Whether you’re building one home, or an entire subdivision of homes, roofing is a very important consideration. Since a roof protects a home from excessive moisture, heat, all types of weather, and can be costly to replace down the line, it is something buyers look at with a keen eye. Therefore, it bodes well for you, the builder, to be familiar with the various roofing materials on the market, as making the right choice can help you get a better return on your investment. Below are some of the most common roofing materials in today’s market.

Asphalt Shingles

The most common and most ubiquitous roofing material in North America is asphalt shingles. Their widespread use can be credited to their low cost and flexibility. Asphalt shingles, or asphalt composite shingles, are made from a fiberglass base with a coating made of a combination of mineral granules such as schist or quartz, and asphalt. These shingles are fire retardant, weather proof, extremely durable, and potentially the least expensive of all roofing options, averaging about $1.50 - $3.50 per square foot. They also come in a wide range of colors and can last about 20-30 years. Their flexible shape also makes them easy to work with and appropriate for most residential roof types. They are a fast to install, durable, inexpensive option, making them an excellent choice for investors.


Metal roofing is a sleek and attractive choice and excellent in cold, moist climates with a lot of rainfall as well as areas where forest fires could be a threat as it is a fireproof material. The most widely available type of metal roofing is called standing seam metal roofing, as it is constructed with metal panels that meet and join at raised seams every foot or so. This material costs about $6-$12 per square foot but also lasts about a decade longer than asphalt roofing. Metal roofing is extremely low maintenance, environmentally friendly, and comes in a wide assortment of colors. Many savvy buyers are aware of the durability of metal roofing while also being drawn to its aesthetic, so it is a choice that could serve you well as a builder or investor.

Clay Tile

Clay roofing has been around for centuries and is prized for its durability. A weather proof material, clay is especially good in areas that experience high temperatures as it is completely fireproof. While clay roofing is strong and does well with heat, it is also on the expensive side, averaging about $10-$18 per square foot. And because of its weight, a clay tile roof may need additional roofing support, incurring additional costs. Unless the market or climate demands it, this may not be the best option for investors looking to get a good return.

Wood Shakes

Popular with luxury homes, wooden shakes are thick wedges assembled together to form a tile-like wooden roof. They are often made of redwood and cedar, though other wood varieties can be used. While they are beautiful, wood shake roofs are not well suited to areas with a lot of moisture or precipitation. Because they can absorb moisture, warp, or burn easily, they also come with a lot of maintenance considerations. Wood shakes are also not cheap, at about $7-$11 per square foot. To add value while getting a good return on your investment, consider using wood shakes as an accent material around windows or underneath overhangs where they are more protected from the elements, but combine with asphalt shingles in a complimentary color for the roof.

Slate Tile

When it comes to roofing options, slate tiles are the most durable, and also the most expensive. If properly installed (and a skilled specialist is a must for slate roofs) a slate roof can last many years. Part of its durability as a roofing material comes from the fact that slate is fired at very high temperatures. This also makes it impervious to almost all kinds of extreme weather conditions.

Slate is also a very beautiful, natural roofing material but does cost around $30-$75 per square foot. If your investment is a high end or luxury build, this could be an excellent choice; its quality is unsurpassed and can add great value to your build. Furthermore, slate tile roofs create a striking, high-end look and may be just the sort of luxury detail savvy buyers are after.