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Common Roofing Options for Tiny Houses

Here is a list of some of the more important Pros and Cons of many common roofing materials as they apply to their application on tiny houses. If you contact us, we can provide some idea of cost of each option, though costs will vary greatly based upon exact home design.

Asphalt/Fiberglass Shingles

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to install, readily available

Cons: 2.5 – 4.25 pounds per square foot, failure-prone sealants, limited wind resistance, can’t be used below 3:12 roof pitch, life expectancy less than 20 years, prone to streaks and stains

Membrane Roofing such as PVC, TPO, or Rubber

Pros: Create a solid membrane, well suited to lower pitch roofs, fairly low weight

Cons: Require special installation skills, unattractive appearance, 15 year life expectancy, difficult to seal around protrusions

Steel Standing Seam

Pros: Many color choices, life expectancy of over 35 years, can be used on lower pitch roofs, reflective pigments available, interlocking panels, clip fastened varieties allow for thermal movement, good for collecting clean water

Cons: Can appear industrial or agricultural, require some installation skill, difficult to ship long distances

Steel Through-Fastened Panels

Pros: Inexpensive metal roof, many color options, easy to install, high wind resistance, clean water collection

Cons: Life expectancy is limited to about 20 years by exposed fasteners, no allowance for expansion and contraction, can rely on sealants, not suggested for less than 3:12 roof pitch

Steel Shingles

Pros: Reflective pigments available, integral airspace for a thermal break and energy efficiency, installer-friendly, easily transported, weigh around 0.80 pounds per square foot, interlocking panels, painted products resist algae and mildew streaks and are good for water collection, products available that look like slate, shake, shingles, and tile, long life expectancy, strong warranties

Cons: 3:12 minimum pitch, more costly than some options, may require custom made flashings

Aluminum Standing Seam

Pros: Rust resistance makes it ideal for all climates including salt climates, clip-fastened varieties allow for thermal movement, Energy Star listed products with reflective pigments available, interlocking panels, can be used on lower pitch roofs, good for water collection, life expectancy in excess of 50 years

Cons: More costly than many products, limited availability, can be costly to transport, requires some installation expertise, can have a non-residential appearance

Aluminum Shingles

Pros: Excellent for salt climates and damp climates, interlocking panels for wind resistance, low weight option at under 0.50 pounds per square foot, integral airspace for energy efficiency, naturally algae resistant, easy to install, many attractive designs and colors, good surface for water collection, very long life expectancy, strong warranties

Cons: More costly than some products, may require special flashings, 3:12 minimum pitch requirement

Copper

Pros: Very long lasting, distinctive beauty, reasonably low in weight, high wind resistance, some products are suitable for low pitch roofs, naturally algae resistant, develop patina over time, available in shingle design with integral airspace for energy efficiency

Cons: Run-off water can streak siding over time, costly, installation skill required, water collection not advised

Zinc

Pros: Long lasting, distinctive beauty, reasonably low in weight, high wind resistance, naturally algae resistant, changes color over time, available in shingle design for energy efficiency

Cons: Costly, installation skill required, water collection not advised, not suggested for salt climates, prone to degradation from condensation

Slate

Pros: Long lasting, uniquely distinctive beauty

Cons: Very heavy, very costly and expensive to source, requires considerable installation skill, can require repair as it ages, high thermal mass stores heat

Wood Shakes and Shingles

Pros: Natural beauty, low thermal mass

Cons: Collect and hold moisture, support fungal growth, short life expectancy, costly, difficult to source, requires considerable installation expertise, can require repair with age, perform poorly in damp climates

Composite Slate / Shingle

Pros: Attractive designs and colors, integral airspace

Cons: Costly, relatively new and unproven, weak warranties, fairly high weight, require installation expertise, not fully interlocking

Tile

Pros: Provides a distinctive look, offers protection from external fires

Cons: Very heavy in weight, poses high cave-in risk in the event of an interior fire, requires installation expertise, prone to maintenance with age, high thermal mass holds heat and radiates it into the home even after the sun goes down, weak warranties

You Have Options

Contact us for some cost comparisons of these roofing options.

You have a lot of options for your tiny house roof. Keep in mind that your roof must perform all the duties of a regular-sized home’s roof…in a tiny fraction of the space. We believe that a metal roofing system, offers your very best option for a complete roofing system kit for your new tiny house.