Comparison of roofing materials

January 21, 2022

The most common type of roofing material for the single-family house is the asphalt shingle. It is the most cost-effective product in most situations, however, there are several factors to consider:

·        Pitch of roof

·        Budget

·        Longevity

·        Resistance to hail, fire, algae

·        Type of neighborhood: mid-level, upscale…

In the asphalt shingle category, there are two main styles: three tab and dimensional.

Three-tab shingles had been the standard for decades. They usually last 15 – 25 years.

Dimensional (or architectural) shingles are thicker and give a more three-D appearance, like wood shakes. They usually last between 25 to 30 years, although the upgraded versions can last up to 50 years.

There are several other options as well, such as wood shakes, tile, composite and metal. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each, inorder of cost (low to high).

Asphalt shingles: 20 to 50 year life span.


Pro: Relatively inexpensive; Quick to install; Wide variety of styles and colors

Con: Vulnerable to  storm damage; Vulnerable to  fire; Vulnerable to  algae

Standing Seam metal roofing


Pro: Durable– 30 to 50 years Durable; More resistant to hail than asphalt; Non-combustible; Stands out visually; May not have to tear off existing shingles (depending on local codes); Low maintenance; pest resistant

Con:  Can be damaged in high winds; higher cost than asphalt shingles

Wood shakes: lifespan25 – 50 years


Pro: Visually stunning; Good impact resistance; Good wind resistance; Relatively easy to repair

Con: Discolors due to aging; Vulnerable to fire; Vulnerable to insects; Vulnerable to algae; More expensive; Vulnerable to rotting; Higher maintenance; Prone to cracking



Pro: Very attractive – can look like slate, tile, shakes…; Durable – up to 50 years; Will not crack, split or warp; Resistant to mold and algae; Low maintenance; Pest  resistant; More resistant to storm damage; More fire resistant than asphalt shingles

Con: Full coverage warranty may cost extra; More expensive

Tile roofing


Pro: Very appealing visually; Durable– can last up to 50 years; Resistant to storm damage; Fire resistant; Algae resistant; low maintenance; pest resistant; shields attic from summer heat

Con: Quite expensive; heavy - may require extra frame bracing

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