Best Types of Roofing Materials for Rental Properties

Aesthetically and structurally, the roof is one of the most critical parts of a house. Before hiring a contractor to repair or replace the roof of your rental property, it's smart to build your knowledge about the different types of roofing materials.

Armed with some basic knowledge about the cost and lifespan of the different roofing materials, you're better prepared to choose a quality roofing company and select the best materials for a roof replacement. Here's some helpful information courtesy of Bondoc Roofing.

Best Roofing Material Types

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

Three-tab asphalt shingles are the most common, basic shingles used for roofs in San Antonio. They get their name from the three tabs on each shingle and its material.

The tabs slot together like puzzle pieces during installation to help keep moisture away. Three-tab shingles are made from a durable fiberglass base mat coated with mineral granules.

Should You Choose 3-Tab Shingles?

Why should you choose (or not choose) this material for your rental property's roof? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles are the most affordable roofing option.
  • They are lightweight and easy to install.
  • Their uniform design gives your roof a clean, minimalist aesthetic appeal.
  • A 3-tab shingle roof can last 20-25 years unless it sustains significant damage, such as a hailstorm.

For a 1500-square-foot house, the price ranges from $7,000-$9,000, making these shingles an affordable option for rental properties in San Antonio. However, if you're looking for something more durable, asphalt might not be the longest-lasting option.

Man in a yellow hard hat fixing clay tiles on a roof

Dimensional Shingles

Dimensional or architectural shingles have two layers of shingle material bonded together. This gives them a three-dimensional appearance.

Are Dimensional Shingles Right For Your Rental Property?

Before choosing dimensional shingles, keep a few things in mind.

  • They are typically more durable than the 3-Tab shingles.
  • Dimensional shingles can last for 30-35 years.
  • They hold up better through extreme weather. For example, dimensional shingles can withstand winds between 80 and 130 mph as opposed to the maximum of 60 mph of 3-tab shingles.
  • Due to greater variety in color and texture, dimensional shingle roofs may appear more attractive and "expensive-looking."

While more durable, dimensional shingles may weigh up to 50% more than 3-tab shingles. This means that your underlying beams must be stronger. In addition, these shingles are slightly more complex to install than 3-tab shingles.

Pricing ranges from $8,000-$12,000 for a 1,500-square-foot house. However, the complexity of the roof and the cost of materials can lower or increase costs.

Concrete or Clay Tiles

Concrete and clay tiles are common throughout San Antonio. They are heartier than asphalt shingles and can withstand wind and hail better than asphalt shingles.

In addition, if single clay tiles sustain damage when a storm hits, it's easier to replace these tiles (without requiring a complete roof replacement).

Are Clay Tiles Ideal For Your Property?

Durable shingles sound good when hail storms are common! Here's what to know before selecting clay roofing tiles.

  • This roofing option can last about 50 years.
  • Air can freely circulate beneath clay and concrete tiles. This helps to regulate rooftop temperatures and maintain temperatures inside the house. In addition, homes with clay or concrete tile roofs have better energy efficiency—which is vital for hot San Antonio summers.
  • Clay roof tiles are better at reflecting the sun than asphalt roofs.

Clay tiles are slightly heavier than concrete tiles, which are significantly heavier than asphalt shingles. Therefore, a more robust support structure is needed underneath the roof tiles. So, not every rental property is ideal for clay roofing.

Pricing ranges from $15,000-$25,000 for a 1,500-square-foot house. This is significantly more costly than your asphalt shingle options. However, considering that a clay tile roof generally requires less maintenance and has a longer lifespan, this option could be a worthwhile investment.

Metal Roofing

Different metal roofing materials include aluminum, steel (galvanized, galvalume, or weathering), copper, or zinc. Metal roofing is also at the upper end of the cost spectrum, with a similar cost to tile roofing.

Man in a yellow hard hat and orange high visibility vest putting metal shingles on a roof with a drill

Should You Choose a Metal Roof for Your Rental Property?

Metal roofing has come a long way over the past several decades! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A metal roof is low maintenance and has a lifespan of 40-70 years.
  • Correctly installed metal roofs can sustain wind gusts of up to 140 mph.
  • Metal roofs won't corrode or crack. Most metal roofing types are impact resistant and won't sustain damage during a hailstorm.
  • Choosing a metal roof is an environmentally friendly option. Depending on the type of material, 25–95% may be recycled content. In addition, once your metal roof reaches the end of its long lifespan, the metal sheets are also recyclable.
  • Metal roofing is more energy efficient than asphalt shingles. Their capacity to reflect the sun's UV rays can result in a 10–25 % reduction in cooling costs—a valuable advantage in San Antonio, Texas.

While there are many good reasons to choose metal roofing, these roofs are often noisier than other roofing types during heavy rains and hailstorms.

Which Roof Material Type is Best?

The type of roof you choose depends on your budget and how long you plan to hold on to the property. For example, if you plan to sell the property in the next ten years, you may not realize the long-term investment potential of a metal or tile roof over an asphalt shingle roof. On the other hand, you may get a better selling price if you have a more robust roof installed.

The area where your property is located also comes into play when choosing the best roofing option. Some areas might not warrant overcapitalizing on the structural components, like a higher-end roof.

Tile can be a worthwhile investment, but can you upgrade an asphalt roof to tile? Not always. Tiles are much heavier than asphalt shingles. Your roofer must check the house's structural integrity to ensure the building can hold the weight of a heavier roof.

No matter what type of roofing your choose or whether it's time for a simpler repair, avoid a DIY fix and choose a reputable roofing company and property manager to care for your rental properties!

San Antonio Property Management Companies Can Help You Choose the Right Roofing Material

The right roofers and San Antonio property management companies will help you make the right decisions about roofing materials, repairs, or replacements for your rental properties. Contact MHN Property Management to tap into our network of vetted, reliable contractors!


MHN properties has managed our house in San Antonio since December 2014. Everyone on the team has always been professional and courteous. They are prompt in responding to questions and maintenance requests by the tenants. We feel like they have taken great care of our property! In addition, our property has not been empty since they took over the management. We would highly recommend MHN properties to anyone!

Adam Nyitray