Roofing Materials Used In Our Roofing Calculator

In this post, we provide a quick overview of different roofing types that are included in our calculator for comparison. We also offer our opinions about these products, and an average lifespan of each one.

Sloped Roofs

30 Year Architectural Asphalt Shingles – the most common type of residential roofing material. Mainly popular because of it’s relatively low cost and low installation prices, due to high competition in the market. The average life expectancy of a properly installed asphalt shingles system, over an adequately ventilated deck varies from 15-20 years, depending on the region and the location of the roof. For example, in wooded areas of New Hampshire, an asphalt shingles roof will last less than one somewhere in the suburb’s of New Jersey. Moss will damage shingles in the summer and ice dams will damage them in the winter, shortening the overall lifespan. This is general information and the results may greatly vary, due to numerous factors affecting the performance of each particular roof.

Read our complete asphalt roofing shingles guide, which covers 3-tab, architectural / laminated shingles, premium shingles, longevity, warranty, roof repair and environmental issues related to asphalt shingles.

The average installation price of an asphalt shingles roof: $320 per square (100 sq. ft.) on a 1-story, walkable gable roof, including tear-off, underlayment, nails, flashing and ridge-vent.

Metal Roofing

Metal Roofing Materials Guide Рwe include 3 most common types of metal roofs: Standing Seam, Aluminum and Steel Interlocking Shingles.

Standing Seam – vertical metal panels, usually coated with special Kynar 500 coating, and typically come in aluminum and steel. Optionally, you can get standing seam metal roofs in copper, zinc, and even lead. Standing seam panels are usually 16″ wide and are cut to the required length, when produced in a factory environment or on site, by a roll forming machine.

Standing seam panels MUST be installed over an even, clean deck with proper underlayment. Old asphalt shingles must be removed before the metal panels are installed, to prevent the “telegraphing” effect of shingles punching through the metal. Standing seam panels are attached using clips and screws (for 1.5-2″ lock panels) and with nails, when a “nailing strip” profile is used. The most common types of standing seam are Snap-Lock and Mechanical Lock architectural panels.

The most common metal used for standing seam roofing is galvanized steel – there are two major types of galvanization used in metal roofing industry: Galvalume and G-90 steel. Galvalume uses a zinc-aluminum coating as the galvanization method, while G-90 uses mainly zinc. Both are about the same when it comes to quality and should last a very long time, unless a metal panel has deep scratches, down to the bare steel.

Aluminum Standing Seam Roof

The second common metal used to make standing seam is aluminum. In my opinion, aluminum works much better than steel, as it will not rust even if a panel has deep scratches, which is very common occurrence during manufacturing and installation of standing seam materials. Aluminum is also best to use near the ocean / sea as, unlike steel, it will not be subject to salt corrosion in the coastal areas.

Do not confuse standing seam with corrugated metal roofing panels  Рthese are not the same. Standing seam roofs utilize concealed fasteners, while corrugated steel ones are installed with exposed screws Рright through the panel, which dramatically increases the possibility of a leak.

The average installation price of a standing seam metal roof: $1000-1200 per square (100 sq. ft.) of roof area on a 1-story, walkable gable roof, including tear-off, breathable synthetic underlayment such as GAF DeckArmor, clips+screws, Z-flashing, ridge-vent and snow-guards above doors (walkways) and used garage doors.

Interlocking Metal Shingles (Steel and Aluminum): – offer more flexibility when it comes to installation. Interlocking shingles are much better when it comes to flashing detail, as they have a low profile without ribs. Therefore, the difficulty level of skylight flashing moves to “easy”, as compared to “very difficult” for standing seam.

Interlocking shingles also will give you a different look and feel – for example you can choose a a Slate or Cedar shingle look. Your home will not look like a farm house or a barn. You can actually combine different colors and shades of shingles and trim / flashing metal to give you an even better, more alive look. For example, if you choose to install “green slate”, you can combine it with copper-colored flashing to make your metal roof resemble real slate even more.

In terms of cost, interlocking shingles are the least expensive metal roofs available. First, due to smaller physical size of the panel, metal does not need to be as thick as that used in long and wide standing seam panels. Therefore, material costs are lower. Also, with “easier” installation your labor costs go down. You can easily see a 20% price difference on a simpler roof, and as much as 35% difference on a really cut-up one.

In terms of performance and longevity, interlocking shingles will last just as long as standing seam – therefore the only difference is in the aesthetic look and price of the roof.

The average installation price of interlocking metal shingles: $900-1000 per square (100 sq. ft.), on a 1-story, walkable gable roof, including tear-off of 1 layer of old roofing, installation of breathable synthetic underlayment such as GAF DeckArmor, clips and nails (galvanized steel nails or ring-shank aluminum nails), ridge-vent and snow-guards above doors (walkways) and used garage doors.

Read on: Roofing Materials Guide part 2.

In the second part of this guide, we will discuss the materials designed specifically for low slope applications, where traditional roofing materials will fail, as flat and low slope roofs often have ponding water and snow on them, and water-shedding materials (such as shingles) will not work.

Roofing Materials Reference Info:

How long asphalt shingles REALLY last: Special report by CBC:

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11 thoughts on “Roofing Materials Used In Our Roofing Calculator

  1. Brad

    320 per square is a little high. Insurance companies have started really biting down on us. I was just given $7430 for a 43sq, 6/12 ranch with two layer by Travelers. That’s 172 a square and it sucks!

    1. Leo - roofer with a vision Post author

      Hi Brad,

      While $320 / square may be a bit high for some parts of the country, here in Boston and most of New England, some legit roofers won’t touch a roof for less than $400 per square and going average is $350 for walkable 1 layer tear-off, with new 30-year architectural. Also consider that since we put those “fixed” numbers into calculator, gas vent up $1.50 a gallon to about $4 now (it was about $2.50 a year ago) – this increases the cost of shingles as well as roofer’s costs.

      Now $172 / square is just ridiculous – with cost of materials being about $125+ considering shingles, felt, flashing, ridge-cap, caulk, nails and in some cases ice and water and sales tax, that leaves less than $50 for labor, overhead and profit – i’m sorry but that math just does not work out.

      Bellow is ONLY my opinion: The problem is that insurance companies / adjuster use exactimate to price a job, and since Ins. Co. are the biggest clients of the company making exactimate, the “real market value” numbers in that program are set to what ins. co. are willing to pay contractors doing insurance work. Therefore it’s a monopoly, and roofers are willful hostages of the situation, because there are always those who will work for free which is essentially the case with that $172 / square number, as well as illegal / unlicensed / uninsured low-ballers giving homeowners those ridiculous numbers.

      Homeowners of course will often go for the lowest bid, not realizing or ignoring more than likely outcome that the roof will soon leak, the contractor who installed the roof will not be fixing it, and they will spend hundreds if not thousands to repair the roof / interior damages. But at that point they will not be going for a new roof, because they just put one on – at the same time they will think that all roofers are scammers and dirt-bags. In the end, their roof will cost about the same as the prices generated by our roofing calculator, but with much aggravation …

      Unfortunately, this is a systematic problem, and I do not see how it can be resolved without active building code enforcement but the building inspectors – I mean permitting and strict requirements for all insurances and licensing. This alone can reduce the number of low-baller roofers significantly. Also many states don’t even have any insurance / license requirements at all – New Hampshire for example, as it is close to us.

      Still, the homeowners will always want lower prices, and many will go for the lowest bid, and there will always be low-ballers willing to work for nearly nothing, and then going out of business.

      Any way, there is plenty of such discussions on forum, including insurance work, illegal roofers, low-ballers, etc. I’ve never worked with insurance companies, as they will never approve a metal roof in place of asphalt shingles, since a metal roof costs much more than asphalt roof, and I just never wanted to deal with them knowing how the process works.

      PS – here is one of the xactimate discussion on pointing to post #6 which explains that xactimate maker – Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) which is owned by Verisk Analyitics (insurance risk specialists) which is owned by a group of insurance companies. So not only ins. co. dictate the pricing in that estimating program – they actually own it through subsidiaries.

  2. Marcus Lussier

    i wish you were not limited on RC by number of skylights, number of chimneys, and plywood, and even number of layers…..

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