Shingles are made from a variety of materials that play a major role in determining the price. Asphalt is usually used for shingles because it is affordable and the shingles are relatively easy to install. Many homeowners choose to install asphalt shingles on their own, which saves the cost of installation. One square of asphalt shingles usually costs between $50 and $150, as of June 2011. Metal roofing gives you more durability, but this shingle material costs more, ranging anywhere from $115 to $650 per square. Tiles offer a distinct look on the roof, but they also come with a high price tag. Both clay and slate tile shingles are typically installed by professionals. Clay will cost between $275 and $500 per square, including the installation, while slate may cost you around $1,000 per square with installation.
Each general material type for shingles also comes with variations. Metal roofs are made from different types of metals. Galvanized metal roofing comes in at the low end of the price range, while copper is the most expensive metal roof option. An engineered slate roof gives you the slate look at about one-third of the cost of actual slate. The engineered slate also weighs less.
Extra features or custom orders add to the cost of any type of shingle. Most home improvement stores and roofing contractors feature standard colors that are the most affordable options. Other colors or finishes often cost more, particularly if they are considered a special order. Asphalt shingles come in both the traditional three-tab style and architectural style. The architectural shingles are doubled in thickness, with some resembling other roofing materials like slate. Architectural shingles will cost slightly more per square than three-tab shingles. Any custom designs, finishes, coatings or styles will add to the cost of the square of shingles.
Each type of shingle material comes in varying levels of quality, which contributes to the range in price. A higher-quality shingle typically comes with a longer warranty in addition to the higher price tag. For example, asphalt shingles are available with both 20- and 30-year guarantees. Choosing asphalt shingles with a 30-year guarantee may cost you more, but you can expect the shingles to last longer.