Different Roofing Materials and Determining Roofing Costs

Factors that Influence the Costs of Different Roofing Materials

By Mark J. Donovan

There are many different roofing materials to choose from when building a home or re-roofing an existing one. For many homeowners they simply stick with what they have and replace the old roofing material with the same. The only difference might be that they migrate from a 3-tab asphalt shingle to an architectural asphalt shingle. However, they may be selling themselves and their home a bit short when making this decision.

There have been major advancements in roofing materials and products over the years that make them very viable alternatives to older roofing materials.
They also offer a number of advantages over older roofing products.

For example, there are knew fiberglass and steel roofing panels that look just like asphalt shingled roofs when they are installed, with much lighter weights and 40 year warranties. And at the high end of the roofing technology, there are new and aesthetically attractive solar roofing shingles and panels that can provide electricity and heat to your home.

Certainly costs are at the top of most homeowners’ concerns when choosing a roofing material for their home. However determining roofing costs for the various roofing materials can be a challenge. For example, with many of the new roofing products the cost themselves can be cheaper than some of the older technologies. Fiberglass asphalt roofing shingles for example are normally cheaper than organic asphalt shingles due to the fact that manufacturing process of fiberglass asphalt shingles require less asphalt. Similarly fiberglass roofing panels are typically less expensive than steel roofing panels due to the fact that the raw material for fiberglass is more naturally abundant and the manufacturing process is less complex. Notice the ice and watershield installed during this Asphalt Roof Shingle Installation.

After the basic roofing material costs, the next major factor in the cost of roofing a home is the size of the roof itself. Suffice it to say, the more square area of roof the higher the roofing material and installation costs. The number of valleys and peaks also play a major role in determining roofing installation costs. The more valleys and peaks a roof has, the higher the roofing costs. With valleys they require ice and water shield. They also complicate the meshing in of the roofing materials into the abutting roof lines. Both of these issues take time and extra material, which adds to the overall cost of the roofing project.

Roof peaks also have their unique requirements. The roof peak has to be capped off properly and often ridge vent needs to be installed, both of which add time and money to the project.

Beyond the roof size and configuration, other major factors that influence the roof installation costs are the number of protrusions from the roof, such as vent pipes and chimneys, the amount of linear feet around the roof perimeter, and any adjacent walls to the roof. Vent pipes and chimneys require flashing and interrupt the flow of the main roofing material, thus requiring more time and money. Similarly adjacent walls also require step flashing which again takes time and effort to install. The amount of perimeter linear feet dictates the amount of drip edge that will be required. It also can impact the cost of the roofing project since the initial course of shingles or other roofing materials can require extra material and time to install.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet

To determine roofing costs for your roofing project, all of the aforementioned items need to be considered and their specific cost impacts summed up. In regards to how the different roofing materials can impact the overall cost of a roofing project, in general the smaller the particular roofing unit is, e.g. a single 3-tab shingle versus a large single steel roofing panel, the less waste generated. Thus, as a result, the 3-tab shingle roofing material cost will probably be cheaper than the steel roofing panel, at least from a material standpoint. But this said, the installation time may be less for installing the larger roofing panels and the warranty may be longer with them as well, thus equalizing the cost of the overall project.

New technology roofing products however, such as solar roof panels or shingles, will have higher overall costs than other roofing solutions simply due to the large premium for these types of new and exotic materials. Though the roofing costs will be much higher using these types of roofing materials, it can be argued that their cost premium can be recouped in a relatively short period of time due to the energy they produce for the home.

Older but more aesthetically charming roofing products such as wood cedar shakes and shingles, or clay tiles, also cost more than the standard asphalt shingle, however they offer elegance that is not matched by asphalt shingles. The higher costs associated with clay and wood roofing materials are attributable to higher raw material and installation costs.

So before simply deciding on asphalt roofing shingles for your next roofing project, take a close look at all the roofing products on the market today and request a few quotes for other roofing materials. You may be surprised that the cost differences, particularly when you consider their unique benefits, such as the life of the particular roofing product, might not be that far apart.

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator

Related Roofing Information

Additional Roofing Resources from Amazon.com


Roofing Price Quotes For FREE, No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on roofing from one of our prescreened and licensed roofing contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your roofing price estimate.