How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 1

You’ve realized you need a new roof. So, now what? The next step is choosing a roofing material.

You’re no longer limited to wood, or even shingles, for your roof. With so many different materials and ways to style them – you can find the exact look and function you want.

Having so many choices is great, but it can also be overwhelming. You want to be sure you’re making the right choice for your family’s home. But, with so many options, how can you ever be sure? Read on to learn which material will best suit your needs.

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 2

If You Want the Most Customization and Affordability – Choose Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing material. Asphalt shingles are made with a fiberglass backing that’s coated with asphalt and topped with granules (which give them color and sun reflecting properties).

In part due to the colored granules, asphalt shingles come in a wide array of colors and styles – making them a great choice if you want a customized look.

Asphalt shingles are also the most affordable roofing material. 3-tab asphalt shingles are the least expensive option, lightweight, and easy to install. The downside of 3-tab asphalt shingles is that they’re not as durable as other asphalt shingles.

Architectural asphalt shingles are still affordable but are more expensive than the 3-tab shingles. They’re also thicker and more durable than the 3-tab shingles. If you want a more traditional look, architectural shingles can resemble wood shakes.

While asphalt shingles are affordable and can be styled in a variety of ways, they have a shorter lifespan than other shingles. Typically, asphalt shingles last between 15-30 years. So, you will likely have to replace your roof again. 

In terms of durability, asphalt shingles are also behind other roofing materials. When exposed to extreme climates – especially those with high heat – asphalt shingles are more prone to cracking and needing to be replaced.

So, if you want a roofing material that will last the lifetime of your home or that can survive harsh climates and weather damage, you should consider a different roofing material.

A great mix of customization and affordability, asphalt shingles are a good choice if you want to personalize the look of your roof and stay within a lower budget.

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 3

If You Want a Rustic/Traditional Look with a Medium Lifespan – Choose Wood Shingles or Shakes

A more natural-looking alternative to asphalt shingles is wood shingles or shakes.

Wood shingles are manufactured – resulting in a uniform look.

Wood shakes are hand-cut – resulting in a more rustic appearance. And, wood shakes are thicker, so they tend to be more expensive.

Made from trees like cedar, pine, cypress, and redwood, wood shingles/shakes lend a natural look to your home. Depending on your choice of shingles or shakes, your wood roof can look refined or rustic – making wood roofing a versatile option.

Lasting between 5-10 years longer than asphalt shingles, wood shingles/shakes provide a longer lifespan at a reasonable price. And, they are fairly durable.

Wood shingles and shakes are also more eco-friendly. They are sourced from a renewable resource – trees. And, they can be recycled into mulch or woodchips when they are replaced.

Downsides of wood shingles/shakes include very little fire resistance if they aren’t specially treated – which is an additional cost. And, untreated shingles/shakes require a lot of maintenance to keep them in good condition for the lifetime of your roof. Wood roofing can also attract insects and other pests – like woodpeckers.

If you want a lower cost option that doesn’t require much maintenance, wood shingles/shakes are not a good choice for you.

However, if you want a natural look with rustic or traditional beauty – with a longer life and more durability – wood shingles/shakes are a great choice for your roof.

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 4

If You Want Durability and Unique Styling – Choose Clay or Concrete Tiles

Commonly found on very old buildings, clay or concrete roof tiles provide a Mediterranean look that’s quite durable.

Clay tiles are the most traditional of these tile types. But, they’re still reinforced to provide durability.

Concrete tiles are lighter weight and fairly strong – but hard to work with.

Fiber cement tiles (made with a mixture of wood and cement) are the lightest weight of these tiles. But, they’re not as strong as the other tile types.

Far surpassing asphalt and wood shingles/shakes, clay and concrete tiles will last for over 50 years – meaning you likely won’t have to replace your roof again.

Clay and concrete tiles also offer great fire and pest resistance. And, they have sun reflecting properties so your home stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Although clay and concrete tiles work great on Mediterranean and Spanish style homes, they come in a variety of colors and styles. So, you can choose the look that’s right for you.

While they provide great durability and style, clay and concrete tiles are more expensive than many other roofing materials.

They are also much heavier than roof materials. So, you may have to install special supports if you want a clay or concrete tile roof. It’s also harder to do roof repairs with clay and concrete tiles because they are prone to breaking if walked on.

So, if you want a less expensive roof that can be installed on any type of existing roofing structure, clay and concrete tiles are not the way to go.

If you want a long-lasting, very durable, and unique looking roof, then a clay or concrete tile roof is a great choice.

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 5

If You Want Elegance, Luxury, and the Most Durability – Choose Slate Tiles

A traditional roofing material with an extremely long lifespan, slate tiles provide timeless elegance to your roof and your home overall.

Slate tiles come in two varieties – natural and synthetic. Natural slate is extremely durable and should last the lifetime of your home. Synthetic slate is a less costly alternative that still looks great.

While both forms look good, natural slate is not only exceptionally durable but can also increase the value of your home – if you ever decide to sell it. Synthetic slate looks just as good as natural slate but is much lighter weight.

Slate tiles are also very low maintenance. And, they’re a sustainable material that doesn’t negatively impact the environment when it’s produced. Plus, slate tiles can be recycled when they are done being used on your roof.

One major drawback to natural slate is that it’s extremely heavy – even heavier than clay or ceramic tiles. To have a natural slate roof, you’ll need to install a special support structure that can withstand the weight of the tile.

Natural slate is also very expensive and can only be installed by contractors who specialize in slate tile.

Synthetic slate is much lighter weight and less expensive – addressing problems with natural slate. But, synthetic slate has an average lifespan of only 40-60 years (much less than lasting the lifetime of the building).

If you want a cost-effective roof that’s easy to install, then slate tiles are not a good fit for you.

However, if you want the most durable roof that will add to your resale value and provide elegance/luxury to your roof, then slate tiles are a great choice.

How To Choose the Best Material for Your New Roof - Image 6

If You Want Durability and Energy Efficiency – Choose Metal Roofing

Traditionally used as barn roofing, metal roofing (typically made with aluminum, zinc, or steel) is very durable, environmentally friendly, and energy-efficient.

Along with the traditional corrugated style, metal roofing can also be made with vertical panels, to look like shingles, and to resemble tiles. Metal roofs also come in a variety of colors to suit your style.

Metal roofs have a 50-100 year lifespan – meaning you likely won’t need to worry about replacing your roof.

These roofs also repel wet weather well – so you won’t have to worry about snow or water sitting on your roof. And, metal roofs are impact-resistant and stand up to high winds well.

Along with durability, metal roofs are also energy efficient. Metal reflects sunlight to keep your home cooler in the summer – so you don’t have to pay for as much air conditioning. These roofs also insulate fairly well – keeping your heating costs lower in the winter.

Made with recycled materials, metal roofs are environmentally friendly – as little to no new material is used on them. These roofs can also be recycled when their lifespan ends – meaning hardly any of it ends up in a landfill when it’s taken off a roof.

Although metal roofs are available in a range of cost, they are more expensive than other options – like wood or asphalt.

If metal roofs are damaged, it is also more costly to repair them or replace sections of them. Metal roofs can also be noisier than other roofing materials – requiring another insulation layer for a quiet roof.

So, if you want a very cost-effective roof that is easy to repair, metal roofing is not the way to go.

If you want a durable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly roof, then metal roofing is a great choice for you.

Wrapping It Up

With the wide variety of roofing materials and color choices, you’re sure to find a roofing material and look that fits your budget and style.

Need more help with your roof replacement or choosing the right material? Click here for your free roofing estimate today!