Guide for Choosing the Best Roofing Material for Your Home

Types of Residential Roofing Options Available in the Market Today

March 17, 2022 12 Read

The roof makes up the building envelope of a house. These materials are designed to protect your home against all sorts of harsh elements - be it rain, hail, heat, or cold. A good roof protects you and your family from the weather while keeping the inside of your home comfortable.

Types of Residential Roofing Options Available in the Market Today

There are many types of roofing available in the market today. However, most homes use only one type of material for their roofs, so pinning down best can be difficult. However, understanding basic materials for roofs will help homeowners choose which ones will suit their new roof. Here is a list of roofing materials you can install for your home.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are usually the cheapest roofing material to install. They come in various styles and colors that help homeowners express their own unique tastes for their exterior. Asphalt roofs are made from petroleum-based materials and come as strips of asphalt-impregnated paper. The asphalt roofs installed depend on your particular climate, as different types work better under certain conditions. However, all asphalt shingles require regular maintenance and replacement after about twenty years because their lifespans are very short compared to the newer roofing materials available today.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles: Low cost; wide variety of options; traditional asphalt shingles have a natural resiliency for fires (not as flammable) and are suitable for homes located in hot climates

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles: Less life span; petroleum products make it expensive to dispose of properly after use

Wood Shake, Wood Shingles, or Composite Shingles

Wood shakes, wood shingles, and composite materials are other traditional roofing materials that have been used for many years. These materials are preferred by homeowners who want to have the classic look of a wood roof for their homes. Wood was initially the primary choice until cheaper asphalt shingle roofs were developed. Wood shakes and wood shingles are natural products made from organic matter, which reduces hazardous waste entering landfills after use. However, these products have a short 25- to 30-year lifespan compared with other materials, which is why they have been largely replaced by composite shingles or modified bitumen roofs in modern construction projects.

Composite roofs blend organic matter with synthetic slate resins to give it a longer lifespan of up to 80 years and increase its overall cost and maintenance expenses. Another advantage of composite shingles is that you can easily find replacement shingles to match the existing shingles on your roof when you need to repair your roof.

Advantages of wood roofing: Natural appearance; low-cost roof choices if well-maintained

Disadvantages of wood roofing: Short lifespan; high maintenance costs for good quality material

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofs are made from heat-welded synthetic materials that are extremely durable to weather conditions. These types of roofs come in dark colors that can heat your home in the summer and help lower your cooling costs during the hotter months of the year. Modified bitumen roofs have a lifespan of around 50 to 100 years or so, which is why it is one of the best roofing materials you can find today. However, because of the higher initial costs in installing modified bitumen roofing, it is not a popular roofing material for homes. On the other hand, this roofing material is popular for commercial establishments.

Advantages of modified bitumen roofing: Very long life span; highly resilient to harsher conditions

Disadvantages of modified bitumen roofing: Initial cost is high compared to other materials; requires a professional roofing contractor to install

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles are also long-lasting roofing materials made from earth in their original form. While clay and concrete tiles appear similar, the main difference is that clay tiles are dried at lower temperatures while concrete tiles are dried at higher temperatures, making them more durable. These roofs have a life expectancy of over 50 years, so they are not commonly installed due to their high initial costs compared to other traditional roofing materials available today.

Advantages of clay roof tiles: A clay tile roof has a natural appearance; can be used for historical renovations

Disadvantages of clay roof tiles: High installation cost; short lifespan if poorly maintained

Slate Roofing

Slate roofs are thin, flat rocks originally made from naturally-occurring clay. Because of its natural composition and appearance, slate has been a popular roofing choice among homeowners for centuries, especially in countries where earthquakes are common occurrences. Natural slate is one of the most resilient materials you can get for your roof. The life expectancy for slate roofs is around 100 years, so it is typically installed on old-fashioned homes where historic look and feel are a priority. A natural slate roof is usually more expensive to install than other popular roofing materials because they require a lot of labor. You will need an expert who knows how to properly fit the slate pieces together if you want your home’s roof to last for many years without cracks or breaks in between individual pieces.

Advantages of slate roofing: Natural appearance; long lifespan

Disadvantages of slate roofing: High installation cost; requires professional installation

Metal Roof Materials

Although metal roofs are not as common as other roofing materials, they can make your home stand out. Metal roofing materials come in various colors and finish to give you a modern look you want for your home’s exterior appearance. Aluminum and steel roofing are two of the most common metals used for these types of roofs, but copper and zinc roofs also exist if you want a material that appears more like traditional shingles or tiles. Metal roofs can be installed as long panels covering portions of your roof, but they can be designed to have embedded metal shingles on them.

Metal roofs have insulated foam cores that trap heat inside the house during summertime. This metal roofing feature makes it one of the best options available today because it lowers cooling costs compared to those using traditional roofing materials on the market today. A metal roof has a high energy efficiency factor making it a worthwhile investment.

Advantages of metal roofing: Long life span because they are extremely durable; a metal roof has a modern appearance

Disadvantages of metal roofing: High installation cost; not as many styles or finishings as other roofing materials like shingles and tiles can offer

Rubber Slate Roofing

Rubber slate roofs are made to look exactly like a natural slate roof. The difference between rubber slates and traditional slates is that the former is recycled tire rubber instead of naturally-occurring clay. There isn’t a huge advantage in the lifespan of rubber slates compared to other materials. Still, because it’s 100% recycled, the materials to make it are substantially cheaper than regular slate. Although rubber slates can last for about 50 years or more, you will need to replace them once every 15 to 20 years, depending on the weather conditions where you live. Rubber slate roofing comes with the added benefit of having noise-reducing properties that keep outside sounds muffled.

Advantages of rubber slate roofing: Long life span; cheaper to install compared to other materials; added benefit of sound-reducing properties; a contemporary look that will complement your home’s architectural style

Disadvantages of rubber slate roofing: Not as long-lasting as natural clay tile or metal roofs (e.g., steel, aluminum)

Green Roofs or Living Roofs

Green roofs are also known as living roofs because they often have grasses, flowers, or other types of vegetation planted on top. They are usually installed more for ecological purposes rather than roofing itself. However, some homeowners consider green roofs an additional feature that can add aesthetic value or visual appeal to their home’s architectural style. Most importantly, a living roof is very eco-friendly since it helps filter the air while reducing stormwater runoff by absorbing them.

Advantages of green roofs: A living roof has a natural appearance; does not require constant maintenance work as regular gardens do

Disadvantages of green roofs: Initial cost is high compared to other materials; short lifespan if poor maintenance practices are implemented

Solar Tiles or Panels

Solar panels and tiles can also be categorized under the green roof. They can be installed on top of your regular roof, but these materials usually consist of design features that allow them to produce electricity through photovoltaic cells. Solar roofs typically have solar panels arranged in a certain pattern that maximizes exposure to sunlight during daytime hours for optimal energy generation. A solar roof can reduce monthly electric bills just like any other rooftop-mounted solar panel setup because they supply the power needed by appliances located inside your home or office building. As with ordinary living or green roofs, a solar-powered roof requires very minimal maintenance once they are installed because additional upkeep is not required as long as you follow standard installation guidelines and procedures recommended by the manufacturer.

Advantages of solar tiles: Can be installed as an additional feature if aesthetics is a concern; produces electricity without the need for separate rooftop solar panels

Disadvantages of solar tiles: Initial cost is high compared to other roofing materials; short lifespan if poor maintenance practices are implemented; requires professional installation by experts who know how to integrate solar cells into roof construction and design

Average Cost of Roofing Materials per Square Foot

The cost of each roofing option will differ depending on where you are located and their availability. However, each of the roofing options will have an average cost as follows:

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost

Asphalt shingles vary in price depending on the brand, how many square feet you need to cover, and where you buy them. They can have an average cost of around $1.50 per square foot for most brands.

Stone Roofing Cost

Natural stones are usually more expensive than other roofing materials because they vary in price based on the type of stone, size, and thickness. For instance, slate is one of the more expensive roofing materials because it is made of natural volcanic rock that must be quarried under hazardous conditions. A slate roof can cost $8 to $10 per square foot.

Metal Roofing Cost

Metal roofs are also relatively expensive compared to asphalt shingles because they are high-grade steel and other metals. They can cost anywhere from $3 to and above per square foot, depending on your chosen material.

Tile Roofing Cost

The cost of tile roofs usually depends on the size, thickness, and type of tiles used to build a roof. For instance, clay tiles are the cheapest option available. Most roofing companies will charge $8 to $10 per square foot to install tile roofing.

Green Roof Cost

The cost of a green roof can vary depending on the design and materials used for construction. However, most experts agree that the average price of a green roof is at least $6 per square foot.

Solar Tiles Cost

The cost of solar tiles or panels is around $7.50 to $8 per watt, which means it will cost you more than a typical tile roof. However, the price of tiles or panels varies depending on where you purchase them.

Choosing the Best Roofs for Your Home

Roofing can be expensive, especially if you hire a contractor to install them. Hence, you must know what options are available and what factors should play when making your decision. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a roofing material for your new home.


When choosing a roof, especially if you are on a budget, the first thing to consider is what material will give you the best value for your money. This means that the materials with the highest price per square foot of roofing are probably not going to be your best choice. For example, concrete tiles are priced higher per square foot than asphalt shingles but have an average life of only 20 to 40 years, whereas asphalt shingles have a roughly 60-year lifespan and produce less waste during installation. In this situation, you should choose the cheaper option.

Weather Condition

Asphalt shingles are a good choice for most climates that experience hot summers and cold winters because they can offer excellent insulation from heat and cold. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures, like the hot and dry desert or the frigid arctic tundra, other roofing materials may be a better choice because they offer more insulation from heat and cold.

Durability and Lifespan

When determining the best roofing material for your home, you may also want to consider how long and well a certain material will hold up in your climate. For example, metal roofs are extremely durable but are more expensive than other materials because they can last upwards of 50 years or more, depending on their thickness. Asphalt shingle roofs have an average lifespan of about 20 to 40 years but cost significantly less than metal roofs.

Architectural Design

Most people choose their roof based on color or “style” rather than design because this is usually the last step in home construction. However, knowing what style will fit best with your architectural design can be important when choosing your roofing material. For example, more modern styles are often better suited for more modern materials like metal roofs. A professional roofing company can help you choose the type of roof that will fit your needs and preference.

Energy Efficiency

This is another factor that should play into your decision depending on where you live. For example, if you live in an area with cold winters, it may be better to choose a material that will produce more insulation, like metal roofs. However, if you live in an area with scorching, dry climates and no air conditioning, asphalt shingles are usually a better choice because they are not as conducive to heat.


Another important factor to consider when choosing a roof is how much maintenance it will need over the years. Roofs that are more difficult to maintain, like metal roofs, require special skills and equipment during installation. This usually means higher labor costs for installation, which may not be worth the extra money you have to spend on upkeep.


Finally, it would help to consider your own personal preference when choosing a roofing material. For many people, the aesthetics of their home are just as important as any other factor, and they may choose to go with a metal or clay tile roof even if it is more expensive than an asphalt shingle.


There is no magic formula for choosing the best material for your home’s new roof or to replace an old roof completely. What’s best for you depends on your budget, location, and personal preference. If you want to maximize value for money, durability, and energy efficiency in the long term, asphalt shingles are usually the best choice. If you would rather spend more initially but less over time while maximizing insulation from heat or cold, other roofing materials such as metal roofs are a better choice. You may call a professional roofing company to help you decide which roofing material is best for your home.