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What Is the Cheapest Way to Build a Roof?

Roofing your house rarely rates high on the list of fun and exciting home remodelling projects. But when your home develops a leak, your attitude might take a sharp turn. Suddenly, the prospect of a dry, tightly sealed house begins to look very attractive. A beautiful new roof can also improve the curb appeal of your house.

There are many types of roofing materials to choose from, and a little bit of investigation might lead you to consider a new type of roofing rather than simply replacing the same material you now have. Choosing the right roofing material requires that you weigh appearance, longevity, cost, and structural issues.

A properly installed roof adds value to the home as well as structural integrity and aids in keeping elements out of the home. Roofing also is expensive when installed by licensed professionals using the latest in building materials. For the more price-conscious do-it-yourselfer, though, a roof can be installed for less as long as some important guidelines are followed. Top Glaze has the best range of help if you’re looking for Melbourne roof repairs.

Choosing Your Material

The roofing material that’s right for your home should work for both your architectural style and your climate. Making the smartest choice in material is the first and best way to avoid pricey repairs down the line.


A new roof is a big investment that can last anywhere from 15 to over 50 years given proper installation and maintenance. Before starting such a comprehensive project, it’s important to understand the factors that influence the longevity and curb appeal of a roof, and how to prioritize them.

Solar tiles

Advanced solar collectors integrate seamlessly into existing shingles, generating up to 1 kilowatt of energy per 100 square feet. They’re particularly good for sunny roofs in homeowners’ associations that forbid typical solar panels. While they may help offset energy costs with solar power, they also cost more than traditional solar options.

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing materials in America because they’re effective in all environmental conditions. Quality varies widely, so ask whether they pass the ASTM D3161, Class F (110 mph) or ASTM D7158, Class H (150 mph) wind tests and the AC438 durability test. Upfront costs are low, but you should expect to replace the shingles after about 20 years. If you live in a hail prone area, consider impact resistant shingles which have a UL 2218 Class 4 rating. Impact-resistant shingles may qualify for a discount on your homeowner’s premium.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing comes in vertical panels or shingles resembling slate, tile and shake – and lasts about 60 years. Metal excels at sloughing off heavy snow and rain, won’t burn and resists high winds. It is lightweight and can be installed over existing roofs. However, metal can be noisy during rainstorms, and may dent from hail. Average costs range between $5 and $12 per square foot, depending on type and style of metal – which is more than asphalt but less than concrete tiles. Corrosion also varies by material.

Stone-coated steel

Interlocking panels mimic slate, clay or shingles and resist damage caused by heavy rains (up to 8.8 inches per hour), winds of 120 miles per hour, uplifting, hail and freeze-thaw cycles. Consequently, they’re an economical, effective choice for wet, windy regions or areas prone to wildfires. Some stone-coated steel roofs are warranted for the lifetime of the house.


Slate roofing lasts more than 100 years. It won’t burn, is waterproof and resists mold and fungus. Slate is effective in wet climates but is expensive, heavy and may be easily broken when stepped on. Keep this in mind if you live in an area that experiences hail.

Rubber slate

Rubber slate looks natural and can be cut with a knife to fit intricate roofs like those found on Victorian homes. Rubber slate roofs can last 100 years but can be damaged by satellite dishes and walking – so may also be susceptible to damage by hail, similar to slate. Roofing professionals that are trained to install rubber slate may be hard to find.

Clay and concrete tiles 

Clay and concrete roof tiles can withstand damage from tornadoes, hurricanes or winds up to 125 miles per hour and even earthquakes, according to “A Summary of Experimental Studies on Seismic Performance of Concrete and Clay Roofing Tiles” by the University of Southern California for the Tile Roofing Institute. They are good in warm, dry climates. They may require extra support to bear their weight, and they are likely to break when walked on. Check out our roof replacement Melbourne services.

Green roofs

Green roofs are covered with plants and can improve air quality, reduce water runoff and insulate homes to reduce urban heat islands. However, they need extra structural support, a vapor barrier, thermal insulation, waterproofing, drainage, water filtration, soil, compost and plants. Their estimated lifespan is 40 years.

Built-up roofing

This heavy roofing consists of layers of asphalt, tar or adhesive topped with an aggregate and is only for flat roofs. Tar and gravel roofs, also for flat roofs, are best for roof-top decks with heavy foot traffic. These roofs may become sticky in summer, and it is harder to shovel snow off of these roofs when compared to smooth surfaces. They can last 20 to 25 years.

Tips for Affordable Home Building

In many parts of the country, the lack of affordable housing is frustrating home buyers. If that’s your situation, instead of trying to compete in red-hot housing markets, you may be looking for the cheapest way to build a house. There are a lot of different options available to take advantage of, and building a budget-friendly home may be a doable project you want to take on.

Here are some tips to help you build your budget-friendly home:

Simplify Your Home’s Design

The cheapest way to build a home is to design a simple box. Sticking to a square or rectangle makes the building and design simple. Generally speaking, building up is cheaper than building a sprawling one-story home, so you may want to consider planning for a multiple-story home if you need more space.

If you’re worried a box-style home isn’t going to be attractive, consider that you can make the exterior more interesting with landscaping, shutters, lighting and other decor options that don’t cost a lot.

Another part of the home’s design to consider is the roof. Believe it or not, there are many different roofing designs, and they can affect the price of your home. The simpler the roofing design, the less expensive it’ll be to build a home.

For example, according to RemodelingImage.com, the installation for a (nearly) flat roof on a 1,500-square-foot home costs $6,000 – $15,000 on average. For a gable roof, the typical, two-pitch roof, the installation cost is $12,000 – $18,000 and up to $25,000 when you factor in the cost for asphalt shingles. An even more complex roof, the Mansard roof – with a flat rooftop and multiple pitches – can have installation costs of $20,000 – $50,000 on average.

Of course, costs will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the home/roof, the materials used, the number of pitches and the steepness and length of the slopes. Dormers can also increase the price.

Try A Tiny Home

There’s a reason tiny houses are increasing in popularity: they cost less to build and can be built on wheels for people who may wish to move in the future. You don’t necessarily need to buy a tiny home to get the cost benefits of a smaller home.

Many of your materials and labour is going to be priced per square foot. Build a 2,000-square-foot home rather than a 3,000-square-foot home, and you’re going to save yourself money. Decide to build a tiny home, which by definition, are under 400 square feet, and you’re going to save yourself a whole bunch of money. The average cost to build a tiny home is about $20,000 – $30,000 for materials.

Depending on whether your tiny home is mobile or stationary, you may also have to purchase land to build it on. According to the USDA, that’s about $3,160 per acre for rural land, on average in 2020. However, the cost of land will depend on the state you plan to live in, certain features, like lakes, and the land’s proximity to metropolitan areas.

Hire An Experienced Home Builder

If you’re working with a home builder, hire an experienced one. While an experienced home builder might cost more than one with little to no experience, you’ll likely make up the cost during the building process.

An experienced builder can help you figure out where to spend and where to save. They’ll probably have creative money-saving ideas. And they can help you avoid problems before they arise since they’ve likely had a lot of experience navigating problems in their career.

Save Costs By Becoming A General Contractor

If you have building experience or a large network of skilled labour, you may decide to act as your own contractor and manage the home building process yourself. You may still want to work with an architect or download plans for a home from the internet.

Acting as your own contractor is one way that you can save on costs. If you’re able to do a lot of the work yourself, this can be one of the cheapest ways to build a house.

That said, some of the work should still be done by subcontractors if this is your first time building a house. Correcting your mistakes can be costly and time-consuming, so if you’re not sure of your skills, hiring a professional can save more money in the long run.

Get Your Design Plans Approved

Roof For Restoration

Waiting and redesigning your home can cost a lot. For example, if you don’t get all of the necessary permits in time, you will spend a lot of time (and money) waiting for permits to be approved. Any changes that you make to your building plan during the construction process can also add significantly to the total cost of the build. That’s why it’s important to get your plans approved early in the planning process before you start building.

Plus, if you start work without getting them approved first by your city or county, you risk being charged a hefty fine (or worse, having to redo some of your already completed work).

Budget, Plan And Price Out All Items

Don’t wait until the end to be surprised by the cost. Create a budget and price out everything that you expect to spend on the home. While you may not have a perfect estimate right from the beginning, starting to get a handle on the costs can help you throughout the entire building process.

Whenever prices change, or a cost gets added, make sure you add it to your budget. It should be a live document that changes as your plans change, so you always know where you are in your spending, and you don’t run the risk of running out of money.

Choose Building Materials Wisely

Different types of building materials will have different costs. Choosing cost-effective materials can help keep the project affordable. Here are a few to consider.

Reclaimed Materials

While using reclaimed materials like old barn doors or wood in your home build is trendy, there’s a practical reason it’s so popular: it saves money. Look for reclaimed doors, wood floors, windows and decorative items.

Not sure where to find reclaimed materials? Check Craigslist, Planet Reuse, a salvage store or find a home that is currently being torn down and see if you can salvage any of its old materials.

Prefab Panels

Prefabricated panels are wall panels that are custom-built inside a factory and shipped to the building site. By having the walls built indoors and shipped to the site ready to install, they can cut down on construction and framing labour time. This can help you save money because you aren’t paying for the extra labour to build and frame the walls.

Precast Concrete

Just like prefab panels, precast concrete is concrete that’s poured into a reusable mould, cured indoors, then shipped to the building site. On average, precast concrete costs less than on-site pouring because it cuts down on on-site labour and can help prevent delays due to weather.

Shipping Containers

This alternative housing idea uses old shipping containers for the structure of the home. Since the structure is already intact, this type of housing can help you save money on construction costs. Of course, you’ll need to consider the modifications you’ll need to make to the container to turn it into livable space, and costs go up if you use more than one container.


Cob is a mixture of straw, clay and subsoil. This earthen material is so thick, it provides energy-efficient, thermal benefits. And since most of the ingredients for cob can be found on-site for free, you can save a good amount of money on material costs. Cob is also known to last hundreds of years and only requires a new layer when it eventually needs to be fixed.

Buy Materials At A Discount

Materials are going to be one of your biggest costs (if not the biggest) of the job. So if you can cut your materials budget, you’ll significantly reduce the cost to build your home. When you begin shopping, ask each supplier if they offer a builder’s discount. Yes, it’s OK to ask. You may not be purchasing materials in a large enough quantity to qualify, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you can’t qualify for a discount on your materials, you might ask your contractor to purchase the items for you using their discount. Depending on your relationship, they may not charge a markup to do that for you.

Add Energy-Efficient Home Features For Rebates And Taxes

Everyone seems to be going green when building, and there’s a cost-saving reason for that. Using energy-efficient materials, including better insulation and high-efficiency windows, may cost more upfront but can ultimately save money for homeowners over the years. Consider solar or wind energy as a power source, but check to make sure that these are available in your area and right for your particular piece of land.

You might also be able to qualify for rebates and tax breaks for building certain energy-efficient elements into your home. Check with EnergyStar.gov to search for local, state, and federal rebates for your energy projects.

DIY as Much as You Can

Are there certain finishes in your home you’d love to have but you can’t afford them? It’s time to watch some videos and give it a try yourself. Going the DIY route can save you money, especially when it comes to things like painting or laying flooring.

But not all work that you DIY will be a money saver. If you don’t know how to do some of the big jobs, like plumbing or electrical, it may cost you more to have someone fix your mistakes down the road. Looking for roof restoration Melbourne? Look no further! Top Glaze has you covered.


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