Picking a Roofing Material | Roofing
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Picking a Roofing Material

When it comes to picking a material to use on your roof, aesthetics may be your most immediate concern but it is far from the only factor you need to consider. How much is it going to cost to maintain? Do you want your roof to help insulate your home? Do you want to work on your own roof or should you find a professional roofer?

Here’s a rundown of roofing materials so you can pick the one that will work out best for you in the long run:
Common Choices

Clay Tiles

You should take a look at clay tiles if you want a durable roof that does not require much maintenance and won’t be damaged by rot, insects, or fire. The tiles themselves, however, are heavy, break easily if someone other than a professional roofer is walking on them, and can be pricey compared to other roofing materials. They are also a stylistically flexible choice, coming in a variety of colors and models that make them work well with everything from Mediterranean to modern architecture.

Composition Shingles

Also known as asphalt shingles, composition shingles are made from a base material (frequently fiberglass) bound together with asphalt and coated with a layer of granules to strengthen the tile. They offer a clean, classic, look while being one of the most affordable roofing materials you can choose. While composition shingles won’t require much maintenance, and you won’t have to worry about breaking them if you want to walk out on your roof, they typically only last about 20 years before you have to replace them and are susceptible to damage during weather such as heavy hail storms.

Wood Shakes

If you want to give your home a warm feel and an individual look, you should consider wood shakes. They are, however, not a low maintenance option. You will need to re-apply special treatments to your shakes every few years to keep them fire-retardant as well as safe from mold and insect damage. Additionally, even the best-cared-for shakes will have to be replaced about every 20 years or so. If you can deal with the maintenance needs, then you will be able to choosing from a number of wood cuts, colors, and shake sizes to add a truly unique look to your house.


Slate roofs are made from natural rocks that have been cut down to look like roofing tiles. Since they are literally stones, they can last a century or more and are immune to damage from insects, mold, or fire. They are also very expensive, only come in the rock’s naturally occurring colors, and are heavy enough to require that your home’s structure is sufficiently re-enforced to handle the weight. However, the natural colors and ability to arrange the stones in a variety of patterns can give your roof a very organic look and feel.


If you want a low maintenance roof that can last for well over 20 years, then you should take a look at metal. This roofing material absorbs less heat than alternatives like composite tiles, which will keep your house cooler on hot days and ultimately save you money on your energy bills. Metal roofs also give you the aesthetic flexibility of choosing styles designed to look like anything from slate tiles to wood shakes. The price of these benefits is an initial cost that can be higher than alternative roofing materials like clay tiles or wood shakes.
  • Be wary of new products in the roofing market that do not have an established track record. Even though the manufacturing company may offer a warranty on the material, if the company goes belly up and their product fails then you will be stuck with the cost of replacing it.
  • Whatever material you choose, making sure that you keep up with its recommended maintenance will maximize the life of your investment.
Find a Professional Roofer
If you’re interested in finding a professional roofer to help you pick or install a new roofing material, consider using the MagicYellow directory of roofers in your area.

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