What Is the Cheapest Roofing Material for Homeowners on a Budget?

cheapest roofing material

Having a functional roof is essential. Roofing keeps you safe from the elements, helps your home save energy, and adds to your overall curb appeal. But have you ever wondered what the cheapest roofing material is?


Yes, we will talk about the cheapest roofing material today – the term “best” is largely subjective. Comparing price points is important because you have to balance what specific types of roofing materials can do with their cost.

Many homeowners are working on a budget, and they may not have as much money to spend. The goal is to find a roofing material that can protect them and their home without paying more than they’re able to.

roof shingle color

There are two questions that this guide will answer; what is the cheapest roofing material, and how effective it is. Read on to figure out what roofing type best works for you.

How Much Does a New Roof Cost?

The average cost of a  foot new roof in the United States is about $9,000. You could spend anywhere from approximately $6,000 to $12,000. The price is distributed between materials (40%) and labor (60%).

Roofing Pricing Factors

Three factors determine what you’ll pay for new roof installation costs. The first is the working conditions. The roofing team has to accommodate their safety depending on the working conditions.

Weather conditions that are too hot or cold will impact the ease and duration of the job. Ideally, the team is working in temperate weather. The milder the conditions, the faster the job gets done.


The second condition is the extent of damage on your roof. If you’re lucky, there’s not enough damage to require a whole roof replacement. Replacing your entire roof takes more safety preparations and time.

The third factor determining new roof installation costs is removing old material. Some homes have layers of shingles that may need removing before the contractors can lay down the new roofing.


Choosing the Cheapest Roofing Material

Everyone looking to purchase roofing materials has different budgets. “Cheap” differs from person to person. While finding other materials in the same price range is possible, you should also consider your preferences.

Think about what appeals to your sense of aesthetics and your willingness for maintenance and repair work before you buy. Below are four of the least expensive types of roofing.


Asphalt is the cheapest roofing material as far as to purchase price and installation fees go. You can expect to pay about $1 to $2 per square foot. Asphalt roofing is popular among budget shoppers.

There are three types of asphalt roofing: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. The varied types make it easy to choose whatever kind of asphalt shingle you think looks best. Asphalt does have its disadvantages, though.

While asphalt shingles can last between 15 to 20 years (architectural shingles can last three decades), you’ll have to pay more money for repairs over time. Asphalt is susceptible to heat, moisture damage, and mold.


Corrugated metal is relatively cheap roofing as well. You’ll pay $1.80 to $2.50 per square foot for this material. Corrugated metals come in a variety of colors to accommodate your design sensibilities.

Steel roofing is a little more expensive than corrugated metal at $3.50 per square foot. Steel has higher upfront costs, but its durability means that you won’t have to worry much about repair fees in the future.

If you don’t want corrugated or steel metal roofs, there’s also zinc, aluminum, copper, and galvalume to choose from. Galvanized and galvalume roofs are among the most popular due to their longevity.

Metal can be noisy but is stylish and environmentally friendly. Regardless of what metal roofing you pick, your roof is liable to last up to 50 years.

Rolled Roofing

If you’re not familiar with rolled roofing, think of a giant cellophane roll, but for your roof. A rolled roof is comprised of individual rolls of asphalt-infused materials with a mineral granule top. Nails come included with the roofing.

Rolled roofs are among the cheapest types of roofing materials. You’ll pay about 50 cents per square foot – cheaper than asphalt. However, there is a drawback to this extremely low price point.

Cut Roof Replacement Cost by 20%

A rolled roof will last about five years, ten if you’re willing to do proper maintenance. This kind of roofing works best on structures like barns or smaller outbuildings. Rolled roofing is also prone to leaking.

The cheap roofing granule topping tends to wear down over time quickly. Water can soak through to the roof structure once the upper layer has sustained enough damage. Luckily, rolled roofing is relatively easy to repair.

An excellent way to think about rolled roofing is to compare the price to its longevity and your willingness to fix it. If you don’t like the idea of constant replacements, you should consider another type of roofing material.


Cedar shake shingles are a popular choice for roofing, as well. Cedar shingles start from $2.00 per square foot, but you can buy more expensive ones for $4.50 per square foot. Cedar lasts up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

Cedar shingles insulate twice as well as asphalt and are weather resistant. Cedar roofing can withstand heavy winds, snowstorms, and heavy rains.

They’re easy to replace if need be; you won’t need a sealant to attach a new tile to your roof. Unlike rolled roofing which you need to apply in warmer weather, you can repair or replace a cedar shingle any time of year.

Roofing Buyers Guide

Cedar roofing does have its drawbacks, though. It’s not the cheapest roofing material, and it does need regular maintenance. The material is prone to mold, moss, and mildew growth.

If you’re not the type willing or able to maintain your roofing constantly, cedar may not be the suitable material for you. You can hire someone to sustain your roof, but that’s also another fee you’ll have to pay.

Want Affordable Roofing?

There are four types of roofing buyers on a budget can buy; asphalt, metal, roll roofing, and cedar shingles. Roll roofing is the cheapest roofing material as you’ll pay less than a dollar per square foot.

Each roofing has its pros and cons. For example, cedar roofing has fantastic insulating properties, but it’s the most expensive of the bunch. Meanwhile, asphalt shingles are cheaper but may only last 15 years.

Get a free quote from Best Roofing Estimates if you need affordable roofing. We can help you find the least expensive means for roof replacements or repair.

1 Comment
  1. It stood out to me when you mentioned that you can hire someone to maintain your roof for you. My wife and I are thinking that it would be a good time for us to have our roof renovated since the weather is nice right now. We are thinking that renovating our roof will make it more durable and energy-efficient for the winter.

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