Different Types of Roofing: Maintenance, Durability and Costs

Different Types of Roofing

Nowadays, the average roof can last anywhere from 20-50 years if maintained properly. Even so, the best of roofs will eventually need to be replaced. If your roof is starting to cause problems, there’s a good chance you need a roof replacement. One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make when replacing your roof is deciding what type of roofing to use. Different types of roofing materials offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. The type of roofing that’s best for you will depend on your budget, environmental factors and durability.

There’s Never Been More Different Types of Roofing

Not long ago, homeowners were much more limited in terms of roofing choices. Modern technology has allowed for a much broader range of roofing materials to choose from.

The great thing is that roofing is more exciting that ever, with an almost endless choice of colors materials and styles. Homeowners can literally choose to go from a flat roof to a pitched roof, and vice versa.

Even when looking at different roofing materials available for flat vs pitched roofs, homeowners are spoilt for choice.

So, if you’re in the market for a new roof, the good news is that you can get almost anything you please these days!

Different Types of Roofing Shingles

Roof shingles are a popular choice for pitched roofs. The benefit of having a pitched roof is that water and debris naturally runs off, making it a practical choice. Most roof shingles are available is a broad variety of colors.

Although not always the best option, roof shingles can also be painted to match the color you like best. However, if the shingles you want are available in your preferred color, it’s better to avoid painting them.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

Asphalt roof shingles are the most common kind of roofing material used in the US for homes. They come in any common roofing color, such as terracotta, brown, black, grey, dark green and blue.

The benefit of asphalt shingles is that they’re relatively inexpensive when compared to some options. As far as durability is concerned, the average asphalt roof lasts about 20-30 years.

When buying asphalt, be sure to ask about the quality rating of the shingles. There are a variety of tests to class the quality of roofing shingles and good ones should pass all of them. Be sure to buy a shingle that’s passed quality tests for durability, impact resistance and wind tests.

Roof maintenance and regular roof cleaning is important with asphalt shingles. Especially in coastal climates, where the humidity is high, asphalt roofs will tend to grow moss and algae. If left unchecked, these growths can cause permanent damage to the roof.

Slate Shingles

Slate shingles are slightly less common than asphalt shingles. They are also more restrictive when it comes to color options.

Almost all slate shingles will be grayish or black in color. The great thing about these colors is that they’re all natural stone colors from the material. This creates a beautifully natural-looking, textured roof.

Because slate shingles are natural, they’re eco-friendly. Although slate is more expensive than asphalt, roofs can last even up to 100 years, as the material is extremely durable. Another benefit of slate is that it’s fireproof, waterproof and highly resistant to mold and fungal growth.

Of course, those benefits don’t necessarily mean you don’t have to worry about chimney fires, roof leaks and roof cleaning. Just like any other roof, a slate roof can develop a leak or get dirty. As for chimney fires – even if your roof is fireproof, the rest of your house isn’t. So make sure to keep the inside of your chimney clean.

One disadvantage to slate is the material isn’t flexible, so it can easily be damaged by hail and forceful impacts.

Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles

In many other countries, most houses aren’t fitted with asphalt. Instead, concrete or clay roof tiles are used.

Clay roof tiles (also called ceramic roof tiles) usually only come in terracotta color types. This includes reddish oranges, browns and sometimes even cream color. However, the color choices are restricted to what colors of clay are available, so they’re all earthy, soil-like colors. This makes clay a good choice if you want a natural look.

Concrete tiles, on the other hand, come in a broad variety of colors. When it comes to concrete tiles, you’ll have a similar selection of colors as you would with asphalt shingles. Concrete roof tiles can also be painted, allowing for an endless variety of color choices.

As far as durability goes, both options are good. Concrete and clay tiles can withstand winds speeds of even up 125 miles per hour. The average lifespan of a roof is approximately 60 years or more – although warrantees will normally expire after 30 years.

The downside of concrete and clay is that it’s more expensive to install and sometimes requires enhanced support structures to hold up the weight of the roof. Furthermore, these materials can easily break when you walk on them.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are also a quite popular option. As a roofing material, wood is reasonably eco-friendly and affordable. However, they’re highly flammable compared to most other roofing options.

As far as durability is concerned, wood roofs tend to last about 30-40 years. Apart from this, wood shingles also offer better insulation than most other options.

However, wood roofs must be kept clean of any moss and algae growth. Maintenance can be more difficult and the roof might literally start to rot if it isn’t kept well.

Solar Roof Tiles

Solar roof tiles are an exiting new development in the world of roofing. They’re normally made from a strong glass and they tend to be quite durable.

Depending on the pitch of your roof and the amount of sun exposure it gets, your solar roof might be able to supply 100% of your household energy needs.

That said, solar tiles also have their drawbacks. To start with, they’re much more expensive than almost any other alternative upfront. Luckily they do make up for this in that you might not have to buy electricity anymore. In fact, your solar roof might even allow you to put power back into to grid, which means it could earn you a bit of income on good days.

Solar roofs typically come with a 25-year warranty. Even if your roof is still intact after this time, there’s a good chance it won’t be giving you the same energy output. So basically, the warranty is on the solar panels, not the roof. It’s estimated that the tiles can maintain their energy output levels for about 30 years. The glass tile itself, however, is believe to last even up to 100 years.

What About Metal Roofing?

Most metal roofing doesn’t come in the form of shingles. Instead, large panels of corrugated metals are used to cover entire sections of the roof. This style of roofing is called a standing seam roof.

The great thing about metal is that it’s one of the cheapest roofing materials available, even cheaper than asphalt shingles. To add to the benefits, metal roofs are very durable, and can last even up to 70 years.

As far as downsides go, metal roofs can rust if not maintained regularly. Especially in coastal areas, you will need to treat your roof regularly to prevent rust. Metal roofs can also be noisy during rain storms and in severe cases, strong winds can lift the entire roof panels.

Overall, however, metal roofing stands out as an excellently durable, highly affordable roofing material. It’s also fireproof and should stay remain waterproof as long as there aren’t any holes.


While asphalt roofs are the most popular, many other materials are arguably better. If you’re looking for the same look of asphalt shingles, but more durability, concrete roofs are an excellent choice. For a cheap roof that will last you a long time, metal and wood are both viable choices. Still, asphalt shingles do retain their own sense of charm.

There are so many different types of roofing to choose from, you’re sure to find a material that suits both your needs and your pocket.

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