Choosing a roofing material is a balancing act. With cost, longevity, and appearance in the mix, homeowners have to pick their battles.
Here, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of five common types of roofing materials to help you make an educated decision for your next roofing project.
The most common roofing material in the US, asphalt shingles may seem like an obvious choice. Like any material, it has its pros and cons. The popularity of asphalt shingles typically comes down to their affordability.
Average Installation Price: $5,100-$10,500*
Pros of Asphalt Shingles
- Most affordable roofing option
- Last about 15-20 years, depending on the quality of the shingle and how it’s cared for
- Largest variety of style and color that can mimic more expensive materials like wood and shake
- Most repairs are easy and affordable
Cons of Asphalt Shingles
- Mold and algae growth is common in shaded areas
- Not easily recycle and contribute to landfill waste
- Easily affected by rapid freeze and thaw cycles
- Easily affected by poorly vented attics
Wood Shingles or Wood Shake
Often mimicked by asphalt shingle manufacturers, wood shingles and wood shake are natural roofing materials with natural beauty. Common woods used on roof applications include cedar, redwood, cypress, and pine available in machine and hand-cut varieties.
Average Installation Price: $10,000-$16,250*
Pros of Wood Shingles: and Wood Shake
- Rustic, natural beauty
- Last about 25-30 years, depending on how it’s cared for
- Wood is naturally insulative
- Often made of recycled material and are easily recyclable
- Some species naturally mold and insect resistant (cedar, redwood)
- Fire-resistant when treated
Cons of Wood Shingles and Wood Shake
- Fire-resistant ONLY when treated
- Algae and insect resistant ONLY when treated (aside from cedar, redwood)
- Staining is natural and common
- Repairs are expensive
Durable and eco-friendly, metal roofing has seen a spike in popularity in recent years. Advancements in manufacturing have given rise to styles mimicking shingles, shakes, and tiles.
Average Installation Price: Steel: $9,350-$25,200*
Pros of Metal Roofing
- Lasts 50-100, depending on the type and how it’s cared for
- Considered a “cool roof,” controls energy costs by reflecting heat
- Usually made from recycled material and are easily recyclable
- Wind, fire, and ice dam resistant
Cons of Metal Roofing
- Cost is typically higher than asphalt or wood
- May dent when hit by branches and replacement is expensive
- Can be noisy during rain and storms
Clay Tile or Fiber Cement Tile
With looks that can kill, clay and fiber cement tiles are a nod to ancient roofing techniques bolstered by modern-day technology. Today’s roofing tiles are stronger and more lightweight than their older cousins.
Average Installation Cost: $18,000-$26,000*
Pros of Clay Tile and Fiber Cement Tile Roofing
- Lasts more than 50 years, depending on the type and how it’s cared for
- Available in a variety of colors, styles, and textures
- Fire and insect resistant
Cons of Clay Tile and Fiber Cement Tile Roofing
- Installation and repair are of the most expensive
- May require reinforced framing due to weight
With a natural tendency to split into slabs, slate is a common choice for stone roofing. Mined from quarries and installed by trained craftsmen, it is definitely the most expensive roofing material on this list. With this cost, comes incredible durability and longevity.
Average Installation Price: Natural: $17,000-$84,000* Synthetic: $15,300-$23,100*
Pros of Slate Tile Roofing
- Lasts 100 years or more, depending on how it’s cared for: a lifetime roof
- Most durable of all roofing materials
- More affordable, lighter, synthetic options available
- Almost maintenance-free
- Recycled, natural material than can easily be recycled
Cons of Slate Tile Roofing
- Most expensive common roofing material and varies wildly in price
- Finding and vetting installers is crucial and time-consuming
- Requires extra frame support for weight, adding to cost
- Walking on tiles may crack them; chimney and gutter repairs must be done carefully
Which material is right for my roof?
Determining the right material for your roof is a personal decision usually based on your budget, how long you plan to stay in your home, and individual taste.
Though it’s common for homeowners to choose the least expensive option when completing a roof, thinking long term can pay off in the long run. For example, an inexpensive asphalt roof that costs $5000 and lasts for 15 years will cost about $333 per year plus repairs. In comparison, a $10,000 metal roof that lasts 75 years will cost about $133 per year with little to no repairs.
We hope this guide cleared some things up and helped you determine what the best roofing material is for you and your home.
*Prices based on these Home Advisor reports