10 Popular Roofing Materials & Styles

As with most of the rough and tumble characteristics of a home, roofing is one of the less glamorous aspects. Of course, as the first line of defense against the elements, you naturally want your roof to be rugged and durable. But what about aesthetics? No one wants an ugly home, after all!

There are a ton of different roofing materials to choose from, all in various colors and styles to suit the environment you live in or your personal tastes. Some are more expensive, while others are cost-efficient. There are plenty of tools out there that you can utilize to calculate the cost of your dream roof, but where do you look first?

Let’s dive into some of the different materials, styles, and price points.

Blowing the Top Off of Roofing Materials & Styles

Most people have heard of a few basic roofing materials, namely asphalt, metal, and perhaps clay. However, a few more nuanced styles borne of these materials or other types of roofing could benefit homes in different climates or those with a heftier budget. Whether shingles, tiles, or shakes, we’ll start with the basics and work our way down from there.

1. Asphalt Composite Shingles

This is by and far the most common type of roofing material used by roofing companies, contractors, and independent or DIY roofers everywhere. It’s affordable, versatile, decently durable, and suitable for almost every climate. In addition, they usually come with a multi-decade warranty, and repairs are relatively cheap.

Asphalt shingles are composed of a fiberglass base beneath a topping of asphalt and mineral grains. They’re flexible and easily customizable for those awkward areas around a chimney or corner spots and are great at adapting to a roof’s movements. These types of shingles last anywhere from 12 to 30 years.

2. Rolled Roofing

This one comes next because rolled roofing is composed of mineral and asphalt-impregnated materials, topped with granules similar to that of asphalt shingles. Rolled roofing is less common for residential homes and more frequently used for sheds, workshops, or other sloped-roof out-buildings. 

They’re large strips of material rolled quickly and efficiently, held in place either by torching it down or with roofing nails. This method is cheap, as long as you don’t care about it looking pretty. It can last for around a decade before it needs replacing.

3. Stone-Coated Metal Shingles

This roofing style is composed of stamped steel or aluminum, usually with a baked-on coating or quality mineral granules. They’re great in that they can be created to mimic traditional asphalt shingles, wooden shakes, or even slate or clay tiles. 

They’re durable, though expensive, costing about five times as much as asphalt shingles. However, the cost generally pays off in that they can last 30 to 50 years. They won’t curl or crack, and their heavy disposition is fantastic for windy or heavy weather.

4. Standing Seam Metal Roof

More popular than metal shingles is the metal standing seam style of roofing. It’s more common, costs slightly less than metal shingles, and can last the same long-lived 30 to 50 years. Its name ‘standing seam’ stems from its steel or aluminum panels interlocking at raised seams to keep out moisture.

This roofing style is advantageous in areas with high threats of wildfires or heavy snowfall, as the durability of metal against elements is second to none. What’s more, metal roofing is recyclable once its usefulness as your roof wears out.

5. Wood Shingles or Shakes

Wooden roofs are beautiful, though costly and limiting. If you live someplace dry, wooden shakes or shingles can last upwards of 60 years. Alternatively, in areas with a lot of moisture, wooden roofs get around 20 to 30 years of life. 

Most wooden shingles or shakes are comprised of natural wood, frequently cedar or redwood. They can be stained in any manner of colors and are beautiful to look at, but maintenance may be more involved than a typical homeowner is prepared for.

6. Clay Tile

Not to be confused with their uncommon ceramic counterparts, Clay tiles are earthen tiles formed into interlocking shapes that are fired in an oven or kiln for hardening. Usually unglazed, they can bear a semi-reddish-brown hue, though a roofer can easily change this with color glazes.

Popular in more desert or southern coastal regions that have salty air, clay tiles are an expensive roofing material. However, they make up for this cost by lasting decade after decade, even upwards of a century, when cared for properly.

7. Concrete Tile

Concrete tiles are created with the usual sand mix of typical concrete, formed into shapes, and colored in any manner of ways. They can be fashioned to mimic anything from wood to clay to marble when decoratively coated.

Concrete tiles are similar to clay tiles in their installation process but cost slightly less and last half as long. It’s typically a choice for windy areas, as concrete tiling is extremely heavy as well as durable.

8. Synthetic Slate

Synthetic slate, also known as rubber slate, is a polymer composite that is a decent alternative to slate shingles. This lightweight and durable material is engineered to resemble slate but costs a fraction of the real thing and doesn’t last quite as long. This material typically comes with a warranty of about 50 years.

9. Slate Shingles

Considered one of the most beautiful and durable materials for a roof, this is for the homeowner who wants–and can afford–only the best for their roof. Authentic slate is thin stone sheets, but installation is complex, and not every roofer can perform it. 

Slate shingles can last upwards of 200 years when cared for properly, but it also is highly expensive. If stepped on often or installed someplace where heavy hail is a regular occurrence, cracking could be an issue. It is otherwise resistant to every other abuse from the elements, thus its long lifespan.

10. Green Options

This can range from a garden on your roof comprised of grass and stones to full-blown solar shingles. This may take a specialized roofer to install, but many of them last decades with the proper care and can help your home be more environmentally friendly.

Thoughts About roofing Materials

We hope this helpful blog gave you some inspiration if you’re considering a less common option for roofing materials besides asphalt shingles. At Arrow Roofing, we know that informed homeowners make the best decisions for their homes. So while roofing may not be glamorous, it doesn’t have to be dull! Customizing your home in big or small ways can go a long way for your comfort and happiness.
To learn more about Arrow Roofing and what we do, feel free to reach out! Explore our website to see our portfolio or if you’re looking for roof maintenance.