Last modified: September 20, 2023

Top Shed Roof Materials: Guide to the Best Wooden Options

Top Shed Roof Materials: Guide to the Best Wooden Options


Top Shed Roof Materials: Guide to the Best Wooden Options

Top Shed Roof Materials: Guide to the Best Wooden Options

Written by Garden Buildings Direct
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wooden shed
For many families, you can never have enough storage.

A backyard shed is a great solution for storing gardening tools, kids’ outdoor toys or your patio furniture. The right shed can also house small animals, like chickens. Or maybe you want to be creative and transform your shed into a unique space.

Whatever your reason for adding a shed to your yard, you will want to be sure to choose a roof fit for your new structure. The proper roof will protect the items housed within your shed and should match the climate you live in.

When it comes to roofing options, there are many to choose from. It may seem like a simple decision, but the variety of roofing options can be overwhelming.

That’s why we took the time to research and analyse the most popular options available on the market today. We have reviewed these options below so you can easily see which roof is best for your shed.


Material Pros Cons Best for
Rolled roof$

5-10 years

Affordable, easy and quick to install. Not as stylish or durable as others. Sheds with a low sloped pitch, projects where you need an affordable option and are not housing anything that needs a lot of protection from the elements.
Asphalt shingles$$

About 20 years

Durable and pretty long lasting. Easy to install and still affordable. Several colours/styles to choose from. You can replace a single shingle if damaged. Mildew is a common problem. Does not hold up well in strong winds. install is a bit more involved than others. Classic shed needing a roof that is strong and waterproof.
Tile roofing$$$$$

Up to 100 years

Very long lasting and durable, especially in high winds. Many well designed styles to choose from. Expensive and heavy, difficult to install. A quality built shed that can maintain the weight of a heavy roof. Perfect for coastal locations where you need a roof to withstand wind and rain.
Metal roof$$$$

50-100 years

Highly durable and long lasting. Fairly lightweight with many options and styles to choose from. Expensive, can be difficult to install or repair. A good choice for hot climates and areas with heavy rainfall.
Wood shingles$$$

15-25 years

Durable and great natural look. Not waterproof, should only be used on a steep roof. Difficult to install. Require regular treatments. A fitting material for use in a garden shed or in a woodsy setting. Your shed will fit in with its natural surroundings.
Rubber roofing sheets$$

30-50 years

Long lasting, easy to maintain and durable. Recycled and recyclable. Could need a professional install, less stylish than others. If damaged by sharp objects, difficult to repair In a shed for practical uses that needs to stand up to elements with little maintenance.
Polycarbonate roofing panels$$$

10-20 years

Easy to install, durable and lightweight. May scratch easily and may not achieve the look you want. A greenhouse or simple shed that needs a low maintenance roof that can withstand the elements.

A roof is one of the most important parts of your shed. You want something that complements the style of shed you have and your home. Your shed should add to your kerb appeal, not be an eye sore in your yard.

We looked at a wide variety of materials — some have a natural look, others are more industrial. The best roof for you will fit your needs and blend seamlessly with your property.

One note before you get started constructing your new shed roof: Be sure to cheque the local planning authority to see if there are any restrictions or specific guidelines you need to follow. A planning permissions application is needed before you construct a new structure.


We looked at the seven most popular roofs available today. There are several key areas we analysed within each of these roofing options:


Several factors go into the cost. Obviously, certain materials are more pricey than others. But there is also the cost of installation and how much material is needed.

And consider the cost of maintaining or repairing your new roof.

The good news is that most shed roofs are small so you likely won’t be spending a ton of money on your roof materials. It doesn’t take much to cover them.

Degree the Roof is Waterproof

All roofs are meant to keep water out, but some do a better job than others. And some roofs are more prone to leaks and damage. This is definitely an important factor to pay attention to.


Certain roofing materials require a rather steep pitch. Others work best on a flat roof. Be sure to make sure you choose a material that works for the pitch you choose.

There are different styles of roofs that require different pitch. Take a look at some of your options and choose the one that fits your needs.


Roof design may determine which materials can be used. If you want your shed roof to match your house or the style of your yard, that will also affect your choice.

There may be a roof that fits best with the look you are hoping for.


Think about the elements your roof has to stand up to. Do you get a lot of heavy rain and winds in your area? Snow? How about hail?

You want to make sure the roof of your shed will stand up to the weather in your area. If you live in a mild climate, you may not have to worry as much about how much your roof can withstand, but even normal elements will affect the roof over time.


For your shed, you could choose to go with the same quality roof as you have on a house, or you can choose a more economical choice since it’s not a dwelling.

Look at the overall quality of the shed and try to match the quality throughout. You don’t want to put a high quality roof on a shed that is poor quality and won’t last as long.


How long do you want your roof to last?

If you are planning on being in your home for a long time and you don’t want to have to redo the work, you may choose something longer lasting. But if you like projects, you may not mind having to replace it sooner.

You may also want to look at the correlation between the cost and how long the roof will last. A cheap roof may have to be replaced often.

Ease of installation

Many people who would never install the roof on their house will take on the lesser challenge of a shed roof. It’s smaller and closer to the ground, so it may be a good time to do it yourself.

Just pay attention to how difficult it is to install to make sure you don’t get in over your head. See if you can find some good videos designed for homeowners who don’t have professional experience.

If you do need to hire someone to install the roof, the more difficult styles of roofing may also come with a bigger price tag for installation. And some roofs are prone to installation mistakes that can cause many problems down the road.


Many roofs require little to no maintenance over the years, but some will need to be repaired, treated or cleaned from time to time over the course of their life.

Whether or not you are willing to put in this work may determine the best choice for you.

Depending on your needs and where you live, you may prioritise these areas differently. It’s helpful for you to think about what is most important to you before making your decision.

1. Roll Roofing

Rolled roofing, also known as MSR or asphalt roll roofing, is similar to asphalt shingles in that it is an asphalt composite product. But it’s thinner and sold in a wide roll, often about 3 feet wide and totalling 100 sq. feet.

The main benefit of this option is that it is the most affordable choice on the list and easy to install.

Most brands will place an adhesive on the roll that will allow you to simply affix it onto the surface. However, some products must be nailed down. Others rely on a combination — nail down the materials in some places and use a lap cement to hold it down in others.

You simply roll the roofing out over a felt underlay and affix it to your roof. Because the product comes in a large roll, you can install it very quickly. Sometimes in a matter of minutes.

Rolling roofing is commonly used on roofs with a low slope (10-20 degrees) or a flat roof. If you nail down the product on a flat surface, you will not get much protection from the water.

In general, this option is not the most waterproof if that one of the most important factors to you, plan to look at some other options.

Not a particularly durable material but with proper maintenance, your roof will last about 5-10 years, so you do get a lot of life for the price.

If you are looking for an affordable, easy option and are OK with some of the quality trade-offs, cheque out the different styles of roll roofing available at any hardware store.

2. Asphalt Roof Shingles

If you are going for a classic roof that looks great and will last a long time, roof shingles are the obvious choice. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing choice in North America and are gaining popularity throughout the UK. There just a few requirements that are needed in order to use roofing shingles:

    • Your shed roof must have at least a 15 degree pitch so water will run off rather than settling into shingles.
    • The roof needs to be a wooden boarded roof so that you can nail shingles into it and it needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of shingles.

You need to do some research on the correct type of shingles for the climate you live in.

  • Roof shingles are still an affordable choice, offer increased durability and they are fairly easy to install.

While installation is a bit more involved than with a rolled roof, you don’t necessarily need a professional to install them. This could be a do-it-yourself project if you have some handyman skills. The asphalt provides a good amount of waterproofing to protect the contents of your shed.

Watch for mildew with this choice especially if your slope doesn’t allow for water to quickly roll away. This option can also be damaged by high winds, so avoid if you live in an area prone to wind storms.

Depending on the type of shingles you choose, expect them to last about 20-25 years. The nice thing about using individual shingles is that you can replace one or more without replacing the entire roof if you have some damage to a specific area.

3. Tile Roofing

Tile roofing is stylish and durable.

These are expensive and heavy. Clay tiles can cost up to three times that of an asphalt tile, with concrete tiles being a bit more affordable. And you will need to make sure your shed is constructed to withstand the weight of tile.

As far as installation, plan on hiring a professional who will ensure the tiles are properly installed and that your structure can withhold their weight for the long run.

The good news is that these roofs can last up to 100 years.

A common choice for hot climates and coastal areas, these roofs can withstand the occasional heavy rainfall.

These tiles offer the chance to really go for a unique look. Many tiles are beautifully crafted and will give your shed a quaint appeal.

4. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing comes in several variations including aluminium, metal alloy, copper and steel. You can choose between sheets or tiles, with many different looks to give you the industrial style you want for your shed.

There are a few things to keep in mind with metal roofing.

It can be slick, which is great for rainfall, but can cause issues if you are in a climate prone to snow or freezing. Ice can accumulate and slide off the roof potentially injuring someone or damaging the area.

However, if you live in a hot climate, metal can reflect the sun’s rays and keep your shed cool. This may be important if you are housing animals or materials that can’t get overheated (keep in mind if it rains a lot — metal could make for a noisy dwelling).

Metal roofing can dent. So be mindful of that if you have any risks for denting such as freezing rain. However, most metal roofing is tough and durable and can withstand heavy winds and is fire resistant. It will continue to look great over time.

You will want to fully waterproof your roof which will prevent leaks and corrosion to the metal. And plan to remove rust spots as part of the maintenance.

Should your metal roof become damaged, by a falling tree or damaging hail, keep in mind that it could be more difficult to repair, especially if you have a sheet roof. Expect to have to replace more of the roof to fix the problem.

The cost of a metal roof is likely going to be a bit higher than some others (expect the cost of a quality metal roof to be about three times as much as shingles), but it will also not need to be replaced often. A metal roof can last between 50-100 years.

Depending on the specific type of metal roof you go with, you may need to hire a contractor to install.

5. Wood Shingles

Cedar or pine shingles can really be a lovely addition to your garden shed.

Any type of wood shingle is going to be durable against most weather elements your shed will encounter. The natural use of wood for the roof can be a great choice, but there are some points to keep in mind.

Wood shingles are not waterproof. Unlike other shingles which are treated with layers of waterproof materials, wood shingles will not be a great barrier against heavy water on a low slope roof.

Only consider wood shingles if your roof will be a steep slope. Expect your wood shingles to last around 15-25 years depending on type and how well you maintain them.

Wood shingles cost less than metal and about 25-30% more than asphalt. If you stain and treat your wood shingles regularly over the years, they will last longer. Otherwise, your shingles will be susceptible to UV damage and break down more quickly over time.

6. Rubber roofing sheets

EPDM roofing sheets are a man-made material that is waterproof and long lasting, standing up to snow, rain and UV rays well. It has few seams for water to get into so it rarely leaks.

Those factors, along with its affordability, make it a good choice for your shed roof.EPDM is gaining in popularity. The material is made of recycled tyres and it can be recycled once again after its life as a roof. The rubberlike surface is durable and fairly maintenance free. You can expect it to last 30-50 years.

The material does offer a few downsides.

If the sheet is punctured by a sharp object, it could be damaged and difficult to repair.

It can warp or shrink, especially if not installed properly. Consider using an experienced contractor for the job. While it is fairly easy to install, if it is not done correctly, it could have some calamitous results.

It is a good choice for a utilitarian shed, but could be less stylish for some gardens.

7. Polycarbonate roofing panels

Polycarbonate panels are incredibly strong and designed to be durable. It is also an affordable choice.

The thermoplastic material comes in many varieties and colours, or can be transparent as is often used in greenhouses. You can choose a variety that fits the style of shed you have.

The product has a similar look to a corrugated metal panel, but it’s a very different material. It is flexible, lightweight and durable in a range of climates. It is also relatively easy to install.

The shortcomings of the product are that it is prone to scratches and may not offer the look you want to achieve with your shed .

You can expect your polycarbonate roof to last 10-20 years.

Final word

You have many options when it comes to choosing a new roof for your shed. Today’s market includes something that will fit any budget, style and needs that you have.

Enjoy your new garden shed!

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