Networx: Roof types factsheet: Pros and cons of 10 popular materials – Lifestyle – The Florida Times-Union

Do you want to install a new roof this year? Get the project started – prepare yourself with the facts about roofing materials before even hiring a contractor. Here you will find instructions on the advantages and disadvantages of 10 common roof types.

Asphalt shingles

ABOUT: Asphalt shingles, the most widely used in the United States today, are the roofing material for nearly 80 percent of American homes. Asphalt saturates both sides of the paper or fiberglass base, which is then coated with a layer of mineral granulate. Choose between the popular 3-tab asphalt shingle and the longer-lasting architectural shingle (also called “laminate shingle”).

PROS: Affordable and easy to install. Offer a quick upgrade to a home for sale.

Disadvantages: only suitable for steeply sloping roofs. Do not withstand extreme temperature changes or strong, direct sunlight. Relatively short lifespan of approx. 20 years.

Asphalt roll

ABOUT: Also known as the “Torch Roof”. Similar to asphalt shingles, but applied in one piece.

PROS: Easy, quick installation means lower costs.

Cons: Roof repairs are not that easy. Only takes 15 years on average.

Clay roof tiles

ABOUT: Made from clay that is molded and baked. AKA “Terracotta Roof Tile.”

PROS: Natural material. Has an attractive orange-brown color or may be colored. Can be molded into a variety of decorative shapes. Relatively long service life of over 40 years.

Cons: Fireproof, but not completely fireproof. Think about whether your building structure can support the weight. An additional frame may need to be added.

Concrete roof tiles

ABOUT: Molded from concrete.

PROS: Available in an interesting range of shapes and colors. Refractory.

Cons: Heavy weight. Not as durable as clay roof tiles


ABOUT: In the form of a single flat screen or clapboard. Materials include aluminum, copper, steel, tin, and zinc.

PROS: Fireproof, hail resistant, durable, lightweight, great for shedding snow, reflecting sun rays to stay cooler in summer. Can last 50 years or more.

Cons: Metal roof types tend to be noisy during rain and hailstorms. Steel must be treated to prevent corrosion.


ABOUT: Rubber roofs are available in thicknesses from 1 ¾ “to 3 ½”. The thickness you need will depend on factors such as your roof pitch.

PROS: Good insulator, fireproof, low-maintenance, environmentally friendly – especially if it is made from recycled tires. Resilient and excellent against hail storms. Lifespan of approx. 50 years.

Cons: Unattractive, flat black appearance … but this can be improved by coating with acrylic paint or buying rubber roofing strips to cut into “shingles”.


ABOUT: Consists of tiles made from natural stone.

PROS: Fireproof, water and weather resistant, recyclable natural material. Increase the value of your home. Often take more than 100 years.

Cons: Expensive to install. Also expensive and complicated to repair requires a slate tile specialist.

Solar tiles

ABOUT: Roof tiles with solar technology.

PROS: Avoid the hassle of installing solar panels on an existing roof and still convert solar energy into electricity for your home. Simplify roof repairs. Ideal for harsh climates as they can withstand strong winds and heavy hail.

Disadvantages: high cost of installing solar tiles, which requires a specialist.

Tar and gravel

ABOUT: After molten asphalt has been used to “glue” layers of tar paper roofing material in place, the roof is laminated and gravel coated for added protection.

PROS: One of the few roofing materials that are suitable for a flat or flat roof. Pretty cheap.

Disadvantages: Short service life compared to other roof types – up to 20 years.

Wooden shingles or shakes

ABOUT: Wood shingles are machine cut; Shakes are cut by hand. Usually cedar or redwood.

PROS: Excellent insulators. Add curb appeal and resale value. Lasts from 25 years with proper maintenance.

Cons: Expensive. Requires professional installation. High maintenance. Refractory treatment may be required to comply with local regulations. In addition, you need to treat wooden roofing materials against mold and termite infestation.

Laura Firszt writes for

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