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10 Roofing Material Options for your Home

Updated on February 9, 2011
Cedar Copper Roof
Cedar Copper Roof

What type of roof do you have on your home? This isn’t something that I’ve thought a lot about in recent years. That’s because I moved to San Francisco where I have lived in apartments and didn’t have a reason to pay attention to the roofs. However, I used to live in Arizona, where I lived in houses and knew about the roofs that were over my head. There are several different roofing options in Arizona. And in fact there are a lot of different roofing options available depending on where you live and how much money you are willing to spend for a good roof.

Here are ten examples of roofing material options that I’m aware of:

1.     Asphalt Shingles. When you think about the average roof on a home, the first image that comes to mind is probably shingles. The shingles people usually think of are the very common, affordable asphalt shingles that adorn most roofs. They are a popular choice but you should know that they don’t last very long so there are other options out there that should be reviewed as well!

2.     Wooden Shingles. One of my favorite types of roofing materials is wooden shingles. They provide a really natural ambience for the design of the home. They look terrific. Because they were often used during periods of the past, they are typically chosen to adorn historic homes. Maybe that’s what I really like about them – the homes they are on are usually beautiful! One drawback of these shingles, though, is that they require more maintenance than some of the other more common materials used in roofing.

3.     Clay Tiles. Another roofing material that I really like is clay tile. I got a chance to see a lot of this in the Southwest as it’s a really popular choice for ranch style homes. It’s the terracotta color of these tiles that makes them popular in this area. The clay tiles that I’ve seen most are curved clay tiles that create a stunning pattern on the roof although there are subtler flat clay tile roofs as well. They are great for homes with low-sloping roofs and multi-level roofs that can easily be seen from the street since their appearance adds such a great decorative look to the home!

4.     Metal Roof with a Standing Seam. One of the most popular roofing materials that I know of is metal. The reason that people select metal as their roofing material is because it is a highly durable material. It can withstand rough weather and will last a long time – something that’s pretty darn important when it comes to the roof of your home! In particular, many people choose to use a standing seam metal roof, which has a ridge at the top and then has interlocking metal panels that run vertically down from this ridge. The effect is aesthetically pleasing as well as effective.

5.     Tin or Aluminum Roofing. This type of roofing is inexpensive metal roofing. It isn’t usually used across the entire house, although it may be. Instead it is often used on portions of the house, such as over the garage. I don’t know an extensive amount about this type of roofing but what I do know is that it must sound amazing underneath these roofs when it’s raining out!

6.     Copper Roofing. A much more unique type of metal that is now being used in roofing is copper. The color of a copper roof is to die for! Of course, this isn’t a cheap option but the design effect can be worth the cost for some people.

7.     Slate Roofing. A terrifically gorgeous material that is sometimes used for residential roofing is slate. This material has a great color and provides a nice decorative look for the home. Slate roofing has traditionally been popular in European countries like France and Italy and is therefore great for homes seeking to replicate a European air. Perhaps of more importance, slate is a highly durable, long-lasting material that also happens to be fireproof! This option is beautiful but it will cost you at the outset because slate roofing isn’t cheap!

8.     Solar Panel Roofing. One of the most modern options for home roofing is the addition of solar panels atop the roof. Entire home roofs can be covered in solar panels. These absorb the sun and then use the energy from the sun to power the entire home. This is a great roofing material option for a green home. It can be expensive to install but saves you money in the long run.

9.     Living Green Roof. Another modern eco-friendly option is to turn your roof into a living roof. This means that there are plants and / or vegetables growing on the roof. The system is typically designed so that rainwater can be used to help the plant life grow and excess rainwater can even be used throughout the home. This can also be pricey to install (typically it’s best to hire a green professional to help you out) but it can be a great eco-friendly addition to your home. Plus it’ll make the roof of your home flower with beauty!

10. Plastic Roofing. This is a brand new type of roofing that is being explored by some home designers. Typically it is used to cover only portions of a home right now, such as an enclosed porch. However, designers are looking at using plastic across the entire roof of a home. This is not a green option unless the plastic being used is repurposed or recycled plastic. Then it could be a great modern option for the home!

Do you know of any other materials that are regularly used for residential roofing?

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