Types of Roofing Around the Country
Whether you’re a first-time buyer trying to figure out which roofing material to put on your new home, a homeowner thinking of upgrading, or a business there are a number of options to consider. From asphalt and metal to a myriad of commercial roofing variants and a number of other materials, they’re all different and aren’t all suited to every climate. WIth that in mind, here are the most popular roofing materials, where they’re most-used, and the benefits of each!
Types of Roofing Materials - 6/25/2021
Asphalt shingles are the most-commonly used type of roofing in the United States, with about nine out of every ten houses being covered with them. Architectural shingles are thicker and more durable than their 3-tab counterparts.
The style of asphalt shingle you choose can determine the shape and color options available. You’ll usually see them in brown, red, or gray, but you can find them in a few more vibrant colors like blue or green that will make your roof stand out. The most popular manufacturers provide dozens of shades, comprising nearly every color in the rainbow… and then some!
If you’re wondering why they’re so popular, asphalt shingles have been used for over 100 years because of their ease of use. While they were originally made with organic materials, their current construction of asphalt, fiberglass, and various minerals is more reliable.
Some of the pros of asphalt shingles are:
- Low cost for almost any budget
- Available almost anywhere and they’re good for most weather
- They require very little maintenance
- You have options of coloring
- For the environmentally-conscious, asphalt shingles are made of recyclable materials.
They do have a few cons, though:
- They don’t last as long as more cost-prohibitive (expensive) materials
- Exposure to the sun makes their color fade over time, so they’ll need to be replaced more often.
- Specifically, the 3-tab design is more affected by wind and has half the lifespan of architectural shingles. Three tab shingles are known for lasting up to fifteen years and the architectural shingles are known for staying put for up to thirty.
Some of the biggest brands in the roofing market are responsible for the production of asphalt shingles. According to Consumer Reports, the top brands of shingle manufacturers include:
- Owens Corning
- Atlas Roofing
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Another common roofing material, metal, has been used for centuries. Metal roofing is either paneled or shingled and you have the option to buy it pre-sealed for easier installation, though that’s a little more expensive.
One of the best things about metal roofing is the amount of design options you have because, on top of shingles and sheets, they’re also distributed to mimic other types of roofing like wood and slate.
- Long-lasting. Your metal roof can be up there for over 70 years if you do it right
- The materials are affordable at around $10 per square foot on average. That’s because metal roofing is typically made with cheaper metals like aluminum or copper.
- Due to the metals used, they don’t weigh a lot which is great for carrying them up a ladder.
- Variety. Not only can you find metal roofing in a plethora of colors, but you’ve got a lot of style choices. Beyond the ones already mentioned, you can get aluminum or steel shingles, corrugated steel, copper roofing, or several other options.
- Mimic metal shingles are cheaper than normal metal roofing.
- It’s put together with a “standing seam,” which basically doubles the cost to install.
- Because the standing seam is a precise way of installing metal roofing in straight lines without any ripples, it requires a roofer. So while the materials are relatively cheap, you have to pay to have them installed.
- Noise. Because metal can be so loud when rained on, it needs some kind of soundproofing or you’ll end up feeling like your house is an echo chamber. Some people like this, but others find it to be unbearable.
Less Common Roofing Materials
Another roofing material that’s great for almost anywhere is slate. It has a number of pros that make it universally available. It’s not as affordable as asphalt, but it’s definitely got a strong argument for consideration depending on what you’re looking for.
- Lifespan of up to 200 years.
- Fire-retardant without treatment.
- Resistant to strong winds and climates.
- Slate can be heavy, so your roof must be capable of supporting the weight. Otherwise it will sag (or worse).
- The price is comparable to clay tiles, so you’ll spend an average of $15 per square foot.
Wood and shake tiles are best in dry climates, though they’ll need fire treatment depending where you live. 50 years can go by without issue, but a wet or humid area would have you replacing your roof often.
Wood shakes are the same material as shingles, but the shape is different. Where shingles are consistently one length, shakes are made in wedges as a design choice.
- Natural insect repellent, especially with cedar which is the most common wood tile.
- Gives a unique, rustic, old-world aesthetic to your roof that some people prefer.
- Prone to moisture damage. They can also gather mildew or mold over time.
- Depending on your location, they’ll need some kind of anti-flammable treatment.
- With all of the treatments and repairs, wood requires more maintenance.
The stylistic options of clay tiles are geographic, like French or Spanish. That’s because of the specific look they give your home, but that look comes at the average cost of $14 per square foot.
Clay is found most in places like Miami or Southern California, because it’s a perfect material for the hotter climates. It’s also naturally fire-retardant and won’t get ripped by high winds.
- Not only is the material naturally resistant to fire, but clay also cools your home.
- You have a few color options, like red and gray or brown and terracotta.
- Withstands winds over 100 miles per hour.
- Easily broken if dropped. Clay is susceptible to impacts.
- You might need to pay to have it installed.
- On top of location, many houses can’t have clay roofing due to the weight.
Despite the name, flat roofs are all built with a small angle to account for rainfall and water buildup. However, flat roofing is mostly used in dry climates with very little rain. They’re also mostly found on commercial buildings, like malls, warehouses, factories, and chain stores.
- Provide great protection if installed properly.
- Resistant to damage, so you won’t have to replace them often.
- Better waterproof materials are available now.
- You can use the flat area for a rooftop garden to be more environmentally friendly.
- Modern flat roofing is made with less layers than before, but it still takes more effort to replace than some on this list.
- Requires specialized installation. While there have been waterproof advancements and the slight slope helps, if not put in properly you can end up with leaks, mold, or pooling water that can fall through your roof.
- Unfortunately, if you need a flat roof, the cons probably don’t matter, as you don’t have a choice.
Albert Adamkoski Roofing
Called him because I had a concern about a leak and he gave me some great advice on how to fix it myself. Very nice and pleasant I highly recommend!
Justin – Roof Repair Customer
Was concerned about my roof after finding a few shingles had blown out because of the wind. I contacted Adam and he quickly had the shingles repaired and inspected my roof and nailed down everything that was loose. For the same amount he quoted me he cleaned out my gutter and fixed and sealed everything that didn’t look right. I highly recommend this gentleman as he will remain my roofer.
David – Roof Repair Customer
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Commercial Roofing Options
While some of the previously-discussed materials are used in commercial roofing, there are a few that are only utilized for commercial buildings because of their traits. In fact, CertainTeed’s 3 principle components of a roof are weatherproofing, reinforcement, and surfacing.
Built-Up Roofing has been used across the United States for over a century because it’s so versatile and durable due to layers of protection and resistance.
- Resistant to fire, electricity, impact, and puncture.
- Extremely strong.
- Available in waterproof and reflective coatings.
- Great traction for rain or snow if work is needed on the roof.
- You can have the same BUR for 30 years because of the layers of material.
- Cost. The average price of BUR is about $200 per square foot, which isn’t the worst but there are better prices out there. Since BUR takes longer to install, the cost of lengthy roofing further increases the overall price.
- Strong winds can blow materials off the roof.
- Prone to leaks and mold from water.
- Weight. BUR can weigh as much as 25 pounds in a square foot, so your roof has to be strong enough to support that.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin is relatively new to the market, but it’s already making a name for itself among flat or sloped roofs. According to IKO, TPO is the most-common roofing material for new commercial roofing.
- Easy to install.
- Naturally reflective since it’s mostly manufactured with white on top.
- Resistant to corrosion, water-related damages like mold, and tearing.
- Because it’s a cheaper material, it can have a shorter lifespan of a decade.
- Has to be installed correctly to last because the seams can come up if not heat-sealed properly.
Named for the chemicals that make up the material, EPDM comes in sheets and can be found most on flat roofs.
- Cheapest among roofing materials for these types of roofs.
- Can be great for insulation and electric costs with proper insulation and a white coloration.
- Can last up to 20 years.
- The cost is dependent on the type of EPDM you use and the installation method.
- Loses strength of protection over time.
- Susceptible to damage.
Most, if not all, commercial roofing has a protective coating to increase durability and sustainability. There’s a base coating to strengthen the bonds in the roofing materials, but any additional coating is usually geographically-determined.
Waterproof coating is used in wetter climates, UV protection is for warmer areas with less cloud cover, and corrosion coating is for wet locations or factories that use chemicals. There are other coatings, but those are the most common.
Our crews applying a roof coating to a commercial flat roof
That Covers it All (Excuse the Pun!!!)
Whether it’s asphalt, slate, wood, metal, or clay, there are a number of materials to choose from when it comes to protecting your roof. This decision is even more important if you have a flat roof or plan to construct a commercial building.
A lot of the time an owner will start with one choice and try another when replacing or repairing their roof, especially with commercial structures, so figure out which reinforcement, lifespan, and type works best for you!
Albert Adamkoski Roofing
Really awesome people. Friendly and knowledgeable. Great service, on time. I will absolutely hire them again and recommend them for sure.
Tina – Metal Roofing
Me. Adamkoski came when he said he would have me a firm price came the next day on time and did a great job on re-roofing. His crew was polite and very accommodating . They cleaned up the entire area. Highly RECOMMEND HIM.
Brian – Shingle Roofing
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