Roofing Materials 101

When you are choosing a roofing material, there are many factors that should be considered. Here are four critical considerations:


1.) Installation

How difficult is the installation? Does it require specialized knowledge or take longer than average? Labor costs increase with installation difficulty.


2.) Style

Does the material come in colors that will compliment your home? Are there different sizes or shapes available? Will the color fade or change over time? Curb appeal is an important aspect of any exterior home project.


3.) Performance

Does the material meet the fire codes or standards in your area? Will it withstand weather conditions? What is the material’s longevity? Different roof options have different performance features.


4.) Cost

How much does the material cost? What will the cost of labor be? Will the material save on energy costs? Sometimes higher short-term costs can have worthwhile long-term savings. Some roofers offer financing to customers to help with budgeting.

With these considerations in mind, here are four roofing material options. Each has its own appealing characteristics as well as having disadvantages.


Asphalt Shingles

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1.) Installation: Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material. They are easy to install and widely available. Common brands of asphalt shingles include Owens Corning, GAF, and CertainTeed. Each of these companies has certified installers of their products, who you can locate via search on their websites.


2.) Style: Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colors and styles. 3-tab asphalt shingles were the most popular style for some time, but there has recently been increased use of dimensional shingles, which have a more appealing, high-contrast look.


3.) Performance: Asphalt shingles have been modified over the years to exhibit excellent weather resistance. Most can withstand winds up to 100MPH, and certain products can hold up against winds as high as 130MPH. Additionally, the composition of asphalt shingles has been improved to withstand ice, water, and extreme heat. These shingled roofs typically have a lifespan of 20-25 years.

4.) Cost: One of the most appealing aspects of asphalt shingles is the price. This is the most affordable roofing option due to its popularity and ease of install. Some asphalt roofing systems offer the added bonus of energy efficiency, providing homeowners with long-term savings on energy bills.

Wood Shingles & Shake

1.) Installation: The installation of wood shingles or shakes is slightly more difficult than asphalt shingles. The installer should understand the appropriate technique and also be aware of the material’s fire-rating to be sure the roof is up to code.


2.) Style: The difference between wood shingles and wood shakes is how they are cut. Wood shingles have a smooth, uniform appearance and wood shakes have a rough, split look. Wood shakes were the most common roofing material in colonial times and are still used relatively often today. Part of the appeal of wood shingles or shakes is that they are a green building option in a period of environmental consciousness. They also provide a natural, rustic look.


wood roofing, roof, shingles, shakes

3.) Performance: Wood roofing materials hold up well to most weather conditions, however, they can be prone to moisture retention which causes mold or rot. Because of this, wood shingles and shakes require regular maintenance. This type of roof is banned in some areas due to fire codes, although most wood roofing materials are treated to be fire resistant. Wood roofs have an average longevity of 25-30 years.

4.) Cost: Wood shingles and shakes are moderately expensive. They cost more than asphalt shingles but less than other roofing options such as metal or slate. In terms of efficiency, natural insulation provided by wood shingles can save homeowners money on energy bills.

Metal Roofing

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1.) Installation: Metal roofing requires more specialty knowledge than shingled roofing and takes more time, but the installation of metal roofs is not difficult when the installer understands what is required.

2.) Style: Metal roofing is becoming more popular in a residential setting. As such, more and more style choices are being developed. Metal roof materials come in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures that allow homeowners to customize the look of their home.


3.) Performance: Metal roofs are extremely weather-resistant and last between 40-75 years. They are waterproof, fireproof, and pest-proof. The durability and longevity of these roofing systems are one of the main contributing factors to the growing interest in metal roofing materials in the residential market.

4.) Cost: Metal roofing is a much more expensive choice than asphalt or wood roofs. Both material and labor are higher priced for this type of roof, but that may change as new technology develops and residential demand increases.

Slate Tiles


1.) Installation: Slate roofs are difficult to install and require specialty framing to support the extra weight. Slate materials cannot be installed on every roof due to the weight of slate tiles, so it is a limited option that requires a structural evaluation.

2.) Style: The most appealing characteristic of slate roof tiles is their elegant, eye-catching appearance. Slate tiles come in natural stone colors such as gray, green, and brown and are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures.


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3.) Performance: Slate tile is weather-resistant, durable, and fireproof, as well as environmentally friendly. Slate roofs last 50-100 years. Although they are superior to other roofing materials in overall performance, repairing cracked or damaged slate is difficult and replacement pieces will likely not match the original lot used on the roof.

4.) Cost: Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials and has the most labor-intensive installation. The appearance of a slate roof is very attractive, but the cost is excessive when compared with other options. Slate roofs are expensive to repair and may require additional structural support.

Choosing the right roofing material can save money, enhance curb appeal, and last for decades.


When you have done your research and chosen the appropriate material for your home, reach out to a certified roofing contractor such as Atex Builders LLC for professional service and outstanding results.

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