Choosing The Right Roofing Material

A roof is a major investment. Not only does it cover a significant part of the exterior of the house, but it should last for a long period of time and preserve the value of the property. A good roof should not only be durable through different weather seasons but also be structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Cost is another important part of the equation. Navigating through these variables can be challenging. A reputable Austin roofing installer can provide good knowledge of the materials as well as the requirements of the house.

Asphalt shingles


Asphalt is the most popular and common type of roofing material. It is inexpensive and light and can last from a period of 10-40 years without needing replacement. Asphalt roofs are also durable against extreme summer and winter temperatures and can be accommodated for windy or humid climates. Various adjustments can be made to the asphalt to add durability. Laminated asphalt shingles are thicker and heavier and more durable but also more expensive. In dealing with budget constraints, asphalt roll roofs can provide a sound temporary alternative. Asphalt roofs are aesthetically pleasing as well and maintain the structural integrity of the roof.

Slate or Tile shingles

Slate or tile shingles are durable and luxurious. They have a beautiful look that often suits colonial or Mediterranean architectural styles. While they can last for more than a century, tile roofs are significantly heavier than other types of shingles and may require structural fortification.

Mobility is also limited on top of tile shingles, which may easily break or be slippery. Clay or concrete tiles may be a more suitable alternative in that case and may be cheaper options as well, but clay tiles may not survive harsh summer or winter climates, and so the location of the house factors in as well.

Cedar shingles

Cedar shingles have long been covering houses, but they have a life expectancy of only 20 years and are not very resistant to fires. They also require maintenance in terms of cleaning and painting regularly.

Metal roofs

Metal roofs are becoming more and more popular, and different metal materials allow for durability and versatility. They are weather resistant and light and have the longest lifeline of all materials.

Rubber roofing

Rubber roofing is the easiest to install and typically low cost but lacks the aesthetic design that other materials provide. These roofs may be more suited to wet climates as they are water resistant. An added benefit is that unlike asphalt shingles, rubber shingles do not crack or break and may last longer. They are also light and do not require structural reinforcement, but ultimately, rubber roofing looks good on very few houses.

Which roof material is the safest?

Metal roofing is strongly fire resistant and contains the area of flame spread best. Clay, wood and rubber roofing are not very fire resistance but are safer with respect to mobility on the roof. Metal and slate roofing are least vulnerable to weather conditions and can provide sturdy resistance in all kinds of climates.

The Cost

The following table lists possible roofing materials. Depending upon the location of your home, all of these options may not be available to you. Prices are listed in the table accordingly:

$ – Least Expensive
$$ – Moderately Priced
$$$ – Most Expensive

Roofing Material



Life Cycle

Asphalt Shingles Roofing material used most in the United States. Shingles must be reinforced with organic or fiberglass material. $ 15-20 years
Wood Shingles Commonly made from cedar wood, and only appear in certain regions of the United States. $ 10-40 years
Tile Roofing Made from either concrete or clay, and heavier than other roofing materials. Home’s structure may need to be reinforced if another material was previously used. $$ 20+ years
Slate Roofing Virtually indestructible, and has the longest life cycle of all available roofing materials. $$$ 30-100 years
Metal Roofing Commonly used in commercial construction. Lightweight material that is both fire and weather resistant. $$ 15-40+ years
Synthetic Products Mimics the appearance of other roofing materials, but do not necessarily share the same properties. Varies Varies

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