What is the best type of roof?

When it comes to the roof of their house, every homeowner wants the same things. They want their new roof to withstand the elements, last longer, and offer the best value for money—oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to look good either. But while the goals are the same, there are plenty of different roofing materials available, from vintage panels to new solar panels.

Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, and depending on the size, style, and location of your home, one option may be better than the other. Here’s a guide to the most common roofing materials—and what to consider, whether you’re installing a new roof or replacing an old roof.

What are the different types of surfaces?

Here are some of the most common materials for roofing. In general, when we talk about the type of roof, we are referring to the material that its covering is made of, which is actually made up of individual pieces called shingles, tiles or shingles.


Because of their affordability, ease of installation, and effectiveness, asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the United States that are lightweight, can be cut to fit any type of roof, and require no special tools for installation. In general, asphalt tends to perform better in temperate climates and can crack in extreme temperatures. Because it is light, asphalt is also more susceptible to damage and wind lift. As a result, asphalt shingles do not last as well as some other roof materials.


Clay is one of the oldest roofing materials – brick can be found in buildings that are thousands of years old. Clay tiles are weatherproof and maintenance-free, and provide excellent insulation for regulating the temperature inside the home. But all of these advantages make clay tiles much more expensive than asphalt, and because it is heavy, some homes may need additional frames to support the weight of the clay tile roof.


Cost-effective, durable, and easy-to-customize concrete tiles are a popular alternative to clay. They install and work similarly: concrete is tough enough to withstand the elements, requires little maintenance, and can last for several generations. However, like clay, concrete is heavy and some surfaces may need to be reinforced if you are switching to it from a lighter material. Also, concrete can become brittle and crack under the influence of extreme cold (the same problem affects concrete driveways).


Another long-life metal roof. Whether it’s steel, aluminum or copper, metal surfaces are durable, energy-efficient, eco-friendly and stylish enough to add to a home’s appeal. They are strong enough to withstand heavy rain, snow and wind, do not crack in extreme temperatures, and can even be installed over an existing roof. But metal roofs are not without their negative sides, they are noisy and can shrink under the influence of impacts, and they are also several times more expensive than asphalt.


One of the most aesthetic surfaces is slate. Because of its clean lines and classic appearance, slate has been a popular roofing choice with homeowners and architects throughout the ages. If you live in harsh climates full of high winds, storms, and hail, slate is a strong, durable roof to withstand the elements and last for 100 years or more. It is also a natural material, and therefore environmentally friendly. Negatives? Slate is more expensive to manufacture as well as to install. The panels also make for a heavy roof, with one box weighing 800 pounds or more, and would place a significant load on the home’s structure.

solar tiles

You’ve Heard Of Solar Panels – But What About A Full Solar Roof? Modern technology, solar tiles or wood panels can be integrated into the existing roof and combine style, efficiency and energy saving. Solar tiles are shock and fire resistant, come in different shapes, provide UV protection, and can give your home a unique look. However, since solar tiles are such a new invention, it is still difficult to see. It can also be difficult to find in some places. And innovative technology often goes hand in hand with rising costs: don’t be surprised if you’re asked to spend $1,000 or more per square metre.


As with flooring, wood always has a classic and elegant look, especially with a home in any historical style. The most common species are redwood, cedar and pine. They can be stained in any color, but also beautifully with age – at least, in terms of appearance. In terms of durability, wood can be more complex: It doesn’t do well in always humid climates, and while it can be long lasting in dry weather, it is highly flammable if untreated. Because of their limitations and high maintenance, a wood ceiling is expensive, especially if you opt for thicker joists over shingles.

What is the cost of different surfaces?

Roofs are priced per square foot, and numbers are often specified for each roofing square (100 square feet equals one roofing square). Other factors to include in the total cost are labor charges, home style and size, location, permits and licenses, rooftop accessibility, and structural issues.

Ceiling prices and shelf life

asphalt $100 – $150 15 – 30
Clay $800 – $1800 75 – 100
Cement $150 – $250 30-50
Metal $120 – $900 50+
slate $800 – $1800 125 – 200
Solar $1100 – $2600 40 (estimated)
Wood $250 – $600 15 – 30

Choosing the best roof

Aside from cost and age, what other considerations should you take when deciding on the best roof for your home?

If the material is heavy, such as concrete or slate, the roof may require a special frame to support the weight. This can be a complicated business if you want to replace an old roof made of lighter materials with a heavier one.

Another vital factor to consider: the local weather. If you live in a climate of a certain type, the roof must be able to withstand heat, cold, or its characteristic elements. Let history be your guide: There’s a reason terracotta roofs are traditional in the hot southern regions, for example. Check if there are fire codes in your area and whether the material chosen adheres to them. Wood may be prohibited in fire-prone areas.

Aesthetics are also important, and if you want the roof to compliment the rest of the house, it should be available in different colors. But you also have to decide how important originality is to you, if you have a historic home or a style home.

Finally, there are current or future expenses. Some surfaces, such as metal, require specialized labor to repair. Often, though, the types that require more upfront expenses last longer, and have lower maintenance costs.

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