Careful choice of roofing material is essential when considering the installation of a new roof on your home. Below is a list of some of the most popular residential roofing systems and products. Selection of the right material, combined with proper installation and periodic maintenance, will result in a roof which functions effectively for 20 to 50 years—and in some cases, even longer.


Shingle-Composite, or Asphalt Shingles are the most commonly used roofing material on homes in the United States due to their clean look, affordable price, and easy adaptability to a range of applications. Straightforward installation and low maintenance also contribute to composite shingle’s popularity.

Wood Shakes

Homeowners are drawn to the natural and unique characteristics of wood shakes. Variations in color, thickness, width, etc. make no two shake roofs identical. Along with the wood’s aesthetic value, it can offer some insulating benefits, too—and the small openings under the felt rows that the shakes are attached to, allow the house to breathe.

Some things to keep in mind with regards to wood shakes include the fact that most wood shakes are unrated for fire safety and they require correct maintenance to get maximum duration of service. Pressure treated, fire-retardant shakes are available that offer better protection from fire and can last longer.

Slate Roofing

The use of slate for roofing is often seen in more upscale homes. Its appeal lies in a natural look and its ability to be composed in a variety of patterns.

Slate Roofing is a dense, durable, naturally-occurring material that is nonabsorbent and has a very long lifespan. It offers good fire protection, low maintenance and is impervious to insect damage and rot. Chemical and mineral composition determines the color of slate and because these factors differ from region to region, roofing slate is available in a wide variety of colors. Slate is a very heavy material and can require extra roof support. Even though slate is considered a very durable roof material, care must be taken when walking on a slate roof when performing maintenance duties.

Standing Seam

Standing Seam steel roofing has gained considerable popularity in residential applications. Among the properties that make steel roofs desirable are durability, easy maintenance-free upkeep and low susceptibility to fire. In addition, metal roofs are energy efficient due to their reflectivity that translates into less heat in the attic. And because metal roofing weighs very little, it can be installed over existing roof systems.

Standing Seam Roofing consists of preformed, or field-formed, pans. Pans typically measure about 18 to 24 inches wide when finished. Standing Seam pans run parallel to the slope of the roof and are connected to adjacent pans with double-locked standing seams. LEED points available.

Concrete Tile

Cement tile is a good choice for durability. There are differences from product to product, but generally cement tile is lighter in weight than either slate or clay tiles, has a long lifespan, requires very low maintenance, offers good fire protection and is resistant to insects and rot.

Concrete Tiles consist of Portland cement, sand and water. These materials are then mixed in the desired proportions and extruded under high pressure on molds. Cementitious material, colored with synthetic oxide additives may be used to finish the exposed surface of the tiles. Required strength is achieved through curing. Concrete tiles typically have lugs on their undersides for anchoring to batten strips. Tiles employ interlocking ribs on the longitudinal edges that impede movement and prevent water infiltration.

Clay Tile

Some home designs are not complete without the final touch of a clay tile roof. Homes with a Spanish Mission, southwestern or Tuscan theme are good fits for the aesthetics of clay tile. There are even homes with a modern, minimalist design that are complemented by the addition of clay tiles.

Clay tile can’t rot or burn, requires very little maintenance, is impervious to insect damage and has an extended lifespan. However, tile can be very heavy, and like slate, may require additional support to the underlying roof structure. Although clay tiles are a very durable roofing material, they can break when walked on. It is advisable to use only professionals when home maintenance must be accessed from the roof.

Hot Mop

Although mostly used in commercial applications, hot mopping is occasionally applied to residential flat/semi-flat roofs with good access and proper drainage. It is less expensive than other roofing materials and has a good lifespan when properly installed. By itself, an asphalt roof is not very attractive, but most residential installations with add a final layer of decorative stone (aggregate).

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