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Buying Guide

Types of Roofing

Things to Consider
Man shops for roofing supplies.

There are a lot of choices to make when deciding between roof tile types and roofing styles. Will standard asphalt roof shingles get the job done, or do you prefer architectural shingles? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision. 

  • Color: Is the material you choose available in a variety of colors that match your home’s style? Depending on the types of roofing you prefer, your color options may be limited. 
  • Weight: Roof material types vary greatly in terms of weight and some choices require more support or special framing. For example, 3-tab shingles will weigh less than architectural shingles while tile roofs and metal roofing will put more weight on your home’s structure.  
  • Cost: Different types of roofing vary in cost and life span, so always keep your budget in mind. Take the life span of the material into account when determining cost as well. 
  • Climate: Roof tile types vary in terms of what kind of weather conditions they can withstand. Consider where you live when shopping for your new roof. 
  • Safety: Always make sure you have purchased proper roofing supplies and have assistance. For difficult roofing tasks, consider hiring a professional. 
Asphalt Shingles
A close-up shot of asphalt shingles.

One of the most common roofing materials, asphalt shingles are often chosen because they are cost-effective and work in nearly all climates. 

  • Made of fiberglass, asphalt and minerals. 
  • Low cost.
  • Wide variety of roof shingle colors available. 
  • May need to be updated every 20 years or so depending on sunlight and temperature conditions. 
  • Durable. 
  • Easy to install.
  • Will fade overtime. 

3-tab shingles vs. architectural shingles:

When shopping for asphalt shingles, you may need to decide between these two types of roof shingles. Let's take at look at the differences. 

  • 3-tab shingles: thinner, less expensive, made with cutouts that make it appear as though three shingles are installed. Durable enough to last about 30 years. 
  • Architectural shingles: Do not have cutouts and may contain extra asphalt. Waterproof but not recommended for flat roofs. 

Clay and Concrete Tile Roofing
Detail shot of clay tile roof.

Clay and concrete tile roofs are often chosen for their look and their durablity. 

  • Able to withstand extreme weather conditions. 
  • Great in dry climates. 
  • Heavier so they may require more support or framing. Recommended that these type of tiles are installed by a professional. 
  • Add texture and curb appeal to roof. 
  • Concrete will be less expensive than clay. 
  • Work well on Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes. 
  • Durable and can last up to 50 years.
Slate Roofing
A slate roof with a sky light.
  • Slate or ceramic shingle styles are available in a variety of colors. 
  • Offers a sophisticated look that works well with French and Colonial-style homes.
  • Durable and fire-resistant, recyclable.
  • More expensive of the roofing styles.
  • Requires extra framing and professional installation. 
  • Can be easily broken if stood on.
  • Can’t withstand all climates and are prone to erosion.
Metal Roofing
A detailed shot of a metal roof.
  • Metal roofing is low-maintenance, environmentally friendly and lightweight. 
  • Affordable. 
  • Durable, lasting up to 50 years. 
  • May require professional installation. 
  • Looks great on cabins, bungalow and cottage-style homes  
  • Available in shingles or roof panels.
  • Choices include zinc, aluminum, copper and steel. 
  • Can be manufactured to look like wood, slate or asphalt shingles. 
Wood Roofing
A close-up shot of a a wood roof.
  • One of the most expensive types of roofing. 
  • Works best in dry climates that don’t see much moisture or fires.
  • Offers great curb appeal and works well on cottage, Craftsman and Tudor-style homes.
  • Typically made from redwood, southern pine and cedar. 
  • Choose from wood shingles (thin, precisely cut slabs of wood) and shakes (thicker with rougher edges). 
  • May last up to 50 years in dryer climates; 20 years in wet climates.