When it comes to replacing your roof or constructing a new one, asphalt shingles are the one of the most affordable options you can choose. This common roofing type has grown more versatile over the years, ranging in colors and styles that can mimic the look of premium roofing options. While it may not have the lifespan or aesthetic character of metal, slate, or clay, an asphalt roof will offer reliable durability on a budget.
While asphalt may seem like the no-nonsense option, remember that roofing your home is a sizeable and costly project no matter what material you choose. That’s why you’ll want to consider factors other than up-front cost as you move forward. For example, the lifespan of an asphalt roof is 15 to 30 years, whereas other roofing types can last more than half a century while providing greater energy efficiency to an already energy-optimized home.
If you decide that asphalt shingles are the best choice for your home’s roofing, here are the costs you can typically expect:
The amount of materials needed will depend on the area of your roof as well as its characteristics. Asphalt roofing costs between $1.50 to $28 per square foot, not including any additional materials. The price will also depend on whether you choose architectural or three-tab shingles. Architectural shingles are more durable and give a more dynamic aesthetic, but they’re also more expensive than the flat, single-layer three-tab.
If you opt for organic mat-based shingles over the typical fiberglass (both are types of asphalt roofing), the price will increase somewhat. However, before you write off organic mat-based shingles due to the greater expense, consider that they are made partly from recycled materials and contain more asphalt than the fiberglass alternative. Both of these factors make organic shingles more eco-friendly, as well as more rugged and able to withstand wear and tear.
The price will also depend on whether you choose architectural or three-tab shingles. Architectural shingles are more durable and give a more dynamic aesthetic, but they’re also more expensive than the flat, single-layer three-tab.
It is possible to DIY your roof replacement, but unless you’re experienced with this type of project, you could end up compromising your investment—as well as the integrity of your home. You’ll most likely want to hire a professional, who will first remove and dispose of your existing roof. In some cases, a new asphalt roof can be installed over the old one, which cuts down labor costs but also decreases the lifespan of the roof. Roof removal costs anywhere from $1.00 to $1.75 per square foot, depending on how many layers need to be torn off. Make sure you’ve weighed the pros and cons before you decide to layer your new roof over your old one.
After removing the old roof, the contractor will assess the state of the roof, perform necessary repairs, install an underlayment, install the shingles, add any necessary metalwork (flashing, trim, vent covers, etc), and review the job for quality. The cost of labor will most likely land between $2000 and $4000, but keep in mind that roofers charge by the roofing square, and that a steep roof can also affect the cost.
Make sure you shop around for the right contractor. Do not sacrifice quality for affordability—ultimately, a poorly done job will only cost you more money in either damages or repairs. You’ll want to find someone who can prove their performance with testimonials and who is familiar with your area’s building codes. Ask friends and family members if they can recommend anyone before you cold-call contractors.
Other Things to Consider
- Asphalt shingles may not be the most energy efficient roofing option on the market, but manufacturers are making efficiency more of a priority. “Cool roofs” are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than traditional roofing, and some types of asphalt shingles contain coated granules that increase solar reflectance. Look for Energy Star roof products as you start hunting for the right materials.
- Rubber roofing is comparable in price to asphalt roofing, but is more eco-friendly. Rubber roofing products consist of up to 95 percent recycled materials and can be recycled after the roof has seen its last days. It also performs well, offering good insulation and requiring little maintenance.
- While the steep investment in a premium roof may influence you to choose asphalt, remember that premium roofing materials raise the value of your home and can greatly improve its aesthetic. Be sure to research other roofing types so you know you’re making the optimal choice for your needs and budget.