Roofing Guide: Choosing The Right Material For Your Roof

As far as home improvement goes, roofing is perhaps one of the most important projects. Whether you’re putting a new roof on a brand new home or replacing your existing roofing, you’ll definitely want to do your homework when selecting a material for your roof.

This guide is designed as a ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts to help you quickly understand the basics about some of the more common roofing materials. Moving forward, you can then more readily make comparisons based on what’s available, relative costs and the best choices for your particular home.

Asphalt Shingles

The asphalt shingle is easily the most popular roofing material by a wide margin. Because of its long tested value as a durable yet budget-friendly material, it’s the most common choice for roofs. Furthermore, asphalt shingles are applicable on just about any home. They’re lightweight, easy to install and equally easy to repair, patch, or replace.

Laminated Shingles

Originally considered a more ‘high-end’ material for roofing, Laminated Shingles are now gaining in popularity alongside Asphalt Shingles thanks to falling prices for the material. This type of shingle offers additional benefits, both cosmetic and functional, over asphalt shingles. Laminated shingles usually have a more appealing appearance, they are usually a lighter color (which helps reflect sun and improve energy efficiency) and they’re more durable. They are more resistant to fire, weather and algae.

Composite / Fake Slate

Composite material shingles, also commonly referred to as ‘fake slate’ tile, is a step up from the usual budget-friendly roofing mentioned previously. It is designed to mimic traditional Slate Tile shingles, which are made of stone. Normal slate tiles are heavy and very expensive. Fake slate tiles offer some of the durability and aesthetic appeal of regular slate. They aren’t quite as costly as real slate, but still pricier than other options.


Concrete Slate tile roofing is one of the more expensive options, but the advantages it offers may prove worthwhile if it fits within your budget. The material itself is quite pricey, but it also carries an additional cost: You may need to pay for additional structural integrity on your home to support the heavy weight of the slate. Still, slate tiles can last up to 3-4 times longer than other materials; they are incredibly durable and resistant to just about every hazard that could befall your home. They also offer energy efficiency benefits both in the summer and winter. As an added bonus, they look sleek and stylish, offering superb curb appeal on just about any home.


As a roofing material, metal is perhaps one of the most versatile and variable applications available. There are a wide variety of sub-types in the metal roofing category. Metal roofs are traditionally less common for the typical suburban home, but have recently begun to pop up in more and more neighborhoods. Metal roofs are often more advantageous in warmer climates as they do an excellent job of reflecting sunlight and keeping heat out. Metal roofing is also incredibly light-weight and easy to install. Also, metal roofing is almost entirely fireproof, making it a good option to consider.


Clay Tile roofing is one of the more unique materials, yet still popular for many reasons. This material might also be something you rule out based on style appearance first. It may not offer the aesthetic appeal you’d prefer, so it may prove worthwhile to consider other options before Clay Tile. If, however, you think this style would fit your home well, it has plenty of other functional advantages. It is incredibly durable, resistant to fire, insect damage and severe weather. However, much like slate tile, it is quite heavy and costly both in terms of base material and installation. It may also very well require additional structural improvements due to the weight. Clay Tile does, however, offer more value in the long run.

Heath Hicks is an professional roofing contractor and home improvement blogger for AVCO Roofing

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