Roofing Materials – What’s the Difference?


Knowing and understanding the differences in roofing material can help you determine how long a roof will last, and how expensive it is to maintain. Here are some descriptions of several types of roofing material.

Wood Shakes and Shingles

Although you wouldn’t think it by looking at them, roofing with this material can last up to 50 years. However they must first be treated to withstand the elements, including fire. Depending on where you live, Wood Shake roofing may not be permitted by your area’s building code. If they are available in your area, they can add a very natural look to your home without having to break the bank.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs come in a variety of materials, colors, shapes, thicknesses and textures. You can find metal roofing material made in small shingle form, all the way to large panels. Although installing a metal roof is one of the more expensive options, they can have a lifespan ranging anywhere from 50 to 100 years depending on the material. However, they can become very noisy during a rain storm.


Over the last several years, we have seen new roofing products enter the market made from various polymers and composites. These materials can be made to resemble almost any type of roofing material and are advertised for their durability and light weight. However since most of these products haven’t been around long, there’s really no way to say for certain what kind of lifespan they will actually have. These products are still a bit pricey, but may be worth it if it turns out they outlive the material they are made to resemble.

Composite shingles or Asphalt

Depending on the quality of shingles, the lifespan on these roofs can range anywhere from 15 to 40 years. Depending on the quality you choose, the price can vary just as much. Complimenting almost any architectural style, as well as being lightweight and compact when compared to other materials, this is the product that you’ll find is most widely used in the industry.

Clay, Concrete, and Slate Tiles

These types of material are typically used on specific home styles and are better used in warmer climates due to being more prone to cracking in colder weather. Concrete tiles are much heavier than clay, but are less prone to cracking. This material can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. Having any of these materials installed can get expensive. You will also want to make sure you consult a seasoned contractor who is use to working with these tiles. These materials weigh much more than any other, and can cause serious damage if your home is unable to properly support the weight.


Source by Joshua Talayka