5 Residential Roofing Material Options & Which One Is Best

5 Residential Roofing Material Options & Which One Is Best

5 Residential Roofing Material Options & Which One Is Best

Residential roofing materials have improved over the decades, thanks to new technologies and innovations. With a wide range of options available in the market, how do you know what’s best for your home? To help you make an informed decision, here’s an overview of the five most common types of residential roofing materials.


Metal roofing has advanced far beyond the corrugated tin—a standard feature of sheds, barns, and other agricultural buildings in years past. Today’s metal roofs are made of copper, aluminum, steel, and zinc. Product types are pre-formed panels, vertical seams, and granular coated panels.

Metal roofs can be finished in different colors, textures, and styles, allowing you to have the look of tile, shingles, shakes, slate, or vertical panels. Metal roofs are sleek, lightweight, recyclable, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. They’re highly resistant to extreme weather conditions and excel at sloughing off heavy snow.


Tile is made from earthen clays or a mix of sand and concrete, then molded into rolled or interlocking shapes. Tiles have been used for roofing since ancient times. This type of roofing material gives a home a look of elegance, class, and sophistication. The half cylinders of tile roofing are standard in Mediterranean, Mission, and Spanish Colonial-style homes.

Tile roofing offers durability, strength, and longevity. It is resistant to insects, rot, and fire. Cement or clay roof tiles are ideal for hot climates because they emit heat instead of absorbing it, creating a more stable interior temperature. Tile roofing can withstand strong winds, but your home will require extra framing to support the intense weight of the material.


Wood was the primary choice for centuries, though its use has declined over the years. Usually made of cedar or redwood, wood roofing gives a house a classic charm. The material weathers out over time to a beautiful gray or soft silver patina.

There are two types of wood roofing: shakes and shingles. Shingles are machine cut to a uniform thickness to give your roof a smooth look. Shakes are hand-cut and are generally thicker and rougher, providing a more natural and rustic charm. Wood roofing is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Longevity very much depends on the area’s climate and care given (which can seem rather intensive).


Slate roof tiles are made of 100% natural stone and offer a distinctively elegant appearance. Available in an array of colorations, slate works well with European, Colonial, and French chateau homes. Durability is one of the slate’s strong points. The elegant roofing material is fireproof, impervious to insects, and absorbs relatively little water. 

It’s also long-lasting, sheds ice and snow easily, and requires little to no maintenance throughout its life. Slate quarried for roofing is dense, sound rock, which is expensive and very heavy. It requires a beefier roof structure for support. Because of its high cost and weight, slate isn’t used often these days.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt is the most commonly used of all roofing materials, and our top choice for best roofing material. This is thanks to its beauty, versatility, durability, and affordability. Improved technology and manufacturing processes have resulted in shingles guaranteed to last longer than ever before. Asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass medium sandwiched between asphalt layers, then given a surface of sand-like granules.

Three basic configurations are sold: the standard three-tab shingles, architectural shingles, and luxury shingles. They go up in quality, appearance, and price.

Here are more of the reasons why a great majority of homeowners choose asphalt shingles over other roofing options.

  • Affordability: Compared to other roofing materials, asphalt shingles are cheaper to install, maintain, and repair. You don’t have to break the bank to have an affordable and durable roof.
  • Versatility: Asphalt shingles look great on practically any kind of home. You have the option of different colors, shades, styles, and patterns to make your home unique.
  • Durability and Longevity: A material guaranteed to last a long time without thinning out your wallet? It may sound too good to be true, but asphalt has been the most preferred roofing material since its market debut. If properly installed and maintained, your asphalt roof can last up to 30 years.

Asphalt shingles can stand up to extreme temperatures, hailstorms, and heavy snow, thus requiring fewer repairs. Asphalt is neither too light nor too heavy, reducing uplifting issues. Today’s asphalt shingles are made with fiberglass matting for fire-resistance. 

  • Maintenance: Asphalt shingles are easy and inexpensive to maintain. They don’t rust like metal or rot like wood. While you’ll still need to get a professional roof inspection annually, you won’t be overly worried about maintenance. In the event of damage, shingles can be replaced easily without having to tear off entire sections of the roof.
  • Energy-Efficiency: Asphalt shingles do not absorb heat like some other roofing materials. Lighter colors will stay cooler, reducing heat transfer from outside to inside. This will keep your home cooler and cut down on your energy bills.

If you’re not sure which roofing material is right for your Lee Summit home, the roofing experts at Bill West Roofing are ready to help. We can evaluate your existing roofing system and your needs to make the appropriate recommendation. Contact us today to speak with a roofer or request a quote.

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