Photo Courtesy of CertainTeed Corporation

From natural materials like slate and wood to manmade products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers, there are more types and styles of roofing to choose from today than ever before.

While each has its advantages and shortcomings, they all can add a distinctive design element to your home. So which one is right for you?

What to Look for in a Roof

There are many factors to consider when selecting a roof including:

  • How long will it last?
  • Does it hold up during natural disasters such as wildfires or hurricanes?
  • Is it too heavy for the existing roof framing?
  • Does the roof have enough slope?
  • Will the look complement the style of the house?
  • Are the materials eco-friendly and recyclable?
  • Is the type of roofing allowed by local building codes?
  • And finally, how much does it cost?

Pros and Cons

Some types of roofing may be better suited for your house than others. Factors such as the slope of the roof and strength of the framing could limit your choices.

In areas prone to wildfires or hurricanes, look for a product with a high fire rating or good wind resistance. In addition, steps can be taken during the installation of many types of roofing to improve their resistance to fire or wind.

Below is a rundown on the different types of roofing available.

Asphalt Composition Shingles


Photo Courtesy of CertainTeed Corporation

Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing for homes, comprising over 80% of residential roofing market.

  • Materials: Made of either an organic paper fiber mat (better for cold weather and wind resistance) or fiberglass (more fire and moisture resistant) impregnated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules.
  • Appearance: Available in traditional 3-tab shingles or thicker laminated “architectural” shingles.
  • Eco-Friendly: Petroleum-based product that’s not eco-friendly. Can be recycled, though often taken to landfills.
  • Durability: Not very durable. Algae-resistant shingles are available in humid climates to prevent staining.
  • Weight: Moderate in weight.
  • Slope: Can be used on low to steeper-sloped roofs.
  • Fire & Wind: Good fire resistance, fair wind resistance.
  • Cost: Inexpensive to moderate.


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