The Top Roofing Materials for Your Upcoming Roof Replacement

January 21, 2022

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Not all roofing materials are alike! If you’re scheduling a full-scale roof replacement or new construction, it’s vital you consider your roofing material choices. A roof should stay durable for years while enhancing a property’s appearance and curb appeal.

Top roofing material choices including:

  • Standard asphalt shingles
  • Clay tile
  • Metal tile or panels
  • Slate
  • Wood
  • Concrete tiles
  • Synthetic or rubber tiles

A roof installation contractor near you can offer great information about roofing material options for your home. Additionally, you might check with neighbors, friends, and coworkers for recommendations! Anyone who has had a new roof installed can typically share the pros and cons of their chosen material.

In the meantime, you might also note some added details about popular roofing materials. Weigh this information against your budget, insulation needs, and how long you’re planning on staying in your home. You can then choose the right material for your property.

What Are Some Common Roofing Materials?

Check out more information about today’s roofing materials, including a few tips on what to look for in each. As always, check with your roofing contractor before making your decision. Their expertise helps ensure you’ll be happy with your new roof for years to come.

popular roofing materials

Standard asphalt shingles

The most popular roofing option in North America, asphalt shingles are durable and work with a wide variety of home styles. Three-tab shingles have an indentation across the front, mimicking the appearance of three separate shingles. Architectural shingles are flat, offering a cleaner, less cluttered look.

Most shingles offer a 20-30 year lifespan, and many roofers are familiar with their installation and replacement. Homeowners also can typically replace some missing shingles on their own, reducing roofing costs over the years. Asphalt shingles are also affordable, averaging $1.50 to $4.50 per foot installed.

The downside to shingles is that they typically offer the lowest lifespan of any roofing option. It’s also easy to lose individual shingles in a windstorm. However, their lower cost makes them an excellent investment for anyone on a budget. You might also opt for a new shingle roof before putting a home on the market, to increase salability.

Clay tile

Clay tile offers a stunning appearance, especially appreciated for Mediterranean style homes. Terra cotta or clay is also very durable against water and harsh sunlight. This is why you might see lots of clay roofs in Florida, California, Arizona, and other sunny states!

One downside of clay roofing is its price, averaging $10 to $18 per square foot installed. Additionally, not every roofer offers clay tile installation and repairs. However, clay can last for decades if not even a century or more.


Metal is a favorite residential roofing option as it’s durable and lasts for decades if not even centuries! The material is also lightweight, allowing you to add a new roofing layer over existing shingles when possible. For eco-conscious property owners, metal is also easy to recycle.

Standing seam metal roofs are an excellent choice for areas with heavy snowfall. A standing seam means that panels interlock, for added protection against water leaks. These raised seams also encourage water and snow runoff, alleviating weight on the roof.

Metal shingles offer the durability of metal with the look of asphalt, slate, and other materials. Also, not all roofers offer standing seam metal roof installation. However, many can install metal shingles, as these are attached much like asphalt shingles.

While metal roofing offers many advantages over other materials, it is somewhat costly. Expect to pay from $6 to $12 installed.

Slate tiles

Slate tiles offer a stunning, old-world look. No two slate tiles look exactly alike, so a slate roof means lots of visual interest for your property. Heavy slate is also not likely to blow away in a rainstorm or high winds.

Slate installation is not a common skill among roofers, however. You might struggle to find a local contractor who offers slate roofing construction and repairs. You can also expect to pay between $9 and $12 per square foot, installed.

If you do opt for a slate roof, note that it might be the last roof you ever own! As a natural stone, slate can last 75 to 100 years or more before needing repairs or replacement.

cedar shake roofing shingles


As with slate, wood shingles and shakes offer a stunning natural aesthetic many homeowners love. The downside of wood is that it’s not very fire or moisture resistant. In some areas, a wood roof might last only 20 to 30 years! Wood roofs might cost anywhere from $4.50 to $14 per square foot, installed.

Concrete tiles

Concrete tiles might seem dull and industrial, but this is far from the truth! One advantage of concrete is that it’s easy to shape and then stain. In turn, concrete roof tiles might resemble clay, slate, and other such materials.

Also, concrete is fire-resistant, an excellent consideration for areas prone to brushfires. The heavier material also means less risk of losing concrete tiles in heavy storms or high winds. While concrete might cost about $10 to $15 installed, it also lasts for 50 years or longer.

Synthetic or rubber tiles

Typically made from recycled materials, synthetic or rubber tiles offer an excellent alternative to slate or clay. Additionally, synthetic or rubber tiles are lightweight, allowing you to install them over existing shingles where allowed. Synthetic tiles are also quite affordable, typically ranging between $3 and $6 per square foot, installed. They can also last up to 50 years or more!

What Is the Most Durable Roofing Material?

When choosing a roofing material, don’t choose by price alone! Remember that investing in a higher-quality roof can mean fewer repairs over the years. You’ll also need to replace a quality roof less often than less durable materials.

Slate, clay tile, and metal are considered extremely durable. Heavy slate is also less likely to blow away in a storm or high winds. Metal, clay, and slate are also fire resistant and not likely to combust when struck by lightning. If your property is in a high risk area, consider investing in one of these materials for your roof.

The Least Expensive Roofing Material

While it’s recommended that a property owner invest in a high-quality roofing material, not everyone’s budget allows it! If metal or slate are out of your price point, you still have some affordable, durable options.

Asphalt shingles are typically the least expensive roofing material. They’re also easy to install, keeping labor costs low. Some homeowners might even replace a few missing shingles themselves, saving on repair costs.

Additionally, a high-quality shingle roof might last 25 to 30 years or more. Stretching your roofing budget to invest in the best quality you can afford means a durable roof overhead for decades. Depending on how long you expect to stay in your home, it might be the last roof you ever purchase!

roofing contractor installing asphalt shingles

Which Type of Roofing Is Best?

Wondering which type of roofing is best is like asking which car model is best! Just like a vehicle, the best roof for your property should fit your needs and budget.

A roof installation contractor can offer pointed suggestions when it comes to the pros and cons of various materials. In the meantime, note some considerations about your roofing options:

  • If you might sell your property in a few years, consider durable but inexpensive roofing. This includes starter homes that you might sell after the kids come along. Homeowners who might downsize to a retirement home soon should also consider an inexpensive option.
  • On the other hand, invest in a long-lasting roof if you want to stay in your home for years or even decades! A metal roof lasting 50 years, for example, might be the last roof you ever purchase.
  • Always consider area weather conditions when choosing roofing materials. Heavy snow slides off a metal roof easily. Clay is also extra watertight in rainy weather. Metal, clay, and slate also resists combustion, such as from a lightning strike.
  • While you might not think much of a roof’s appearance, you do want to invest in a stylish option! It’s especially vital to choose a roof that coordinates with your home’s appearance and architectural style. For instance, clay tile might seem out of place on a modern home, but coordinates well with Mediterranean styles.
  • Many homeowners today are trying to make eco-friendly choices for their property. While asphalt shingles are recyclable, this process does produce fumes and emissions. Metal and concrete, however, are very easy to recycle.
  • Always consider repair costs when choosing roofing materials! While slate is very durable, for example, not all contractors offer slate roof repairs. In turn, you might pay extra for a qualified contractor.

The Best Roofing Materials For a Hot Climate

If you live in a hot climate, it’s vital you choose the right roof for your property! A roof that lets heat and humidity escape can mean lower cooling costs. This also means less risk of mold and mildew along walls and under carpeting.

  • Rounded clay tiles are excellent for hot climates. Curved tiles create air pockets that help keep heat out of interior spaces. Clay is also naturally tough and durable under hot sunlight.
  • Standing seam metal roofs also create an air pocket that provides added insulation against outside heat. Choosing a lighter color metal also helps deflect heat and keep your structure cool.
  • Concrete also deflects heat naturally, for a cooler interior space.
  • Thick concrete and slate tiles as well as metal roofing also offer excellent insulation for your property. In turn, you won’t lose as much cooling through the roof. This means a more comfortable environment and lower utility costs!

Whatever your chosen roofing material, ensure you opt for a light color. Lighter colors deflect heat and keep a roof cool. Slate gray or brick red asphalt shingles are better than black or even dark brown, for example.

new tile roof replacement

What is the Lightest Roofing Material?

Lightweight roofing tiles are an excellent choice for older homes with compromised framing. Additionally, you’ll need a lighter material when adding a new roofing layer over existing shingles or tiles.

Wood shakes and shingles are typically very lightweight. Metal panels are also lightweight and fit over existing roofs easily. Metal also has some “give” that allows it to bend slightly. This also makes it an excellent choice for adding over existing materials.

On the other hand, slate and concrete are typically considered the heaviest roofing material available. Asphalt shingles and clay tile are also heavier than metal and wood. Also, ensure that roof layering is allowed in your area, according to local codes. Most cities or counties dictate how many added layers you’re allowed on a structure, if any!

Do Brand Name Roofing Materials Make a Difference?

When shopping various roofing options, you might wonder if you should invest in name brand materials. Typically nationally known brands are more expensive, but does this make them better? Consider a few tips to keep in mind.

One is that not all materials or brands offer the same warranty or guarantee! Two, never assume that an off-brand product is just as good as roofing materials with a better guarantee. Three, consider if you can find replacement materials easily. Off-brand products might not be available in a few years, when you need to replace some shingles or tiles.

In many cases, a reputable roofing product has earned that reputation over the years. Manufacturers stand behind their product with a longer warranty because they know they’ll last that long! Low-quality products might fall apart sooner rather than later, necessitating added repairs over the course of home ownership.

The Allentown Roofers is happy to provide this information about roofing materials to our readers. Hopefully it’s helped you decide the best option for your property! If you’re in the market for expert fixes, call our Allentown roof repair contractors today. We offer FREE inspections and price quotes. So, what are you waiting for? That roof won’t repair itself! Call us today to get started.


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