Different Types of Roofing Materials

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By George Taylor

Updated: Jan 25, 2024

8 min read

Different Types Of Roofing Materials

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    The top of your home protects you from extreme weather conditions – sun, rain or snow and wind is called a  Roof. It can be as strong and powerfully built with the roofing material you select. Roofing materials handle the heating and cooling of your home. Choose the kind of roof required for your home, considering the climate and the budget.

    Types of Roofing Materials

    Roofs have been constructed in various forms – flat, pitched, domed, vaulted, or combined by aesthetic considerations. Flat roofs and Sloping roofs are the most common types of roofs that are erected across. To construct them, different types of roofing materials are easily accessible.

    Also Read 17 Types Of Roof Shapes To Add Curb Appeal

    Asphalt Shingles

    Asphalt Shingles For Roofing

    An asphalt shingle is a type of roof shingle that is a mix of black, sticky substance mixed with small stones and sand. It is widely used in covering the roof in America because of its simple style and cost-effectiveness.

    Two types of AsphaltAsphalt is widely used:

    • Organic Asphalt: These are made of organic materials such as waste paper, cellulose, and wood fibre. This is soaked with asphalt to make it waterproof, and then a top coat of adhesive Asphalt is applied and covered with solid granules. But their use has become less because they are more prone to fire.
    • Fibre Glass Made Asphalt: is a mixture of glass fibre and urea-formaldehyde resin, coated with asphalt holding fillers to provide the water proofing.Highly fire resistant material that can be used for good roofing.

    These roofs last for thirty years with average cost of asphalt shingles starting from $1.50 or more. They are the most widely used roofing material in the U.S.

    Metal Roofing

    Metal Roofing Inspection

    Metal roofing is long-lasting, and its ability to perform in the most difficult weather makes it one of the best roofing choices. These metal roofs are recyclable and can be made from recycled products. They are very lightweight and very easy to install.

    Five types of metals are used for roofing material

    • Steel Roofing is available in different options and the most prevalent ones
    • Aluminium Roofing: Very compatible with coastal environments and is very lightweight.
    • Zinc Roofing: A very long-lasting and expensive roofing option.
    • Copper Roofing: The most expensive and enduring roofing.
    • Tin Roofing>: Remotely used nowadays, tin roofs are made of soft metal with a coating of tin and lead.

    Metal roofing lasts for thirty to fifty years, with an average cost of $8 to $16 or more per square foot.

    Here is Your Guide To Working With White Metal Roofs

    Wood Shingles and Shakes Roofing

    Wood Shingles For Roofing

    Wood Shingles and shakes are pieces of wood that are used to cover the roofs. In North America, shakes are made of red cedar, white cedar, California redwood, and Atlantic white cedar, which are usually 24 inches in length.

    You can go for two styles of wood roofing: shakes or shingles.

    • Shakes are hand-split wood, providing better wind and water resistance.
    • Shingles are machine-sawn with cuts varying from grain and against grain.

    Wood Shingles and shakes roofs give an aesthetic look to your house, lasting around thirty years, and prices start from $4 to $7 per square foot.

    Clay or Concrete Roofing Tiles

    Clay Shingles For Roofing

    Consider beautiful, long-lasting concrete roof tiles if you want the roof at a low cost. The introduction of concrete roof tiles in the United States began early in the 20th century, but the use of them has become popular in the last 25 years. Concrete roof tiles are non-toxic and wind-fire resistant. They last for forty to fifty years, costing around $6 to $25 per square foot.

    Be it a slope or flat roof, clay roof tiles are feasible, and every desired style can be achieved. They are fired at high temperatures, resulting in a lifespan of 100 years, and can withstand any weather conditions with a minimal cost of $7 to $15 per square foot.

    Slate Roofing

    Slate Shingles For Roofing

    Slate is made from metamorphic rocks obtained from volcanic ash or clay. Slate roofs are low-maintenance tiles that can last over a hundred years. Slated can be cut into symmetrical tiles in a variety of patterns and shapes. Per square foot Cost ranges between $10 to $30.

    Slate roof costs are generally three times higher than a normal roof. It suits best to homeowners who can afford it. Some of the benefits of slate roofing are:

    • Long lifespan of 100 years or more.
    • Availability in different types of styles and colours.
    • Durable and low-maintenance
    • Energy efficient
    • Completely fire resistant
    • Environmentally friendly

    Vital Points need to be considered while going for Slate Roofing:

    • The structure of your home has to be strong to hold on to the weight of the slate roof.
    • Slate roofing is one of the most expensive types of roof materials.
    • Hire a roofing contractor with experience
    • Slate roofs don’t have any warranty.

    Synthetic Roofing

    Synthetic Roofing

    Recycled materials like plastic and rubber are used for synthetic roofing. Roofs made up of Synthetic shingles are long-lasting and durable, lightweight, and can fit into your budget. The cost per square foot of Synthetic roofing is around $7 to $14.

    Green Roofing

    Green Roofing

    A rooftop structure that is covered full or partial by vegetation is known as Green Roofing. It reduces the temperature of the home by blocking the sunlight, reduces pollution, and provides a gorgeous look to your roof.

    Green roof installation is an expensive affair upfront, but giving insulation to your home, they are beneficial in the long run as it brings our energy bills to a lower side. The average cost of green roofing is between $15 to $50 per square foot.

    There are five green roof system around that suits your going green:

    • Tray systems
    • Layered sponging Element system
    • Drainage Board layered system
    • Granular Board layered system
    • Monolithic platforms system

    Solar Tiles

    Solar Tiles as Roofing Material

    If you want to reduce the carbon emissions, go for the solar tile roofs. They provide us with clean energy while reducing the overall energy consumption at your home. Photovoltaic cells are connected to power distribution through cables to have solar tiles. These cells absorb and convert the sunlight to Solar energy and from this electricity is produced.

    The cost of solar roof tiles is between $15 to $35 per square foot.

    Advantages of having Solar Roofing:

    • Solar shingles go well with any concrete or asphalt roof, providing an attractive look to your home.
    • More durable and weather resistant. They are lightweight and can withstand rain, wind, and hail.
    • Easier to maintain
    • Cost-effective in longevity.
    • Solar tiles can generate between 13 and 63 watts of energy.

    Built-up Roofing (BUR)

    Built-up roofing

    Gravel roofing or Tar roofing is known as Built-up roofing (BUR). A low-sloped or flat roof is erected by staggered bitumen layers- Asphalt or coal tar and strengthening fiberglass.

    BUR gains its waterproofing and durability from its built-up combination of components:

    • Decking
    • Roof Insulation
    • Roofing Asphalt
    • Covering Base sheet
    • Ply sheet with roofing asphalt
    • Gravel in Asphalt

    Some Benefits of Built-up Roofing Are:

    • They can last for thirty years.
    • Excellent waterproofing
    • Sealed the surface
    • Protection from UV
    • Very good fire-resistant

    The general cost is around $4 to $10 per square foot.

    Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

    Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

    Synthetic or rubber sheets ballasted to insulate a layer of protection for your property is called Single-ply membrane roofing. It is lightweight and resistant to all weather conditions, a very easy-to-install option, with a general lifespan of around fifty years.

    Single-ply membranes are popular options as they are:

    • Durable
    • Fire resistant
    • Chemical resistant
    • Resistant to UV
    • Eco friendly

    Available in two key technologies:

    • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Membranes
    • Thermoplastic or flexible polyolefin (TPO/ FPO) membranes.

    Single-ply roof cost is $5 to $7 per square foot.

    Fibre Cement Roofing

    Fibre Cement Roofing

    Fibre Cement is a composite construction material used mainly in roofing. Fibre cement shakes are a mix of cement and wood fibres that are available in different colours and resistant to fires, insects, fungi, and weather conditions.

    They generally last for twenty years or more, with average cost ranging from $2 to $9 per square foot.

    Advantages that come with the installation of fibre cement roofing:

    • Good weatherproofing
    • Durable
    • High Acoustic Insulation
    • Easy to install
    • Minimum maintenance required
    • Better protection from fire and chemicals
    • Not to worry about leakage

    There are  some more roofing materials that are used:

    • Rubber roofing material
    • Rolled roofing material
    • Modified bitumen roofing material

    All these roofing material gives a strength and power required to your existing roofing. They are widely used to give a closure to dampness in roofs by providing long lasting waterproofing solutions to your roof. Generally all these options of  rubber, rolled and modified bitumen roofs have a lifespan of twenty years to fifty years,  with average cost per square foot ranges in between $4 to $14.

    Factors Influencing Roof Material Choice

    Whenever you are planning to replace the roofing material, apart from styling and appeal, you should consider the following factors:

    • Price: Check your budget to figure out how much you can afford. Prices of roofing materials could differ greatly. Incur the cost of labour, the permit application, and any unexpected cost to the roof material.
    • Roof pitch: How much water your roof can drain down is a determining factor, and before narrowing down the roof material, pay attention to the roof pitch.
    • Weight: The weight of the roof material can affect your cost and timeline. Choose a lower material than the structure covering your home. If you are going for heavy roof material, then the structural adjustment has to be done to make sure it supports the heavy roof.
    • Authentic: If you are living in a home with a traditional style, determine the roof material on its tradition.
    • Maintenance: As roofing is a long-term investment, a low-cost maintained roofing material is recommended.
    • Energy Efficient: The ability of the roof to reflect heat can make your home indoors more comfortable. Explore every option to pick up the best energy-efficient roofing material.
    • Weather: Which roofing material is best suited for your weather conditions is the most important factor that needs to be undertaken, while choosing the material.

    Do I Need a Permit to Get My Roof Repaired or Replaced?

    If you are planning to undertake any roof work, please make sure you have the permit. It is important to have a permit before starting any roofing construction. The roofing permit safeguards you from any unseen cost or issues that could result without taking proper precautions.

    Depending on what city or state the work is being undertaken, a roof replacement permit will cover topics such as:

    • Repairs and replacement of existing material.
    • Installation of new roofing material
    • Flashing out the roof drainage
    • Roof top decks

    Anyone who owns the property can apply for a roof replacement permit with, mostly paying between $10 to $50 for it.

    Also Read 13 Beautiful Barn Roof Styles With Pros And Cons

    Roof Installation

    Roof installation is long-lasting project and needs to be undertaken by planning and following the process:

    • Dismantling the old roof: Old shingles need to be torn off as you wouldn’t be able to install a new one without dismantling the old structure.
    • Installing the drip edge: The drip edge is the lipid metal flashing that’s installed at the edges of the roof to control the water away from your fascia, a long straight board that runs along the edge of the roof.
    • Underlayment: Material used for decking to protect the roof from ice or rain getting into your home.
    • Waterproofing: The area where your slopes meet the roofs needs to be properly waterproofed.
    • Apply starter shingles: The starter shingles are designed to be installed first on and generally are only half as wide as regular shingles.
    • Install the Shingles: They are applied in an overlapping pattern and secured with nails.
    • Install the Galvanized sheet known as Flashing: These are installed around the base of the chimney, skylight, or vent. The roof is to be tightly sealed. This is not to be neglected.
    • Cap the ridge: Capping the peak of the roof with specially designed shingles to cover it.
    • Seal it up: Clean up and seal the nail holes

    A top-notch roof is ready for you.


    Materials used for Roofing are important and crucial to safeguard your home from all types of weather conditions and see to its endurance. Learning and grasping the different kinds of roofing materials and their advantages can help you to choose the best material for your home.

    From Asphalt to Rolled roofing, different choices are available to suit your style, performance, and budget. Whether you are looking for strength, energy efficiency, or appealing, it is very important to choose the right roofing material.


    Which is the Cheapest Roof Style?

    An asphalt shingle is the cheapest roofing style. It is the most affordable type of roof material for a roof replacement.

    What Are the Four Most Popular Types of Residential Roofing?

    The four most popular and commonly used residential roofing are:

    1. Asphalt shingles
    2. Metal Roofing
    3. Synthetic shingles
    4. Cedar(Wood) shake shingles

    Which is the Easiest Roofing to Install?

    Asphalt roofing shingles are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to install. They are the best option for most of the houses.

    Which is the Lowest Maintenance Roof?

    Slate, clay tile, and metal roofs need very less maintenance but remember, they are the most expensive to install.

    What is the Most Straightforward Roof?

    The simplest type of roof is the lean-to or shed, with only one slope. A roof with two slopes is called a gable and it is the simplest roof.

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