Roofing Materials: What To Know

roofing materials

If you are looking for a new roof, you certainly won’t have a lack of options to consider. Things like climate, house style and budget are all important factors to take in account. We dig into some of today’s popular roofing materials. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by and large today’s most popular roofing material in North America. They are economical to produce, easy to install, and widely available. Asphalt shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and finally topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. They are available in a full range of styles and colors. They excel at flexing and adapting to a roof’s movements due to expansion and contraction. Asphalt shingles also typically come with a 20 to 30 year warranty. Replacing individual shingles is a fairly easy job. 

The cost is approximately $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot installed. The lifespan of asphalt shingles range from 12 to 30 years. 

Wood Shingles and Shakes

There are two types of wood roofing. They are shingles and shakes. Wood shingles are machine cut and tapered for trim appearances. Wood shakes are hand split, which gives them a more “rustic” appeal.” They are not as practical as modern asphalt shingles, but have a lot of appeal when on traditional or historical houses. They are expensive and come with limitations, such as not having a long lifespan and being a poor choice for a place that gets a lot of moisture. They are also not a good option for places that experience wildfire often, as they are not fire proof or resistant. 

Wood shingles typically cost about $4.50 to $9 per square foot installed. Shakes are more expensive, averaging $6.50 to $11 per square foot installed. Longevity of the roof depends on the climate and amount of maintenance put into them. In a dry climate, a wood shingle roof can last up to 60 years. In damp climates, you may only get 20 years from the roof. 

Slate Roofing

Slate roofs are very beautiful and durable. That is because the slate used in this type of roofing is dense and very tough. A natural slate look gives character to buildings, but it is labor intensive and often costly to install. Installation is a highly specialized skill for roofers, and qualified installers can be hard to find. Slate roofing is non-combustible, waterproof and requires little to no maintenance over the course of its life. 

Slate roofs typically cost between $30 and $75 per square foot installed. A slate tile roof can last very long, typically up to 75 to 200 years. 

Clay And Concrete Tiles

Concrete or clay tile roofs are extremely durable, lasting for centuries in some cases. They can be made from either clay or concrete. Individual tiles are often molden in barrel shapes for interlocking installation. Make sure to ask a structural engineer if your roof framing will support a tile application, due to the weight of clay and concrete materials.

Clay tiles are made from earthen clays molded into shapes and fired for hardness. They are often left unglazed, but can be glazed and fired to form ceramic roofing tiles. Clay is a very good roofing material for hot climates or in areas where salt air is present. 

Concrete tiles are made and installed similarly to clay tiles. A variety of profiles are available in many different hues. Concrete tiles are heavy, making them most suitable for high wind regions. 

Concrete tiles usually range from $9 to $12 per square foot installed, while clay tiles range from $10 to $18 per square foot installed. Clay tile is very long lasting and can last for more than a century. Concrete tiles are also very long lasting and can last 50 years or longer. 

Metal Roofs

Metal is probably the best material capable of protecting something from wind, rain, hail, fire or rot. These are typically called the standing seam roof. It gets this name because the aluminum or steel roofing panels meet in raised seams that interlock to keep moisture out. They are most popular in regions with areas of heavy snowfall or dangers like wildfires. Metal roofs meant corrugated panels for decades, making the buildings they were on looking like sheds or barns. Today, metal roofing is available in a wide variety of styles. 

Metal roofs typically cost $6 to $12 per square foot installed. This type of roof typically lasts 30 to 50 years, with some known to last 75 years.  

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are made from poly based products, usually recycled plastic and rubber. They are lightweight, fade resistant, fire safe, and can be warrantied for up to 50 years. They are the perfect option if you want the look of slate, tile, or wood shake. From the ground, it can be virtually impossible to distinguish the difference. Some are so realistic looking that they have been approved for use in history preservation. Composite shingles are also lightweight, making it the perfect option for houses that cannot support the heavy weight of slate or concrete tiles. 

Composite roofing usually costs between $6 and $12 per square foot installed. They are not as durable as true stone, but can last up to 50 years. 

Green “Living” Roof

Green “living” roofs are a relatively new phenomenon in roofing materials. Moss and green things on your roof is typically considered a bad sign, but when properly planned for, a living roof gives back to the Earth. An investment in a green roof means better insulation, reduced runoff, and extended life to your roof. It can also put oxygen back into the air we live in. It requires several layers of support vegetation. A green roof will need a waterproofing membrane to protect the roof and likely a root barrier and irrigation system, as well. 

Costs vary widely for a green “living” roof. Their lifespan also varies depending on the materials and the maintenance put into them. 

There are many different options for roofing materials. It is important that you discuss materials with your roofing contractor to make sure you get the best results that you deserve when you are repairing or replacing your roof. Give us a call at 636-699-0449 today for a free estimate on your roof. We look forward to working with you.