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Have you ever wonder how many different types of roofing material are there? Knowing the type of roofing material you have in your home is very important especially when it comes down to choosing and maintaining your roof. 

To get familiar with the types of roofing materials there is, here’s a list of the most common roofing material along with their Pros and Cons.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

Asphalt shingles are also known as and composition shingles (or composite shingles). These are general terms for the same thing. The term “composition” is used because the shingles are a composite product made from either a fiberglass or cellulose mat, asphalt, and mineral granules. This differs from wood shake shingles or clay tiles which are made from a single material.

Pros

Relatively light, inexpensive, and easy to install

Class A fire rating for fiberglass-backed asphalt shingles

Premium grades have a longer life span than budget “3-tab” asphalt shingles

Plenty of product choices for various styles, color selections and budgets

Premium shingles have a longer warranty than basic shingles

Some U.S. states have asphalt shingle recycling programs

Cons

Asphalt shingles degrade over time due to exposure to sun and the environment 

 

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are thin, tapered pieces of wood primarily used to cover roofs and walls of buildings to protect them from the weather. Historically shingles were split from straight grained, knot free bolts of wood. Today shingles are mostly made by being cut which distinguishes them from shakes which are made by being split out of a bolt.

Pros

Visually appealing roof style 

Resistant to severe storms

Energy Efficiency 

Durability

 

Cons

Cost

Regular Maintenance Required

 

 

 

Metal Roofing Shingles / Sheeting

Metal roofing is available in several materials including steel, aluminum and copper. It also comes in several forms: sheeting (which includes the predominant type known as “standing seam” roofing) and tiles. If you don’t like the smooth look you can buy stone coated steel roofing which has the texture of asphalt roofing.

Standing seam metal roofs are made from panels with a small vertical flange at the joint where the panels meet similar to what’s shown in the photo above. Metal roof tiles are installed in a similar fashion to other roofing tiles and shingles. Metal makes for a durable roof but requires careful consideration from a style perspective, particularly the standing seam variety. You’ll need to consider how it will look relative to your home’s design and the architectural style of the homes in your neighborhood.

Pros

Enough variety to find a color and style that complements any home

Products available that imitate other materials for a non-mental appearance

 

Cons

Strikes an “agricultural” tone and can look “out of place” in suburban areas

Needs good corrosion protection (both steel and aluminum)

Steel (unprotected) will rust and even painted steel is not a good choice in corrosive environments such as coastal locations

Denting is a risk with falling tree limbs, large hail and similar debris

 

Clay or Concrete Roofing Tile

Tile roofs not made from metal or a composite material are typically clay-based or made from concrete. Tile roofs are another durable and long-lasting roof but they are heavy and your underlying roof structure needs to be designed to take the load. Clay or concrete tiles are available in a variety of styles. Some products are even made to mimic other types of roofing like wood shake. In those cases, you get the textured wood-look with a durable and fireproof roof covering. Tile roofs can be expensive however with clay-based tiles usually costing more than concrete tiles.

Pros

Durable, long lasting and relatively maintenance-free

Fireproof

Offers a range of architectural styles

Can be used to mimic other types of shingles like wood or slate

Good energy efficiency possible with tiles that have higher reflectance (reflecting the sun’s energy)

Good insulating value due to the air gap between the tiles and the roof decking

More color options are available

Cons

Fragile when walking on, tiles can break rather easily

Underlayment material won’t last as long, and so that underlayment needs to be replaced even while the roofing tiles will be fine

One of the more expensive roofing materials 

 

Slate Roofing

Slate is real stone and is one of the most durable and long-lasting types of roofing material you can choose. Slate roofs can be beautiful and there are several shades of slate you can choose from. A slate roof is also heavy however and your roof framing needs to be engineered to support this style of roofing. Along with the beauty and durability however comes a fairly high price tag — slate is one of the most expensive roofs you can choose.

Pros

Aesthetically Pleasing

Long lasting – 20 to 30 years before needing to be replaced

Fireproof

Low Maintenance

Increase Home Value

Cons

Requires professional installation with contractors that have experience with this type of roofing

Underlying roof structure may need reinforcement / must be built to withstand the heavier weight of slate which adds to the home’s framing costs

One of the most expensive types of roofs available