5 Types of Roofing Materials: How to Choose Your House Roofing

There are so many types of house roofing materials on the market today. It takes time to research the roof covering material that will best suit your home’s construction, the climate, and your personal tastes. On top of that, you have to consider the various roofing finishes and what will suit your new roof.

It’s honestly overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the different types of roof coverings to help you make an informed decision once you’re ready for professional roofing services. We’ll explain the different types of house roofing and roof finishing materials to help you narrow it down.

Asphalt House Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most common roof material used in the United States. It’s been around for decades and offers one of the more affordable ways to shingle your roof.

There are a variety of colors and patterns to choose from, and asphalt shingles will work with almost any architectural style for your custom home project. They cost between $70 and $120 a square.

The biggest drawback, however, is that asphalt won’t last as long as the other materials on this list. Typically, you can get about 20 to 25 years out of an asphalt shingle roof.

Metal Roof Coverings

types of roof coverings

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular across the US. These types of roof coverings are incredibly attractive and sleek, come in a wide range of colors, and can last for up to 50 years. In addition, metal freely expands and contracts compared to other roofing materials, enabling the panels to last a long time.

Metal is also lightweight and recyclable, and you can purchase a metal roof in zinc, copper, aluminum, or stainless steel. Metal’s high solar reflectance helps keep the home cool, and they’re ideal for rainwater harvesting. Metal roofing looks excellent on a cottage, contemporary, and bungalow-style homes.

The cons are these materials are a pricier option compared to asphalt shingles. Metal roofs cost between $100 and $300 a square.

Concrete and Clay Tiles for Roofing

When you’re in the market for exterior home remodeling, you might want to consider concrete or clay tiles for your roof. Clay and concrete tiles add texture, and you can purchase different types of roof finishes in these materials in flat, ribbed, or scalloped patterns.

This roofing material is incredibly durable but expensive. Concrete is cheaper than clay, but it’s heavier. So your home will need to be thoroughly inspected if you’ll be installing clay or concrete tiles and your current roof covering is a lighter material.

Concrete or clay tiles can last 50 years and are fire-resistant and energy efficient. They complement the following architectural styles best:

  • Mission
  • Spanish Revival
  • Mediterranean
  • Southwestern

Expect to pay between $300 and $500 a square.

Wood Shingle Roof Finishes

roof covering material

Wood shingle roofing finishes are usually made from cedar but can also be found in redwood and southern pine. Wood shingles are the most charming roofing material on the market today.

A hand-split cedar shingle will give you a more rugged, traditional look than machine-sawed shingles. They look excellent on bungalows, Cape Cods, cottages, Craftsman, Tudor, and French Revival homes.

The cons are cedar will naturally change color over time, going from a warm, honey-brown to a cool silvery gray after years in the elements. In addition, cedar will rot, split, mold, and curl in wetter climates if they aren’t precisely maintained. Finally, certain regions will not allow wooden shingles for fire-safety reasons.

They cost between $100 to $150 a square. Be sure to keep in mind the particular cons of these types of house roofing before you invest.

Synthetic Roofing

Composite shingles are the new kid on the block and are made from recycled rubber and plastic. Sometimes, you’ll find them in engineered polymers. These types of roof coverings are an attractive option if you want the look of traditional slate shingles without the price tag or heaviness.

Composite shingles can also be molded to look like cedar, giving you the look of wood shingles without the fire-safety issues or maintenance requirements. Bonus — you can’t tell from the ground that the shingles are synthetic. Synthetic roofing is also ideal if you want your home renovation to be environmentally-friendly.

They cost around $300 a square and are usually warrantied for 50 years. Newer materials haven’t been on the market long, so it’s difficult to say precisely how long they can last. Be sure to get your roof warrantied if you choose synthetic roofing.

How to Choose the Best Home Roofing Material

roofing finishes

When choosing from the different types of house roofing materials on today’s market, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What look do I want my home to have?
  • What is my budget?
  • How long do I want the roof to last?

Determining your personal roofing tastes, budget, and longevity and pinpointing where the three meets will help you narrow down your list and decide.


Our highly-rated Des Moines roofing company is ready to make your home the best-looking place on the block. We offer roofing installations as add-ons for more extensive exterior and interior home renovation projects.


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