Replacing a roof can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000, with prices varying depending on roof material, home size, and installation complexity. Fortunately, there are ways to cut costs without diminishing the quality and safety of your new roof.
One of the best ways to stick to a tight budget while investing in a roof replacement is to choose the cheapest roofing material. But, of course, if you’re unfamiliar with the options available, you might not be sure which to choose.
In this article, we’ll discuss the cheapest roofing options to ensure you don’t exceed your budget!
1. Asphalt Roofing
Without a doubt, the cheapest roofing material is asphalt. In addition to being the most cost effective roofing material, asphalt is also the most common option used on North American homes.
There are several types of asphalt shingles, with the most affordable being 3 tab shingles (flat), followed by architectural shingles (raised).
Of course, if you’re looking for the most stylish and durable option, you may want to consider choosing luxury asphalt shingles. These dimensional and luxury shingles often cost slightly more than basic flat varieties, but they’re generally more durable.
The average price per square foot for asphalt shingle roofing is about $4, installation included. The cheapest asphalt shingles (like 3 tab shingles) can cost as little as $1.50 per square foot, while more luxurious options can cost upwards of $7.50 per square foot to install.
The primary benefit of choosing an asphalt shingle roof is that it won’t cost nearly as much as other roofing types.
But lower installation costs are another benefit. After all, installing a new asphalt shingle roof typically only takes a few days (sometimes only a few hours), as asphalt shingles are lightweight and easy to attach to roof frames.
Consequently, you can enjoy reduced labor costs by selecting an asphalt roof.
But though asphalt roofs are the cheapest option available to homeowners, they’re also the least durable. Additionally, asphalt roofing tends to require more maintenance than metal or stone roofs, which can increase overall long-term roofing costs.
The lifetime cost of maintaining, installing, and replacing an asphalt roof can exceed that of other roof types, making it a poor long-term option. That said, if you’re in need of an affordable short-term roofing solution, it’s challenging to do better than asphalt.
2. Corrugated Metal Roofing
Metal roofs are often considered some of the priciest options, but there are a handful of exceptions, including corrugated metal.
While the average installation cost for a steel roof might cost you up to $14 per square foot, corrugated metal panels can cost as little as $1 per square foot. If you’re searching for the cheapest roofing material, you might not need to look much further than corrugated metal.
Though the base price for corrugated sheeting is quite low, it’s crucial to consider installation costs.
Because metal panels are far heavier than asphalt shingles, this roofing is typically more labor intensive. Consequently, the cost to install metal roofing is often higher than asphalt roof replacement costs.
The primary benefit of investing in corrugated metal roofing is longevity. While asphalt shingles can fly off during a strong rainstorm, metal is solid and heavy enough to remain in place. It tends to last more than 30 years, making it a better long-term option.
That said, this roofing type isn’t without a few drawbacks.
While asphalt can absorbs impacts and sound, metal is far more resonant and susceptible to dents and warping. Additionally, corrugated metal can develop rust, especially if installed on a home in a coastal area.
3. Cedar Shake Shingles
The classic look of wood shingles can make home more appealing, but did you know that you could also save money by investing in a wood roof?
One of the best (and cheapest) options for homeowners are cedar shake shingles, and they’re an ideal complement to brickwork or Tudor-style properties.
With installation, this type of roof will set you back (on average) about $8 per square foot. Of course, the final price depends on the precise type of wood shingles you choose, as well as the size of your home.
Cedar shingles are aesthetically pleasing, traditional, and comparatively cheap. They’re also slightly more durable than asphalt options. A well-maintained cedar shake roof can last up to 30 years, potentially even longer!
Though cedar shake shingles are treated to prevent them from rotting away, they are made of wood, a naturally porous material that’s particularly prone to damage via environmental elements (rain, snow, sunlight).
If you’re not prepared to maintain a cedarwood roof, you may find that that it doesn’t last a long as other options.
4. Concrete Tiles
Though the idea of covering your home in concrete might not sound particularly appealing, concrete tiles enjoy exceptional longevity, are comparatively affordable, and come in a variety of colors and designs.
Homeowners searching for the cheapest roofing material should consider concrete as an alternative to traditional asphalt shingles.
With installation, the average cost of a concrete tile roof is about $5 per square foot. But prices for a new roof made of concrete tiles could dip as low as $3 per square foot or rise as high as $15 per square foot, depending on roof size, material type, and your chosen installation service.
Apart from lower-than-average costs, the most significant benefit of choosing a concrete roof is durability.
This material can develop cracks over time (especially in areas that experience wet and freezing weather), but it last far longer than asphalt—some concrete tile roofs can last a full century!
If you’ve ever handled a bag of solidified concrete, you’re likely aware that this stuff is heavy. While this heftiness makes concrete a fantastic choice for sidewalks and driveways, it can contribute to declining structural integrity, especially on older homes with wood frames.
Most Expensive Roofing Materials
Now that we’ve explored the cheapest roofing materials, let’s take a moment to briefly touch on the priciest options. That way, you’ll know which materials to avoid when sticking to a budget.
Generally, the priciest roofs are:
- Slate shingles
- Clay tiles
- Ceramic tiles
- Steel roofing
- Solar tiles (solar panels)
While these options are exceptionally durable, that durability comes at a higher cost. Of course, roofing material isn’t the only factor impacting roof replacement costs.
If you’re looking to cut costs without cutting corners, you may want to invest in an asphalt roof. While asphalt shingles aren’t as durable as other roofing materials, luxury asphalt shingles can last decades and are far more aesthetically pleasing than simple, black asphalt shingles.
Of course, asphalt is far from the only option available. Corrugated metal, wood shingles, and ceramic roofing are almost as inexpensive, and they could last just as long (if not longer) as asphalt.
No matter your chosen material, proper installation is crucial. Consult with a reputable roofing contractors today to begin planning your roof replacement!