Top 4 Least Expensive Types of Roofing Materials

Someone nailing down roofing tiles with a hammer.

There are many types of roofing materials available on the market today. Some of these roofing materials are very expensive to purchase and maintain while others are very reasonable. You do get what you pay for, but in the end, if the roofing materials are installed correctly, they will still last for over 20 years. Here are the four least expensive types of roofing materials that you can have installed.


Out of all of the many types of roofing materials available to you, the asphalt shingle is the cheapest. It will cost around $1.00 per square foot for the shingles, making it possible to do an average, single-story home for under $2,000.00.

They are also the most popular on the market today. You can find these in non-organic and organic styles, with the purely organic shingles being the most expensive. Non-organic shingles are often made out of fiberglass.

The asphalt shingles come in many colors, are very durable and are manufactured with adherence to strict guidelines. They are vulnerable to ice and high winds. You can also use rolled asphalt which is rolled over the roof and then nailed in place. It does the same type of job as the shingles.


Metal roofing materials are the second least expensive at around $1.80 per square foot. They can be as much as $6.00 per square foot depending on the type of metal architectural panels used. They were used decades ago, but at the time were obscenely expensive.

This is because the vast majority were made from copper, lead or zinc. The types of roofing materials that comprise metal roofs today are galvanized steel, which is used in hurricane areas. Metal roofing systems are quick to install and very simple, but they're highly durable and cost-effective in the long run.


Wooden roofing shingles are made from red cedar, due to its resistance to the elements and to insects, and cedar shingles do not decay rapidly. There are essentially two types of wooden shingles -- shakes, which are split rather than cut, and standard shingles, which are mechanically sawn. When using wooden shingles you need to use shake shingles, as these are the best to use for roofing.

These are beginning to get up in price, but are still cheaper than other types of roofing materials. Wooden shingles cost around $70.00 per square foot but can get as high as $100.00 per square foot, depending on the manufacturer and the style of shingle. Sizes also vary.


The pricing range for this type of shingle has a broad gap, ranging from $150.00 per square foot to $400.00 per square foot. Clay is one of the types of roofing materials that looks stunning once it is installed and can easily set a mood or finish a décor.

They are resistant to mold, and decay, insects cannot penetrate them, they will not catch on fire, and they will last many decades longer than the wood they are attached to. Clay roof tiles are heavily constructed which contributes to their higher cost.

You may be on a budget, but that doesn't mean you don't have options. One of these four types of roofing materials is bound to fit your needs and your wallet.