• Jeremy Horning

The 21 Most Popular Shed Roofing Materials and Options - How To Choose The Best One for Your Shed

Updated: Nov 17


THE BEST SHED ROOFING MATERIALS

The roof is a crucial part of every shed as it protects it from the weather. Above all, it has to be waterproof and durable. A new shed roof should also be reliable, durable, cost-effective, and attractive. There are many shed roof materials to choose from, which is a good thing in one way, but it also makes it difficult if you don’t know what to choose. In this handy guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about each shed roof material, what might make it perfect for your needs, and the pros and cons of each.



Most Important Factors When Choosing a Material for Your Shed Roof

Most Important Factors When Choosing a Material for Your Shed Roof

If you want the best material for your shed roof, you must consider certain essential factors.

1. Waterproof

You could be storing various things in your shed, which means they need to stay dry. Therefore, the shed roof materials you use for your shed roof should be waterproof. But that’s not the only consideration. Your shed roof should also withstand a buildup of snow and ice if the location where you live is prone to such weather.

The waterproofness of your shed roof can also be affected by the method used for installing different roofing materials.


For example, some shed style roof materials have to overlap when installed as this provides a continuous surface for the water to flow down.

Some shed roofing materials have to be attached to the shed style roof using nails or screws, leaving holes where the water might leak. On the other hand, some shed roof materials use tape or adhesive, which means there’s no problem with holes.

2. Appearance

Your garden shed has a vital part to play in the aesthetics of your outdoor space, so it must be visually appealing.


There are many different shed styles so make sure that you choose wisely.

If your roof is unattractive, it’s not going to be nice to look at for you or your neighbors.


In addition, an ugly shed could affect the appraisal value of your home should you ever decide to sell.

Suppose you live in a location that a housing association controls. You might want to check with them first whether there are any restrictions on the type of shed roofing materials you can use. It’s also important to check with your municipality for similar reasons.

3. Durability

The durability of your shed roof is a factor that depends on where you live and what weather is typical for your location. Ideally, shed roofing materials should withstand water penetration and strong winds because only then will it offer maximum protection.

You might also want a shed roof covering that requires little or no maintenance. If you don’t want to worry about leaks, pieces falling off when it’s windy, minimal patching or painting, you’ll have to pay a little bit more for maximum durability.

The most durable shed roof covering tends to be wood or cedar, asphalt shingles, metal, or felt. These are tried and tested materials that are known to last. Aside from these more traditional materials, there are lots of newer materials that could last just as long.

4. Lifespan

Ideally, you want your roof to last as long as possible without needing to be replaced. However, you have to weigh this up against the amount of money you want to spend.

5. Price

There are some things you need to weigh up regarding the price. The size of your budget has to be a critical factor. You also need to measure this up against how long you’d like your shed to last.

While saving money might be necessary, using cheap materials for shed roofs means it might need repairing or replacing very quickly.


On the other hand, if you can afford to spend a little more on shed roofing materials, the longevity and protection level will be much better.

Newer materials for shed roofs tend to be more expensive than more traditional ones, and the cheapest material is roofing felt. Still, it’s not as weatherproof or durable as most other materials available.

6. Ease of Installation

While installing shed roofs is something that can be done on the weekend, it’s still going to require a fair amount of effort.


However, some materials are easier to install on shed roofs than others. Shingles, for example, are relatively easy to install, and you could probably get it done in a few hours.

Some roofing materials, steel shed roofs, for example, require special fasteners. These add to the cost of your roof and might take you over budget. Additional items might also include underlayment, drip-edge, or roof vents. If you need these extras, make sure they’re compatible with the roofing material you choose.

7. Maintenance

How much maintenance shed roofs require depends on the roofing material. For example, a metal roof requires almost no maintenance at all, provided you’ve installed it correctly.

Whereas cedar shakes are prone to rotting or splitting so, you’ll need to service them regularly.

Which type of shed roofing material you choose depends on how much love and attention you want to give the roof. If your free time is precious, you might want to select a shed roof that requires little to no maintenance, such as steel or asphalt shingles.

8. Roof Pitch

The pitch of your shed roof will determine the type of shed roof materials you can use. However, initially, the roof's pitch will have been decided by the prevalent weather conditions in your location.

Your shed can have a flat roof or a pitch of as much as 20 degrees. In some instances, the roof style can have a pitch that can be even more. For example, if you live somewhere that experiences lots of snow or rain, the roof should have a steeper pitch.


Most Popular Shed Roofing Material Options

To give you an idea of what’s available and the various features, pros, and cons, let’s take a closer look at some of the roofing materials available.

Felt Shingles for a Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: impervious to water

  • Appearance: very attractive, and you can pick and choose colors, shapes, and sizes

  • Durability: not as durable as other materials

  • Lifespan: 5-10 years

  • Price: $9 to $10 per square foot

  • Ease of Installation: effortless to install

  • Maintenance: regular maintenance and repairs are necessary

  • Roof Pitch: the minimum pitch is 2/12, although 4/12 and steeper is ideal

Felt shingles are a popular alternative to roofing felt. You’ll find them in a range of colors and patterns, which means you’ve got lots of choices. In addition, they are a breeze to install using either nails or screws, while some are even adhesive.

Pros

  • Cost-effective

  • Easy to install

  • A wide array of shapes, sizes, and colors are available

  • Robust material that stands up to sub-zero winters and intensely hot summers

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan than other materials

  • Frequent maintenance and replacement required

  • Underlayment and fasteners add to the overall cost

Metal Roofing Shingles for Shed Roofing

  • Waterproof: yes, metal shingles are very waterproof

  • Appearance: very attractive, and they look just like shingles

  • Durability: Very durable, although they do fade in time

  • Lifespan: some manufacturers offer lifetime guarantees

  • Price: the price depends on the metal. For example, steel shingles are $1.50 per square foot, while copper could cost upward of $150 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: specialist installation might be required

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance

  • Roof pitch: the pitch depends on the type of metal roofing shingle. For example, a crimped style shingle requires a 3/12 pitch

Concerning price and durability, metal shingles are very similar to metal/bitumen roof sheets. However, they are far more attractive than metal roofing sheets because they look just like shingles. You purchase them in 10-packs, and they interlock together.

Pros

  • Exceedingly durable

  • Visually attractive

  • Reflects the heat

Cons

  • More expensive than many other roofing materials

  • They can be noisy for a garden shed's roof

  • Metal roofs can be noisy

Asphalt Shingles for a Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: they are waterproof as long as they don’t get damaged

  • Appearance: various colors and styles are available

  • Durability: weather can loosen them, and moss, algae, and fallen leaves can cause damage

  • Lifespan: the average lifespan on a garden shed is between 20 and 30 years

  • Price: $1.50 per square foot

  • Ease of Installation: one of the easiest materials to install

  • Maintenance: periodic maintenance is essential

  • Roof Pitch: minimum of a 2/12 slope

Asphalt shingles are easy and cheap to install on a garden shed. All you need is a hammer and roofing nails. This type of shingle is also very durable.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Extremely durable

  • Installation is easy

Cons

  • Not particularly attractive

  • It won’t work on flat roof outlets

  • They are prone to absorbing heat

Wooden Shingles for a Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: not waterproof, so they are only suitable for roofs with a steep pitch

  • Appearance: very attractive

  • Durability: very durable

  • Lifespan: untreated, they will last 15 years, but with the proper maintenance, wooden shingles can last as much as 24 years

  • Price: $2 per square foot

  • Ease of Installation: reasonably easy to install

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance is required

  • Roof Pitch: the roof pitch should be 4/12 minimum

The best type of wood for a roof is cedar. It is highly durable and makes for a beautiful shed roof. They are also a natural material, which is essential for many people.

Pros

  • Very attractive

  • Natural material

  • Very durable

Cons

  • Not waterproof

  • UV damage can be an issue

Rubber Shingles for Shed Roofing

  • Waterproof: they are water-resistant rather than waterproof

  • Appearance: they look like traditional shingles, so they are beautiful

  • Durability: exceedingly durable.

  • Lifespan: up to five decades

  • Price: $0.40 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: installation is simple as you just cut them to size depending on the shape of the shed roof

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: to reduce the risk of water penetration, the pitch of the roof should be 2/12 and no lower

The popularity of rubber shingles is increasing because the installation is straightforward, and they’re very durable. They are also a very eco-friendly option because they’re made from recycled tires. The manufacturer guarantees their lifespan up to a maximum of 50 years. In addition, they are water-resistant and resistant to impacts, UV light, and fire.

Pros

  • Immensely durable

  • Exceedingly long-lasting

  • Very easy to install

Cons

  • It can smell a bit rubbery

  • It’s not suitable if your location experiences high winds

Composite Shingles for a Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: very waterproof

  • Appearance: very attractive, and they look just like slate or cedar roofing shingles

  • Durability: very durable

  • Lifespan: composite shingles often come with a lifetime warranty

  • Price: $1 to $2 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: easy to install

  • Maintenance: requires regular cleaning

  • Roof pitch: a minimum recommended pitch of 4/12

Composite roofing shingles are very eco-friendly as they are made from recycled rubber and plastic. They look just like cedar and slate shakes and are durable and long-lasting.

Pros

  • Very eco-friendly

  • Designed to look precisely like cedar and slate shake

  • Durable and long-lasting

  • Cheaper alternative to slate and cedar

Cons

  • This type of shingle can be expensive

  • Composite shingles are still very new, so they’ve not been tested

Three-tab Shingles for Shed Roofing

  • Waterproof: yes

  • Appearance: fairly attractive roof shingles

  • Durability: extremely durable

  • Lifespan: anywhere from 20 to 30 years, although the average is around 20

  • Price: $1.50 per square foot

  • Ease of Installation: much like any other roof shingles, they are easy to install

  • Maintenance: requires regular maintenance twice a year

  • Roof Pitch: ideally, the pitch of the roof should be at least 2/12

Pros

  • Not very expensive

  • Very long-lasting

  • Simple to install

Cons

  • Very unappealing visually

  • You can’t use them on a flat roof

  • They heat up in the summer

Wood Shakes for a Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: driving rain can be an issue

  • Appearance: very aesthetically pleasing and rustic looking

  • Durability: very durable, but they do need treating

  • Lifespan: if you treat them regularly, you can expect wood shakes to last more than four decades

  • Price: $4 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: easy to install

  • Maintenance: a regular treatment schedule has to be followed

  • Roof pitch: the roof pitch has to be 4/12 or more

Wood shakes are extremely beautiful to look at. They are cut by hand, which means their surface texture is slightly rougher than shingles, they don’t have perfectly straight sides, and they’re also thicker. A big attraction of shakes is that they’re not uniform. However, this feature means they are not as weatherproof as wooden shingles.

Pros

  • Rustic looking and very attractive

  • Will increase the value of your property

  • They reflect the heat

Cons

  • One of the more expensive materials

  • They aren’t weatherproof

Board-and-Batten Shed Roof

  • Waterproof: this material is not waterproof, so you have to install underlayment as well

  • Appearance: very beautiful and rustic looking

  • Durability: very susceptible to damage from UV rays, dead leaves, and similar debris

  • Lifespan: between 20 and 30 years

  • Price: $5 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: quite an involved process, plus you have to install underlayment first. You may need to hire a roofing contractor

  • Maintenance: cleaning the surface regularly will increase its lifespan

  • Roof pitch: a minimum pitch of 4/12 is essential

Board-and-batten is another very rustic material you can use for roofing. It consists of solid wooden boards and thinner strips (batten) to cover the gaps. The boards come in various widths, for example, 6”, 8”, or 10”, and the battens are usually 3” wide. The boards and batten can be either a type of pine, cedar, or redwood.

Pros

  • Visually appealing

  • Various installations types are available

  • Resistant to impact

Cons

  • Extremely expensive

  • Not weatherproof at all

  • Regular maintenance is essential

  • May require the services of a roofing contractor

Asphalt Shed Roofing Felt

  • Waterproof: relatively waterproof as long as it’s installed correctly

  • Appearance: not particularly attractive

  • Durability: for maximum durability, you have to install it correctly with the correct overlaps and sealed appropriately

  • Lifespan: on average, it should last around 15 years

  • Price: a roof that is 100 square feet shouldn’t cost any more than $40

  • Ease of installation: effortless to install as it comes on a roll, and adhesive is one installation method

  • Maintenance: very little maintenance is required, but repairs might be necessary

  • Roof pitch: you can apply asphalt roofing felt on a roof that has a slight slope or flat roofs

  • Thickness: boards are usually 1” thick

Asphalt roofing felt is felt that’s coated with asphalt on the underside and top. For extra protection, a granular coating is then added. You purchase this roofing material in rolls which makes it easy to install.

Pros

  • Very cheap to install

  • Installation and replacement is quick and easy

  • Resistant to impacts

  • You can use roll roofing on flat roofs

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan than many other materials

  • Not very attractive

  • Problems with heat absorption

  • Weather and UV light damages the granular layer

Corrugated Shed Roofing Sheets

  • Waterproof: very waterproof as long as they’re installed correctly

  • Appearance: not attractive unless you like the industrial look

  • Durability: most durable of all materials

  • Lifespan: approximately 50 years or more

  • Price: a roof of 100 square feet shouldn’t cost any more than $75 if the panels are steel, with aluminum panels costing just a little more. However, it could cost as much as $200

  • Ease of installation: challenging to install

  • Maintenance: no maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: if you choose panels with raised seams, the roof pitch doesn’t have to be any more than .5/12

  • Thickness: various thicknesses are available, and they are measured in gauges. A low gauge is thicker, and it will also be more durable and more expensive

Corrugated shed roofing is one of the more durable roofing options. You purchase it in panels of varying sizes of between 27” and 48” and in 8’ or 10’ lengths. You can order the panels to run vertically if you want to minimize how many seams there are. Most panels will include a special coating that increases longevity.

Pros

  • One of the most durable roofing options

  • You can use it on roofs with shallow pitches

  • It reflects the heat

Cons

  • Not the cheapest of options

  • Installing corrugated roof sheets is challenging

Clay Shed Roof Tiles

  • Waterproof: clay roof tiles aren’t ideal when it comes to keeping any moisture out whatever the shed roof design

  • Appearance: clay tiles are very aesthetically appealing

  • Durability: extremely long-lasting

  • Lifespan: several decades

  • Price: total cost will vary depending on the type of clay tiles, but it can range from $0.40 per square foot to more than $100

  • Ease of installation: not as easy to install as other materials

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: the roof slope should be at least 4/12. However, with a double layer of underlayment, it’s possible to lower the pitch to 2.5/12

Clay tiles will give your shed a certain amount of curb appeal. They’re not too common, but we’ve been using them for centuries and have proven that they work. One downside is that moisture penetration can be a problem which means you’ll need to add a weatherproof underlayment.

Pros

  • They look stunning on a shed roof

  • They will last for many decades

  • You can choose between clay or concrete interlocking tiles

Cons

  • Your shed needs to be sturdy as clay tiles are heavy

  • Underlayment is essential

  • Very expensive

Concrete Shed Roofing Tiles

  • Waterproof: as long as you get the pitch right, they can be very waterproof

  • Appearance: particularly attractive

  • Durability: very durable.

  • Lifespan: they can last for decades

  • Price: $3 to $5 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: the supporting structure has to be sturdy

  • Maintenance: very little maintenance is needed

  • Roof pitch: 4/12 is the ideal pitch

Concrete tiles are just a modern version of traditional clay tiles. They are tremendously hard-wearing and a very durable option. However, a significant downside is that they’re very heavy. The subsurface of the shed needs to be very strong because it’s got to support a lot of extra weight.

Pros

  • Fireproof

  • Energy efficient

  • Extremely long-lasting and durable

Cons

  • They require substantial support structurally

  • It can be very costly

  • Concrete tiles are somewhat fragile

Plastic Shed Roof Tiles

  • Waterproof: very waterproof

  • Appearance: very attractive, with a wide choice of colors

  • Durability: extremely durable

  • Lifespan: 40 years

  • Price: $4 to $6 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: anyone with basic DIY skills will be able to install a shed roof

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance required

  • Roof pitch: the roof pitch has to be 2/12

Polycarbonate Shed Roofing Panel

  • Waterproof: very waterproof

  • Appearance: not particularly attractive

  • Durability: it is easily scratched if your shed is underneath branches.

  • Lifespan: from between 10 and 20 years

  • Price: $2 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: easy to install using special fasteners and backing strips that are made of foam

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: the minimum pitch is around 1/12

Polycarbonate roofing panels are made using super-strong plastic. It is excellent at withstanding harsh weather conditions. It’s always been a popular greenhouse material and anything else that requires a transparent cover. However, now you can buy it in a range of colors. It comes in panels that are 6’, 8’, 10’, and 12’ in length. All lengths are around 26 inches wide.

Pros

  • Block out UV light

  • Extreme temperatures aren’t an issue

  • Installation is easy

Cons

  • The panels dent and scratch very easily

  • Durability is not quite as good as other materials

  • You have to purchase the correct fasteners

EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane

  • Waterproof: yes, EPDM rubber roofing is very waterproof

  • Appearance: not very attractive

  • Durability: very durable, although impacts can cause damage

  • Lifespan: 50+ years

  • Price: for a 100 square foot roof, it will cost around $80

  • Ease of installation: effortless to install

  • Maintenance: no maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: you can install it on flat and low pitch roofs

This is a popular rubber roofing material for commercial buildings, especially flat or low-pitch roofs. The material is recycled rubber roofing, and you buy it in rolls. It’s super easy to install. Apply the adhesive and roll the membrane out to cover your shed roof. The seams are covered with a special tape made from latex.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • It lasts a long time

  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Impact damage and punctures can be a problem

  • Not very attractive

Fiberglass Mineral Surface Roll (MSR) Shed Roofing

  • Waterproof: reasonably waterproof

  • Appearance: not very attractive

  • Durability: not as durable as shingles

  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years

  • Price: $0.50 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: one of the easiest materials to install

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance

  • Roof pitch: minimum 2/12

Rolled roofing is one of the cheapest and easiest shed roof materials to install. It’s also something most homeowners will be able to install themselves. Rolled roofing (MS) is a mineral-surfaced shed roof material that comes in rolls. However, it’s thinner and less durable than asphalt shingles.

Pros

  • Least expensive roofing material

  • You can cover a shed in less than an hour

  • Easy to cut to size

Cons

  • Only available in a few primary colors

  • Less durable than shingles

  • Short lifespan

  • Homeowner’s associations may not allow an MSR roof

Exterior Grade Plywood (CDX)

  • Waterproof: prolonged exposure to water will lead to water damage

  • Appearance: more attractive than OSB

  • Durability: as long as its pressure treated it will be very durable

  • Lifespan: pressure-treated CDX will last several decades

  • Price: $5 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: fairly easy to install

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance required

  • Roof pitch: minimum 4/12

  • Thickness: 1/2” thick is ideal

Plywood is a popular choice because of its water resistance. It’s also structurally stable and low cost. CDX indicates that the material is construction grade and intended for exterior applications.

Pros

  • Resistance to water can be improved by pressure-treating the CDX

  • Easy to install

  • Relatively attractive

Cons

  • Can’t withstand long exposure to water

  • More expensive than OSB

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

  • Waterproof: waterproofness can be improved by adding roofing felt

  • Appearance: not really very attractive

  • Durability: it is subject to rotting

  • Lifespan: can last several decades

  • Price: $3.50 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: very easy to install

  • Maintenance: minimal maintenance is required

  • Roof pitch: 4/12 is ideal

  • Thickness: typical thickness for a shed roof is 1/2

If you’re worried about cost, OSB is a great option for your shed roof. There are two grades of OSB and for your roof you need OSB3. it’s a very versatile, strong, and cost-effective material to use for your shed. You can increase the lifespan of the roof by adding roofing felt on top of the OSB.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Easy to install

  • More environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Not very attractive

  • Rotting can be a problem when the roof is exposed to moisture for long periods

Plastic Polymer Roofing Shingles

  • Waterproof: yes

  • Appearance: they don’t compare aesthetically or visually to real shingles

  • Durability: so far they have shown themselves to be relatively durable

  • Lifespan: up until now they’ve lasted around 20 years

  • Price: between $7.75 and $14.50 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: easy to install

  • Maintenance: average maintenance

  • Roof pitch: a minimum of 2/12

Plastic polymer roofing shingles are a man-made roofing material mostly made from recycled plastic. They’re not the best option if visual appeal is a priority. They’ve only been around for a few decades, so their longevity is difficult to determine.

Pros

  • Made from 100% recycled materials

  • Lightweight

  • Fire and wind resistant

  • Lichens, mold, and moss won’t grow on the shingles

Cons

  • They can be expensive

  • They are relatively new and not fully tried and tested


Artificial Grass Turf Shed Roofing

  • Waterproof: as long as you use underlayment, it will be waterproof

  • Appearance: beautiful and natural-looking

  • Durability: surprisingly durable. However, it is likely to fade or be damaged by severe weather.

  • Lifespan: up to 25 years

  • Price: $5-$18 per square foot

  • Ease of installation: uncomplicated to install

  • Maintenance: absolutely no maintenance

  • Roof pitch: 4/12

This is not the first shed roof material that people will think of for their shed roof, but it’s surprisingly functional and not too bad looking. They are also the perfect alternative to a “green roof” if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of planting grass and looking after it. Underlayment is essential, and you attach the turf to it.

Pros

  • Very lightweight

  • Almost no maintenance

  • You don’t need to worry about watering it

Cons

  • Not very eco-friendly

  • Artificial turf that looks good is very expensive

  • Severe weather will fade and damage it


Interested in available options, ideas and materials for other parts of your shed?

Check our dedicated guides on:


Conclusion

There are so many different types of material you can use on your shed roof. Finding the right one can be a challenge because they all have advantages and disadvantages.

The cheapest option for a shed roof has to be felt shingles. They also happen to be relatively long-lasting and uncomplicated to install.


A material that is even longer-lasting is sheet metal roofing, and it’s also reasonably affordable. The main disadvantage of this material is that you need to maintain it regularly.


As conclusion, even if you pick the most durable materials don't forget to paint it. Painting is crucial because it will reduce any corrosion and thus prolong the life of your shed roof.

FAQs

What is the cheapest way to roof a shed?

The cheapest shed roofing material you can buy is MSR roof rolling. It’s also one of the easiest to install, and you can cover large areas quickly.

What is the best material for a shed roof?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, the most significant of which is how much money you’ve got to spend on your shed roof. If your budget is limited, MSR roof rolling might be the best option because it’s the only one you can afford. Whereas, if money is no object, the best material you can use for a shed roof is board and batten or roofing shingles or shakes.

What kind of wood should I use for a shed roof?

Cedar or pine shingles are a lovely material for a shed roof.

Can you put a living roof on a shed?

Yes, you can plant a living roof on a shed roof, but you must first make sure the shed's structure is sturdy.

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