So you need to build a roof, but aren't too sure at to which type of roof you should use. Metal? Shingles? This guide will help in that decision.

 Are you stumped by the seemingly overwhelming options when it comes to putting a roof on your home?

Whether you are building a new home or need to replace the roof on your existing home, the type of roof material you choose is a crucial consideration. Read on to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of today's most commonly used roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a popular type of roof material, largely because of their cost. Priced between $.50 and $2 per square foot, asphalt shingles are also easy to maintain. They come in a wide variety of colors, too, which makes them appealing to many homeowners.

Designer shingles made of asphalt mimic the look of more expensive roofing options, such as slate, tile, and wood shakes.

If you're environmentally minded, asphalt shingles are a good choice because they can be recycled at the end of their lifespan and used for other purposes, including paving.

However, there are some downsides to asphalt. They are less resistant to high winds, so they may not be the best choice in climates that experience hurricanes or other extremely windy conditions.

Another consideration is their durability. An asphalt roof doesn't tend to last as long as other materials. Asphalt shingles are generally warrantied for 30 years, but their lifespan is generally closer to 15-20 years.

Wood Shingles or Shakes

Roofing shingles or shakes made from wood, such as cedar, are absolutely beautiful to look at and can enhance a home's curb appeal (and therefore its resale value) tremendously.

Additionally, cedar shakes are naturally energy-efficient, with insulating properties twice as effective as asphalt shingles. They're durable and can withstand extreme weather phenomena such as high winds, hailstorms, snowstorms, and heavy rains.

The main disadvantage to cedar shakes is their cost. They're generally priced between $6 and $9 per square foot, making them the most expensive type of roof.


Want your roof to have superior durability and unparalleled aesthetic appeal? Consider a slate roof.

Not only does slate lend an old-world charm to a home, but it also can easily last for 100 years. It is non-combustible, waterproof, and strong, so it protects homes in all types of inclement weather.

Naturally, this means that a slate roof is an investment. You will pay between $5 and $8 per square foot for this roofing material.

Because a slate roof is also tricky to install, hiring a roofing company that specializes in slate is absolutely essential. This will drive the cost up even further.


Once associated almost exclusively with commercial buildings, metal roofs are becoming increasingly common on residential homes. That's because they now come in a variety of colors and styles, and can complement any architectural style.

Metal also offers a good compromise between cost and lifespan. The price of a metal roof is between $4 and $9 per square foot, but a metal roof will easily last for 50 years or more before it needs to be replaced.

Moreover, metal roofing can offset energy costs by reflecting heat in the summertime. And contrary to what many people think, metal roofs really aren't any noisier than their slate or shingle counterparts.

What Type of Roof Is Best?

There's no one answer to this question, of course. It depends on your budget, the style of your home, and whether you plan to sell the home in the next decade or in hopes that your children will one day inhabit it with their families.

Are you considering a new roof? If so, what sort of roof are you leaning towards? Have questions for other homeowners?

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!


About The Author

Hi, we're the Designblendz team! We blend overlapping design disciplines to raise the standard to design, visualize, and build virtual and physical environments.