What Materials Could Increase the Cost of a New Roof?


If your roof is more than twenty years old, it may be nearing the end of its lifespan, particularly if the materials used are the now obsolete organic asphalt roofing shingles, which have now been superseded by the more durable fiberglass variety. Asphalt shingle, either organic or fiberglass, is by far the most common roofing material in the US. If you detect any of the following signs when inspecting your roof, it may be due for a replacement:

  • There are a large number of broken or missing shingles.
  • There are balding shingles that have lost the protective granule surface.
  • There is extensive damage after severe weather.
  • Multiple leaks have developed in the roof.
  • The shingles are curled and cracked.

While any roof will need some degree of maintenance to maximize its lifespan, it will eventually need replacing. The most important factor to consider when choosing a roofing contractor to replace your roof is their level of experience and reputation, since an incorrectly installed roof can lead to an expensive disaster a few years down the line. Replacing a roof is a major and costly undertaking, but it does present the opportunity to add value to your home as well as protect your belongings and your family.

Note that all of the prices quoted in this article are estimated costs for materials only, unless specified otherwise.

Asphalt Shingles

In use extensively for the past hundred years, asphalt shingles cover more than three quarters of all residential roofs in the US thanks to their affordability and ease of installation. The newer fiberglass variety, which uses a lower layer of fiberglass rather than a type of felt paper, is far more durable. Asphalt shingles typically come in the traditional 3-tab variety or the higher-end and more aesthetically pleasing architectural variety.

Most roofing contractors provide their quotes based on a measurement called a ‘square,’ with one square being equal to a roof area of 10 square feet. Quotes should also take into account essential preparation work, such as removing the existing roofing layers or repairing the underlying structure of the roof, if required. The materials themselves typically cost around $100-130 per square. Additional expenses include labor, insurance and any other necessary repairs. According to Roofcalc.org, the total cost of a typical asphalt shingle roof weighs in at around $350 per square.

Wood Shingles

Typically made from cedar due to its high durability, traditional wood shingles have been around for centuries, and a newly installed wood shingle roof should last up to 30 years, provided that it is properly maintained. Wood shingle roofs are most often found on older colonial buildings. Unfortunately, they are also much more expensive than asphalt shingles, costing upwards of four times as much.

Slate Shingles

Another highly attractive and top-of-the-range roofing material is slate, and it is often used on luxury residences and colonial buildings. Due to the weight of the materials used, the roof needs to have a suitable structure. Although slate roofs cost around $1000 per square (around eight times more than asphalt shingles), and are also more expensive to install, they do last a lot longer with a life expectancy of at least 75 years.

New Roof

Metal Roofing

Due to its excellent durability and imperviousness to fire, metal roofing is becoming more popular in the US for both residential and commercial properties. It can also be quite cost-effective, depending on the particular materials used. Most metal roofs are made from copper, aluminum or steel, and will last upwards of 50 years, provided that they receive proper care and maintenance.

Metal roofs come in the form of tiles, panels or shingles, with panels being the least expensive to install. However, panels tend to look very modern and utilitarian, making them less suitable for a lot of residential properties. Steel roofs cost between $700 and $800 per square, depending on the specifications, and aluminum is typically around 25% more expensive. Copper roofs, however, which have been in use for over two-thousand years, are also among the most expensive, costing around $1,600 to $2,100 per square.

Other Materials

There are many other types of roofing materials, though they are all much rarer. Following are some examples:

.   Clay tile roofing, known for its attractive and natural appearance, costs around $1,000 per square, though being a fairly heavy material, clay tiles require a suitably strong roof structure.

.   Concrete tile roofing, a relatively affordable alternative to clay tiles, while offering a similar look and feel and a multitude of different styles, costs around $400 per square, making it one of the cheapest materials after asphalt.

.   Membrane roofing, a system used primarily on flat or almost-flat roofs, are typically made from PVC or synthetic rubber for keeping out the weather. It is one of the cheapest materials, costing between $110 and $140 per square.


Lane House Construction provides a range of roofing services in and around Saint Louis, including 3-tab and architectural fiberglass asphalt shingle, metal and flat roofs.

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