If your home needs a new roof, you should first consider the different roofing materials available. Various roofing materials each have their unique pros and cons that can significantly influence your decision.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Roofing Materials

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of four popular roofing materials: asphalt shingles, wood shingles, tiles, and metal roofing.

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingles are affordable and readily available in a variety of colors. They are the most common of all the different roofing materials. Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are also Class A fire-resistant and can withstand a fire for as long as two hours. However, other roofing materials are superior to asphalt if you live in an area prone to forest fires. 

The biggest disadvantage of asphalt shingles is that they have a relatively short lifespan when compared to other roofs. Asphalt shingles should last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but some other types of roofs can last 50 years or longer. Asphalt shingles are prone to wind and storm damage. It’s not uncommon for asphalt shingles to blow off during severe winds. 

Wooden Roofing Materials

Wooden shingle roofs tend to last a bit longer than their asphalt counterparts, at about 30-40 years. The lifespan of wood shingles depends on the type of wood, the thickness of the shingles, and your local climate. Wood roofs are aesthetically pleasing, with an organic, natural look. They also weigh less than some other types of roofing material.

One disadvantage is that wooden shingles are more expensive than some roofing materials. Also, they should periodically be treated with a fire retardant and may even be banned in your area due to fire concerns. Wooden shingles also need occasional treatment with fungicides and preservatives to keep the shingles from warping, cracking, drying out, and growing mold and mildew.

Metal Roofs

The biggest advantage of a metal roof is a lifespan of up to 60 years. Special coating treatments and factory paint will also increase the roof’s lifespan. Metal roofs can be made from aluminum, steel, or copper, and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. Furthermore, adding a metal roof is a good way to increase your home’s value. Metal roofing is also very fire resistant. As a result, choosing a metal roof can also lower your home insurance rate, especially in states that experience frequent wildfires.

The big disadvantage to a metal roof is the higher cost, both for the materials and for the installation. 

Tile Roofing

Tile roofing is very attractive and gives your home an exotic, Mediterranean appeal. Another big advantage is that the tile roofing is non-combustible. Tile roofs are also rot and pest-resistant, and have a long lifespan, lasting for at least 100 years. A tile roof can also reduce your monthly energy bill since ceramic and concrete have energy-saving attributes.

The disadvantage of a tile roof is two-fold: the cost and the weight. Tile roofs are very expensive and heavy. A tile roof can put a strain on the structural integrity of your house. If your house wasn’t built with a tile roof, it’s important to discuss adding this type of roof with a structural engineer.

A licensed roofing contractor will be able to help you determine the best roofing material for your home, budget, and local climate.

Steve Smallman Property Inspections provides home inspection services to the North Carolina Triangle. Contact us to book an appointment.