Picking out a roofing material can be a pretty complicated process. There are a lot of materials and styles to choose from, one of which might be perfect for your home. To help you come to a more informed decision, here are comparisons between three of the most common roofing materials:
The baseline option for residential roofing is to get asphalt shingles. Not only are they fairly cheap, but they last a reasonably long amount of time and are pretty appealing to look at. On top of that, asphalt comes in a wide variety of colors and is fairly easy to install.
As far as the value of asphalt is concerned, asphalt will cost you about $1 to $4 per square foot and will last 20-30 years. This results in a best possible value of $.03 per square foot per year and a worst case value of $.20 per square foot per year. This massive range means that you can either get a very good or a very bad deal on asphalt in the long run. If you can take care of your asphalt and can find a vendor that will sell you asphalt for cheap, then you only need to worry about the actually cost of installation.
If you want to get a much higher quality option, then clay is a good choice. Clay tiles are quite expensive to buy, but they can last a while and have a very specific appearance that you might be interested in. If you want a roof with a reddish tinge, then clay is one of the best options available.
For a comparison to the value of asphalt, clay costs anywhere from $7 to $10 per square foot and will last more than 100 years. This ultimately results in a value that is between $.07 and $.10. This is a much tighter range than you can get with asphalt, but both the high and low estimates end up being near the middle of the range for asphalt. This means that a good or bad deal on clay will end up costing you about as much as an average deal on asphalt in the long run.
Finally, metal can be a very good choice if you are primarily interested in value and not the appearance of your roof. However, metal roofs can be a good choice aesthetically if you are looking for a very specific theme, such as some sort of industrial design.
A square foot of metal is initially going to cost you between $3 and $7.50 for regular quality and between $7 and $10 for high quality, with an average lifespan somewhere between 40 and 80 years. This ultimately ends up netting you a value between $.04 and $.19 for normal metal and between $.09 and $.25 for the higher quality stuff.