A Guide to Different Roofing Materials

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: August 9, 2023
  • Updated On: September 18, 2023

Choosing the right roofing material is a critical decision in any construction or renovation project. The roof serves as the first line of defense against the elements, significantly influencing the building’s energy efficiency, aesthetic appeal, and longevity. By understanding these aspects, homeowners, builders, and architects can make informed decisions that align with their project’s specific needs and goals.

No matter if you are choosing material for fascia on house or any other roofing material, you are at the right place. Let’s find out about the common roofing materials and pros and cons of having them.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are arguably the most popular roofing material in North America, and for good reasons. They offer a blend of affordability, durability, and aesthetic versatility that appeals to a wide range of homeowners and builders.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are relatively inexpensive compared to other roofing materials, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious projects. They come in multiple colors and styles, allowing for customization to match the architectural style of the building. In terms of durability, asphalt shingles can last between 15 to 30 years depending on the quality of the shingle and the local climate. They are also easy to install and repair, reducing labor costs.

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles

Despite their popularity, asphalt shingles have some drawbacks. They are less durable than some other roofing materials, such as metal or tile, and may require more frequent replacement. In addition, while they can withstand various weather conditions, they are susceptible to damage from extreme heat or rapid temperature fluctuations.

When to Use Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a versatile choice suitable for a wide range of applications. They are an excellent option for residential buildings due to their cost-effectiveness and aesthetic flexibility. However, for buildings in extremely hot climates or areas with significant temperature swings, other materials may offer better longevity and performance.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is gaining popularity for its durability, energy efficiency, and environmental friendliness. It’s a versatile material that comes in various types, including steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc.

Advantages of Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are known for their exceptional longevity, with a lifespan of 40 to 70 years depending on the material type and maintenance. They are highly resistant to fire, wind, and impact, making them a robust choice for areas prone to severe weather conditions. Metal roofs also reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs during hot months. From an environmental perspective, metal roofs are often made from recycled materials and are fully recyclable at the end of their life. Speak with a metal roofing contractor to find out more about metal roofing.

Disadvantages of Metal Roofing

The primary drawback of metal roofing is its higher upfront cost compared to other materials like asphalt shingles. However, the long-term savings from its durability and energy efficiency can offset this initial investment. Metal roofs can also be noisier during rain or hail storms, and improper installation can lead to issues like water leaks or inadequate ventilation.

When to Use Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is an excellent choice for both residential and commercial buildings due to its durability and energy efficiency. It’s particularly beneficial in areas with high temperatures or those prone to severe weather events. While the initial cost is higher, homeowners planning to stay in their homes for a long time can reap the benefits of a metal roof’s extended lifespan and energy savings.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is the epitome of longevity and natural beauty. Made from natural stone, it’s one of the most durable roofing materials available and adds a touch of elegance to any building.

Advantages of Slate Roofing

Slate roofs can last over a century, making them an excellent long-term investment. They are highly resistant to harsh weather conditions and fire. Slate’s natural variation in color and texture offers a unique and attractive aesthetic that can enhance a building’s architectural appeal.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is one of the most expensive roofing materials due to the cost of the material itself and the specialized labor required for installation. It’s also heavier than other materials, which means the building must have adequate structural support. Slate can be brittle and may break if walked on, making repairs more challenging.

When to Use Slate Roofing

Given its high cost and weight, slate roofing is best suited for high-end residential or historical buildings that can support its weight and where the long-term investment can be justified. Its natural beauty makes it an excellent choice for architectural styles that benefit from its unique aesthetic, such as Colonial, French Chateau, or Tudor.

Tile Roofing

Tile roofing is a classic choice that offers durability, energy efficiency, and a distinctive aesthetic appeal. Tiles can be made from various materials, including clay, concrete, and slate.

Advantages of Tile Roofing

Tile roofs are incredibly durable, with a lifespan that can exceed 50 years or more with proper maintenance. They are resistant to fire, hail, and moisture, and can withstand severe weather conditions. Tile roofs also provide excellent insulation, helping to keep buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. From an aesthetic perspective, tile roofs offer a unique, elegant look that can be particularly appealing for certain architectural styles.

Disadvantages of Tile Roofing

The main drawbacks of tile roofing are its weight and cost. Tiles are significantly heavier than most other roofing materials, requiring additional structural support. They are also among the more expensive roofing options, both in terms of the material itself and the installation process, which requires skilled labor.

When to Use Tile Roofing

Tile roofing is an excellent choice for homes with Mediterranean, Spanish, or Southwestern-style architecture, where its distinctive look can truly shine. It’s also a good option for homes in hotter climates, as the tiles can help keep the home cool. However, due to its weight and cost, it’s essential to ensure the building can support a tile roof and that the long-term investment makes sense.


Choosing the right roofing material is a crucial aspect of any construction or renovation project. Each material – be it asphalt shingles, metal, slate, or tile – comes with its unique set of advantages and considerations. Factors such as cost, durability, aesthetic appeal, and the building’s architectural style all play a role in this decision.

In the end, the best roofing material depends on the specific needs and circumstances of your project. By understanding the characteristics of each material, you can make an informed decision that will contribute to the longevity, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of your building.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.