
Installing metal roofing can be expensive because you need specialized labor, as doing it incorrectly might cause it to warp. It doesn’t offer any soundproofing, so you’ll need extra insulation to keep the noise down.
This gorgeous 4-bedroom barn-style house plan has a metal roof and a huge wrap-around porch. In addition to the four bedrooms, this home offers 2782 square feet of living space, 3 baths, and a 4-car garage. Plan #142-1480
What does a concrete tiled roof cost?
$11 to $20 per square foot (includes installation)
Pros of concrete tiling
One of the best things about concrete is how durable it is as a material. For instance, concrete from Roman constructions is still in good shape 2,000 years later. Modern concrete typically lasts about 50 years or so, which means that the ongoing replacement costs to your roof will be minimal. Additionally, this inexpensive choice can also easily mimic other roofing materials, like asphalt, slate, and even wood shingles.
Cons of concrete tiling
There are some drawbacks. Concrete is very heavy, so its weight can cause damage to the structural integrity of the home if not correctly installed. And, while it doesn’t need to be replaced often, it does require consistent upkeep because it absorbs water so easily.
The stylish roofline of this 4-bedroom modern house plan leads us to believe that the roof is concrete in some nature, although we'd have to verify with the designer. In addition to the four bedrooms, this beautiful home has 4.5 baths, a 2-car garage, and 2,621 square feet of living space. Plan #208-1025
Wood Shingles or Shakes
What does wooden roofing cost?
$8 to $14.50 per square foot – depending on whether you choose shingles or shakes (includes installation)
Pros of wooden roofing
Wooden roofs are a very stylish choice. They are usually made from Redwood or Cedar. Their popularity is mainly due to their deep brown color at installation which fades into a nice silver color as they mature. Wooden roofing options work well in styles like Cape Cod cottages, Craftsman and Tudor-style homes.
Cons of wooden roofing
As a natural material, wood is particularly susceptible to damage from water, fire, or pests like insects and small animals. Because of this, it can be expensive to maintain and could need specialized treatments.
The wood shakes on this fabulous cabin-style home really add to the home's overall aesthetic and were a great choice. This home offers three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a 2-car garage, and 1,770 square feet of living space. It would be perfect as a single-family or vacation home. Plan #126-1972
What do clay tiles cost?
$12 to $25 per square foot (includes installation)
Pros of clay tiles
Clay tiles are a very visually attractive option. Barring any cracking, they also tend to last longer than other roofing materials. They are not prone to heat damage, making them popular options in much of the American South and Southwest. They can also endure extremely high winds before they begin to blow away, which makes them an in-demand option in Florida.
Cons of clay tiles
The upfront installation costs of clay tiles are higher than other roofing options. In addition, if the tiles become cracked or damaged, it can be more expensive to repair than other options because of the highly skilled labor needed.
In general, clay tiles are sturdy but can be prone to breaking from sudden impacts from even small things, such as a tree branch.
This luxurious Mediterranean-style home does not disappoint! It offers six bedrooms, 7.5 baths, a 3-car garage, and over 7,000 square feet of living space. Plan #107-1085
What does slate roofing cost?
$11 to $21 per square foot, depending on whether you choose soft or hard slate (includes installation)
Pros of slate roofing tiles
Slate roofing is a highly durable option. It can last anywhere from 50 to 200 years with minimal repairs, as it’s fireproof and wind resistant. Unlike clay tiles, slate is not prone to breaking or cracking from things like hail or small branches.
Cons of slate roofing
Because of how durable slate is, its per-unit cost can be expensive. It is also heavy, so special considerations will need to be made to support its weight.
This stunning ranch house plan would be perfect for a slate roof, combining craftsman and arts and crafts style. This enchanting home offers three bedrooms, two baths, a 2-car garage, and over 1800 square feet. Plan #117-1107
Earth Composite Roofing
What does an earth composite roof cost?
$13 and $50 per square foot, depending on what types of vegetation you use (includes installation)
Pros of earth composite
Using natural materials like grasses or other flora as a roofing material has many benefits, including great insulation and water management. If maintained, these roofs can last 30 to 50 years.
Cons of earth composite
These roofs require highly skilled labor for both installation and maintenance, as the water drainage can be an issue if not done correctly. The structural support needed to support the garden’s weight can also be expensive.
The green roof on this gorgeous home is thriving and is the perfect choice for the location among the rolling hills and mountains. Photo by Jim Petkiewicz on Unsplash
Solar-Powered Roof Options
What does a solar-powered roof cost?
$16 to $25 per square foot (includes installation)
Pros of solar-powered tiles
In addition to providing clean, reusable energy for your home, solar panels can significantly increase the resale value of the property.
Cons of solar-powered roofing
Solar options are expensive to install because you need to partner with a highly specialized roofer who works with building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). They are also heavy, so additional structural support for the home is needed.
This lovely 4-bedroom mid-century modern home would be perfect if you would like to install solar panels. Besides its great style, this home also features a main floor primary suite, 3 baths, a 2-car garage, and over 2,900 square feet. Plan #108-1923
What Roofing Material Is the Best?
As discussed above, there are many different options for roofing materials for your home, all with many benefits and a few drawbacks. Once you understand your options, there are a few things left to consider before making your decision.
What’s your budget?
You obviously want a roof to provide the most protection possible for your home without breaking the bank. But you also don’t want to sacrifice your home’s appearance by picking something that awkwardly stands out. So, you might want to start by “working backwards” and picking the roof style that fits best and finding an option with a price tag that makes you feel comfortable. However, as roofs typically require a lot of maintenance and repairs over the years, it’s also important to speak with your contractor about the longevity of the option you choose. Cheaper upfront costs don’t always pay off in the long run, and you don’t want to get stuck with too many additional bills down the line. Finally, you can use the roofing calculator to estimate what your home’s roof might cost. Of course, the price will also depend on where you are building and labor costs for the area.
Where is your home’s location?
This might be the biggest consideration when selecting a roofing style. For example, if you live in a snowy climate, having a flat-top roof is one of the worst styles you can choose, as snow will simply build and build until the weight is too great and the roof collapses. You must choose a hip, gable, or pitched roof. However, if you live somewhere like the Gulf Coast, where hurricanes and high winds are generally more common, a pitched roof and the like would be a huge detriment to your property, and a flatter roof would be more prudent. Additionally, if you live somewhere with an extremely hot and dry climate (like most of the American Southwest), a wooden roof would be a terrible option, no matter how good it looks, as it’s prone to splitting or cracking due to heat stress. Be sure to speak to your contractor for their opinion and advice on previous roofs they might have completed in the area.
Once you decide on the style you like best, as well as your budget, be sure to review the weather and climate in your area and how that might impact your roofing choice. If you have any questions about which roof might fit best with your house plan selection, please don’t hesitate to contact us.