Choosing A Roof Material That’s Right For You

When considering a new roof, re-roof, or even a repair, choosing materials to install is just as important as having the right contractor for the job. Understanding the materials that are already on your roof as well as educating yourself on any new materials you want to add or change is extremely important and could save you money in the long run. There are lots of different materials available depending on what you need, some are more common than others. The following is a quick rundown, with pros and cons, of some of the more common materials.

Asphalt or Composite Shingles

The most common material in roofing, asphalt shingles are extremely versatile, work well with most styles of homes and are easy to install. On the low end, 3-tab shingles last 10-20 years while the heavy duty, construction grade shingles can last as long as 40 years! As with most things, there are drawbacks to each, especially considering your existing home, high-end materials can be expensive and cheap materials can be, well, cheap(and in some cases actually devalue your home).


Modern metal roofs have come a long way since the days where they were limited to barns and other specific building types. With a large variety of styles and colors, not to mention how they handle the weather, metal roofs are a viable choice for many homeowners. Metal roofs can be fashioned in many styles from shingles to elaborate patterns and shapes. Metal roofs are tough, they can last 50-100 years or longer! Of course, they are expensive and if your attic and ceiling aren’t tightly soundproofed, they can be loud.


Considered by many, one of the most beautiful of materials, slate is a very expensive roofing choice, not only because the materials themselves are expensive but installation is a time consuming process that requires a seasoned professional to install properly. Although costly, slate roofs can last over 50 years and can look amazing.

Wood Shakes & Shingles

A great looking, natural material that goes with many styles of home, wood shakes and shingles are another option for homeowners to consider. Although they can last up to 50 years in some climates, they must be treated to withstand fire and in some areas, building codes don’t allow them. They are almost as costly as slate.


Synthetic materials are relatively new alternatives to traditional roofing materials. Synthetics are versatile and can be made to resemble other materials such as slate and even cedar shake. Heralded as lightweight, durable, and fire resistant these materials are becoming more and more viable as an alternative to other materials but as they are new, they remain on the pricey side and haven’t been around long enough to attest to their longevity.

Roofing technology is ever improving, especially with the increasing demand for “Green” products. Planted roofs (mostly commercial) are becoming an options along with Solar shingles currently being developed by manufacturers like Dow Chemical company. Homeowners have never had such a large variety of choices when choosing their next roof material. Discussing your options with your roof contractor will help you determine what material is best for your home.

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