Types of Roofing and Choosing the Right Roofing for your Home

The roof is one of the main aesthetics on the outside of your home. Besides the aesthetic appeal, roofs come with other perks such as protection from weather conditions and energy efficiency. A poorly insulated roof with low efficiency can let in too much heat in the summer, and let out too much warmth in the winter, driving up your cooling and heating costs. In order to save money, you want an energy efficient roof that can also withstand the elements, helping your roof have a longer lifespan.

When choosing the material for your new roof, there are many options to choose from and you want to make sure you’re making the right choice for your wallet, your home, and personal taste. There are four main types of roofing materials to choose from Asphalt, metal, clay/concrete tile, and wood. We’ll go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type so you can make the right choice for your home.


This is the most common type of residential roofing material. Considered one of the least expensive roofing materials and comes in many colors. It generally works on all types of house styles but can be found mostly in traditional suburban-style homes.

One of the disadvantages of asphalt shingles is that they don’t provide the same insulation for your home that other materials offer. They also tend to have a shorter lifespan than others. With proper maintenance, your asphalt shingles can last about 20 years[1], give or take a few years depending on the quality of the material. With changes in the roofing industry, some companies like the GAF roofing systems, are providing better quality shingles that have a long lifespan and provide energy efficiency.


Metal roofing is relatively expensive but durable, usually lasts longer than asphalt. It is weather resistant, lightweight, recyclable and adds a sleek look to your home. Metal roofing comes in two

forms, either panels or shingles. If purchasing a metal roof you have the choice between aluminum, copper, stainless steel and zinc.

Metal roofing offers some energy efficiency by reflecting sun rays instead of absorbing them, allowing your home to stay decently cool in the summer. The only downside to metal roofing is that it can be very expensive, noisy during rainstorms, and color options are limited. However, metal roofs can last up to 40-70 years[2] with proper maintenance and good quality material.

Bungalows, cabins, contemporary and cottage style homes usually use metal roofs.


The most popular roofing choice for homeowners for hundreds of years[3], in many places around the world, is wood. They come in two forms, wood shakes and wood shingles. They offer a rustic look to your home and are usually made from either cedar, redwood or southern pine. Wooden roofs work well with bungalow, Cape Cod, cottage and Tudor style homes. Wood roofs with proper maintenance and good quality wood can last up to 25 years[4].

If you live in fire-prone areas or in a wet climate, a wooden roof may not be for you. You will want to check the fire code requirements where you live, some areas prohibit the use of wood roofing. If you live in a wet climate, they can mold, rot and split, and shorten the lifespan of the roof.

Clay/concrete tile

This type of roofing adds a level of elegance and texture that you wouldn’t get from the other kind of materials. Clay and concrete roofing tiles are known for their energy efficiency and longevity[5]. They are also weather resistant, lasting through hail, snow, rain and even fire resistant. They are usable in both warm and cold climates. Clay is also eco-friendly because it’s made from natural elements and is recyclable.

The downside of having clay or concrete tiles is that they are very heavy. They require additional framing and roof reinforcement to support the extra weight.

Clay and concrete roofing tiles are used on Mediterranean, Southwestern and Spanish style homes. They can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.

Always do your research and consult a contractor when getting your roof replaced.

Learn more about our GAF Roofing System and get a free estimate on your new roof.


1 https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/smart-ideas/wondering-about-metal-roofs-here-are-the-pros-and-cons

2 http://www.mcgarryandmadsen.com/inspection/Blog/Entries/2013/1/21_Whats_the_average_lifespan_of_a_roof.html

3 http://timber-trusses.com/history-of-wood-roof-trusses.html

4 http://www.cedarbureau.org/frequently-asked-questions/product/longevity.asp

5 http://tileroofing.org/why-tile/tiles-energy-efficiency/