residential roofing materialsSelecting new residential roofing materials for your home is one of the most important long term investments you will make on a house. There are many residential roofing options on the market today, and choosing the type that suits your home can seem complex. As a general rule, the choices available to you are limited by the slope of your roof. If you have a steep roof, consider residential roof shingles, metal, slate, tile and wood shakes or shingles. If you have a low-sloped (i.e., “flat”) roof, consider modified bitumens and single ply roof membranes.

High-Slope Residential Roofing Materials

Asphalt shingles are the most widely used and least expensive materials available for steep slope applications. They are very durable and are available in a wide variety of colors and textures. Once available in only one thickness, asphalt shingles can now be made in several layers, producing dramatic profiles and shadow lines. These are known as ” dimensional” or “architectural” shingles. The cost of materials and labor for this type of roofing on a 1200 sq. ft. roof ranges between $3,500 and $6,500 depending on shingle type and quality. This type of roof requires a solid underlayment.

Another popular residential roofing material is metal roofing. Metal roofs are lightweight, fire resistant and durable. Available as low-slope structural systems and high-slope architectural systems. Both options come in several profiles including traditional standing seam, and die-formed panels that simulate the look of tile, slate or wood shakes. Metal roofing panels are generally strong enough to span joists without being supported by a solid deck and do not require an underlayment. A metal roof for a 1200 sq. ft. area starts at about $6,700 and goes up to $16,700 depending on style and roof slope.

Slate is a traditional, natural residential roofing material that ads a unique, and variable style to your home. As the slates weather their color and texture may change due to environmental factors. These changes are mostly cosmetic, and generally desired by those who love slate roofs. Although the natural beauty of slate is hard to beat, it is quite heavy, and is very labor intensive to install. This is reflected in the hefty price tag of between $10,000 and $20,000 for a 1200 sq. ft. roof.

Wood shakes are also a traditional and natural choice in residential roofing materials. Historically, wood shakes have been popular across the country. They give a distinct appearance to your home, and it is relatively easy to replace only damaged shakes, instead of replacing a large section. However, there has been concern in recent years about the risk of fire. Although fire resistant, retardant treated shakes are available, some municipalities have restricted or banned their use. On the price scale, wood shakes fall in the middle, with an installed price of between $6,000 and $12,000 for that 1200 sq. ft. roof.

Last on the list of high-slope materials is tile. Tile comes in a wide selection of colors and styles. This material is durable and fire resistant. Less expensive than slate, it is equally striking. More expensive than asphalt, as well as heavier, it may require structural reinforcement. A properly installed tile roof will cost between $10,000 and $18,000 for 1200 sq. ft. of coverage.

Low-Slope Residential Roofing Materials

Modified bitumen roofing is used in flat roof applications, where gravity isn’t able to quickly drain water from a roof. The material comes in rolls and is made of a few different types of plastics blended with asphalt and treated to enhance ultraviolet protection. It may be imbedded with asphalt granules for texture. Because they are so flexible, modified bitumens are commonly used as flashing materials in built-up roofing systems. This type of roof will run from $4,000 to $6,500 for that 1200 sq. ft. roof.

The term Single Ply Membrane is actually used to describe a variety of products which share the common characteristic of being designed to be installed in a single layer. Single ply materials are also highly flexible, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “flexible membrane systems”. They can be made from a variety of synthetic rubber products that are relatively easy to install, but incompatible with each other, so only one can be used on a single roof. This kind of residential roofing material costs around $5,000 to $9,000 to cover our 1200 sq. ft. roof.