An In-Depth Look at the Different Types of Roofing Materials

Replacing a roof is one of the top 10 most expensive home repairs. That’s why a new roof can add up to $12,000 on your home’s resale value.

The types of roofing materials used on a roof will have a big impact on how often it requires replacing and maintenance. Your material will also determine long-term costs, how long you can expect your roof to last, how often it’ll need repairs and how large or small your environmental impact is.

If you’re replacing your roof, you need to weight the options and determine what’s right for you, your budget and your willingness to maintain materials. This guide explains the different types of roofing materials and how they fit into those categories.

Read this before you pick the material that’s going to sit on top of your house for the next 15 or more years.

Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Roof

Before you choose a material or replace your roof, consider the following.

Important Elements of Materials

Materials will differ in regard to the following elements. How these factors suit your needs, and your budget will help you make an informed decision.

  • Longevity. This determines how long your roof will last.
  • Cost. Cost isn’t just what you pay today. It’s also how much you’ll shell out in the future for maintenance and repairs.
  • Durability. This is related to how well your material holds up in your climate and can whether it can withstand occurrences like fires and hail storms.
  • Energy efficiency. Consider how well the material regulates your home’s internal temperatures. This can save you money in the long run.
  • Sustainability. If the environment is important to you, then think about how sustainable the material is.

To Install or Not to Install?

Regardless of the material you choose, you need to consider whether roofing is a DIY project you’re willing and able to take on.

Installing your roof on your own may save you costs upfront, but if it isn’t installed correctly, it could cost you in future maintenance. Also, roofing is extremely dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who isn’t an expert.

If you’re no roofing expert, consider this company to help you with the installation.

Consulting an Expert

You don’t need an expert to choose your material once you’ve read through this, but you do need to consult an expert for other essential elements of roofing.

An expert can help you determine the slope of your roof, how much material you need and considers how the material will affect the style of your home. They also have a good idea of what kind of material will hold up in your particular climate.

Types of Roofing Materials

Below are some of the most common roofing materials and their advantages and disadvantages.


This is the most common roofing material. It’s also the least expensive.

This roofing material will last for about 15-30 years. You can help them last by cleaning debris and buildup.

Asphalt roofs are good for all climates. But how long they last and how good they are is dependent on your buying high-quality. Of course, the better the quality, the more expensive they’ll be.

Buying cheaper asphalt will end up costing you more in the long run because they aren’t very durable. You’ll have to replace them frequently, which is costs not only money but time. What’s worse, a poor quality roof can lead to interior damage – and that’s going to cost you big bucks

To avoid any potential future costs from poor quality asphalt, look for shingles with a good hail rating. This isn’t provided on all packaging but, if it’s not there, that should tell you not to buy them. You can ask if the shingles have passed wind tests ASTM D3161, Class F (110 mph) or ASTM D7158, Class H (150 mph) as well as the AC438 durability test.

If the shingles have a UL 2218 Class 4 rating, they’re impact resistant and durable. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a discount on your homeowner’s premium if you install these.

This material is one of the worst for the environment. Asphalt is a petroleum-based product that accounts for 3% of the waste in landfills. But you’re ao recycle them at a shingle recycling center if you have one near you.


Wood shingles can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. You’ve got longevity covered with wood shingles, but they aren’t very durable.

Although they’re usually made with cedar and redwood and sprayed with fire retardant, they aren’t fireproof. If there’s ever a fire in your home, your roof may have an easier time catching aflame.

Because of its susceptibility to changes in climate, wood shingles tend to crack. You can check how durable they are by using the hail rating.

Wood is one the most sustainable materials you can use on your roof because it’s made of completely natural material. It’s also a natural insulator that will help regulate the temperature of your home and keep energy costs down.


Metal roofs can be made of steel, zinc alloy, aluminum or copper. They come in vertical panels or as shingles similar to slate or tile. They typically last between 30 and 50 years, but they cost more than wood asphalt.

Metal rates high on the scale for durability. They can withstand heavy snow and rain, they’re fireproof, and they stand up against high winds. They’re mostly impact resistant, but hail can dent them.

Metal roofing can be placed over existing roofs, and they have low maintenance costs. They act as an insulator for your home, and they’re not only recyclable, they’re often made from recycled materials.

On the downside, they make a lot of noise during a rainstorm. They also may corrode, but that depends on the type of metal you choose as well as climatic factors.

Stone-Coated Steel

Most stone-coated steel roofs come with a lifetime warranty. As long as your house stands, they’re warranted.

They can withstand up to 8.8 inches of rain per hour, 120 mph wind, hail, freeze and thaw cycles and they’re not prone to uplifting. If you live in a four-season climate, stone-coated steel is an economical roofing material.

Plastic Polymer

Plastic roofing can last for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, they’re made from plastic, which is hugely unsustainable and environmentally damaging when they become waste.

On the upside, plastic roofing is very durable and less noisy than metal. They have high hail ratings, and they don’t require a lot of maintenance. They’re also energy efficient which saves you money in the long-term.

If you decide to go with plastic roofing material, look for a manufacturer that uses recycled materials to create their product. This will help reduce your ecological imprint.


Clay is one of the oldest roofing materials. There are clay roofs that are over 1000 years old that still stand today. On your roof, it can last up to 100 years.

Clay is resistant to high winds up to 125 mph, and they also hold up in an earthquake.

You may have to install extra supports to help bear the weight of a clay roof. You should also buff or clean efflorescence when it develops to help your clay tiles last longer. A coat of clear alkyd primer can also help extend their lifetime.

One major problem with clay roofing tiles is that they can’t withstand a lot of weight. Walking on your roof may cause cracking, and you’ll need to replace those tiles immediately.


Slate roofs are one of the longest lasting roofs. At 75-150 years longevity, you can expect them to outlive you. For that longevity, you pay a premium.

Slate is fireproof and can withstand almost any kind of weather. To make it last even longer, you should properly install flashing and always ensure it’s working correctly. Replace copper flashing when it turns black.

This roofing material is prone to cracking and requires a proper truss strength because it carries a heavier load than most other materials.

Anything that last 150 years can be considered sustainable. It’s also a natural material that causes little to no environmental degradation in its production.

Solar Glass

Tesla is the only manufacturer for this type of roofing material. They provide a lifetime tile warranty, but it’s an incredibly expensive option regarding upfront costs and installation.

However, in the long-term, they require very little maintenance because they have a high hail rating. Plus, you won’t have to pay for replacing tiles thanks to the warranty. You may also qualify for a tax credit when you install this type of roof.

One of the benefits of a solar glass roof is its energy efficiency. A solar glass roof generates 1 kilowatt of energy per 100 square feet. That also makes it the most sustainable roofing material you can purchase.

Green Roofs

Another unconventional roofing option, green roofs are sustainable and environmentally friendly. They’re roofs that are covered in flowers, vines, plants, and shrubs.

Like indoor plants, they work to improve the air quality. Green roofs also reduce water runoff and insulate homes in urban areas that are considered heat islands.

Not only do they offer an alternative to your patio, but green roofs also last longer than conventional roofs. They require constant upkeep, but they can last an estimated 40 years.

More Tips for Homeowners

Knowing the types of roofing materials and figuring this into your budget is only part of the battle of owning a home. Once you’ve decided on your roof and had it installed, it’s time to tackle your interior.

For tips on how to make your interior the best that it can be, contact us.