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How to Choose the Best Roofing Materials for Your Home

Published: 07/06/2021

As an event that only takes place, in many cases, once in a lifetime, having your home’s roof replaced is a significant process with equally significant benefits associated with it. A new roof adds value to your home, updates your curb appeal, and, most importantly, protects what’s inside your home from the weather.

If you’re a homeowner in need of a roof replacement, you may be shocked at the number of different types of roofing materials available. Each of the many different choices of roofing materials have their own set of characteristics that can produce a significantly unique result.

When choosing a roofing material, your roofer will take you through the various features of each to help you make your choice. They include:

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespans of each roofing material are as follows:

  • Asphalt 3-tab shingles: 20 to 30 years
  • Asphalt architectural shingles: 30 to 50 years
  • Wood shingles: 20 to 30 years
  • Metal roofs: 40 to 80 years
  • Slate, concrete and clay tiles: 60 to 150 years

The actual lifespan of each material will vary depending on the climate in which you live, whether any significant weather events take place and how well you maintain your roof.


Of course, your roof is a large investment, so you will undoubtedly consider cost in your decision-making process. The average cost per square (100ft2) of the most common roofing materials typically fall into the following ranges:

  • Asphalt 3-tab shingles: $170-$440
  • Asphalt architectural shingles: $300-$1,500+
  • Wood shingles: $480
  • Metal roofs: $300-$1,800
  • Slate, concrete and clay tiles: $800-$1,800

These price ranges will vary depending on your region’s average pricing, recent weather events, and, most recently, unforeseen incidents like a global pandemic and associated material shortages.

Potential Drawbacks

Though each material has a range of beneficial characteristics, they also each have potential drawbacks, depending on your home’s location, structure and style.

roof asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles:

While more affordable than nearly any other roofing material, they also have the shortest lifespan of any other option. Asphalt shingles are Class-A fire resistant – a definite plus in the safety column – but are the most susceptible to wind uplift, impact damage, and in some cases, algae growth. Finally, though asphalt shingles are recyclable, they’re not exactly eco-friendly to produce, as their production creates significant greenhouse gas emissions.

roof asphalt shingles

Wood shingles:

Wood roof shingles are longer lasting than asphalt but are on the more expensive side in terms of roofing materials. Their durability and lifespan also depend on several factors, including your local climate, which type of wood is used and the thickness of the shingles. While wood shingles are aesthetically pleasing to homeowners who prefer a natural look, they do require additional maintenance, including periodic fungicide and fire retardation treatments. In some counties, wood shingles may be banned altogether for fire concerns. They do, however, offer a lightweight alternative while offering protection against moisture – though they are vulnerable to mold, mildew and algae.

roof asphalt shingles

Metal panels/shingles:

Metal roofing can be composed of different materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper, to complement nearly any style of home. It’s even possible to get your metal roof reinforced with a zinc, rubber or paint coating for added strength and weatherproofing. Metal roofs have an impressively long lifespan, but it does come with a significant upfront cost. The installation must also be performed by an experienced, licensed metal roofer. Once attached, a metal roof is fire-resistant, can lower your insurance premiums and will increase the value of your home. Metal’s inherent solar reflectance can also help offset some of your monthly energy costs.

roof asphalt shingles

Slate, concrete, and clay tile roofing:

Tile roofing is resistant to fire, pests and rot, and can last up to 100 years with proper care. While tile roofing is one of the most expensive options, its lifespan alone can reconcile the initial cost. Furthermore, tile roofing can play a large role in reducing your energy bills. One thing to watch out for, however, is the sheer weight of tile roofing. It’s important to have your home evaluated by a structural engineer to make sure your home’s framework can support the weight of the tiles if you’re planning to switch from a different type of roof. Concrete, slate and tile provide a natural aesthetic and are fairly easy to repair should they endure any impact damage.

roof composite shingles


If your heart is set on a certain look or feel, but the material you want is out of reach due to any of the constraints listed above, you may want to consider synthetic or composite materials. Composite shingles can run anywhere from $110 to $1,600 per square depending on the grade you choose. Composite shingles can imitate wood shake, clay tiles, or slate shingles and are lighter weight, tend to have a longer lifespan and are more affordable. They’re often made from recycled materials, rendering them much more eco-friendly than some of their authentic counterparts.

AKVM is your local Sarasota-Bradenton residential and commercial roofer!

Our experienced roofers will be happy to explain the pros and cons of different roofing options, and we’ll be available every step of the way to answer all of your questions. We understand that choosing a reliable & knowledgeable contractor is the most important aspect of any roofing project, and we want to assure you that you can relax knowing your roof is in the best of hands.

Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and quote: 941-727-3996

Contact AKVM


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