6 Common Roofing Materials

Roof installation.

A roof is arguably one of the most important aspects of your home, and that means it has to be built and repaired with care. It should also always be constructed out of quality materials to ensure longevity and reliability. Roofs stand up to quite a bit of wear and tear over the course of their lifetime, so what they’re constructed with is endlessly important. Below, learn about all the best roofing material options so that you’ll be better informed on how to keep your own roof in tip-top condition at all times.

1. Composite Shingle Roofing

This is a commonly used roofing material, and it’s one you’ve undoubtedly seen many times. Composite shingle roofing refers to when a mix of materials are used to create one cohesive roof. This could include asbestos shingles, tar paper roofing, slate, laminate, wood, and so on. These ingredients are mixed together to create roofing shingles that are strong enough to stand the test of time.

This type of roofing material typically lasts between 15 and 50 years, which is quite a range. 15 years falls on the lower end of the life expectancy spectrum as far as roofing materials are concerned. However, this product is inexpensive to purchase and install. This material should never be power washed and moss should be removed from composite shingle roofing when it is first detected to lengthen the life of this material.

2. Wood Shingle Roofing

This is another shingle roofing material, however, it has a significantly higher lifespan, expected to last around 25 years after its original installation. Wood, being an organic material, is prone to weathering and decaying, however. Wood shingles are sawn from a log, so they are designed to be thin and flat. To prolong the life of these shingles, owners should promptly replace those that are split and cracked and should always work to control moss growth.

3. Metal Roofing

A white metal roof.

While metal roofing is certainly not the most popular option, it has been used more in the U.S. in recent years. Although fancy copper roofs are desirable for their aesthetic, they are an extremely pricey option. Instead, galvanized sheets are more economical, and they have great longevity, too. This roofing material can be labor-intensive to install, but it's worth it to be enjoyed for an astounding 50 to 75 years.

4. Slate Roofing

This roofing material is nearly impossible to install on your own if you’re not a professional, so be warned on that front when it comes to slate. Slate is also difficult to obtain replacements for and it's notoriously slippery to walk on, should you need to climb on the roof for some reason. If you’re looking for the aesthetic or impressive durability that slate provides, it’s recommended that you instead opt for composition slate or rubber slate as a more safe and obtainable material.

5. Asphalt Roll Roof

Consider this a warning against using an asphalt roll roof to top off your home. This material is good for smaller DIY projects, like roofing a shed, but it has a very short lifespan of only five to ten years, making it unfit for a home. If you do choose to use it for a shed, increase its lifespan by ensuring it's clear of debris at all times.

6. Ceramic “Spanish-Style” Roofing

A red tile roof against a blue cloudy sky.

Especially popular in warmer locations such as California and Florida, this Spanish-style red roof tile is very popular historically. It's desirable not only for its fire-resistant properties but also for its lightweight properties. This roofing material has impressive longevity, lasting up to 100 years. To take good care of this type of roof, avoid walking on it as much as possible and buff efflorescence off with a clean, dry towel. Coat your roof with a clear alkyd primer and always promptly replace cracked and broken tiles.

Deciding on an appropriate roof material is a big decision as you want it to be a fit economically and to ensure that your roof is built to last! Use this as a guide to figuring out what will work best for your home to put yourself on the path to never worrying about the stability of longevity of your roof again.