Choose The Right Materials For Your Roof

Choose The Right Materials For Your Roof

Roofing: Choose the Right Materials

For most of us the roof on our house is an afterthought until it starts to leak. In reality, your roof is your homes single most important defense when it comes to protecting it from the elements. When it’s time to replace your roof, choosing a roofing material that will serve you best can not only complement your house but take it to new heights.

leaky-roof-repairHere’s a quick guide to help you choose a roofing material that fits your house’s style and your budget.


Asphalt shingles, or composition roofing, is the most common roofing material used on houses. It’s lowest in cost and easiest to install.

  • Cellulose or fiberglass mats coated with asphalt and granules

  • Available in many colors

  • Lightweight with a flat profile

  • Lasts 15-20 years; the heavier the shingle, the longer it will last

  • Algae-resistant granules available for warm, humid climates

  • Petroleum based product thats not eco-friendly. Can be recycled, though often taken to landfills

  • Cost: Inexpensive to moderate


Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, and southern pine. Some local codes prohibit wood because it’s flammable.

  • Wood’s natural character blends with the landscape

  • Shingles are flat and machine sawn on both sides

  • Shakes are thick and may be hand split

  • Requires a roof with at least 4:12 slope to shed water

  • Lasts 15 to 25 years; apply preservative and fungicide every two to five years

  • Eco-friendly; made from natural materials

  • Cost: Moderate


Metal shingles are long lasting, lightweight, and fire-resistant, but they conduct heat and can be noisy.

  • Made of aluminum, steel, or copper

  • Come in standing seam, corrugated, or faux-shake styles

  • Can last 30 to 50 years;color coatings guaranteed against fading for 25 years

  • Eco-friendly; may be made from recycled materials and can be recycled when replaced

  • Aluminum won’t rust, but lower grades can dent

  • Cost: Moderate (steel) to expensive (copper)


Historic and older homes are often roofed with this natural quarried stone. Characteristics:

  • Available in different colors and grades, depending on origin

  • Considered virtually indestructible

  • Eco-friendly; made from natural materials

  • Requires specialized skills and expertise to install

  • Can weigh 700 to 2,000 pounds per square; usually requires reinforced roof framing

  • Lasts 75+ years; only maintenance is replacing broken tiles

  • Cost: Very expensive

Concrete Tile

Concrete tiles imitate clay and slate in appearance and durability; can also look like wood shakes. Characteristics:

  • Can be molded to interlock so they’re easy to install

  • Roof framing may need to be reinforced to handle the weight

  • Somewhat eco-friendly; made from natural materials but requires significant energy to manufacture

  • Lighter-weight types available

  • Can last 50+ years

  • Some products come with limited lifetime warranties transferable to new owners

  • Only maintenance is checking for loose or cracked tiles

  • Cost: Moderate

Rubber Composite

Also known as synthetic slate, rubber composite shingles are molded from a blend of plastic and rubber bonded molecularly. Characteristics:

  • Convincing texture, like slate, with color through the material

  • Eco-Friendly: Some are made from recycled materials. Can be recycled when replaced

  • Lightweight yet strong and flexible

  • Limited supplier network

  • Fifty-year limited warranties are typical

  • Only maintenance is checking for damaged shingles

  • Cost: Moderate

When its time to replace your roof, there are a lot of material options to consider. With our roofing experts advice, you will be able to make a decision based on the pros and cons of each roofing material type as well as availability and cost.

Michelle Hanson Headshot
Phone: 612-819-5624
Dated: September 28th 2015
Views: 218
About Michelle: ...

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