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The 5 Main Types of Residential Roofing Materials

Jul 3

Spelled out in this article are five main types of residential roofing materials: asphalt shingles, metal roofing, cedar shake shingles, clay tiles, and slate.

While each type is suitable for different purposes, they are generally considered low-maintenance and eco-friendly. They each provide different drawbacks and advantages. Read on to learn more about them and their costs to install.

Asphalt shingles

There are several different kinds of residential roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular, but they have varying qualities.

For example, they may not withstand severe hailstorms or fire, but they can withstand wind damage. Some types of asphalt shingles are more durable than others, and they can last for up to 30 years. To determine whether asphalt shingles are the best option for your home, you may do additional online research or contact a reputable local roofer.

Asphalt shingles come in several different styles and colors. They are often inexpensive and waterproof. They are a common choice for most homes in North America.

While there are other types of shingles, asphalt shingles are the most affordable and durable. Depending on your budget, you can choose from asphalt shingles that mimic wood shake, slate, clay, and more. In addition to being durable, asphalt shingles are also easy to maintain. Among all the different types of residential roofing materials, asphalt shingles are the most popular choice among homeowners.

Another type of residential roofing material is rolled roofing material. These are often used for low-slope residential roofs, as they are easy to install and are fast and convenient. Asphalt shingles are usually applied with torch-down or by roofing nails. The process of installing a rolled roofing material is fast and easy for professional roofers.

Metal roofing

One of the most popular kinds of metal roofing is standing seam, which is composed of raised panels of steel or aluminum that interlock to prevent water from penetrating the roof. Metal roofs are becoming more popular with homeowners in colder climates and in areas with heavy snowfall. The main benefits of metal roofs include their fireproof nature, durability and the fact that they are recyclable. Installing this type of roof requires special skills of a skilled roofing contractor.

A metal roof can be made of a variety of materials, from classic copper to innovative steel. Each material has pros and cons, but each has its own set of advantages. If you're interested in metal roofing for your home, it is important to understand the different types available. 

Steel is the most affordable type of metal. This metal is easy to find, highly recyclable, and durable. It can handle many weather conditions, including high winds and hail, and is a popular choice in many mountain regions. It also has a high durability advantage. These metal sheets can last for up to 50 years.

Compared to asphalt or shingle roofs, metal roofs are the longest-lasting of the five. Another plus is that metal reflects sunlight, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer during the winter. However, metal roofs are often more expensive than asphalt shingles.

Cedar shake shingles

The benefits of a cedar shake roof are many. Despite its natural sturdiness, cedar shakes are ideal for hot, sunny climates. They are naturally insulating and can reduce energy costs. Cedar shingles are also resistant to UV rays. Some manufacturers of cedar shingles even apply a fire-resistance coating to the shingles.

Cedar shakes are thicker than shingles. They come in a variety of thicknesses, from 1/2'' to 5/8'' thick. For a larger roof, choose a shake with a thicker profile.

Cedar shake shingles offer a rugged, old-fashioned look that is more desirable than asphalt shingles. Cedar shakes are also environmentally friendly, with a low carbon footprint, and a limitless design potential.

There are two types of cedar shake shingles: flat grain and edge grain. Edge grain is generally visible on the exposed part of the shakes, while flat grain is not visible. The top-quality Number 1 Grade shakes have a flat-grain surface, while those below that have more visible defects are flat-grain. While the edges of the shakes are exposed, the exposed part is generally more likely to show defects, so if the grain is uneven or visible, the shakes are less durable.

Cedar shake shingles are made of cedar wood, which differs from asphalt. The cedar wood used for cedar shake shingles is made from different parts of the tree, and is the most affordable type.

Clay tiles

If you have a residential roof with clay tiles, you may wonder if it's worth restoring. These tiles typically outlast their fastening systems, so it's important to know what to do when they begin to show signs of wear. While they may be easy to pull off, copper nails can easily become loose, pulling the roof down with them. If your roof is already old, you may need to replace the tiles and reinstall new fastenings.

A common concern with clay tiles is their weight. Depending on the size of the tiles, a roof made of clay tiles can weigh as much as 35,600 pounds. This is significant, so you need a roof that can support the weight. If you currently have asphalt shingles on your roof, you might have to reconfigure it to accommodate the weight of the clay tiles. This is why a professional is highly recommended when installing a clay roof.

Flat shingle tiles are the most common type of clay roofing tile. These tiles are most often flat and rectangular in shape. They can interlock or stand alone. In addition, they can be interlocking, or overlapping. French and Roman tiles have slightly higher profiles than their English counterparts. 

Depending on your local climate, the thickness of your roof will affect how clay tiles are installed. In some areas where there is a significant snowfall, you may need larger battens or more clipping and tying than usual. Furthermore, clay tiles can be difficult to repair. It may take several attempts and a thorough investigation of the attic to pinpoint the source of the leak. In other areas, water may travel down a roof member before it shows up. A stained plaster surface, rotten wooden structural members, and water staining may be signs that your roof is leaking.


When it comes to residential roofing materials, slate is a great choice for many homeowners. The color and texture of slate is unmatched by any other material, and this material is highly resistant to fire and excess moisture. It can last for more than three times as long as asphalt shingles, and is also environmentally friendly. Another advantage of slate is that it helps regulate the temperature of a home.

The disadvantages of slate are that it's very heavy and requires professional installation. Another downside of slate is that you need a roofing specialist to install it. The weight of slate can be up to four times as heavy as asphalt shingles. Slate is also very brittle, so be careful with heavy objects on it.

Another drawback to slate is the lack of warranties. Because slate is a natural material, manufacturers don't provide warranties for the materials. Homeowners rely on the workmanship of the roofing contractor to ensure their roofs will last for decades.

Slate is also known for being a good electrical insulator and fireproof. In fact, the stone's fire-resistant properties were used in the construction of early twentieth-century electric switchboards, relay controls for large electric motors. It has even been used for billiard tables and laboratory bench tops.

Hopefully this article helped you gain a better uderstanding of roof materials that can be used to protect your home. It is advisable to contact a roofing contractor for more in depth information.