What is the best type of roofing materials for your roof?

2022-12-14 07:19

A question we get asked a lot at Bros. Roofing is what different types of roofing are available? People come to us needing a new roof and are surprised to learn there are at least ten different types of roofing materials common in the U.S. & Canada.

The type of roofing we choose depends on many factors because not any roof can work on any home. Some roofs work best in hot climates down south, like clay or concrete tile, while others like green roofs fight air and noise pollution in big cities. So let us get into the different types and how they can benefit both residential or commercial properties.

Asphalt Shingles

The number one roofing material used in the United States is asphalt composite shingles.
They are incredibly economical and are an excellent investment for your home. They are more affordable than other materials and last upwards of 20 years, depending on weather and maintenance.

In addition, they come in a multitude of styles and colors. Depending on the color of your home’s exterior and your landscaping, asphalt shingles will be able to give you the right color palette you need. Choose from light and dark browns, light and dark greys, black, green, reddish-brown, even blue-gray for a beautiful backdrop to a green forest line.

Slate Shingles

Slate shingles are one of, if not the longest-lasting, roofing material you can get. With very little maintenance, slate shingles can last 100 years or more. That’s probably why they’ve earned the name of the forever roof. Slate is water-resistant, fire-resistant, aesthetically pleasing, and incredibly environmentally friendly. Between 3 and 4 roofs are replaced and tossed in a landfill in the amount of time that one slate roof would last.

There are some downfalls of a slate roof, however. Hail is its worst enemy due to the shingles breaking easily with force, so don’t install them in areas prone to hail. Second, they are quite expensive for consumers. But if you are truly looking at this in terms of an investment in your life-long home, the payoff is huge due to the roof lasting even long after you own the home.

slate roofing

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is becoming more and more common. There are a few different types of metal roofing, including metal panels and corrugated panels. They are very well suited for commercial or agricultural structures, as their composition to expand and contract in varying temperatures can be bad for a residential roof. Metal roofs are great for conserving energy, shedding snow and water, reflecting sunlight to keep cooling costs down, and are very lightweight for easy installation and maintenance.

Metal Panels

Metal panels are quite large, around 4 feet long, and are stamped to give the appearance of a slate or shingle roof. The metal can also be stone-coated steel which is steel that has an acrylic base that stone is embedded into. It’s ultra-durable and is a great option to hide any dents or defaults. Since its texture has an almost dented look already, it can hide flaws easily. However, other metal panels with a flat reflective surface will dent easily and will not conceal it quite like the stone-coated steel.


metal roofing

Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are a more common option than metal panels due to the ease of installation and aesthetically pleasing look. They generally come in slate or shingle-shaped options, but they are much lighter because typically, they aren’t stone-coated steel. At first glance, they look similar to a regular asphalt shingled roof, but with the strength and durability of metal—so you don’t have to sacrifice style for superior protection. The one downfall is their hefty price tag upfront, but the longevity will give you incredible ROI.

Clay Tiles

Common in the southern states, modern clay tile roofs are typically found in those warmer climates. They can withstand very high heat and are incredibly durable. They have a higher cost initially than other, more common types of roofing, and repair costs can be high. One other consideration is they are pretty heavy, and it’s essential to make sure your home can handle the extra weight of the roof before deciding to go with clay tiles. They are well suited for homes in the southwestern states, both functionally and aesthetically.

clay roof

Other Roofing Materials Required for a Strong Roof

There is so much more that goes into your roof installation than just the shingles. And the entire system as a whole is what ensures you have a strong roof that lasts for decades to come.

Roof Decking

Your shingles are just one piece of your roof. And you can’t place those shingles on your roof without the roof decking. Roof decking is your support system. These wooden boards that make up the framing of your roof are known as decking. These boards form the base for your shingles and other elements.

It’s imperative that you have strong roof decking, so your roof doesn’t collapse under the weight of heavy roofing materials. Some materials are better suited for particular weather conditions, so if you have strong winds or hail in your area, it’s important that your roof decking can stand up to this type of weather.


Underlayment is the material that goes directly on top of your roof decking. It is a strong felt material that is your roof’s last line of defense before the decking. It helps protect against leaks and cracks and should always be replaced anytime your roofing materials are replaced.


Flashing is installed anywhere your shingles or roofing materials butt up to something like your chimney, valleys, skylight, window, wall, etc. These areas are especially vulnerable to water leaks and are essential to keeping water out of these cracks. Metal flashing is installed as a bridge between the shingles and the chimney/wall/valley. Where the two ends meet is where your roof can leak, so proper flashing is critical.

Drip Edge

Drip edge is made of the same material as your flashing and wraps around your roof’s perimeter. Anything that hangs over a wall or an eave must have a drip edge installed to keep water from getting behind the shingles and into your home.

Ice and Water Shield


An ice and water shield is an add-on item that goes under your shingles. It’s like extra protection for your roof decking and helps protect against leaks where the shingles meet things like gutters, fascia boards, etc. In climates where heavy snowfall is common, this is crucial to ensuring your roof keeps you protected and warm during those frigid winter months.

Roof Vents


Roof vents are another vital part of your roofing system. These are holes that are installed in the lower parts of your roof to let trapped heat escape, allowing your attic space to breathe and stay cool. It is not advisable to block or close these off because they are essential for letting warm airflow through your attic during the summer months.

Pipe Boots

And lastly, pipe boots which help to avoid leaks. A pipe boot is a synthetic rubber boot that surrounds your roof penetrations. They must be changed anytime you replace your shingles. Note: It is important to regularly inspect these for cracks or leaks as they are one of the most leading causes of attic and roof leaks.

Getting the Best Materials for Your Home

As you can see, a lot goes into giving you a strong roofing system. Between the amazing roofing material options and choosing the best quality roofing elements, you could be well on your way to a solid roof for years and years.

Once you have found the best materials for your home, you need to find a quality contractor to install them all correctly. 
Thankfully, Bros. Roofing knows roofing, and we would love to work with you! Give us a call today to get started with your free quote!

To get started on your new roof installation, contact us today!

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