8 Popular Roofing Materials for Homes

Rain Falling Off Leaking RoofIf you’re in need of a roof replacement, you must first determine which type of  material to use. Make sure to discuss your options with a roofing professional to better understand which material will work best for your home. To get 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. Asphalt shingles offer many benefits, which explains their longstanding popularity. Some of these benefits include affordability, variety, durability, extended warranties, and ease of installation. 

There are two basic types of asphalt shingles: 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 the word “paper” might lead you to question their durability, organic-based shingles are actually heavier than their counterparts. They offer high levels of stability, but do come with unique disadvantages. 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 mesh 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 most 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 we recommend discussing the pros and cons of each with your roofing professional. If you move forward with asphalt shingles, you’ll have hundreds of different color options to best match your home’s style.

2. Wood Shingles 

Wood shingles are a popular alternative to asphalt shingles, specifically for those who want a distinctive roofing texture. These 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. Cedar is the preferred choice because of the wood’s natural oils, which make 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. If you use a wood that’s too porous, it could result in water damage and structural instability. 

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 night of heavy 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 material. 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. That being said, 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. Synthetic shingles are very similar to other types of shingles in terms of installation and appearance, but they 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 add more modern features to their home, many opt for the industrial look that a metal roof provides. While there are opportunities for changing the aesthetics of a metal roof, more customizations will greatly increase its price. If you don’t have an attic or strong insulation, metal roofs can also be noisier and more susceptible to dents. 

6. Solar Tiles

Solar tiles are becoming more popular as energy efficiency becomes higher in demand. These tiles are created 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 effect 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. This clay is then fired in a kiln for strength. Most homeowners decide to purchase clay tiles that are unglazed, which results 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 the South or Southwest. It is one of the more costly roofing materials, but can last more than a century when properly cared for. 

8. Concrete Tiles

For those who don’t want clay tiles, but live in hot, desert-like environments, concrete tiles are a good alternative. Concrete tile requires very similar methods for installation and have many of the same advantages as clay tiles—heat resistance, insulation, a high longevity. There are many different options for concrete tiles in terms of aesthetics. It is also 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 to speak 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. If you need a roof replacement, however, or are looking to make a change, you do have options. Your professional roofing contractor will go through the pros and cons of each type of roofing material 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 desired aesthetics. If you’re interested in learning more, contact the professionals at Advocate Construction today. Our team members are experienced in asphalt shingle installation in addition to many other roofing materials. We offer complete roof replacements alongside preventative roofing care, 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 Construction will make sure your job is done efficiently and with complete transparency. We make sure the job gets done right the first time around so you can enjoy your roof for years to come. To contact an experienced roofing contractor from Advocate Construction, give us a call today at 833-409-ROOF (7663).