When it's time to get a whole new roof, you may not realize that you have a lot of options available to you. Often, when you look around your neighborhood, there doesn’t seem to be much variation in the types of roof there are. However, choosing just what everyone else has might not be the best option for you. Here are some examples of the different roofing materials and how to tell which one is right for you.

Roofing Materials


Asphalt is the most popular roofing material due to the fact that it is particularly inexpensive. It's also easy to install, making installation cheaper, too. You can also find asphalt shingles in just about any color you can think of. However, asphalt will only last up to 30 years. While that may seem like a good amount of time, this is one of the least durable materials. It also isn't the best option for the environment.


Metal is becoming more and more popular because it is energy efficient and fire-resistant. It's also 100% recyclable. Metal roofs come in a number of different colors, but while the roof itself may last a long while—up to 70 years—the roof may need to be painted from time to time. It can be expensive depending on the type of metal you use. It can be loud when it rains.


Clay tiles are used all over the world, but they are particularly prominent in the American Southwest. Many consumers agree that the beautiful red clay is one of the most attractive options available. It also lasts for over 100 years with virtually no maintenance. This option is also expensive, though, especially if the tiles do happen to get damaged. The colors can also fade after extended time in the sun.


Many people really like the look of wood, though it’s not as popular as it once was. Wood shingles can be painted any color, or you can simply put a finish on them and enjoy the natural design. While this is a beautiful option that embraces a natural style, the wood can get expensive. It is also more susceptible to fires than other materials.

Picking the Right Roofing Material for You

With so many options, it can be difficult to know what residential roofing material is the right one for you. There are a number of factors that come into play. First, you have to consider your budget. Some options may not be practical if you want to keep the cost down. Next, think about how long you will be living in your home. You should also consider the area you live in. Are you in an area prone to fires or storms? Do you need something with good energy efficiency? Finally, you should consider what you like the most aesthetically. This is your house after all, and you want it to look good.

Getting the right material for your new roof can make a huge difference. If you still aren't sure what the best option for you is, talk to your local roofing contractor to learn more.

About the Author

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

About Olga Lockhart

Olga Lockhart, Marketing Manager for Pathway Design & Construction, researches, analyzes, and writes about these key topics: Universal Design, Aging in Place, Northwest building & Seattle remodeling trends, air quality issues, and solutions, during construction. She's also willing to chat about travel and culture out of the office.