5 Best Roofing Material Types to Know

5 Best Roofing Material Types to Know

This is for informational purposes - always check with your permitted authority or regulatory body first.

If you’re replacing your roof or building a home, you can expect to pay $8,000 on average for a roof. This installation cost is mostly influenced by the roofing material you choose. We’ve got a list of the best roofing material types used in the United States. Your climate and home style will heavily influence the best roofing material for your home.

Best Roofing Material Types for Your Home

Whether you’re building or need a roof replacement, these are the best roofing material types available: 

1. Best Quality: Slate

Slate roofing is another environmentally conscious option made from a sustainable material that can be recycled when replaced. Slate roofing tiles are very sophisticated and distinctive, elevating your home's curb appeal. Expensive to install, slate roofing is a definite upgrade. 

Slate roofing tiles come in a wide variety of colors so that you can customize your roof to the color and style of your home. A popular choice for custom homes, slate roofing is often found on European, French, and Colonial-style homes. 


There are several advantages to installing slate roofing:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Improves the value of your home
  • Variety of colors
  • Longest lifespan
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fire-resistant


There are a few disadvantages you should be aware of before installing slate roofing:

  • Very heavy that it requires extra framing
  • Must be professionally installed
  • Expensive

Lifespan: 50 to 100 years

Installation Cost: $600+ a square

2. Most Affordable: Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing choice for residential homes because of their durability, affordability, and ease of installation. These shingles are also popular because you can reinforce the shingle with cellulose or fiberglass for increased durability without changing the appearance.

Asphalt works with any house style, making it the most versatile. However, building a large custom home may look better with a different roofing option because asphalt can make the home look less expensive.


The main advantages of using an asphalt shingle:

  • Very affordable
  • Accessible
  • Easy to replace 
  • Variety of colors


The disadvantages of using asphalt shingles on your home or business:

  • Shorter life span
  • Not the best insulator
  • Inconsistency of quality

Lifespan: 20 to 25 years

Installation Cost: 70$ to $120 a square

3. Best Aesthetic: Clay or Concrete Tiles

Clay or concrete tiles come in various styles that can elevate your home's curb appeal. Tile roofing is incredibly strong and adds texture to the house. Concrete is more affordable than clay, but it’s significantly heavier. Tile roofing is very energy efficient and has a long lifespan, making it an ideal roofing option.

Because of their coloring and style, clay and concrete tiles look good on homes that have a Spanish, Southwestern, Mission, or Mediterranean style. It’s a popular roofing choice in warmer climate states like Arizona, California, and Nevada.


Tile roofing is a popular choice because it is:

  • Durable
  • Non-combustible
  • Energy efficient
  • Aesthetically pleasing


There are a few disadvantages to choosing a clay or concrete tile roof:

  • Heavy
  • It may require additional framing
  • Expensive

Lifespan: 40 to 50 years

Installation Cost: $300 to $500 a square

Related Link: 10 Home Addition Ideas to Add Square Footage

clay rooftops

4. Most Environmentally Conscious: Metal

Metal roofing is a viable option for homes and businesses in extreme weather areas. Metal roofing can be made from copper, aluminum, zinc, or stainless steel. All of these metals are extremely durable and can be made from recyclable materials, making a metal roof a smart choice for those who value the environment. You can also use the roof for harvesting rainwater.

Because of the style of the roof, it looks best on contemporary homes, cabins, or cottage homes. It doesn’t look good on specific home styles and can lower your home’s curb appeal. 


Metal roofing has many advantages over other roofing options, such as:

  • Durability
  • Long lifespan
  • Environmentally conscious
  • High solar reflectance


There are a few disadvantages to having a metal roof:

  • It can be loud during a storm
  • More expensive
  • Can look inexpensive 
  • Not as versatile

Lifespan: 40 to 75 years

Installation Cost: $100 to $800 a square, depending on the metal chosen

5. Most Classic Style: Wood Shingles and Shake

Wood shingles and shakes have been popular roofing choices for centuries. The rough woodcut gives your home a rustic charm that improves the appeal of your home. You can have wood shingles made from a wide variety of classic woods like pine, redwood, and cedar.

This is a popular roof for bungalows, New England, Tudor, and Craftsman-style homes. Wood shingles are very affordable and add a rustic charm to your home’s aesthetic. 


The advantages of wood shingles:

  • Affordable
  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Variety of wood types


The main disadvantages of of wood or shake shingles:

  • Flammable
  • Not as durable
  • Can mold or split in wet climates

Lifespan: 25 to 30 years

Installation cost: $100 to $150 a square

Related Link: 15 Exterior Home Remodeling and Renovation Ideas

wood shingle rooftop

Selecting a Quality Roof is Essential to Fortifying Your Home

These roofing options are popular for their styles, durability, and affordability. You’ll want to pick a roofing material that will look nice on your home but also fortify your home from the climate. When building your home or replacing your home’s roof, you’ll want to have a site plan to help with planning and permitting.

Related Link: How to Evaluate Your House for a Garage Addition



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Answer
What factors should be considered when choosing a roofing material? Consider the climate of your area, the style of your home, the weight the structure can support, environmental impact, cost, and the lifespan of the material.
How can I determine if my existing home structure can support slate roofing? Consult a structural engineer to evaluate if additional framing is needed to support the weight of slate roofing, as it is heavier than most materials.
What are the best roofing options for energy efficiency? Metal roofing and tile roofing (clay or concrete) are highly energy-efficient options due to their durability and reflective properties.
Are there roofing materials that are particularly good for rainy climates? Metal roofs are excellent for rainy climates as they are durable and water-resistant. Clay tiles may also be suitable, though they are heavy.
How does the choice of roofing material affect home insurance costs? Materials like slate and metal that are fire-resistant and durable may lower insurance costs, whereas wood shingles, which are flammable, might increase costs.
Can you recommend roofing materials for a coastal home? Metal roofing is recommended for coastal homes as it withstands saltwater corrosion better than most materials. Clay tiles are also a durable option.
What maintenance is required for asphalt shingle roofs? Regular inspections, cleaning of moss and debris, and replacement of damaged shingles are necessary to maintain asphalt roofs.
How can the color and style of a roof impact a home's resale value? A roof that complements the architectural style of the home and has a neutral, appealing color can significantly enhance curb appeal and potentially increase resale value.
What roofing materials are best for commercial buildings? Metal roofs are often preferred for commercial buildings due to their longevity, low maintenance, and ability to withstand extreme weather.

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  • Ryan Crownholm