What is the Cheapest Roofing Material? - TradeCraft SRC Inc (2023)

The costs commonly associated with roof replacements and repairs mean that many homeowners ignore this crucial element until issues including leaks and infestations have been left to escalate to a sometimes catastrophic degree.

In reality, though, being proactive with roof repairs, replacements and maintenance is the best way to save ourselves money in the long run. We can even cut the costs of those roof repairs further by simply asking questions about the individual costs of roofing materials when we do seek professional advice.

After all, even when you’re working with a tight budget, investing in the most affordable roofing materials can be a cost-effective way to keep escalating issues at bay. Obviously, professional roofing assistance as offered by TradeCraft is the easiest way to answer the question of what is the cheapest roofing material for your needs, but you can also start determining that much by simply considering the following facts about your most viable options.

What Factors Most Impact the Cost of Roofing Materials?

What is the Cheapest Roofing Material? - TradeCraft SRC Inc (1)

While it would be easiest if there was one clear winner when it comes to the cheapest material for roof repair and other requirements, ensuring the lasting affordability of your new roof means looking into a wide range of important factors before making a choice. After all, every property and roof is different, and that can have a huge impact on affordability overall. Specifically, factors to think about before you begin considering the pros, cons, and costs of each type of roofing material include –

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  1. Home or building style: Roofing contractors will always consider your type of property before recommending a roof material, especially taking into account the design or appearance of your roof and factors such as your roof’s slope.
  2. Property location: Inclement weather conditions like strong winds, excessive heat, or continued exposure to snow and dampness can impact how durable any roofing material is, and can increase costs by reducing the efficiency of certain materials in some locations.
  3. Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency and the installation of solar panels during roofing repairs are increasingly helping to reduce high energy costs, and roofing materials that lend themselves to this benefit can be more cost-effective than even seemingly cheaper materials without insulation qualities, etc.
  4. Re-roofing vs roof replacement: Depending on whether complete roof replacement is required or simply re-roofing due to missing tiles, etc., different materials can be more cost-effective or efficient than others.

What is the Cheapest Roofing Material?

While the various factors already discussed mean that price per square for each type of roof material isn’t necessarily the best indicator of affordability, upfront per square costs are still worth considering as follows –

Roofing MaterialCost Per Square (Material only)
Rolled roofs$30-$100
Asphalt shingle$100-$150
Metal roofing$120-$900
Concrete tiles$150-$250
Wood shingles$250-$600

It’s also worth considering these popular roofing materials in more detail, particularly thinking about the affordability pros and cons of each, and how they suit your unique roofing project as follows –

Asphalt Shingle Roof

What is the Cheapest Roofing Material? - TradeCraft SRC Inc (2)

Cost per square – $100-$150

Lifespan – 15-30 years

Asphalt is the cheapest roofing solution when it comes to upfront costs, making an asphalt roof a popular option for many modern homeowners. That said, there are three different types of asphalt shingle which do vary in cost, and they are –

  1. 3-tab asphalt shingle: 3-tab asphalt shingle is the cheapest option, and consists of three tabs per strip which lay flat on your roof. Life span tends to be between 15-20 years on a well-ventilated roof.
  2. Dimensional shingles: This kind of asphalt roofing costs around 15% more money than 3-tab shingles, and mimics the appearance of wood shingles. Life span can reach up to 30 years on a properly ventilated roof.
  3. Luxury shingles: Luxury shingles are a type of asphalt roof that costs around double the price of 3-tab asphalt shingle, and are larger in design to mimic slate shingles.

Generally speaking, 3-tab asphalt shingle costs around $1-$2 per square foot before labor, and is relatively lightweight to install, making for generally low labor costs even in the case of complete roof replacements. That said, susceptibility to weather conditions including heat damage, algae, and excess moisture can shorten the lifespan of an asphalt roof in some instances.

Pros of asphalt shingles:

  • Affordability
  • Easy installation
  • Generally durable

Cons of asphalt shingles:

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  • Require more maintenance than other roofing materials
  • Shortened lifespan in extreme weather
  • Susceptible to moss, curling, and cracking.

Rolled Roofing

Cost per square: $30-$100

Lifespan: 5-10 years

Technically speaking, rolled roofing membranes that are made of asphalt-saturated materials and topped with mineral granules are more affordable than an asphalt shingle roof, especially considering the ease of rolled roofing installation on flat roofs.

That said, rolled roofing which is often susceptible to leakage and durability issues is most commonly used on barns and other smaller buildings, meaning that many homeowners wouldn’t consider this as an option for roof replacements, or even repairs on sloping roofs. Instead, rolled roofing can best be used to provide temporary solutions in advance of roof replacements using more viable materials like asphalt. For long-term usage, rolled roofing can lead to escalating maintenance costs, poor energy efficiency, and susceptibility to incremental weather like strong winds or heavy rains.

Pros of a rolled roof –

  • Upfront affordability
  • Simple installation for an at-home roofing project
  • Compatibility with flat or low sloped roofs

Cons of a rolled roof –

  • Short lifespan
  • Lack of aesthetic appeal
  • Not very durable

Metal Roofing

Cost per square: $120-$900

Life span: 50+ years

While the costs of metal roofing can vary a great deal depending on property and metals used, a metal roof is still a firm favorite for many modern homeowners who can often manage this material within budget despite higher upfront costs thanks to an incredibly long lifespan.

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Metal roofs are generally available in popular materials like copper and zinc alloy (the most expensive roof options), as well as more affordable and therefore popular roofing materials like aluminum and galvanized metal. In each instance, homeowners who invest in metal roofs enjoy finishes with a highly aesthetic material that can be durable, if noisy, during even extreme weather.

Pros of metal roofs –

  • Long lifespans
  • Sustainability
  • Environmentally friendly recyclable material

Cons of metal roofs –

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Potentially noise disruptions
  • Needs professional installation

Wood Shingles

What is the Cheapest Roofing Material? - TradeCraft SRC Inc (3)

Cost per square – $250-$600

Lifespan – 15-30 years

Wood shingles which are typically made of materials like cedar are another popular choice for a roofing project and are one of the oldest roofing materials still used today. For homeowners looking for a natural material finish, cedar shingles provide a tempting if slightly more expensive roof option than other materials provide.

Most commonly, cedar shake shingles are sawn from unseasoned cedar and lain in overlapping layers on sloping roofs to ensure natural resistance to water, moss, and other common roof problems. Natural insulation is especially a benefit of energy-efficient wood shingles, though durability can be an issue for unseasoned wood which doesn’t necessarily last as long as options like asphalt roofing.

Concrete Tiles

Cost per square – $150-$250


Life span – 30-50 years

While they may not be the most attractive roof option, concrete tiles that are made by mixing cement, sand, and water provide one of the cheapest roofing solutions with the longest lifespan. Many modern concrete tiles are also designed to replicate far more expensive clay tiles, making them a fantastic and affordable roof alternative.

Depending on the manufacturing processes used, high-quality concrete roof tiles can prove to be a long-lasting, fire-resistant roofing material that’s indistinguishable from natural clay tiles. That said, it is important to note that cheaper, poorer quality concrete roof tiles can also suffer from weathering (particularly amidst heavy rains), and even issues with wind resistance when compared with other materials.

Pros of concrete roof tiles –

  • An affordable alternative to clay tiles
  • Versatile shapes and colors
  • Incredibly long life span

Cons of concrete roof tiles –

  • A roof may need to be reinforced to support clay tiles
  • Suffer with extreme weather conditions including heavy rain
  • Concrete tiles are breakable

Let TradeCraft Point you Towards the Most Affordable Option

What is the Cheapest Roofing Material? - TradeCraft SRC Inc (4)

All of this is a lot to take in, and when you consider these materials as a whole, you may end up with more questions about the cheapest roofing material than you began with. Luckily, reading this article has helped you to see the pros and cons of some of the cheapest roofing options on the market. Now, it’s time to let TradeCraft point you in the right direction according to your needs.

Considering everything from your planned budget to your property type and location, a trained TradeCraft roofing contractor will conduct a complete professional evaluation as soon as possible after you get in touch. We’ll then let you know not only the best course for roof replacement or repair but also the most affordable solution and approach in every instance. Simply get in touch today to take care of your roof for less at long last.


What is the cheapest type of roofing material? ›

Asphalt shingles and metal roofing are two very common cost-effective materials. Between the two, asphalt shingles are the cheaper material.

What are the cheapest shingles to buy? ›

Three-tab asphalt shingles are the cheapest roofing shingle, but quality and prices can vary widely.

What is the cheapest roof structure? ›

Generally, a gable-style roof with asphalt roofing shingles is one of the most affordable roofs you can build on a residential home. Asphalt shingles typically cost $1 to $2 per square foot, excluding installation costs.

What is the most common and affordable roofing type? ›

Most homeowners in the U.S. choose asphalt shingles because they are of the easiest to find, most affordable and versatile types of roofing. The most durable types of roofing are slate and clay tiles but they're more expensive than materials like metal or wood.

Is sheet metal cheaper than shingles? ›

At a Glance (This Might Not Be What You Expect) Actually, no. Corrugated metal panels (like our ABM Panel) often cost as much as 20% less per square than asphalt shingles. Before you get too excited though, remember that a metal roof requires more accessories like screws, flashing, and ridge caps.

What roofing material lasts the longest? ›

Roofing material that lasts the longest are concrete, clay or slate tiles. These materials significantly outperform other natural products like wood shakes or any manufactured roofing materials including asphalt shingles and metal roofing. Although these materials have a good lifespan, they are not as durable.

How much does a cheap bundle of shingles cost? ›

Prices are based on a cost of around $30 to $35 per bundle of asphalt three-tab shingles or about $90 to $100 per square. Using your home's equity is an easy way to fund your new roof!

How much does it cost to shingle a 1000 sq ft roof? ›

Average cost to replace a roof based on house size:

1,000 square feet: $4,000 to $5,500. 1,100 square feet: $4,200 to $6,000. 1,200 square feet: $4,500 to $6,500. 1,500 square feet: $5,500 to $8,000.

How much does 3 square of shingles cost? ›

3 Tab Shingles (Strip Style)

Three-tab shingles will cost you about $1 per square foot or $30 per bundle.

What can I use for a cheap roof? ›

Asphalt Shingles

They are generally the most affordable option, though the cost can vary widely depending on the exact type of shingles used. Most roofing services agree that roof repair with asphalt shingles is among the easiest.

What is the cheapest material for a flat roof? ›

Rubber Membrane Roof

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber is one of the most affordable roofing materials. It's so durable that it can last up to 50 years—which is probably why many homeowners choose it.

Which one is the cheapest roof covering among the following list? ›

Thatch covering

It is considered suitable for rural areas because it forms the cheapest and the lightest material as a roof covering.

Which is cheaper roll roofing or shingles? ›

Roll roofing is the cheapest roofing material as you'll pay less than a dollar per square foot. Each roofing has its pros and cons. For example, cedar roofing has fantastic insulating properties, but it's the most expensive of the bunch. Meanwhile, asphalt shingles are cheaper but may only last 15 years.

What is the simplest type of roof? ›

The simplest is the lean-to, or shed, which has only one slope. A roof with two slopes that form an “A” or triangle is called a gable, or pitched, roof.

What is the cheapest way to redo a roof? ›

Use Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the least expensive option for people installing a roof on their homes. While they don't last as long as other options, they still last up to 30 years, often more than enough for most homeowners.


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