What Materials Can Be Used For Roofing?

What Materials Can Be Used For Roofing?

Nearly any material can be used to make a roof: palm fronds, canvas tarps, et cetera. But if you’re looking for safety, durability, and beauty, you may want to avail yourself of modern advances and choose one of the more technologically sound materials that we use to build houses in the United States and Canada. This article is intended as a guide for homeowners who may be considering a roof replacement. Before accepting roofing quotes, it’s in your best interest to acquaint yourself with the materials that roofers use.

Factors for Choosing a Roofing Material

While you may have personal preferences when it comes to roofing materials (I grew up in an asphalt shingle home and I will die in an asphalt shingle home), there are three main considerations that most homeowners use to factor into their roofing material decision:

  • Durability
  • Beauty
  • Price

If you live in a state that’s prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or torrential rains, you need a particularly durable roofing material. Other states are blessed with milder climates, and roofs tend to last longer. Certain materials are more expensive than others and the price often correlates with the durability of the material. For instance, concrete tile roofs are very durable, but they’re also much more expensive than asphalt-shingle roofs.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but many people have a preference for pricier materials, such as clay-barrel tiles or metal shingle.

5 Common Roofing Materials

The following prices are approximations. Regional pricing factors and shortages may affect the price you’re quoted by your roofing contractor.

  1. Metal Shingles – These are attractive, strong, versatile, and come in many colors and shapes. Additionally, their reflective value can reduce your cooling costs. They are, however, relatively expensive. $7-9 per square foot.
  2. Architectural Shingles – Like metal shingles, architectural shingles are versatile, long-lasting, and can withstand high winds (most are rated up to 120 mph). Architectural shingles are thicker than 3-tab shingles. Pricewise, they represent a happy medium between metal shingles and 3-tab shingles. $3.50-6 per square foot.
  3. Clay Tile – Clay tiles can last up to a hundred years in relatively harsh climates, which makes them both a sound investment and eco-friendly. For Mediterranean or Mexican-style homes, clay tiles are essential. They are, however, very expensive. $12-18 per square foot.
  4. Concrete Tile – Concrete can be made to look like many other materials. Additionally, it’s highly durable and can last up to a hundred years. It’s half the price of clay tile roofs, making it an attractive option. $6-10 per square foot.
  5. Wood Shingles – These are usually made from materials like pine, western red cedar, redwood, or cypress. Nothing can match the distinctive beauty of wood, but there are some maintenance issues. Because it’s an organic material, it needs to be treated for things like mold, water damage, and termites. Depending on the type of wood you use, you could be paying anywhere from $4-9 per square foot.
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Final Thoughts on Roofing Materials

There are many other roofing materials commercially available in the United States and Canada. If you’re unsure about which type of material is right for your home, talk to a roofing contractor in your area to get suggestions. If they don’t work with a type of roofing material you’re interested in, ask why? It may be that the material you want isn’t suitable for your area.

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