If you are considering a new roof, you will choose roofing materials based on your needs, home’s style, and budget. Different types of roofing materials vary in appearance, weight, durability, costs, and maintenance requirements.

Asphalt Shingles

In the United States, asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material. Asphalt shingles have a fiberglass or cellulose core that’s covered with asphalt and ceramic granules. The advantages of asphalt shingles are that they’re lightweight, easy to install, and inexpensive. The primary disadvantage of asphalt shingles is they’re not as durable as other types of roofing materials.

An asphalt roof may need replacing in as little as 15-20 years. Traditional asphalt shingles are called three tab shingles. Laminated or architectural shingles often mimic the appearance of slate or wood and are thicker than three tab shingles. A roof with architectural shingles can last up to 30 years but is also more expensive.

Metal Types of Roofing Materials

Metal roofs are usually made of aluminum, copper, or steel. Some metal roof materials are manufactured to look like wood, slate, or clay. Taking on the aesthetics of different types of roofing materials makes metal roofing versatile.

Metal is more lightweight than asphalt shingles. Another advantage of a metal roof is it’s not subject to damage from fire, pests, or rot. Although a metal roof can be noisy during heavy rain, the roof will withstand most weather conditions.

Metal roofing requires little maintenance. Metal is energy efficient because it reflects some of the sun’s rays, which lowers cooling expenses. The main downside to metal roofing is that it is more expensive than budget-friendly materials like asphalt.


Homeowners often select a clay tile roof because it looks good with their home’s style. Clay roof tiles come in a variety of shapes, including the curved clay tiles commonly seen on Mediterranean, Mission, and Southwest style homes. Clay roofs are practically maintenance-free and not vulnerable to rot or pest damage.

The life expectancy of a clay roof is about 100 years. One disadvantage of a clay roof is the weight. Clay is heavy and the home’s structure may need reinforcement to support the weight of the roof. Among the different types of roofing materials, clay is a more expensive option.


Slate is similar to clay roofing materials in that it is heavy but durable. Slate is available in multiple colors to complement any home. A slate roof is fireproof and will last 100 to 150 years. Also like clay, slate roofing is an expensive roofing material and often requires structural reinforcement before the roofing is installed.

Wooden Types of Roofing Materials

Some homeowners prefer the appearance of wooden roofing materials. Wood roofing is available in machine-cut shingles and hand-sawn shakes, which are thicker than shingles. Although wood roofing can be treated for fire resistance, some building codes may prohibit it as a fire hazard.

A wood roof is vulnerable to rot and damage from woodpeckers, termites, and other pests. Cedar roofing is often preferred over other wood for its natural resistance to rot. However, a cedar roof has to be cleaned every few years to last its full 40-60 year lifespan.

Adamson Roofing Company serves Metro Atlanta with over 30 years of experience in roof inspections and replacements. Contact us to get a free quote.