When choosing a roofing material for their replacement, a lot of homeowners look for affordability. This is understandable because a roof is a big investment. 

But sometimes, whether it’s out of curiosity or genuine interest, some homeowners ask what the most expensive type of roofing material is. Because choosing the right roofing material is such a big decision, I’ll answer that question and more. 

For over 30 years, Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners like you choose the right roofing material for their replacement. Now we’ll help you determine if the most expensive roofing material fits your budget. 

To start this article, we’ll get right into what the most expensive type of roofing material is and how it costs. After that, you’ll learn the cost of 4 more popular residential roofing materials, so you can find the one that fits your budget. 

And at the very end, we provide a guide with even more information to help you really determine which roofing material is right for you.

What’s the most expensive type of roofing material?

The most expensive type of roofing material is slate. For labor and materials, you can expect the cost of a slate roof to start around $15.00 per square foot and has the potential to get up to around $30.00 or more per square foot. 

how much does a slate roof cost

For comparison, you can actually expect to pay at least 4 times more for a slate roof than you would for the most commonly used asphalt roof. Be aware, if your home can’t handle the weight of a slate roof the way it is, you’ll have to retrofit it. 

Retrofitting must be approved by a structural engineer and must be done before the roof can even be installed. If you have to do retrofitting or new framing, it’ll really add to the cost of your new slate roof. 

The truth is, most homeowners won’t be able to afford a new slate roof. But if you have the budget, it’ll be the last roof you ever install on your home.

The cost of 4 other popular roofing materials

Now you know that slate is the most expensive roofing material. Like I just said, most homeowners won’t be able to afford a slate roof. 

That’s why it’s important to learn how much the other popular roofing materials cost so you’re able to find the right one for you. As you’re going through the rest of this article, keep in mind these prices aren’t exact.

1. The cost of an asphalt shingle roof

The 3 different types of asphalt shingles are 3-tab, architectural/dimensional, and luxury. While multiple factors help you decide which one is right for you, the most important one is cost. 

how much does an asphalt shingle roof cost

For a one-story house with a basic up-and-over roof with no penetrations and no valleys, you can expect your new asphalt roof to cost around $3.68 per square foot. This includes basic 3-tab asphalt shingles, underlayment, and other roof components.

how much does an asphalt shingle roof cost

For a two-story house with a little complexity and good accessibility, you can expect your new asphalt roof to cost around $4.76 per square foot. This includes a good quality architectural asphalt shingle, upgrading your underlayment, and using all of the manufacturer’s roofing components.

how much does an asphalt shingle roof cost

For a two-story house with a cut-up, complex roof, a steep pitch, and not easily accessible, you can expect your new asphalt roof to cost around $7.50 per square foot. This includes luxury asphalt shingles, using all of the manufacturer’s roofing components, and upgrading to copper for the flashing and in the valleys. 

2. The cost of a metal roof

You’ll have two metal roof options to choose between, a standing seam metal roof and a screw-down metal panel roof. Just like the different types of asphalt shingles, they both have different price points. 

how much does a metal roof cost

A new screw-down (also known as an exposed fastener) panel metal roof costs around $4.50 per square foot to start.

how much does a metal roof cost

On the other hand, you can expect a new 24 gauge steel standing seam metal roof to cost around $12.00 per square foot for a one-story house with a basic up and over roof with no penetrations and no valleys.

how much does a metal roof cost

For a more complex roof on a one-story home, you can expect a new 24 gauge steel standing seam metal roof to cost around $15.00 per square foot.

If you’re seriously considering a metal roof for a residential home, I strongly recommend a standing seam metal roof to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

3. The cost of a composite (synthetic) shingle roof

Composite (aka synthetic) shingles are made of a synthetic polymer or recycled materials and designed to look exactly like a slate or cedar shake roof. While they are made of the same material, the price depends on the type of composite shingle you choose.

how much does a composite (synthetic) shingle roof cost

A new synthetic cedar shake roof will cost around $14.00-$18.00 per square foot. Surprisingly, you can expect to pay around the same price for a natural cedar shake roof.

how much does a composite (synthetic) shingle roof cost

On the other hand, a new synthetic slate roof costs around $10.00 to $12.00 per square foot to start and has the potential to get up to $20.00 or more per square foot. Unlike the synthetic cedar shake, a synthetic slate roof will always be cheaper than actual slate.

No matter which one you choose, both types of composite shingle roofs will be a sizable investment

4. The cost of a cedar shake roof

A cedar shake roof is a premium roof system made of natural wood (cedar) materials. Just like a slate roof, it’s considered a premium roof system, so it comes at a pretty steep price point.

how much does a cedar shake roof cost

A new cedar shake roof costs around $14.00 per square foot for a one-story house with a basic up and over roof with no penetrations and no valleys. For a more mildly complex roof, a new cedar shake roof cost will cost around $18.00 per square foot. 

If you’re seriously interested in a cedar shake roof, you’ll need to consider the grade of cedar shake shingle. But be aware, the higher the quality grade, the more expensive it will be.  

The guide with everything you need for a roof replacement

For a more accurate cost number, you can multiply the numbers above by the square footage of your roof. If you don’t know how to do that, check out How to Calculate the Square Footage of Your Roof

Using the cost numbers above helps you determine which roofing material fits your budget. But much more goes into choosing the right roofing material besides the cost. 

That’s why we created a Buyer’s Guide that contains the advantages and disadvantages of the roofing materials that really helps narrow down which one is right for you. 

But that’s not all the information the guide has. It also includes the other roofing components you’ll pay for, how to hire a great roofing contractor, payment options, and more. 

Find the right roofing material for you and go into the roofing replacement process as the most informed homeowner in the industry by getting the Buyer’s Guide now. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee area. We work with you and your budget to ensure you get the perfect roof for your situation that’ll last for decades. 

If you’re local to Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, or another surrounding Middle Tennessee area, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today to get the beautiful roof you deserve. 

Here’s The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof to find the right roofing material and learn everything you need to know about getting a roof replacement.

the complete guide to purchasing a roof