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10 Most Popular Roof Types - Roofing Materials Guide

Your roof has the incredibly important job of protecting the interior of your house, so it’s important to give careful consideration to the roofing material that is right for you. Roofing materials have some of the most variety out of any housing product, and each material is accompanied by unique pros, cons and pricing. The average costs highlighted below include installation and are listed as the price per square foot.

Roof on large home

Asphalt ($2 - $4)

Asphalt shingles are the most popular shingles across the country due to their cost-effectiveness and variety, and are currently installed on over 70% of residential sloped roofs in the US. This shingle material is one of the most affordable roofing options on the market and is available in a wide variety of colors and styles, including 3-tab, designer and architectural styles. Asphalt shingles typically last between 20 and 30 years.


Metal

Metal is the second most popular roofing materials, holding an 11% share of the roofing market. This is likely due to its incredibly long-lasting nature, which is often accompanied by decades-long warranties. It is also incredibly durable, as many metal roofs are resistant to cracking, extreme winds, and other forms of damage. Additionally, metal roofing is often recyclable and many materials are made of previously recycled products. However, metal roofing is usually more expensive than asphalt, and has high installation costs due to the specialty skills needed. There are a few different metal roofing material options, which are detailed below.

Aluminum ($8 - $12)

Aluminum roofs are a great choice for homes on the coast, as the material is extremely resistant to salt corrosion. However, it is a more expensive material, which causes some installers to use thinner sheets in an effort to save money. This can cause the roof to be easily damaged by extreme weather, so it is important to understand the conditions your roof will face.

Copper ($18 - $25)

Copper is not a new material in the world of roofing, having been used to protect homes for centuries. This is due to their unbelievable durability, with some copper roofs surviving for over 200 years and a typical lifespan of up to 70 years. It is a luxury roofing material, so is often accompanied by high product and installation costs.

Steel ($6 - $11)

Often found on commercial construction sites due to its durability, steel has transitioned over to becoming a trusted material for residential roofs as well. Steel is the least expensive metal roofing option, and is available in three forms: galvanized steel, which is protected by a layer of zinc; galvalume steel, which is coated with a combination of aluminum and zinc; and weathering steel, in which the outer layer intentionally rusts, protecting the inner steel. While the lifespan of steel depends on the material and coating, it has the ability to last up to 50 years.

Zinc ($12 - $15)

Zinc is another luxury roofing material, but is trusted for its ability to heal scratches, long lifespan, and flexibility. While fairly uncommon in the US, over 70% of residential roofs in Europe are protected by zinc. Zinc forms a protective patina, which protects it from rusting and allows it to last up to 100 years. It requires very little maintenance, due to its self-healing abilities.


Slate ($30 - $75)

Slate is a high-end and elegant roofing material that is made of thin sheets of real stone. This material is incredibly long-lasting, with the ability to last hundreds of years if maintained properly. Slate is also one of the most beautiful roofing options, adding a classic look to any house. However, slate tiles are not for every homeowner, as installation can be challenging and the tiles are quite fragile. Slate tiles are also one of the most expensive roofing materials available.


Rubber ($6 - $12)

Rubber roofing often mimics the appearance of slate tiles, but at a much more affordable price. These tiles are composed of mostly recycled materials and engineered polymers. Rubber tiles are much more lightweight than slate, which allows for a simpler installation, but lessens the durability. This roofing material requires little maintenance and typically lasts up to 25 years.


Clay Tile ($10 - $30)

Clay tiles are a popular choice for Spanish-style villa homes and is often used in hot climates. After the clay is hardened, it is often left unglazed, which creates a matte appearance. It is a very heavy material, a factor that must be considered before installation. While it is durable and requires little maintenance, it is also expensive to have installed. Clay tiles can last over 100 years, so the investment is worth it for many.


Wood ($5 - $12)

Wood shingles or shakes are a visually appealing roofing option, but are accompanied by a number of limitations. They are not particularly durable, as they are susceptible to damage from moisture and shouldn’t be installed in areas where fire is a risk. There are two wood roofing styles available: wood shingles are thin, smooth slabs of wood, whereas wood shakes are thicker and rougher in texture. Wood roofs typically last between 20 to 60 years, depending on maintenance and conditions.


Final Thoughts

No matter which material you decide on, it's important to find a highly-rated licensed contractor to complete your roofing project. Your roof serves an extremely important function, so ensuring it's installed correctly is key. Our licensed experts are here to help you in your search, by scoping your project, gathering bids and offering advice to help you navigate the process. We make it easy to complete your roof replacement.