How to Choose Your New Roof Material

Home renovations can be costly, so you need to make sure that the changes you make in your home are changes you want to see every day. While many homeowners focus on the landscaping and interior décor of a home, you want to also focus on the look of your roof. Before you choose the look you want for the house, you should know the benefits of each type of roofing.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

The most popular type of roofing is asphalt composition shingles, which presently makes up about 80% of residential neighborhoods. The shingles are usually made of organic paper fire mat or fiberglass, and is available as a three-tab shingle or a thicker laminated shingle. Much of the appeal of this type of roof is the versatility, allowing homeowners to install it on a low or steep roof.

Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to applying an asphalt composition shingle. First of all, asphalt shingles are not as eco-friendly, but they can be recycled. Additionally, in spite of their popularity, these shingles are not the most durable, but they are resistant to fire and winds. Since they are not very durable, they are inexpensive to replace, which is convenient if you ever need to replace portions of the roof.


Unlike asphalt shingles, metal has long-lasting durability, with greater resistance to wind and fire. In addition to this obvious improvement, you have a wide variety of types of metal to choose from, including steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc alloy. The colors have a limited selection, but each type of shingle has a solid and neutral tone that pairs well with any home.

Metal shingles are lightweight, eco-friendly, and can be used on low or steep sloped roofs. Installation is relatively easy, since each shingle is secured in place by a fastener, which can be left exposed or covered up. Metal seems to be a positive choice for any type of home, due to the durability and lifetime of the materials. As for the overall cost, you can expect a moderate price with steel shingles, but the price raises as the metal quality changes.

Plastic Polymer

Plastic polymer shingles are made from high-tech plastic polymer materials, but the appearance is designed to look more like wooden shingles or slate, giving your home a refined look. The maintenance you will need to perform is minimal, since the plastic polymer is known for being durable and long-lasting.

Depending on the brand and the contractors you hire, some plastic polymer shingles are made from recycled materials, which can be recycled again if you ever need to replace them. The overall price of polymer shingles is moderate, but not as expensive as higher-grade copper shingles.

Clay Tile

Clay tile may be heavy, but the greatest appeal to homeowners is its ability to last for years and years, but with high resistance to fire. The material is made from natural clay, which is fired in the kiln to maintain stability, explaining why the material is able to stand on its own against fire. This durability is eco-friendly in composition, but the amount of time it takes to produce is the reason for the expensive price tag.

Typically, if you want a clay tile, your motif should have a traditional Italian or Spanish look, allowing you to make it look like wood shakes or slate. While this material is durable, the particular design of the tile can be brittle, which puts you at risk for broken pieces in your roof. To prevent breaking, you will need to have a reinforced roof framing. Without this protection, your home will not be suitable for a clay tile roof.

Concrete Tile

Concrete tile has a much lower price than clay tile, but the two materials match in durability and fire resistance. Concrete tile is made of a blend of cement and sand, giving it a grainy texture. Since concrete can be shaped, you can choose to have it resemble traditional clay tiles, wood shakes, or slate. You can also choose to have the color painted on or blended into the cement before it sets.

While the mixture is made of natural ingredients, and is eco-friendly, it requires a great amount of work to manufacture, which causes it to have a moderate price tag. Like the clay tile, concrete is low maintenance, but it is prone to cracking and requires a reinforced roof frame to support the heavy weight. If you choose to install concrete tile, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions to prepare your roof for installation.


As one of the oldest materials used for roofing, slate is durable and very resistance to wind and fire. There is little customization available with this option, since slate is typically dark gray, as it is made of natural slate rock. The weight of this roof material requires reinforced roofing structures as well, and it can only be used for a steep slope. Slate’s price range is fairly similar to that of concrete tile.

Choosing the Right Roof for You

You need to have a durable roof on your home at all times, protecting you against all types of weather, which makes your selection of materials critically important. When you decide to renovate and redesign your roof, you need to consider the weight of the material, the cost of installation, and the resistance of the material.

The material’s weight impacts your existing structure, since you will need to reinforce your roof for heavy materials, such as slate or any kind of tile. Additionally, the type of material you choose will need to be within your price range. Spending money on a high quality roof is a smarter choice, since you will be investing in something that will need to be around for a while. Resistance dictates how well the roof will survive through natural disasters or fire emergencies.

Take some time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each roofing material. If you’re still struggling to make a decision, your roofing contractor will be able to help guide you along the way.


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