What roofing material is best for my home?

March 16, 2017

Most of us don’t pay attention to our roof–until it is damaged or begins to leak. Only then do we realize how important the roof really is for the protection of our home. In addition to keeping the house dry, the roof also completes the look of your home, so it is important to consider all roofing options and materials before choosing one that’s right for your property. Choices range from rubber lookalike slate and steel panels to wood shakes, asphalt shingles and clay tiles. Here, we will examine the various types of roofing material to help you determine the one that best fits your needs and your budget.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are most common throughout the country and are one of the least expensive types of roofing. They are available in a number of colors, both blended and solid, and are typically guaranteed for 20 or 30 years, making them a great value for your money. However, a disadvantage is that they are relatively common. If you want your home to stand apart from the rest, asphalt shingles may not give you the uniqueness you’re looking for in a roof.

Wood Shingles

On the other hand, a wood shingle roof is hard to beat if your goal is a one-of-a-kind look. Over time, this type of roof can weather into a soft silver or gray color that blends the home into the surrounding landscape. Wood shingles come in a number of options, including eastern white cedar, Alaskan yellow cedar and western red cedar. Although they vary in width, wood shingles are cut to a uniform thickness and are relatively smooth. Wood shakes are rougher and thicker as they are split instead of sawn from the logs. If it is properly installed and maintained, a wood shingle roof should last between 30 and 50 years.


Slate is traditionally used for municipal buildings and high-end houses. It is very expensive, but it sheds snow and ice, lasts for generations and is very beautiful. Slate is not often used due to its cost and weight, which requires a sturdy structure to support. If cost is an issue but you want the slate look, consider an engineered product that resembles slate but is instead made from recycled plastic and rubber. At one-third of the cost and weight of slate, these “fake” shingles are installed using standard techniques and tools. Although a discerning eye may be able to distinguish between the real and engineered slate roof, these shingles perform just as well and are guaranteed to last at least 50 years or longer.


A standard feature of utility and agricultural buildings such as sheds and barns, metal roofs are easy to install, long-lasting, rugged and relatively inexpensive. Metal roofs come in the form of corrugated, galvanized sheets and are a great choice for a utility application. Copper roofs are also available and are typically used on a number of types of public buildings and homes. Metal is a smart investment for homes in agricultural regions as well as homes in areas that receive significant amounts of snow. Powder-coated steel roofs are a cost-effective variation of the traditional metal roof. These systems do not require special equipment and may be installed by any experienced technician. Regardless of the style, a metal roof should last at least 50 years.


Found throughout the Mediterranean as well as in a majority of the architecture in California and Florida, ceramic tile roofs are comprised of layering and overlapping half-cylinder tiles. In the past, these roofs were manufactured by hand as the clay would harden over top of the builder’s thigh. If you are considering a ceramic tile roof for your home, keep in mind that these systems are extremely heavy, so it is imperative that your framing is strong enough to support the weight. Ceramic tile roofs may also be waterproofed by laying a waterproof membrane directly on the sheathing of the roof. However, the process can be expensive, and depending on the service, you can expect to pay nearly three times the cost of a standard asphalt roof. Ceramic roof tiles come in a number of options, including thin slate-style tiles and thicker shingle-like tiles. Since high-quality ceramic tiles are hard-fired, moisture will not penetrate the tile and crack it if frozen, making this roofing systems a suitable option for colder, northern climates. Although arguably the most expensive option and fairly rare, high-quality tile roofs may be the most cost-effective in the long run as these systems may last 60 to 80 years.

Contact Us Today

If you’re in need of a new roof but aren’t sure which material option is best-suited for your needs and your budget, please contact our contractors for more information. From metal and slate to ceramic and asphalt, we can help you determine the roofing system that’s right for your home.