Composite roof shingles, shakes, and tiles are attractive and affordable alternatives to the real thing. They last longer than genuine cedar shakes, but cost about the same. Composite tiles cost far less than genuine slate tiles and can last 50+ years with proper installation.
Composite shingle roof cost ranges broadly from $5.75 to $13.50 per square foot installed. The average cost for most homes is about $8.85 per square foot installed.
Composite Roof Shingles Cost per Sq. Ft.
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|$5.75 to $6.95||$8.85||$10.35 to $13.50|
|*Add $0.80-$1.35/sq. ft. to remove and dispose of asphalt shingles
*Add $1.00-$2.00/sq. ft. to remove and dispose of tile roofing
Total Project Cost Examples
A typical house is about 2,000 square feet with a 6/12 pitched roof and an attached garage. Taking roof pitch into account, here are the average roofing material requirements for the three most common home types, each with 2,000 square feet of living space plus a garage:
Single-story / ranch with 2-car garage: 3,100 square feet of roof.
Split-level (combination single-story and 2-story) with 2-car garage: 2,495 square feet of roof.
Standard two-story with 2-car garage: 1,880 square feet of roof surface.
Most contractors factor in 5% to 10% for trimming and waste.
Using low, high, and average costs, plus 5% for waste, here’s the pricing table for the three types of homes with 2,000 square feet of living space:
|Home Type:||Single-story Ranch||Split-level 2-story||Standard 2-story|
|Roof surface:||3,100 sq. ft.||2,495 sq. ft.||1,880 sq. ft.|
|Low cost range:||$17,825 to $21,545||$14,345 to $17,340||$108,100 to $13,065|
|High cost range:||$32,085 to $41,850||$25,825 to $33,680||$19,460 to $25,380|
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Pro Tip: Determine your roof’s surface area to estimate roofing costs most accurately using the information in this guide. This will reduce “sticker shock” when you get estimates and prevent shady roofing contractors from padding their material and labor charges.
You’ll need to:
1) Determine the square footage of space directly under the roof. In a single-story, it’s the entire home. In a standard two-story, it’s the upper floor. In a split level, it’s the top floor plus the single-story part of the home. Don’t forget the garage!
2) Find the roof’s slope – the number of inches it gains in elevation for each horizontal foot.
3) Determine the roof surface by multiplying the square footage directly under a roof by the multiplier for your roof slope in this chart.
For example, if your home has 1,500 covered square feet with a 5/12 pitch, the equation is 1,500 x 1.19 = 1,785 square feet of roof surface.
4) Add 5% for trimming and waste. In our example, that would be 1,785 x 1.05 = 1,875 square feet, or 18.75 squares in roofing lingo in which 100 sq. ft. is called a “square.”
Did you Know?
Like asphalt shingles and cedar shakes, composite shakes and tiles are sold in bundles. For composite shakes and shingles, it’s typically 22-28 pieces per bundle and 6-8 bundles per square (100 sq. ft.).
Barrel tiles are sold 8-12 pieces per bundle. Consider buying a few extra bundles in the event some of the shakes or tiles are damaged by falling debris or wind.
Will you pay in the low-end range of about $5.75 per sq. ft. for your composite roof or closer to the upper end of $13.50 per sq. ft.? Most homeowners end up paying about $8.85 per sq. ft. on average, but the following factors will impact the overall costs:
Whether old roofing must be removed: Many composite roofing products can be installed over a single layer of asphalt shingles that are in fair-to-good condition.
Others require removing the old roof for best results. Removal and disposal of old roofing can cost up to $1.35 per square foot or $135 per square.
Material quality: This is upscale material in “better and best” categories – there are no “basic” options as you have with asphalt shingles.
Top brands offer a 50-year. Some brands call their warranty a Lifetime warranty. Reading the fine print on the Lifetime warranties shows they are 50-year warranties.
Fire rating: The two options are the lesser Class C rating at a lower cost or the better Class A rating with higher prices. Some products are offered in either; other products are available only in Class A or C, but not both.
Complexity of the roof: Beyond product costs, the difficulty of installing the materials on your roof has the greatest impact on price. For example, a single-story, four-corner home with a gable roof is easy and affordable.
A multi-story home with 8+ corners, dormers and a steep pitch can take twice as long to roof, and estimates will reflect the difficulty.
Where you live: Cost of living varies by up to 35% across the country. Costs are highest on the West Coast and in New England, Alaska and Hawaii. Prices are lowest in rural areas of the Midwest and South, while everywhere else they are roughly in the middle of the range.
Pros and Cons
Here is what we like:
Appealing appearance: These products look very much like the materials they mimic – genuine wood shakes, slate tiles and ceramic tiles. Because these are engineered roofing products, any solid color or color blend is possible.
Good durability: Time will tell, but it is expected that the current generation of products will hold up for 50 years or more. Additives in the blend prevent color fading and material deterioration.
Lifetime cost: The installed cost is 2-3 times that of asphalt shingles, but so is the durability.
Fire-resistance: Many products have a Class A fire rating, the top rating for resistance to fire.
Best impact ratings: Impact ratings for roofing materials are 1 (poor) through 4 (excellent). Most synthetic shakes, shingles and tiles have a Class 4 impact-resistant rating.
Lightweight materials: Materials weigh 175 to 350 pounds per square, about the same as asphalt shingles.
Composite material is easier to work with. If can be cut with a utility knife instead of a tile saw. As a result, material and labor costs are lower.
Standard installation: Contractors use the same tools and techniques to install composite shakes, shingles and tiles as they use for asphalt shingles.
Little maintenance required: These materials are resistant to algae, mold and the staining they cause. At most, a light power wash might be required if the roof begins to look dingy.
Green building material: As noted, most of the top products use recycled materials and are recyclable.
What gives us pause:
Initial cost: Expect estimates 25% to 50% higher than for cedar shingles and shakes. The average cost is 2-3 times higher than average asphalt shingle costs. If you expect to move in the next 10 years and are concerned about value, this isn’t a cost-effective choice.
Wind resistance: Most products are rated for 110-115 MPH winds, the same as asphalt shingles. There are no enhanced installation techniques, as there are with most asphalt shingles, to boost the resistance warranty to 130-MPH.
Did you Know?
Composite shakes and shingles are a green building material! Most composite roofing includes post-consumer plastics otherwise destined for landfills. For example:
Brava uses 100% post-consumer recycled material
Enviroshake composite shingles are 95% recycled material
Ply Gem shingles and shakes contain 90%-plus recycled content
DaVinci roofing is produced from up to 75% recycled materials
EcoStar’s products use 25% to 80% recycled materials in its various products
By contrast, Quarrix roofing is made from all-new material and is NOT recyclable.
Many brands have solar-reflective “cool roof” shingles and shakes that meet EnergyStar or LEED standards.
Understanding the terminology will help you research these products:
First, there is a difference between composite shingles and shakes and composition shingles.
The term “composition shingles” refers to asphalt shingles that are composed of various layers (fiberglass mats saturated with asphalt and fused together).
Results for composition asphalt shingles appear in searches for composite shingles and shakes, so beware and avoid confusion.
In this guide, we’re talking about composite roofing made from plastic in various forms such as HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and other polymer blends. Other common names are fake shakes, engineered and synthetic shakes and shingles.
Top Composite Shake and Tile Brands and Products
Here’s an overview of the leading manufacturers of synthetic tiles and their product offerings:
Offers seven product lines:
Single-width shakes in 9” and 12” options give a roof a uniform look.
Multi-width shingles and shakes come in sorted bundles of pieces ranging from 4” to 9” for diversity.
The DaVinci Fancy Shake has the refined appearance of machine-sawn shake.
EcoBlend colors are DaVinci Cool Roof options that meet LEED, Energy Star and Title 24 requirements. There are EcoBlend options in all the product lines.
All DaVinci lines are available in many colors and blends to simulate real wood shakes and shingles and slate tiles. They are 110-MPH and Class 4 impact rated.
DaVinci offers what it calls a Lifetime limited warranty. However, after 10 years it is prorated over the next 40. The warranty is essentially a 50-year warranty. It is transferable twice, but only in the first 10 years.
Offers six lines of composite roofing:
Seneca Shakes boast a smoother, more machined look. The Empire Shakes have bolder grains and more depth in the profile.
EcoStar backs its products with a 50-year warranty that is prorated after 1 year.
A Gold Star extended warranty that full covers materials and labor for 50 years is offered at considerable cost. The warranty is not transferable.
Where Enviroshake excels is its Lifetime (50-year) warranty. It is non-prorated and can be transferred throughout the warranty period if your home is above the 25th parallel; it’s transferable in the first 25 years south of that line.
Produces an engineered Cedar Shake line in 6 colors. Straight and staggered edge shakes are offered in uniform widths of 5”, 7” and 9”. Multi-width bundles are sold too.
Ply Gem Slate is available in 12 standard and 3 accent colors.
A 50-year warranty is available that covers labor for 2 years, something most other warranties do not. It is prorated after 10 years and can be transferred twice in the first 10 years.
InSpire Roofing Products
Makes 3 composite roof lines: Classic Slate is available in 14 colors, some uniform and some a mix of slate colors. The look is traditional.
Aledora Slate is more rustic with chipped edges for a hand-cut look. 11 color options including solid and blended are available.
Arcella Shake has clean lines with edges that can be straight or staggered. All InSpire materials are made in several widths.
InSpire’s warranty is a Lifetime/50-year warranty. The warranty is transferable in the first 5 years and offers 100% coverage for 7 years before being prorated.
Brava Roof Tile
Offers composite roofing in Slate, Shake and Barrel tile styles.
Brava Barrel tile is very traditional in appearance in 20+ colors. Each is a rich blend of hues.
Brava offers a 50-year warranty that is not prorated in the first 10 years. It can be transferred during the entire warranty period.
There are just three colors offered. The graining is quite rich, and these are an expensive roofing product.
The CeDUR 50-year warranty offers full protection the first 10 years and is prorated in years 11 to 50. The warranty is transferable in the first 5 years.
Makes Double Roman composite tiles in 6 traditional colors. The 50-year warranty is prorated after 10 years and is not transferable.
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