When installing a new roof, the biggest decision you’re going to face (aside from choosing a roofing pro) is which materials to use. If you’re replacing an existing roof, your decision is easy -- just match the current materials. But, if you’re building a new home, the debate over roofing materials can get a bit more complicated. Before jumping into the pros and cons of each material, consider the size and layout of your roof.
Not surprisingly, the size of your roof will play a large role in determining your overall budget. If you’re using a roofer, it's helpful to understand how your pro will measure your roof. While many contractors base their estimates on square footage, roofing pros go by squares (each square is 100 square feet). The more squares, the more your project will cost.
Will it cost more to replace a large roof with a simple layout or a small roof with a complex layout? If your roof is steep and loaded with chimneys and other elaborate features, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be spending more on your project. The condition of your existing roof and decking (the base on which your roofing rests) is also another potential cost point. If your decking is damaged, any repairs or replacement costs will be added to your budget. While changing the size and shape of your roof is difficult (unless you're starting from scratch), switching out your roofing materials is easy. Asphalt shingles are inexpensive, durable and available in a number of different colors and styles -- making it easy to find the shingles that complement your home. Average cost of asphalt roofing: $1,700-$8,400.
Composite shingles are becoming an increasingly popular option because of their ability to mimic high-end materials (without the additional expense). Unfortunately, composite alternatives are considerably more expensive than asphalt shingles. Average cost of composite roofing: $6,600.
If you live in a historic home or are looking for an upscale aesthetic, you’ll want to consider going with wood shingles and shakes. Wood shingles are typically cedar and last about 25 years. Average cost of wood roofing: $6,800-$18,900.
If you have the budget and want to give your home a truly upscale feel, look no further than slate roofing. Fire-retardant, incredibly tough and nearly maintenance-free, slate is one of the most durable roofing materials available. Slate looks great, but the additional weight can take a toll on your home's structural integrity. If you're planning on installing slate, make sure to consult with your roofer about the strength of your framing. Average cost of slate roofing: $17,000-$120,000.
Metal roofing has it all -- durability, energy efficiency, fire resistance and a variety of styles. Metal roofing can be difficult to install because of its wide array of materials. If you're having trouble deciding, it's always a good idea to let your budget decide. Average cost of metal roofing: $5,100-$39,600.
Last but not least, consider tile or concrete roofing for an upscale aesthetic or for Mission or Spanish Colonial style homes. While tile and concrete look great and have a wide variety of styles and colors, expect a heavy price tag to follow. Average cost of tile or concrete roofing: $7,650-$60,000.
Choosing the right roofing for your home comes down to taste, budget and what works best for your home. While deciding on a roofing material can be intimidating, a quality roofing pro will be able to help you make a decision that you and your family will be happy with for years to come.