Fiberglass Roofing Shingles Costs, Options, and Pros & Cons

Asphalt shingles remain the most popular roofing material in America. While not the most durable option around, composition shingles aka fiberglass mat asphalt shingles are the most economical. They make for quick installation and continue to be improved upon.

Since the 1980’s, fiberglass shingles have effectively displaced the traditional organic asphalt shingle. The cost of materials and installation has stayed relative to the rate of inflation.

Cost Basics

As roofers discuss everything in terms of squares (100 sq.ft.), let’s use those rates. On average, a square of fiberglass roofing shingles will run $275 to $450 per square fully installed.

Note: In high cost of living areas such as DC, NYC, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and LA, the cost can easily exceed $500 per square installed.

If choosing to go with professional installation, on average, you can expect to pay between $6,000 and $12,000 for a 20 square, or 2000 sq.ft. roof. — This includes all materials and labor, tear off of the old roof and disposal, permitting, and 5 year warranty.

Cost of Materials vs. Other Alternatives:

The material cost, per square foot, for all other roofing options is $3 and up, while fiberglass shingles are easily well under $2 per sq.ft. You’d have to go with architectural grade to have it rise to the economic grade of other materials.

Material Composition

Traditional asphalt shingles, often referenced as organic mat-base shingles, were heavier than the contemporary fiberglass version. This is a result of needing 40% more asphalt than the updated fiberglass version.

The fiberglass base mat along with the ceramic granules are truly the primary materials while the asphalt layer serves the important function of waterproofing the mat. The granules, both old and new, serve the purpose shielding the shingle/mat from harmful UV rays.

Less asphalt does make for less flexibility and initially less durability. Though organic mat-based are well known to absorb water which during changes from hot to freezing temps, lead to more cracking or warping of the shingle.

Being lighter weight, fiberglass shingles are easier to transport, thus more eco-friendly in terms of energy needed for transport. And less weight that will end up in landfills, which is overall a disadvantage of asphalt shingles compared to recyclable materials such as metal and ceramic tile.

Stylistic Considerations

Two different types of fiberglass shingles exist, with enormous amount of sub-variations. Three-tab shingles are the less expensive version that delivers an overall flat looking roof.

The ’tabs’ are actually the shingle that on a finished roof are not detectable as all shingles look like individual pieces, when really they are overlapping pieces of three-tabbed shingles.

Architectural grade is the second, more expensive version. Sometimes referenced as dimensional 3D or laminate shingles.

This type of fiberglass shingle provides extra depth and shape to what is the resulting shingle appearance. The contoured look gives off more of an impression slate tile or even wood shake.

Both types of fiberglass shingles can vary the color on a single roof, but three tab is commonly a single color while the dimensional tiles have visible shade and hue difference among each piece.

All contemporary roofing materials have limitless color options and fiberglass shingles are no different. Green, red, brown, gray and black are all common for fiberglass shingles.

Additional Considerations and Features

A significant advantage architectural shingles have over three tab is the manufacturer’s warranty. Typically three tab will carry anywhere from 15 to 30 years depending on manufacturer, climate and regional environmental factors. Architectural grade starts with a minimum of 30 years.

The same roof mentioned in the Cost Basics section above, using laminate shingles, would be $8500 to $15,000 with labor, for 20 squares.

For low sloped roofs, three-tab is the better option as the contours of a dimensional roof could hold or trap water more than the flatness of the three-tab version.

Some manufacturers use colored granules designed to reflect sun rays, thus delivering cool roof type technology on an asphalt shingle application.

While metal roofing is superior when it comes to actual cool roof benefits, you’ll want to check for Energy Star rated fiberglass shingles to achieve these sort of benefits.

Similarly, contemporary fiberglass shingles have the option of being treated for algae resistance. If you go for these, plan to pay as much as 15 percent more for roofing material.

For homeowners in high humidity or increased precipitation, this may be of interest to you.

Advantages of Fiberglass Shingles

  • ease of installation – almost all professional roofers will install this product, and many DIY’er types can handle this type of roofing project
  • very budget friendly or for sure one of the most economical choices available for adding a new roof to your home
  • great versatility with lots of styles and options to select from
  • widely available
  • unlike many other types of roof, fiberglass shingles can be walked on without need for special attention or fear of cracking/denting the material
  • decent to good return on your investment. 3-tab generally amounts to 70% ROI, while architectural grade can fetch as much as 78%

Disadvantages of Fiberglass Shingles

  • while more eco-friendly than organic version, they lag far behind other roofing materials
  • far less durable than most other roofing options that can last 50 to 100 years, by the time one needs to replace a slate tile roof, the homeowner who stuck with fiberglass will have paid for 3 roofs that are subject to escalating costs over time
  • due to shorter life span, the need for annual check ups is greater along with possibility of needed repairs from curled or cracked shingles. Especially a factor for three tab shingles in hotter climates.

The Cost of a Standing Seam Metal Roof, Plus Pros & Cons

Standing seam is the premier choice for metal roofing. It is also the most expensive; around two to three times the cost of corrugated metal panels (and asphalt shingles), and about 20% to 30% above metal shingles.

Standing seam offers unbeatable value (durability, longevity, energy-efficiency, and style) that is hard for any other roofing material to match. Let’s explore this in further detail:

Cost

G-90 Galvanized Steel is the most popular or most-often used option for residential standing seam roofs. The “G” here refers to the amount of the zinc plating, as in .90oz per square foot.

Did you know? Standing Seam is also available in Aluminum, Galvalume Steel, Zinc and Copper

While technically, aluminum is more expensive than steel, the reality is the costs aren’t noticeably different when considering what is being sold to homeowners by quality contractors.

If the materials were not coated and not finished with factory painting, then perhaps the higher cost of aluminum would be something of note. In the current market, they are virtually the same cost.

Cost of Materials and Important Nuances on Pre-Cut vs. Custom-Fabricated Metal Panels

Standing seam metal panels and trim will cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per sq. ft. for made-to-order (custom fabricated) metal panels, depending on the overall order size, location, and supplier relationship.

In terms of metal quality and thickness a 26 or 24 gauge Galvalume steel would be a better and a longer lasting option compared to G-90 galvanized steel, especially near the ocean.

Total Cost per Square Foot Installed

A qualified contractor will likely have real metal samples, a brochure or catalog to show off all the possibilities for what’s available. They’ll provide all the information that backs up their work.

And, if going with the national average, their prices will normally fall in the range of $9.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. to install the system on a typical house.

How to Find a Trusted Metal Roofer

Depending on your location, it can be tough to find a specialist roofing contractor that installs Standing Seam, but even more challenging is finding a pro that does it well.

Installation costs do take into account a number of factors, such as: how exactly will the panels be connected, what are some of the existing roof needs to address (i.e. attic insulation and ventilation, the tear off and disposal of the old roof, etc.), what are the options in terms of metals/alloys, colors and gauge or thickness of the material, whether the installer is properly insured, and whether or not any meaningful labor warranties are being offered.

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Cost & Benefits of Ribbed Metal Roofing: Pros & Cons

Ribbed metal roofing is in the same family as Corrugated metal roofing. It is made in a similar fashion (at a metal mill), attached to the roof in the same way, and installation costs are about the same.

The key difference is in the appearance. Ribbed metal can be mistaken for Standing Seam, which is on the upper echelon of metal roofing.

Cost

Based on the price of materials alone, Ribbed metal paneling is certainly in the same ball park as Corrugated metal paneling.

The pricing does depend a bit on who you are purchasing the materials from, but a price range of $1.00 to $3.00 per linear foot is what you’ll routinely find. — This assumes you are going with a coated steel (i.e. galvanized or Galvalume), stainless steel or aluminum product. Then add a minimum of $2.50 to $4.00 per sq. ft. for professional installation, and you’ll get a base rate of $4.00 to $7.00 per sq. ft. of ribbed metal paneling installed.

Note: Labor costs may be higher than $3 per sq. ft. Total cost ought to be below $7.00 to $9 per sq. ft. installed, which means the cost of warrantied labor could go as high as $4.00 to $6.00 per sq. ft., in some cases.

Why would installation costs ever be that much higher higher? Well location is part of it, along with complexity of your roof, slope, or pitch, of the roof, and amount of custom metal flashing required for the job.

If your existing roof is to be torn off and disposed of, that would be a separate line item cost. Same goes with possible repairs to the roof. The good news is that Ribbed metal roofing can be installed over the existing roof.

For an average sized roof (say 1,600 sq.ft.), the total installation cost is likely to fall within $5,500 to $9,000.

A very large roof, say 3,000 sq. ft. would then be double, right? Not necessarily. If it is a non-complex roof, it could be significantly less than double as the more product you order and the more work being provided to the contractor, the less of an overall charge per sq. ft. the project could result in.

ROI: With all metal roofing, the return (value to cost) on your investment will be excellent. It starts at around 86% and, again, depending on your location may be higher.

This means that if you were to spend say $10,000 for a ribbed metal roof and sell your home while the roof is still in great condition, you can plan to recoup $8,600 of that value just from this part of your home.

Residential homes along the east coast of the U.S. tend to fetch better than 86% ROI.

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