8 Most Popular Types of Roofing Materials for Homes

Rain Falling Off Leaking RoofIf you’re in need of a roof replacement, or are simply looking to upgrade your home’s aesthetics, the first step is determining which type of roofing material you should use. Make sure to discuss your options with your roofing professional to better understand which material will work best for your home. To get you started, here are eight popular types of roofing materials for homes. 

1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most popular roofing material for homes in America. Today, they’re installed on over 75% of residential roofs and have continually held up their popularity over the years. The reason asphalt shingles are so popular is because of the benefits they offer in comparison to disadvantages. Some of the benefits of asphalt shingles include affordability, variety, durability, extended warranties, and ease of installation. For homeowners, this is an ideal situation for roofing materials. 

Within the category of asphalt shingles are two basic types that you can choose from: organic-based shingles and fiberglass-based shingles. Organic-based shingles are made using recycled paper underneath layers of asphalt that is then covered with granules. While you might hear the word “paper” and think that these aren’t going to be very durable, organic-based shingles are actually heavier than their counterparts. They offer high levels of stability but come with unique downfalls. Organic-based shingles tend to either dry out or become saturated with moisture—both of which lead to problems with your roof. Because of this, almost all asphalt shingles used today are fiberglass-based. Fiberglass-based shingles are made using a fiberglass mess instead of recycled paper. This mesh is then covered with asphalt and topped with granules. Asphalt shingles made of fiberglass are lightweight, resistant, and durable, which is why they’ve become one of the preferred roofing materials in the country. 

It’s also important to understand that not all fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are created equal. There are high-quality and low-quality versions and it’s important to discuss your options with your roofing professional to make sure you understand the pros and cons of each. If you’re moving forward with asphalt shingles, you’ll have hundreds of different options for color to best match your home’s style.

2. Wood Shingles 

Wood shingles are popular alternative to asphalt shingles for those looking for a distinctive roofing texture. Wood shingles are also extremely affordable and can last for decades when installed properly. Most wood shingles are made from cedar, but there are a few other options that are less common. The reason that cedar is the preferred choice is due to the wood’s natural oils, which makes each asphalt shingle moisture and pest resistant. Since some wood is more porous than others, it’s important to follow the recommendations of your roofing contractor. Using a wood that’s too porous will result in water damage and structural instability, which is why there’s a limitation for your options. However, cedar wood shingles are extremely beneficial and provide your home with aesthetics that you simply can’t achieve with other roofing options. 

Cedar roofing comes in two different options: shingles and shakes. Shingles are thin and very uniform as they’re cut from a machine, while shakes are often sawn or hand-split for a more rugged, robust appearance. 

If you’re trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, wood shingles are a great option. The carbon footprint of wood shingles is practically non-existent since it’s a natural material. This results in zero byproducts in the soil around your home after a heavy night of rain. When properly cared for, wood shingles can last up to 50 years. If you opt for wood shingles, just make sure that you talk to your roofing contractor about your options for treating the materials. Non-treated wood can be a bigger fire hazard and should only be used in the appropriate environments. 

3. Slate Shingles

Another option in terms of shingles are slate shingles. Natural slate shingles are extremely durable, completely fireproof, resistant to mildew, have superior water/freezing resistance, and, when properly installed, can last a century or more. Slate shingles offer your home a unique appearance that’s unattainable with other materials, but the price is a lot higher than asphalt or wood shingles. Due to the weight of natural slate, it’s important to make sure that your home’s structural support system can handle a slate roof prior to installation. We recommend getting a roofing inspection that covers framing and structural support prior to entertaining the idea of slate shingles. 

4. Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic shingles are one of the newer types of roofing materials. They’re made from a type of engineered plastic composite and are rot-proof, weatherproof, fire-resistant, and nearly indestructible. They’re very similar to the other types of shingles in terms of installation and appearance, but synthetic shingles tend to be three to four times more expensive. 

5. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing was used a lot before shingles became popular because it’s strong, inexpensive over time, and lasts for decades. Recently, metal roofing has made a comeback for residential homes due to its durability and affordability. As people start to look to add more modern features to their home, some people prefer the industrial look that a metal roof brings. While there are opportunities for changing the aesthetics of a metal roof, more customizations will greatly increase the price of a metal roof. If you don’t have an attic or strong insulation, metal roofs can also be noisier and are more susceptible to dents. 

6. Solar Tiles

As energy efficiency becomes higher in demand, solar tiles are becoming more popular. Solar tiles are when advanced solar collectors are integrated seamlessly into existing shingles and generate up to 1 kilowatt of energy per 100 square feet. They’re a great way for homes with high sun exposure to generate solar energy, but they are more costly than other solar options like panels. The appeal of solar tiles is the subtle look that they have on your home’s overall appearance. 

7. Clay Tiles

Clay tile for roofing systems is made using clay from the Earth that’s been formed into interlocking shapes and then fired in a kiln for strength. Most homeowners decide to purchase clay tiles that are unglazed to result in the reddish-orange color that’s characteristic of this roofing material. Clay is a great option if you live in particularly hot climates, such as those in the South or Southwest. Clay tile is one of the more costly roofing materials, but it can last more than a century when properly cared for. 

8. Concrete Tiles

For those who don’t want clay titles, but live in hot, desert-like environments, concrete tiles are a good alternative. Concrete tile requires very similar methods for installation and has many of the same advantages as clay tiles—heat resistant, insulating, a high longevity. There are many different options for concrete tiles in terms of aesthetics and is extremely strong in terms of wind resistance. 

Which Roofing Material is Best for Your Home? 

The first step in determining which type of roofing material is best for your home is talking with a roofing contractor. If you need any roofing repairs, you’ll get them done using the same roofing materials that are currently on your home. However, if you need a roof replacement or are looking to make a change, you have options. Your professional roofing contractor will be able to go through all of the pros and cons of each type of roofing materials so that you can make a decision that works for your home, your budget, and your lifestyle. When it comes down to it, asphalt shingles are still the #1 roofing material for residential homes and for good reason. Asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, recyclable, easy to maintain or replace, and offer a variety of different options for color and textures to match your home’s desired aesthetics. If you’re interested in learning more, contact the professionals at Advocate Roofing today. Our team members are experienced in asphalt shingle installation and repair in addition to many other roofing materials. We offer complete roof replacements alongside preventative roofing care and basic roofing repairs, so you’ll be covered no matter what you need. 

If we conduct an inspection and anything seems wrong or damaged, the experienced roofing contractors from Advocate Roofing will make sure your repair job is done efficiently and with complete transparency. If you need a new roof installed, we’ll make sure that the job gets done right the first time around so you can enjoy your roof for years to come. We pride ourselves on working with integrity and longevity in mind. To contact an experienced roofing contractor from Advocate Roofing, give us a call today at (414) 386-3900. You can also reach out to our customer service hotline, 888-777-ROOF (7663).