Choosing the Right Material for Your New Roof

Replacing your roof is a huge home improvement project, but it's necessary if your roof is old and many of the shingles are missing or are caving in. You'll want to choose a material that will make your home look great, last for years to come, and fit within your budget. Here are the main materials to consider:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt tiles are the most popular for residential homes, according to Bob Vila. They're fairly inexpensive compared to some other roofing materials, and they're easy to install. Asphalt shingles offer good fire protection, but they're not the most durable material overall. Your asphalt shingles will last about 20 years before they need to be replaced.
  • Metal: Metal roofs exude a modern look, and they're more wind-resistant than asphalt. They're also more expensive than asphalt, however. Though you might think of metal as hot, metal roofs actually absorb less heat than asphalt, so they're a good choice if you live in a warmer climate.
  • Clay or Concrete Tiles: Tiled roofs, often a reddish-brown color, can give your home a Southwest or Spanish flair, but they're quite expensive. Clay and concrete tiles offer excellent fire protection, but they don't stand up against wind very well. The tiles are more brittle than other materials, but they'll last a long time if they don't break. The tiles themselves can last 50 years, though they're heavy so you'll need to replace the material they rest on more often—about every eight to 20 years.
  • Slate: Slate roofs create a stately look and are made from natural materials. They stand up well against fire and wind, but they take the cake when it comes to cost—replacing a slate roof is more expensive than doing it with any other material. Like tiles, slate roofs are heavy, so your roofing contractor may need to reinforce your underlying roof before laying the slate. Slate can last anywhere from 50 to 200 years, depending on whether it is hard slate or soft slate.
  • Wood: Wood shingles are an excellent choice if one of your main concerns is choosing an eco-friendly material. The downside is they're not as fire-resistant as other materials, though they're usually treated with a fire retardant to offer additional protection. Wood roofs require more maintenance than other materials as well. They're typically more expensive than asphalt and metal roofs, but less expensive than tiles or slate.

Contact a roofing contractor for help making a decision about what material to use for your roof. Not every home is a good fit for every type of material.