How Do I Know Which Type of Roof Is the Best Choice for My Home?

Sometimes having too many choices makes it harder to come to a decision. That’s the problem many homeowners face these days when they have to decide what type of roof is best for their home. There are simply so many new and exciting roofing materials available. Your best bet if you find yourself in this situation is to begin by calling a reputable roofing contractor in your area and see what they have to say. But first, read on to learn more about roofing materials available to help you make up your mind.

New Roof


What Should You Look for in a Roof?

There are key factors you should consider before deciding on the most appropriate roof for your house. Consider these:

  • How long does this roofing material last?
  • How well does it work when there are extreme weather events, especially wind?
  • Does the framing in my home support this type of roof?
  • Does my home have enough slope to carry this type of roof?
  • Will this material complement my home’s style?
  • Is this material allowed by local building codes or my homeowner association?
  • How much does it cost?

Some Roofing Materials to Consider

Asphalt Shingles

As the most popular roofing material in American homes today, you may be considering asphalt shingles for your roof. If so, you should know that they are available in traditional 3-tab design or in a thicker laminated architectural shingle. They last at least 20 years, but some carry a 50 year warranty. Others are warranted for as long as you own your home. Asphalt shingles come in two main types. Traditional organic asphalt is still available, but fiberglass asphalt shingles are more durable and used more and more often.

Metal Roofing

Lasting longer and being more wind resistant, metal roofs can be made of aluminum, zinc alloy, copper, or steel. Metal roofs are available in shingles or sheets, and may be made to resemble other materials, too. Metal roofs are extremely durable and lightweight and can be installed on steep sloped or flat roofs. They offer good resistance to wind and fire. Prices vary depending on the metal selected. The limiting factor with metal roofs is usually the finish. Most need repainting in about 25 years.


As one of the oldest roofing materials around, slate is very durable and resistant to fire and wind. Shingles are made from natural slate rock split thin, and have an irregular appearance which makes them so attractive. They are extremely long-lasting but heavy, requiring a reinforced roofing structure to support them. They are expensive and require a specialized roofer to install them, but slate roofs can last a century.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

Made from rot-resistant wood, these roofing materials have low fire resistance. They are generally made from cedar and sometimes redwood. They give homes a very natural look but require periodic maintenance and tend to have a shorter lifespan than other roofing options. They are light in weight and can be used on roofs that have low to steep slopes.


Concrete tiles are less expensive than clay tiles but both are very heavy, fire resistant, and can last a long time. If you prefer a concrete tile, these can be made to resemble slate, wood shakes, or traditional clay tiles. The color can either be mixed throughout the tile or only applied to its surface. These tiles are quite heavy and need most roofs to have additional support. They can be installed on homes with moderate to steep sloped roofs.

Plastic Polymer

These durable shingles can resemble slate or wood shakes. Plastic polymer roofing requires little maintenance and lasts a long time. Some are made from recycled materials and can be recycled when replaced. They are good on moderate to steep-sloped roofs and have good wind and fire resistance.