Residential Roofing

Residential Roofing Products include those products necessary to provide a quality roofing system typically for a consumer’s home, garage or other residential applications.

Roofing your house rarely rates high on the list of fun and exciting home remodeling projects. But when your home develops a leak, your attitude might take a sharp turn. Suddenly, the prospect of a dry, tightly sealed house begins to look very attractive. A beautiful new roof can also improve the curb appeal of your house.

There are many types of roofing materials to choose from, and a little bit of investigation might lead you to consider a new type of roofing rather than simply replacing the same material you now have. Choosing the right roofing material requires that you weigh appearance, longevity, cost, and structural issues.

Here are 8 roofing materials to consider when it comes time to replace your roof.

  1. Rolled Roofing
Flat roof installation with propane blowtorch during construction works with roofing felt. Heating and melting bitumen roofing felt.
 Imagesines / Getty Images

Rolled roofing material is the mainstay of low-slope residential roofs as well as out-buildings like shops and sheds and other utilitarian structures. Rolled roofing consists of long rolls of mineral-impregnated and asphalt-impregnated material topped with mineral granules. Each roll is about 100 square feet of roofing, and about 3 feet wide.

These large-format strips of thin roofing material offer a fast, convenient, and inexpensive way to cover a sloped-roof building like a workshop where appearances aren’t important. Rolled roofing can be applied either with the torch-down method or with roofing nails.

2. Asphalt Composite Shingles

Composite Roofing Shingles with Metal Flashing
 Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Asphalt composite shingles are the most popular roofing material in North America. Made from a fiberglass base topped with asphalt and mineral granules, these three-tab shingles are an all-around good choice for most home roofing needs. They typically come with a 20- to 30-year warranty, and replacing individual shingles that are damaged is a fairly easy job. Virtually every roofing company is familiar with installing these singles. Composite shingles excel at flexing and adapting to a roof’s movements due to expansion and contraction.

3. Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Standing seam modern metal roof over vintage stone wall
 ottoblotto / Getty Images

The most common type of metal roof is the standing seam roof, so named because the aluminum or steel roofing panels meet in raised seams that interlock to keep moisture out. Metal roofs of all kinds are increasingly popular in regions with heavy snowfall or where there is a notable danger of wild fires since this is a roofing material that is fully fireproof.

Metal roofs are very long-lived and are fully recyclable when they finally do wear out. But installation requires special skills and not every roofing company is prepared to install a standing seam metal roof.

4. Metal Shingles or Shakes

roof
 c12 / Getty Images

For homeowners who do not like the look of standing seam metal roofs but want the advantages of metal, there are steel or aluminum shingles or shakes now available. Made from stamped metal and finished with either a high-quality baked-on coating or mineral granules, metal shingles can be fabricated to look very much like traditional asphalt shingles, wooden shakes, or even slate or clay tiles. They are an excellent choice where appearance is a critical concern.

5. Wood Shingles or Shakes

Cedar Dormer
 steverts / Getty Images

Wood roofs are very attractive, but they are also quite expensive and have limitations. They are not particularly long-lived, and they are a poor choice in areas that get lots of moisture or where wildfires are a danger. Still, they are among the most attractive of all roofing materials, which makes them a popular choice for luxury homes.

Although both are made from natural wood, usually cedar (typically found on Cape Cod-style homes) or redwood, there is a difference between wood shakes and shingles. Shingles are typically thin, wedge-shaped slabs of wood that are produced by precise sawing. Shakes are produced by splitting wood and they are thicker wedges with a rougher texture.

Longevity depends very much on circumstances and maintenance. In relatively dry climates a wood shingle or shake roof can last 60 years; in damp conditions, you may only get 20 years from the roof.

6. Clay Tile

Close-up of flat red clay roof tiles layered on a roof.
 Ulrike Leone / Getty Images

Clay tile is made from earthen clays molded into rolled or interlocking shapes and fired for hardness. It is often left unglazed, with the characteristic reddish-orange color; or it can be glazed and fired to form ceramic roofing tiles. Clay tile is a very good roofing material for hot climates or where salt air is present, which is why these roofs are seen so often in southern coastal regions or desert regions.

Clay tile is a very long-lasting roofing material that can last more than a century.

7. Concrete Tile

Roof tiles
 DariaRen / Getty Images

Concrete tile is an alternative to clay tile, with similar installation techniques and similar advantages. Concrete tiles are molded from standard sand-mix concrete colored to whatever hues are desired. A variety of profiles are available, some of which resemble rolled clay tiles, others that are low-profile resembling wood shakes. Concrete tile is sometimes finished with a decorative coating. It is a very heavy roofing material, making it a good choice in high-wind regions.

8. Slate Shingles

Roof of house in slate tiles
 nobtis / Getty Images

slate roof is perhaps the most beautiful roofing material there is—a choice for the homeowner who will accept only the finest. There are slate roofs hundreds of years old that are still functioning. True slate roofing is just as it sounds: authentic, thin sheets of real stone. Because slate has a tendency to cleave off in thin sheets, it is easy to quarry, making it ideal for roofing. But installing slate is a highly specialized skill, and qualified installers can be hard to find.

Conclusion
The variety of materials used in residential roofing is quite big, and the choice is to be made by an individual homeowner. In order to choose the ideal roof for your house, you must consider every possible aspect – the climate, the position of your home, the surroundings, and your house’s inherent structure and appearance.

To help alleviate that pain, there are qualified roofing contractors that set up appointments and consultations to advise you on choosing the right type of residential roofing for you. Also at the end I want to thank Jeff, a Mesa roofing contractor who helped us write this article.