Which Type Of Roofing Is The Cheapest? Ranking Roof Materials By Price
If you’re wondering which type of roofing is the cheapest, and which one may be right for you, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss the six most common types of roofing material used in Australia, to help you determine which type may be right for you.
A roof replacement or restoration can be one of the most expensive home improvements you ever make, so it’s important to choose the right roofing material.
There are many factors to consider, so we’ll discuss the cost of each roof, their major qualities, and lifespan. Once you’ve read this article, you’re sure to have a better idea of which roof material may be right for you. Let’s get started now.
1. Asphalt Shingles
If what you’re looking for is the least-expensive roofing material, asphalt shingles are certainly the best option for you. The cost per square (about 9.2 square metres) of asphalt shingles ranges from about $70-$160, making it the cheapest option for your roof.
Asphalt roofs cost less to install, too, in most cases, because asphalt roofing shingles are very easy to work with, and appropriate for roofs of just about any pitch. However, asphalt shingles are not usually appropriate for a flat roof.
Asphalt shingles are not always the best option if you want a long-lived roof. This is because, compared to every other option on this list, asphalt shingles have the shortest overall lifespan. With proper maintenance, you can get 30 years out of an asphalt roof, but the average lifespan for an asphalt roof is usually closer to 15-20 years.
Asphalt shingles are also not very dense and they absorb the rays of the sun, which means they have a lower energy efficiency compared to some of the other options on our list, such as a steel roof or tile roofs made from slate or terracotta. On the plus side, though, asphalt shingles are easy to remove if you want to install solar panels on your roof.
Metal roofing can vary wildly in cost. A basic steel roof, for example, could cost as little as $120 per square. However, a more expensive, standing-seam copper or zinc roof could cost much more. Costs of up to $900 per square for the highest-quality metal roofing materials are not uncommon.
One of the best things about metal roofing is that it’s relatively maintenance-free. Beyond scrubbing the roof down every year or so to remove algae and other dirt and debris, you do not have to worry much about maintenance. Usually, metal roofs can last for 50 years or longer, so they have a much better lifespan than comparable asphalt shingles.
Metal roofs are also very energy efficient, as they reflect the sun’s rays and can help keep your home cool. They are also fire-resistant, making them ideal if you live in an area of New South Wales where bushfires are a concern.
Concrete or cement tiles are made out of cellulose fibre, which is impregnated with a concrete or cement material to create an artificial tile. These tiles mimic the appearance of a natural wood or slate tile, but are much cheaper. You can expect to pay around $150-$250 per square of concrete tile.
Concrete tile has a number of benefits which make it a good roofing option for those who are on a budget, but would prefer to avoid asphalt shingles. It has a longer lifespan – usually able to reach 30-50 years with proper care – and it does not require much maintenance. In addition, concrete tile handles inclement weather, such as high winds and fire, much better than asphalt shingles. Because of its weight and density, it’s also effective at keeping warm air in your home during the cooler months, and insulating your home from the heat during the summer.
However, this roofing material does have some drawbacks. Because it’s made of concrete, it’s quite heavy. Like slate tiles or terracotta tiles, this means you may have to reinforce the structural framing of your home before roof installation – which means your roof will cost more.
In addition, concrete tiles are fairly brittle, and can break during installation if they are not installed by an experienced roofing company, which may lead to sub-par results. We recommend finding a specialised concrete roof installer, to ensure your roof is installed properly.
4. Wood Shingles
Wood shingles are usually made out of cedar or redwood, and are available as both shingles and “shakes.” If you are looking for a natural, rustic look for your home, wood shingles may be right for you.
However, you can expect to pay around $250-$600 per square, depending on the grade of shingle you’d like to purchase, so they are more expensive than the previous roofing materials on this list.
Wood shingles usually have a lifespan of about 30 years, although some premium-grade options can last more than 50 years with proper care. Over time, the shingles tend to wear down into a silvery-grey colour, and develop a unique patina that is quite attractive.
While it does handle wind well, wood shingles are not fire resistant unless specially treated with a flame retardant. They also require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. You’ll have to clean away debris regularly and remove leaf litter – otherwise high moisture levels could encourage rot in the shingles, despite the natural rot resistance of cedar and redwood.
Terracotta tiles are probably what you think of when you picture a Spanish-style roof. They are usually red-orange in colour, and lend a unique style to your roof. Clay tiles are made out of natural terracotta, which is packed into molds and fired in a kiln, then coated with special materials to ensure it’s water-resistant.
Terracotta tiles usually cost around $300-$600 per square, making them a premium roofing product. However, terracotta tile does have a number of benefits that may make it a good option for you. It’s incredibly dense and durable, providing great energy efficiency, and it holds up well to wind, fire, hail, and debris. It also requires very little maintenance, beyond cleaning your gutters and occasionally hosing away algae and stains. It also has a long lifespan. You can expect your clay roof to last for 100+ years with proper installation.
Like slate and concrete tiles, though, it is a very heavy material. You may need to reinforce your roof before you can install clay terracotta tile. Beyond this, the installation of this type of tile is quite labor-intensive and specialised, so your labor costs will be higher than they would be with another material, like a metal or an asphalt shingle roof.
6. Slate Tiles
Slate tiles are a natural roofing material, and have been used in building construction for centuries. Slate tiles are quarried from natural slate mines, and require minimal processing, as the dense and durable stone is already an ideal roofing material.
However, slate tile is also very expensive. Slate tiles typically start at $500 per square at the low end – and can cost as much as $1,700 per square at the high end, depending on the grade of slate you choose, and the country from which it’s sourced.
Despite the high cost, though, slate is a great roofing material. It’s very dense and durable, and resists wear, requiring very little maintenance. As a natural stone material, it is completely fireproof, and it also helps maintain your home’s energy efficiency.
Slate is also the most long-lived roofing material on the market. It’s not unheard of for slate roofs to last from between 100-150 years, with proper installation and care. Slate also has a truly unique appearance, with a bluish-gray colour that develops a unique, attractive patina with age.
Despite these positive traits, though, slate materials are very expensive, and installation is also usually not cheap, because your roof may require reinforcement. In addition, slate is quite brittle when walked upon, and requires specialised installers, which may further increase the cost of your roofing project.
So, What Roofing Material Is Right For Me? Find Out Today!
Even after you’ve read this article and learned about the costs of the most common roofing materials, you may not be sure what’s right for you – and that’s okay! If you’d like further information, and quotes for each type of roofing material, we recommend that you get in touch with the team at City2Surf Roofing.
As roofing experts in Sydney and New South Wales, we can provide you with quotes for your project, explain which material may be best for you, and help you decide which roofing material is right for your budget. Don’t wait – get started now!