Nearly four of every five home owners in the United States have decided that of all the types of roofing, asphalt shingles have the most to offer. Asphalt singles come in two varieties, the compositions shingle which has an organic base, and the fiberglass shingle. Both these types of roofing are reasonably fire resistant, lightweight, and wind and waterproof. They are manufactured in both three-tab (standard) and multi-layer (designer) styles, with the three tab shingles having a minimally textured finish and the multi-layered shingles a heavily textured one.
For homeowners who prefer a more natural or rustic of, the best of the major types of roofing is wood shingles or shakes. Machine-sawed from southern pine, cedar, or redwood, wood shingles are great on log homes while wood shakes, with their irregular edges, add a contemporary look to a roof.
Wood shingles and shakes, however, require factory treatment to make them fire-resistant. Untreated wood shingles and shakes may not be permitted in some areas of the country.
One of the oldest types of roofing, tile roofing, dates back over ten thousand years to ancient China. Tile roofing can be manufactured from either clay or concrete, and red tile roofing is a fixture in California and the southwestern United States, as well as Florida. Tile roofing, however, is now manufactured in a wide range of colors and specialty finishes.
The one drawback of tile roofing is that it is significantly heavier than asphalt, metal or wood roofing, and if you want to replace a one of those types of roofing with tile roofing, you need to make sure your home can handle the additional load.
Tile and slate are similar types of roofing in that they are both quite heavy, but slate is a natural rock mined in the Northeaster US. Slate roofing is available in a range of grades and colors, and of all the types of roofing is the closest to being indestructible. Slate, however is also the most expensive of the types of roofing and its installation must be done by roofers trained in the correct techniques. Properly installed, slate roofing will last for centuries.
The final of the types of roofing is metal roofing. Metal roofing is ideal for structures with steeply pitched roofs, and is manufactured in both sheets and shingles. Metal roofing sheets are available in many different shaped, while metal roofing shingles can be make to look almost indistinguishable from wood shingles and shakes. Metal roofing is both lightweight and fire-resistant, and can be treated, if necessary, to make it corrosion and rust-proof.