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Different Types of Roofing Materials: A Homeowner’s Guide

Andre Kazimierski

A roof does more than merely provide protection – it contributes to any home’s aesthetics, value, and even energy efficiency. If you’re looking for a suitable roofing material, there’s no single solution that works for everybody. However, whether you seek a cost-effective roofing material, a durable roofing material, or an aesthetically pleasing one, this article is for you. So, read along and explore different types of roofing materials to find the perfect fit for your home.

Choosing the Best Roofing Material

The best roofing material for your home depends a lot on your needs, budget, and climate. If you want to make an informed decision, you should first become familiar with all types of roofing materials. Below you can find some of the most popular roofing materials, and their lifespan, aesthetics, maintenance requirements, and everything you need to know before you choose your roofing material among them. Using this article and considering your budget, climate, home structure, and time, you can choose the best roofing material.

What Are Different Types of Roofing Materials?

Here are some of the most common roofing materials:

Asphalt Shingles

The most common of them all, asphalt shingles are very cost-effective and they come in a variety of styles and colors. Asphalt shingles are made of a base mat (usually fiberglass or cellulose fibers from wood), a layer of asphalt coating, and a layer of mineral granules. Asphalt shingles with a fiberglass base mat have an extremely good level of fire resistance. In fact, they have a Class A fire resistance rating, which is the highest available for roofing materials. The mineral granules make the roofing protect your home against UV rays, and they come in a variety of colors, so they can make the asphalt shingles adapt to any aesthetic you choose for your home. Asphalt shingles are your best choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly roofing material that is available in a wide range of colors, styles, and textures to match your home’s aesthetics.

There are two types of asphalt shingles: Architectural and 3-tab shingles. Architectural asphalt shingles are the more durable and the more aesthetically versatile of the two. Asphalt shingles are easy to install, and their lifespan is somewhere between 20 to 30 years. Asphalt shingles are the best choice for cost-conscious homeowners and single-family residents.

plus-circle-line Pros of Asphalt Shingles:

  • Cost-effective
  • Wide range of colors and styles
  • Easy to install

Cons of Asphalt Shingles:

  • Susceptible to wind damage
  • Lifespan of 20 to 30 years

Asphalt Shingles Are Best For:

Cost-conscious homeowners and single-family residents. They are particularly suitable for homes in areas with mild weather conditions.

Wooden Shingles

Wooden shingles are a more traditional shingle roofing material made from cedar, redwood, or pine. This type of shingles has a natural and rustic aesthetic and can enhance the beauty of your home. Wooden shingles are quite durable and still rather cost-effective. While wooden shingles cost around twice as much or more compared to asphalt shingles, they also offer a potential lifespan of nearly 50 years. Wooden shingles are more difficult to install since there are a lot of technicalities to avoid rot and mold. Wooden shingles are quite aesthetically-pleasing in their natural state, though they can also be painted or stained.

Although wooden shingles can be treated with fire-retardant chemicals to improve their fire resistance, at the end of the day, they are made of wood. You can find Class B rated fire resistant wooden shingles on the market, but even then regular maintenance and other safety measures are needed to avoid fire. With a susceptibility to fire and a need for regular maintenance, wooden roofs should be chosen with a lot of consideration. Wooden shingles are suitable for homeowners who seek a traditional aesthetic, and those who live in areas with a low risk of fire.

plus-circle-line Pros of  Wooden Shingles:

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Potential lifespan of up to 50 years

Cons of Wooden Shingles:

  • Higher cost compared to asphalt shingles
  • Requires regular maintenance to prevent rot and mold
  • Susceptible to fire

Wooden Shingles Are Best For:

Homeowners who seek a traditional look and live in areas with a low risk of fire. Wooden shingles are also good for homes in dry climates.

Metal Roofing

One of the roofing materials that is more expensive than shingle roofing, yet also more durable is metal roofing. Metal roofings are made of various metals such as steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, and tin. Each of these metal roofing materials have their own strengths. Metal roofing usually lasts 40-70 years, making it a more durable option than shingle roofing. However, metal roofing is not at all as cost-friendly as shingle roofing. Metal roofs are very durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

plus-circle-line Pros of Metal Roofing:

  • Long lifespan (up to 100 years)
  • Resistant to extreme weather
  • Low maintenance

Cons of Metal Roofing:

  • High initial cost
  • Can be very noisy during rain or hail

Metal Roofing Is Best For:

Homeowners who prioritize durability and live in areas with extreme weather conditions. They are willing to invest more upfront for a roof that lasts a lifetime.

Clay Tile Roofing

Clay tile roofing has a distinctive and beautiful appearance, and it can last for several decades. These tiles are made of fired clay, and they can improve any home’s aesthetics. This type of roofing tiles a very eco-friendly option since clay tiles are made of natural clay and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Clay tiles are very durable even in extreme weather conditions, and have natural insulation properties and thus it can help preserve energy. However, clay tile roofing is expensive since clay tiles are difficult to make and install.

Also, clay tiles are a very heavy roofing material, and your home should be built strong enough to support clay tile roofing. Moreover, clay tiles are fragile, so the installation of clay tile roofing is an intricate job, and breakage is possible if the roofing material is struck by a heavy object. This makes the roof of your residence tricky to walk on and thus reduces accessibility.

plus-circle-line Pros of Clay Tile Roofing:

  • aesthetically-pleasing
  • Long lifespan (50 to 100 years)
  • Fire resistant
  • eco-friendly

Cons of Clay Tile Roofing:

  • Heavy (requires strong structural support)
  • Expensive
  • Fragile and difficult to install

Clay Tile Roofing Is Best For:

Homeowners in Mediterranean climates and those who prioritize aesthetics and durability over cost-effectiveness. They are ideal for homes that can support the weight of the tiles.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is one of the natural choices when it comes to roofing materials. While offering a high-end and elegant look, slate roofing is also quite durable. Very much like clay tiles roofing, slate roofing is also very heavy which means your home needs a strong structure to support slate roofing material. Slate roofs are extremely durable and can last for more than a century since they are made from natural stone. Slate roofs are thus also fire-resistant. However, slate roofs are quite expensive. Not only that, the installation of slate roofing is also quite an elaborate job which makes this roofing material even more expensive. 

plus-circle-line Pros of Slate Roofing:

  • Elegant appearance
  • Long lifespan (up to 100 years)
  • Fire-resistant

Cons of Slate Roofing:

  • Very heavy
  • Expensive
  • Requires specialized installation

Slate Roofing Is Best For:

Homeowners who prioritize a sophisticated look and durability way above cost. Slate roofing is great for homes with strong structural support.

Solar Tiles

Compared to other roofing materials, solar tile roofing is more innovative. Solar tile roofing is made from photovoltaic cells, and it can help save money on electricity bills since it generates electricity from solar energy. Installing solar tiles is very time-consuming, plus the tiles themselves are far more expensive than other types of roofing material. They are not a good option for homes in shaded areas, and they are more susceptible to damage compared to other options.

plus-circle-line Pros of Solar Tiles:

  • Generates electricity
  • Eco-friendly
  • Modern appearance

Cons of Solar Tiles:

  • Expensive
  • Time-consuming installation
  • Less durable compared to traditional tile and shingle roofing materials

Solar Tiles Are Best For:

homeowners who live in a sunny climate and are willing to pay a high price for an eco-friendly roofing material.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles are another good tile roofing option. They are made from a mixture of cement, sand, and water. Concrete tiles offer a similar lifespan to clay tiles but have a lighter weight. The durability of concrete tiles against fire and wind makes them a good choice for homes in extreme weather conditions. Concrete tiles thus offer a long lifespan and can be a durable and cost-effective alternative to clay tiles. However, concrete tiles are still a rather expensive type of roofing material, and they require more maintenance compared to many other types of roofing materials. Concrete tiles are lighter than clay tiles and slate, but still not so light. The appearance of concrete tiles can worsen with the passage of time since their color is prone to fading. 

plus-circle-line Pros of Concrete Tiles:

  • Durable and fire-resistant
  • Lighter than clay tiles
  • Long lifespan

Cons of Concrete Tiles:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Requires maintenance to prevent moss growth

Concrete Tiles Are Best For:

Homes in areas with extreme weather conditions. Concrete tiles are for homeowners who look for a durable and aesthetically pleasing roofing material.

Best Roofing Materials in Chicago

Considering Chicago’s diverse climate with hot summers and cold winters, it’s crucial to choose durable and resistant roofing materials. Asphalt shingles and metal roofing are particularly popular in Chicago due to their durability and cost-effectiveness. Asphalt shingles offer good insulation, which can help with the temperature variations in Chicago, while metal roofing can handle the heavy snowfalls and strong winds typical of Chicago winters.

Residential Roofing Services In and Near Chicago, IL

If you have a home near Chicago and you’re looking for trustworthy and professional roofing services, HomeHero Roofing is the best Chicago roofing company. Here’s what we can do for you:

Roof Inspection: In case you need a specialized opinion on your roof’s condition, our experts can help inspect your roof to assess its condition. This roofing service helps identify any potential issues and deal with them before it’s too late.

Roof Repairs: If your roof is damaged, HomeHero residential roofing services can help you repair your roof and prevent further costs and trouble in the future.

Roof Replacement: In case your roof needs to be replaced or you’re looking to renovate your home’s roofing, our team of specialized roofers can get your roof replaced in no time for a fair price.

Roof Installation: If you’re building a new house and looking for a specialized team to install your roof with the quality materials of your choice, HomeHero Roofing services can make sure you get a roof that is both aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

Roof Maintenance: Our professional roofers can conduct regular inspections and assure you about the integrity of your roof. Our roof maintenance services can help extend the lifespan of your roof, putting your mind at ease about your home’s condition.

We offer the best roofing materials in Chicago, and we serve all Chicagoland’s suburbs. Our experienced team can help you install, repair, inspect, replace, or maintain your home’s roof at the best price and in no time. Don’t hesitate to contact us at HomeHero residential roofing services for homes in and near Chicago, IL.

Frequently Asked Questions

Proudly serving Chicagoland, HomeHero Roofing Downers Grove offers top-notch residential roofing services. Based in Downers Grove, IL, our locally owned company prioritizes community involvement, superior craftsmanship, and reliable service. Protect your home with the trusted experts at HomeHero Roofing.

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