A newly installed roof

Take Shelter: An Overview of Roofing Types

Whether you want it done professionally or you’d rather do it yourself, roofing is something you want done right. Here’s a list of three common types of roofing to help you weigh your options.

Shingle Roofs

This is the type of roofing that most people are familiar with. The term “Shingles” just means any type of roofing that has individual, overlapping sections, regardless of the material. The most common types of shingles, however, are asphalt or composite shingles.  These shingles can be seen on most homes and sometimes include warranties of up to 30 years. Their popularity could be explained by their relative inexpensiveness and ease of installation.

Of the three types listed here, shingling is most commonly the choice of do-it-yourself-ers. You can find asphalt shingles that look like metal and wood, but there are also other popular types of shingles that are completely different. Other options include solar shingles, metal shingles, slate shingles, wood shingles, and rubber shingles. For each of these, the life-expectancy differs, so research your specific choice before investing.

Metal Roofs

If longevity is your chief concern, metal roofing might be the choice for you. Corrugated iron and galvanized steel  were used for roofing in the past, but this material is now most commonly used for cheaper projects, like covering the roof of a shed or patio. Now, for homes, you’ll typically see steel-coated roofing coated with a colorful zinc alloy. The ability to choose this color is what appeals to a lot of homeowners as well.

If you have the money for it and are serious about getting a roof that will outlast the rest, you could consider copper roofing. It will most likely be the last roof you ever need to pay for. It’s a pretty costly purchase, but these roofs are lightweight, durable, low maintenance, and can last for hundreds of years. Tests of old copper roofs in Europe have suggested that, theoretically, copper roofs can last for a thousand years.

Tile Roofs

Like shingles, these tiles can come in many different forms. The most common, however, are concrete and clay roof tiles. These can also be chosen with specific color-coating and most are resistant to hail, fire, and moisture. Tile roofing allows for greater energy efficiency, as the pockets of air beneath the tiles allows for insulation. This keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. These are a bit of a middle ground between the other two roofing techniques, as tiles are fairly low-cost, but have been shown to last a very long time (some hundred year old tile roofs are still standing intact today). Like shingles, these can also be small, solar tiles.

Last Updated: November 20, 2014