Popular Roofing Materials
Explore some of the most popular roofing materials. Read a description of each material, along with some of their benefits and cost ranges. Also see our primer article on roofing basics. Click for a guide to finding the best roofing materials for your home.
Aluminum roofing comes in two main forms, interlocking shingles or standing panels. The shingles are considerably less expensive, but many homeowners prefer the look of the panels. Aluminum is a type of metal roofing is that is easy to take care of and provides an excellent barier to sun, rain, snow and other harsh elements. This option is quite durable with a long life span and little to no maintenance required. The downside comes at the relatively large price tag.
Asphalt shingles are used on more roofs than any other material. The main reason is the inexpensive nature of the material. Asphalt shingles can be installed quite easily and depending on the grade of the product, can last 20 years. There are many different grades and brands of asphalt shingles and while they might not be a head turner when it comes to overall looks, they certainly get the job done.
Built Up / Tar & Gravel
Built up or tar and gravel roofs (these two are very similar) are becoming less and less common as new methods such as modern roll roofing becomes easier and less messy to install. Built up roofs consist of several layers of felt with hot tar laid down on top on them. A top layer of gravel or slag is then applied on top of this. These methods are messy, but work fairly well on flat surfaces and can last up to 25 years with a 5-ply option. 3-ply and 4-ply options will be less expensive, but will have a short warranty.
Cedar Wood Shakes
Cedar wood shakes offer a classy, natural look that often exudes a rustic, country home. The cedar does tend to fade over time and requires some maintenance to protect them from the elements and moisture. Cedar shingles offer good insulation and often last 20 to 25 years.
Clay tiles are durable and maintenance free, plus they look fantastic on many stucco homes throughout the United States. The most common clay tile is terra cotta, although there are other options, including flat, overlapping and pan tiles. With special glazing, the tiles can take on any number of colors and these are more resistant to moisture.
Composite shingles are a popular choice for many homeowners who are looking for durable, convenient and cost effective replacement roof option. While still pretty new on the roofing market, this material is safe, affordable and visually appealing.
Concrete tiles vary in their material makeup, but are all made from a some combination of sand, limestone, cement and water. They use binding materials and some even include ash. The advantage to concrete roof times is their durability, longevity and considerable visual appeal.
Copper has been used on various types of buildings for centuries. It is the most popular metal roofing materials because it can be custom made to fit any property with ease and over the years takes on a very distinctive look. There are disadvantages such as its ongoing maintenance to reduce the risks of corrosion and fading, as well the fact that the price of copper is constantly fluctuating.
Lead is no longer a popular primary roofing material, although it is still used as a coating for either copper and sandstone roofs. The lead is used to help reduce the risk of corrosion and does not stain with prolonged interaction with water and moisture. Read more...
A living roof is a relatively new concept and one not understood by most U.S. homeowners. They consist of waterproof barriers which are then covered with soil and plants and offers good insulation.
Metal roofs are strong and durable, require barely any maintenance and are visually very appealing. The main reason that many homeowners hesitate is due to the price, which is quite expensive.
A modified bitumen roof is usually made from rolled asphalt sheets. These sheets are added to the surface of the roof and then finished with a variety of different methods. Some of the popular methods include self-adhesion, heat welding, cold processing and hot mopping.
Rubber roofing comes as either shingles or as a sheathing. The shingles are a synthetic rubber that is lightweight and goes on similar to other types of shingles. The sheathing is a membrane that is custom cut to fit each individual roof. Because there are no seams, water is unable to penetrate below the sheething. The membrane is especially good for smaller flat roofs.
Shingle roofs are the most popular choice in the United States due to their affordable price, overall strength, longevity and performance. Find out about the many options you have in terms of shingled roofing.
Slate tiles have quite a distinctive look and are considered one of the most beautiful roofing options available. Slate tiles come in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns and thickness. This provides lots of choice when it comes to how they look and the price of tiles themselves.
Spanish tile roofs are quite popular in the American southwest, as well as in other pockets throughout the country. These tiles offer a timeless style that is beautiful and graceful, durable and can complement a sloped pitch with ease.
Stainless steel is exceptionally strong and durable and should last for many decades. However, this can be an expensive roofing choice with installation and labor also pushing the price up above many of the other materials available on the market.
Tar & Gravel
Tar and gravel roofs were popular a few decades ago, especially for flat or low sloped surface. They are much less common today due to new construction techniques and materials. Discover the basics, price range and advantages and detractors of this roofing material.
Tin isn't the most common roofing option, maninly due it's considerable price tag. However, tin does offer a very distinctive look which works beautifully with both traditional and modern homes.
Torch down roofs are a messy and old school approach that is still popular for flat or low sloped surfaces, primarily because they are cheap to install. Learn about the basics, costs and benefits and detractors to this option.
Wood shingles or shakes have a natural and sometimes country feel that lends a timeless beauty to a home when properly installed and maintained. Learn more about this distinctive option, the costs involved with the shingles and installation and some of the pros and cons of this material.