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Most Common Roofing Materials

It’s great to have choices. We personalize our homes with paint color, landscaping choices, and roofing materials. 

Wait, roofing materials? 

Yep. While changing your roof isn’t as common as changing the color of your house, it can have as great an impact on your curb appeal as a new coat of paint. 

There are lots of choices in roofing today. Your choice of roofing material is a reflection of your personality. 

If you’re practical, you’ll probably be drawn to the standard asphalt shingle. Are you looking for an eye-catching roof? Maybe cedar shakes are for you. 

From bold, to environmentally friendly, to extraordinarily durable, there’s a roof that will make your house feel more like home. For a free inspection, contact Paramount Exteriors today, and we’ll help you find the best fit for your circumstance and personality.

common roofing materials

Asphalt Shingles

The type of roofing material you will see the most are asphalt shingles, also known as composite shingles. These shingles work well in all environments in the US. 

Asphalt shingles are made of a combination of either fiberglass or cellulose, minerals, and of course, asphalt. 

Asphalt shingles are one of the most inexpensive roofing materials available. They come in different colors and styles to match your home. 

Asphalt shingles are fire-resistant. They are also relatively simple to install, making them a favorite option for homeowners wanting to complete their roofs without professional assistance. 

On the downside, asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 20 years. That’s considerably less than most other roofing options. 

common roofing materials

Metal Roofing

Behind asphalt roofs, the next most popular type of roofing material in America is metal roofing. Metal roofs last an average of 60 years. If you install a metal roof, odds are it will last as long as you own your home. 

Metal roofs stand up to high winds. They reflect light, making them more energy-efficient. They can be ordered in a variety of colors to meet your style needs. And, a metal roof is fireproof.

According to Bob Vila, a good metal roof can cost ten times as much as a comparable asphalt one. They also can be damaged in hail storms or other extreme weather events. Even if there’s no damage done, a hard rain can be really noisy under that metal roof. 

Wood Shakes

Wood slats, called shakes, are made from split logs. They are often left rough (unsanded) to contribute to their rugged, natural look. 

A chemically-treated shake can last about 30 years. Cedar shakes are naturally repellent to bugs, and they hold up remarkably well in high winds. 

Wood shakes cost anywhere from 30-100% more than asphalt shingles. They are susceptible to mold and rot, especially in very wet environments. They are not recommended in areas prone to fires, although they can be chemically treated with fire-retardant materials. 

Solar Shingles

By far the most technologically advanced option, solar shingles are designed for multitasking. They generate electricity while protecting your home from the elements like a typical roof. 

Solar shingles are also called photovoltaic (PV) shingles. There are several different kinds available, but the most common are made from copper indium gallium selenide. This semiconductor is especially good at capturing light energy. 

Each solar shingle produces between 13 and 63 watts of energy, or about enough to power a light bulb. That doesn’t sound very impressive until you consider how many shingles it takes to cover your roof. 

These shingles are expensive, but they can add to the resale value of your home. They are designed to withstand the elements the same way asphalt shingles do. 

Solar shingles are installed the same way as asphalt shingles. Solar shingles have a lifespan of 20-30 years. 

common roofing materials

Concrete Tiles

Concrete roofing tiles came into use after World War II when many resources were in short supply. They have remained popular ever since. 

Consider the positives:

  • Concrete tiles are strong. That isn’t surprising – they’re concrete, after all. 
  • Concrete tiles reflect more heat than asphalt shingles, making them more efficient. 
  • Concrete is virtually fireproof. 
  • Concrete tiles are long-lasting, some as long as fifty years or more. There are still some around from the post-WWII era. 

Now, let’s look at the negatives:

  • These tiles are also heavy (again, not surprising for concrete). They weigh 4 to 5 times as much as asphalt shingles. Your roof frame may need to be reinforced to support that much weight. 
  • Concrete is porous, so it absorbs water quickly. Your roof will need a special sealant to keep water out. Some companies recommend resealing these tiles periodically, so check the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations before installing these tiles.
  • While the tiles have a great lifespan, the underlayment they rest on wears out much faster. The tiles will need to be removed and reinstalled when the underlayment needs replacing, typically after about 10 to 15 years. While this is not as expensive as replacing your roof, you can expect it to cost several thousand dollars. If you do it yourself, it will be much less expensive, but be prepared: concrete is heavy.
  • Concrete may cost about twice as much as asphalt shingles. Because of their weight, installation is also more expensive. The cost is offset to some extent by the lifespan of the concrete tiles, though. 

All Roofing Materials Have Positives and Negatives.

There are pros and cons to every choice. If you choose the least expensive option, you may find yourself buying another roof before you’re ready. That cedar shake roof will cost more, but if it makes you feel warm and cozy just thinking about it, it may be worth the expense. 

Paramount Exteriors can help you make this big decision. We’ll inspect your roof for free, advise you on all the pros and cons for your unique home, and make your roofing project painless and rewarding.  Contact us for your free inspection today!

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