Most Affordable Roofing Materials for Homes – Are Cheap Roofs Worth it?

The most affordable roofing materials for your home are 3-tab asphalt shingles and basic dimensional shingles. The cheapest roofing material of all is rolled asphalt roofing. Corrugated steel is somewhat less affordable, but lasts longer than asphalt roofing, so the lifetime value is better.

In this guide, we explore inexpensive roofing options for homes, with focus on viability and practicality, value and installed cost, top products and brands, and expected performance.

Most Affordable Roofing Options: Cost Comparison

Materials Installed Cost per Sq. Ft. Cost for 2,000 Sq. Ft. Roof
Asphalt Roll Roofing $2.50 – $3.50 $5,000 – $7,000
3-tab Asphalt Shingles $5.00 – $8.50 $10,000 – $17,000
Dimensional Shingles $6.00 – $10.00 $12,000 – $20,000
Corrugated Steel Roofing $7.50 – $12.50 $15,000 – $25,000
New Shingle Roof

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New Metal Roof

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New Flat Roof

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3-tab Asphalt Shingles

CertainTeed XT 25 3-tab strip shingles available in nearly 30 colors

The most popular cheap roofing material for residential use is 3-tab shingles, also called strip shingles.

These shingles are a single piece of material, a fiberglass mesh core coated with asphalt and topped with tinted ceramic granules. The granules give the shingle its color and reflect sunlight to help limit how hot the roof gets.

The lower half of the shingle is cut to create three separate tabs, and hence the name.

The installed cost of 3-tab asphalt shingles is $5.00 to $8.50 per square foot or $500 to $850 per roofing square (100 square feet). For most homes measuring 1,500 to 2,500 square feet, the total cost will range from $7,000 to $17,000, depending on the roof shape, accessibility, and location.

Cost Factors: The cost of a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof depends on whether you tear off the old roofing material or install the new shingles over the existing shingles. In most cases, you can add a second layer of asphalt shingles before having to do a tear off.

If starting with a bare roof deck, your choice of underlayment, water/ice barrier, ridge vent, and other accessories have a minor impact on the total cost. The largest potential cost factor is DIY installation, which could save you anywhere from $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot. However, before you go the DIY route, consider any local building code requirements, permitting and job inspection requirements, OSHA safety requirements, product warranty considerations, etc.

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Average Roof Lifespan – How Long Does a Roof Last?

If you are in the process of buying a new home, you probably want to know the age of the roof and how much longer it will last. Similarly, if you’ve lived in your home for a while, you are probably also wondering about the current condition of the roof and whether it’s time to consider some viable replacement options.

Curled-up shingles

This guide outlines the expected lifespans of most popular roofing systems for homes. Print it out and use it to assess the life expectancy of any roof when buying a new home or planning for future roof replacement needs in your own home.

Right Off the Bat: A typical asphalt shingle roof will normally last anywhere from 15 to 25 years (and up to 30+ years in some rare cases) before requiring a replacement.

That said, there are several different kinds of asphalt shingles, as well as other roofing materials to consider when estimating longevity of a particular roofing system. Let’s get started.

Average Lifespans for Most Popular Residential Roof Systems:

  1. Asphalt Shingle
  2. Metal Roof
  3. Tile Roof
  4. Cedar Shingle and Shake
  5. Natural Slate
  6. Synthetic composite roof
  7. EPDM Rubber flat roof
  8. PVC single-ply membrane
  9. TPO membrane
  10. Spray Foam Roof

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The Ultimate Guide to Getting a New Roof – Homeowner’s Guide

A new roof is a costly investment with practical and aesthetic implications – the roof is your home’s most important protection against rain, snow, and nature’s elements. The roof can also significantly impact the appeal of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

GAF Timberline HD Shingles Roof

This guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to re-roofing, whether it’s adding a new layer of roofing to the existing roof or tearing off and replacing the old roof.

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