It can be rather confusing for the layman to decide what their best option is for a new roof. There’s lots of specialist knowledge out there, and each type and style has various benefits and drawbacks. There are also quite a few factors to look out for, and if you don’t know the essentials, it’s hard to make the right decision for your particular property. Below you will see a guide to the most common types of roofing materials, complete with some of the most important benefits and drawbacks to each.
1. Asphalt Shingles
These are the most common type of roofing material, accounting for over 75 percent of homes in the United States. Asphalt is certainly the least expensive option available and is lightweight enough to put very little pressure on a home’s structure. On the downside, asphalt offers minimal insulation and a relatively short lifespan compared to other materials. Because it is made of petroleum and fiberglass, it also cannot be recycled.
2. Wood Shingles and Shakes
These can be purchased from several types of hardwood, including cedar, redwood, and pine, which has the ultimate effect on price. Broadly speaking, shingles are smooth and machine cut, while shakes are more rugged and are split and cut by hand. Each can last for up to 50 years if they don’t rot or split. Indeed, they are high maintenance. They can also create a fire risk, so be sure to check your local building codes.
Metal roofing can be made out of copper, steel, and aluminum, and it often comes in the form of tiles, rather than the warehouse look you may have imagined. This is, predictably, a durable material. It has a high insulation rating and is a good reflector of solar energy, thereby lowering your cooling costs. Prices vary dramatically for metal, so it’s best to seek out retailers and compare pricing.
4. Clay and Concrete
Creating a rooftop out of clay or concrete is obviously heavy, so the building needs to be sturdy for this to be an option. However, this is probably the most durable type available. These come in both shingles and tiles, and both do a great job of reflecting sunlight. Though it can be expensive, its beautiful appearance can outweigh the costs.
5. Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is one of the nicest compromises among roofing material. A composite tile made of concrete, clay, and wood fibers, it takes the best qualities of all three: not quite as heavy as concrete, fireproof, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. It’s also slightly cheaper than cement and is easily recyclable.
Though heavy and the most expensive option, good slate can easily last for 100 years or more. It is durable, easy to repair, easy to recycle, and has a classic, striking appearance. However, because it is often dark in color, it can absorb sunlight, potentially raising your heating bills.
Understanding these different styles will help you pick the right roofing materials for you.