Roofing material prices vary widely, from relatively low to sky-high. In addition, some roofing materials prices fluctuate with the current world market prices for raw materials such as petroleum. Asphalt shingling comes from petroleum, so depending on the price of oil per barrel, prices for asphalt may have gone up or down from a year ago.
Choices abound for roofing materials, from thatch to slate. Thatch roofs are made from dried grass and often used in third world countries where it is abundant and costs next to nothing. On the opposite end of the price scale is slate, which is solid pieces of stone. The majority of homeowners buy something in-between, such as composition shingles.
Composition shingles sell at relatively affordable prices, have a clean, neat appearance and usually rate as Class A for fire protection. They come in a variety of colors and types, which are fairly easy to install. Moreover, a new layer of composition shingles can be added right on top of the old layer, which makes tearing off the existing roof unnecessary. However, once there are four layers they must come off first, since doing otherwise would create a weight hazard. Roofing materials prices are only one facet of the total cost of a new roof installation.
Copper roofing is visually attractive, but the world market has recently watched as raw copper prices rose dramatically, taking the price for copper roofing with it. Metal roofing is not used very much yet, but it is slowly gaining acceptance as a viable roofing choice. Finding a roofing contractor who will install a metal roof is a challenge, but once completed, it lasts a lifetime.
Another factor with roofing material prices is availability. Roofing in large enough quantities to cover a moderate size roof is not available to the public. Professional roofers have access to the materials, and at wholesale prices. Neighborhood home improvement stores carry single rolls of asphalt, called rolled roofing, but this is only for small areas such as a shed or animal enclosure.
Today, many new roofing materials are available that are energy-efficient and recyclable. Building codes are becoming tighter as technology brings advances to the manufacture of synthetic products. Green roofs are gaining popularity, as well, using sod and plants as a living barrier from the weather. For do-it-yourself homeowners wishing to save money, extreme care is needed to avoid injury, which would cost more in hospital bills.
As with all consumer products, there are cheaters out there who are looking to make fast, easy money. Unfortunately, just in the last several years, a few of the high-priced fabricated roof materials have deteriorated way before their promised 50-year lifespan. It is important to understand that roofing material prices alone do not indicate roofing quality or usability for any particular home. Researching thoroughly, before selecting new roofing products, is the first step to preventing an unhappy outcome.