Roof Styles - Pros, Cons and Costs

An overview of roof styles and types of roofing: asphalt composition shingles, wood shingles, clay tile and metal roofing. Which of the roofing styles fit your budget?

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They say all you need is a roof over your head. If only it were that simple. With numerous roof styles to choose from, finding the right roofing solutions is a task that hinges on finding balance between cost, performance, longevity, and aesthetic preference. Between the many roof types, each carries a different share of pros, cons, and costs.

Here is an overview of the top four most popular roof styles — asphalt, wood, metal, and tile — including pros, cons, and what you should expect to pay.



Asphalt composition shingles are just one type of roofing styles.Low costs combined with decent durability and easy installation have helped propel asphalt composition shingles into one of the most popular roof types.

Asphalt composition shingles come in two flavors: organic and fiberglass. The organic variety is a mix of paper, asphalt, and ceramic. Fiberglass, like the name suggests, features a glass fiber mat coated by asphalt and a waterproofing filler. Fiberglass shingles are generally more fire resistant, but may be more expensive than organic styles.


Asphalt composition shingles come in a wide variety of looks and generally last at least two decades with regular upkeep. These roof types will often include a warranty that stretches anywhere from two to five decades.


Asphalt composition shingles are susceptible to thermal shock from dramatic shifts in temperature, which can lead to warping and other damage. Therefore, these roof styles are better in moderate climates. Additionally, asphalt composition shingles have a longer lifespan in cool climates.


Asphalt composition shingles for a typical home will cost about $700 to $4,000, depending on quality of materials. If you need materials and installation, expect the total cost to jump up to about $1,500 to $9,000, depending on quality of materials as well as angles and pitch of the house. Add an extra $500 to $1,000 for removal of old roofing material.

Basic shingled roof styles without colorization will cost the least. Price rises in step with stylistic improvements, higher quality colors, and quality. For the most part, quality generally coincides with thickness or weight. Thick, heavy shingles will generally have a longer lifespan.


Wood shingles or shake are another type of roof style, giving your home a rustic and cozy feel.Wood shingles or shake are classically beautiful roof styles cut directly from logs of Western Red Cedar. In some areas, including central Europe, wood shingles and shake are cut from pine trees. Wood shingles are machine cut, while wood shake is split by hand from blocks of wood. Wood shake ages graciously, taking on new, beautiful tones as it becomes weathered. Because wood roofing comes directly from lumber logs and must be cut with precision with the wood grain running a consistent direction, this is among the more expensive roof types.


Wood roof styles are beautiful and durable, with an expected lifespan stretching anywhere from three to five decades.


Wood roofing is costly to buy and install.


Roofing with wood shingles, including professional installation, generally costs anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000, depending on size of the home, as well as the roof’s angles and pitch. Wood shake will cost about $10,000 to $20,000 for the average home. Add an extra $500 to $1,000 for removal of old roofing.


Various types of roofing materials exist. A metal roof is often overlookd for residential homes. Yet it creates a unique look.Like the name suggests, metal roofing is made from large sheets of metal, which can include galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, corrugated iron, or blends of various metals. Frequently seen in underdeveloped countries, metal roofing solutions have experienced a rise in popularity in developed areas courtesy of its durability, longevity, ease of installation, and low cost.


Metal is among the most durable and resistant roofing solutions. It's nearly impervious normal weather and resists fire, hail, snow, and high winds. Generally, metal roof styles carry warranties that stretch anywhere from two to five decades. High-end metal roofing, with proper routine care, can last a century.

Metal roofs naturally shed snow, and some metal roofs coated with reflective chemicals can boost energy efficiency better than other roof types by reflecting the sun's heat.


Metal is more expensive than asphalt and is not widely considered the most attractive option.


The cost of metal roofing varies depending on materials. Basic interlocking steel shingles cost about $5,000 to $17,000, including installation. Corrosion resistant steel sheets will run the average homeowner about $12,000 to $22,000. Aluminum metal roofing costs about $12,000 to $20,000. For high-end metal roofing, such as copper, expect to pay about $25,000 to $40,000. Add an extra $500 to $1,000 to any of the costs listed for removal of old roofing.


Clay tile roofing comes in a variety of styles This geometric design is eye catching.A popular roof style in the southwestern United States, clay tile roofing solutions give a classic look reminiscent of a Spanish countryside. Generally, tile roofing is constructed from clay, but is sometimes made from sand or concrete.


Tile roofing is among the most durable roofing solutions and can last five decades or longer with routine maintenance. It’s ideal for sunny climates and is naturally protected from damage caused by the sun’s rays. Tile roofing also protects against rot and insect damage. Some variations of clay tile roofing emulate the look of wood shingles while offering better protection against fire.


Tile roofing is expensive and heavy. Therefore, some homes can’t support it without expensive structural improvements. If you have tile roofing, every one to two decades you’ll need to hire a contractor to replace the underlaying material set below the tile roofing. Tile roofing can also break when walked upon, meaning you’ll need to hire a professional installer and be careful when making rooftop renovations or installing and repairing antennas and satellite dishes.


A professional roof replacement with clay tile costs about $12,000 to $21,000, but can rise depending on pitch and slope of the house. High-end tiles can cost as much as $65,000 for a typical home. Add an extra $500 to $1,000 for removal of old roofing. Add another $1,500 if you need new structural support added to the home.

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First photo credit: jganser via iStockphoto. Second photo: RuffLife. Third photo: bitznbitez ( was lucias_clay ). Fourth photo: gari.baldi. Latter photos via Compfight CC.

About the Author

Rachel Wright is an SEO content editor at Reply! with more than 10 years of editing experience. She enjoys interior design and gardening. To share home improvement ideas, find her on Google+.

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