Pros and Cons of 5 Different Roofing Types

by Greg on August 10, 2017

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Choosing the roofing type that best suits your home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your replacement project. After all, how well and how long your new system lasts will depend heavily on your choice. This can get a bit overwhelming, but not if you know the pros and cons of the different roofing options available today. Check them out and decide which one is worth your investment.


Solid protection at a reasonable price

1. Asphalt Shingles

Lightweight and cost-effective, asphalt shingles are the most common option for residential roofing across the country. They are made up of a base material, either a cellulose or fiberglass mat, which strengthens the shingles and makes them weather-resistant, a durable layer of asphalt, and a coat of mineral granules which offer superior resistance against impact damage and UV degradation.

Pros. Asphalt shingles are lightweight, which means they don’t require an additional support structure to hold them up. This makes them more cost-effective. Unlike heavier materials like slate and tile, they are easier and faster to install, saving you a bit of money from labor costs. Shingles come in a broad range of colors, textures, and thicknesses. Some can even mimic the look and feel of authentic slate and wood shakes. This is especially handy when you’re aiming to preserve your home’s historic look. In addition, some shingle options are treated with cooling technology, helping improve your home’s energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer.

Cons. With proper installation and maintenance by a reliable roofing contractor, shingles can generally last up to 30 years. However, unlike other materials with longer life spans, shingles may be also be subject to blow-offs, and may not provide the same level of natural insulation as other roof types. Quality can also vary, so when choosing shingles for your residential roof replacement, go for a brand that ensures top quality.

Asphalt Shingles

Exceptional solar reflectivity and weather performance

2. Metal

This roof type comes in panels or as pieces of aluminum, steel, or copper. Metal roofing has long graduated from its simple, corrugated appearance, to a wider choice of sleeker standing seam, faux-style, and stone-coated steel options.

Pros. Metal, too, is lightweight, allowing for worry-free installation. Its versatility means that it can blend perfectly with a variety of home styles, aside from the standard contemporary-modern. Metal is also extremely durable, allowing it effectively shed heavy rainfall and snow. Its inherent reflective properties ensure that your home remains cooler and more comfortable during warmer months, letting you enjoy considerable energy savings. Since metal is fully recyclable, it also helps reduce the waste material that ends up in landfills. To make the most of the 50-year service life this type of roofing can offer, hire a reliable roofing company for its expert installation.

Cons. Metal also varies when it comes to quality. Lower-grade aluminum, for example, can easily dent from hail impact. Good metal roofing can’t be had at the same reasonable cost of many shingle options, so expect to spend more money when investing in this roofing material.

Metal Shingles

Heat and cold resistance wrapped in Old-World charm

3. Tile

This roof type has been around for centuries. Molded from either clay or concrete, it comes in curved or flat options. You’ll usually find tile roofing on Spanish Mission and Adobe homes, adding a touch of Old World elegance with its warm, earthy colors. If you’ve had your eye on tile for your replacement project, you can expect the following:

Pros. When it comes to life span, asphalt and metal don’t have anything on tile. Its service life typically ranges from 50 years to 100, especially with proper roof maintenance and installation. Looks-wise, tile roofing is way up there with slate, providing a timeless look to your home with its natural beauty. Tile is available in extensive glazed colors, from lovely reds and soft oranges to rich browns and more sober grays. This roof type easily resists fire and rot, while naturally insulating your home from both heat and cold. Expect a decrease in energy costs when you invest in tile roofing.

Cons. Tile makes regular roofing repairs and maintenance a bit trickier since it can crack or chip when walked on. This roof type is heavy, so you’ll also need to reinforce your roof and home’s structure to handle its weight. Along with its premium status, the use of tile equates to additional costs in purchase and installation.

Tile Shingles

Lovely and natural looks combined with improved energy efficiency

4. Wood

Cabin and Cottage-style homes owe their rustic charm to wood roofing. Made from rot-resistant redwood, southern pine, or cedar, it comes in either shakes or shingles. Shakes are usually split using a mallet and froe, giving them a rough-hewn appearance. Shingles, on the other hand, are uniformly sawn and look more refined. Like slate and tile, wood is regarded by many homeowners as one of the most desirable roofing options available.

Pros. The difference in color, thickness, and wood cut ensures that no two shakes look exactly the same. Wood shingles, meanwhile, offer a sleeker, classic style with its uniform appearance. Both offer exceptional energy-saving benefits by naturally insulating your attic two times better than asphalt shingles. This lets you save significantly on energy. Since wood shakes and shingles are made from eco-friendly material, there is no possibility of this material ending up in landfills.

Cons. Wood shakes and shingles involve a considerable investment. They also require regular roof maintenance to keep them in top form. Moss, mildew, and mold are common issues with wood shakes and shingles. You’ll need to apply preservatives that protect the wood and stop fungal growth. You should also make sure that your choice of wood shakes or shingles meet national fire safety standards.

Wood Shingles

Longer service life and top-notch weather performance

5. Slate

Other roofing types pale in comparison to slate when it comes to longevity and performance. Made of natural, quarried stone, slate is a durable and premium choice. In fact, you’ll usually find this roof type on more upscale homes. If you consider your home as your largest investment, choosing slate for your roof replacement can lead to valuable returns.

Pros. Slate can handle extreme weather conditions effectively, ensuring that your home remains dry and damage-free. Its durability means that it won’t require as many roof repairs or as much maintenance. If you’re talking aesthetics, this roof type can provide your home with an attractive, classic look. It comes in a wide selection of natural colors, including vibrant reds, earthy browns, mossy greens, and solid blacks. Over time, these colors wear down to a lovely, silvery gray. Since slate is an abundant natural resource and is fully recyclable, it won’t leave a negative impact on the environment.

Cons. You’ll need to reinforce your roof framing if you’re investing in slate. Its cost will also depend on where it is quarried and, even then, slate is generally costlier than tile. Because its method of installation is more complex than other types, you’ll need to find a premier roofing contractor who can expertly work on it.

Now that you have an idea of how they’ll benefit you, how do you know which option best fits your home? Professional roofing contractors use the following guidelines:

1. Architectural Style

You’ll want your new system to add to your home’s curb appeal. Ensuring that your roof matches your architecture is vital to this. Some roofing types work better with a specific home style. For example, tile is standard in Spanish, Mediterranean, or Adobe homes. Slate is an excellent option for Colonial, Victorian, and French Tudor homes. Meanwhile, metal fits well with contemporary-modern, and wood shakes or shingles add more to Cabin or Cottage-style homes.

2. Local Climate

To make the most of your new roofing, choose a type that can effectively withstand your area’s weather patterns and environment. Tile and metal, for instance, are more beneficial to homes in hot and arid regions. Metal has the added advantage of shedding rainwater better, making it an excellent choice in areas prone to rainfall. Slate trumps them all by resisting the harshest weather conditions in almost any region.

3. Weight

As mentioned above, some roof types like tile and slate are heavier than most. If your home doesn’t have an additional support structure, you might want to try lighter types like shingles and metal. If you’re willing to spend the extra cash, have your roofer install reinforcements and invest in tile or slate.

With knowledge of these essentials, deciding on the your new roofing system will be stress-free. Now all you need to do is to hire a trusted roofing contractor for the job, check out the roofing warranties they offer, and prepare your home for the work ahead. Good luck!


Jason Bradley

Jason Bradley, President of Crown Roofing, counts on integrity, honesty, and quality to uphold the company’s solid reputation. Since it was founded in 1902, customers have come to rely on Crown Roofing for the kind of quality work – and quality experience – that makes the roofing process a breeze.

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