What's the cheapest roof long term


I’m thinking of buying another house that needs another new roof. I’m in south florida, so crazy miami-dade codes.

Last house I bought I put a standing seam metal roof on the slope, PVC on the flat. Seems to be the longest roof I could find. The quotes worked out to about $800/sq. I couldn’t find a single metal roof installed properly down here so I put it on myself. That was not fun.

If I plan on owning another house long term, what kind of roof should I get put on? I keep kicking around different ideas in my head, but can’t settle on one. Seems there are three options…

  1. Go crazy and get a standing seam metal roof put on. Hope they don’t mess up the details too bad. But the house I’m looking at is 30 sq, hip roof with all kinds of faces, I know what a nightmare its going to be to get right. It’s a T shaped house with a dormer added for good measure, all kinds of valleys and hips. I know if I stand on the roof yelling and argue every detail I should get a good roof that lasts a long time, for a small fortune. Last roof I’ll ever put on.

  2. Put on something that relies on an underlayment - I see these new metal shingle roofs, and then there’s concrete or clay tile. But in any case, the underlayment will fail before the covering, so I might as well go with the best underlayment and cheapest cover that lasts the same time. I just don’t know how long the best underlayment lasts down here - am I replacing this thing in 20 years? And what is the best underlayment? This is the mid priced option. I think it was like $550-$600/sq?

  3. Put another shingle roof on it. It has a 14 year old shingle roof. Also comes with several blue tarps to keep as much water out of the house as they can. So, how long do shingles last down here - 10 years? 15 if you’re lucky? Unless this is less than half the price of any other roof, how is this a good option? How much is this a square -

Now, what I think would be cheapest…the last house I bought had flat concrete roof tiles that were decades old - 40, 50 years? It was insane. Well, the underlayment was worn out, so they went out and bought this elastomeric crap and poured it everywhere. I cannot believe how strong that crap was. Made tearing off 24 squares of concrete tile into a total nightmare, half a tile at a time, every tile glued to the 4 tiles surrounding it, I cannot believe what I went through. That stuff works. And I see it has a 7 year warranty. So, wouldn’t the cheapest way be to put on a flat concrete tile roof, and then in 20 years or so, start smearing that crap on every 7? Seems like you could get 50 years out of a concrete tile roof that way!

Anyways, in the long run, which is going to be the most cost effective down here in the florida sun and wind? What would you put on your south florida home?


Need to know the exact pitch
And if there Any trees hanging
over it…


For a pitched roof the least expensive over time will be the most expensive up front.

An authentic slate roof or a copper standing seam roof, either of these will last well in excess of 100 years when installed correctly.


Oh, its about 3:12, from eyeballing the pictures. Single story, the easiest roof youll access/work on. No trees. 2 car driveway right in front of it for dumping etc.



I dont know of a miami dade approved slate roof system.

How many years will you get out of copper vs galvalume vs aluminum? Seems to me the details would leak at the same time (hips during driving rain for example.)


Your roof isn’t steep enough for a slate roof. I would go with standing seam myself, if the hips (or other details) are leaking during driving rain then they were improperly installed.


What I mean is during a hurricane or other high wind condition, like we had last summer here in florida.

Almost any roof system will not allow water in during a normal rain event. But aside from some single plies like PVC, TPO, etc, I don’t know of a system that will keep the water out once it is traveling so fast that your house is submerged in the “fluid” that is driven rain, in the details at least. My standing seam is as good as they come, and I went above and beyond when it came to the details - for example, I’ve NEVER seen a roofer make a bread box end on EVERY. SINGLE. PANEL. top - but when it comes down to it, basically caulk is holding the side of the Z trim to the standing seam, no matter how preceise/tight you cut it - and face it, even an above average roofer ain’t taking the time to make it tight tight. Once the wind starts getting up there in mph, I know of no caulk that can handle +80 psf after 20 years for example. Even with my box ends, it WILL get past the caulk, it will get past the box ends, and it will run down the underlayment. It is guaranteed - just basic science. So, until they make a panel that runs CONTINUOUSLY from eave to eave, over the ridge, that’s just what will happen once the caulk starts weakening. Sure, maybe in year one it could handle extremely high winds, but it is not WATERPROOF in year 20, 25, 30, who knows. And if there was a way to make it waterproof, I would have done it, whatever the cost!

That is what I’m talking about. Its science that even the most meticulous roofer can’t overcome. So at that point, I’m wondering what’s the point of putting on a standing seam with the insane labor costs in a high wind area. I’m relying on underlayment eventually when I need it most!

In the rest of the country, standing seam is the way to go for sure. Last roof you’ll put on, will never leak! And its probably the safest choice down here, least likely to leak. But it ain’t perfect.

On the 12th story in my newer condo that has eastern facing windows, even with the crazy florida building codes specifying god knows what for reinforced balcony doors/windows, +50 psf, probably more, it still blew rain through every last seal on the entire side of the building. Functionally, the building was submerged, and no window is waterproof. Nor roof. And we didn’t even get “hit” - the hurricane was clear across the state!


This is a true double lock standing seam roof and this is called a batten seam. There is also a double locked hip seam (which is even better). For either of those hips to leak your house would need to be under water.


That is nice! Can that only be done with copper? I would imagine a true double lock would be better than even that. It has to be so much easier to bend that stuff than all that galvalume I had to do by hand.

But yes, underwater, functionally. That’s what your house is during a hurricane. Air/rain acts like the fluid it is, your roof is underwater, usually the east side in FL. Even that would leak. Not much at all I imagine, but not waterproof. Now, if you soldered that…

Galvalume was like $165/sq I recall. How much is copper?

The other problem is finding one that has a product approval down here. Oh, and copper is kinda an ugly color (ducks).

Oh, and do you also double lock the valley?


That type of standing seam can be done in other metals, but its far more difficult. Yes valleys can also be double locked. This type of roof requires the most skills to install properly.


How much is copper per square, just the panels?

Galvalume is $800/sq down here installed, panels $165/sq last I checked. Probably more now.


Sorry but I don’t know how much copper standing seam panels cost from a manufacturer. That was a massive job 125+sq and we just bought the coil in bulk and took it to a metal supply shop to have the sheets rolled for us (cheaper option in that situation). But I wouldn’t be surprised if the panels were to cost you $500 per sq.


Better last 100 years. That’s crazy talk.


If looking to do true double lock on hips and not using copper, use either .032 aluminum, or 26gague galv alum. Hand locked hips on 24 gague one time and wanted to blow my brains out. Aluminum is easier to work with but depending on length you will have to use sliding clips and allow for all expansion at the eave edge.


Copper around 3.20$ lb right now so after fabrication looking 400$+ per sq for panels.

Bought my house 2 years ago and copper was under 2$ a lb, waiting for it to drop again to pick up 16sq. If doing the work yourself and plan to own the house more than 20yrs, copper done right the first time is cheaper than shingeling it twice.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BRY0bGajtmU/?hl=en I knew there was an example of a double lock seam holding water somewhere.