The Tuscaloosa roofing contractors at PRN Roofing have worked with all kinds of homeowners with all kinds of needs — and that means we’ve discussed all kinds of roofing materials. Many homeowners are looking for durability and longevity, others are looking for unrivaled beauty, and others need the cheapest roofing option possible. Fortunately, there’s a roof out there for everyone!

In this blog, we’ll break down the primary roofing materials on the market today. Ask us about the roofing materials we use, and get a free estimate today.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are, by far, the most common roofing material on the market today — and there’s plenty to love. These shingles are the cheapest roofing material you can find, widely available everywhere, inexpensive to repair, and relatively durable for their price. The average asphalt shingle roof lasts anywhere from 12-15 years, and sometimes up to 20 years if properly cared for. That’s enough value for the large majority of Americans to choose traditional asphalt shingles for their home.

However, there are plenty of drawbacks to asphalt shingles as well. Here in the South, asphalt shingles don’t stand up well to heavy wind or rain — and as hurricanes roll through, asphalt shingle roofs are usually damaged in the process. This can lead to plenty of headaches like soaked insulation, flooding, mold intrusion, and expensive property damage.

There are environmental drawbacks as well — stripped roofing shingles usually can’t be recycled, and they take over 300 years to decompose in a landfill. However, many responsible roofing companies can re-roof over the top of existing shingles, which minimizes shingle waste.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is the second most popular roofing material out there — and its popularity grows each and every year. Metal roofing held 8 percent of the market share in 2012, 14 percent share of the market in 2016, and they’re on pace for a 20 percent market share by 2020. These stats might be surprising to some, but they certainly don’t surprise happy homeowners with metal roofs.

Yes, metal roofs are expensive — about twice as expensive — as traditional asphalt shingles. But they last nearly three times longer, with a maximum lifespan of around 60 years. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation has the original metal roof from its construction, and that was 209 years ago!

Metal roofs also offer much better weather performance than the competition. Many metal roofs can handle winds up to 150 mph (similar to a Category 4 hurricane), and metal roofs with covered seams are virtually impermeable during heavy rainstorms. This performance comes in handy in the South where fall hurricanes and and storms cause billions of dollars in roof damage every single year.

Slate Tile Roofing

Think a metal roof lasts a long time? Think again. Slate roofs can last more than 100 years when maintained properly. They’re fire-proof, mold-proof, and fungus-proof, which makes them an excellent choice for wet and hot climates.

Unfortunately, slate tile roofs are incredibly delicate in other ways; step on a tile, and it will probably break. This makes slate tiles a poor choice in hail prone areas. In addition, slate tiles are incredibly expensive to install, and your average roofer probably doesn’t install them. While they do provide stunning beauty and a certain degree of longevity, they’re not worth the price for most homeowners.

Clay Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles are another tough customer in the roofing world. They can withstand the force of tornadoes, hurricanes, 130 mph winds, and even earthquakes, according to a study from the University of Southern California called “A Summary of Experimental Studies on Seismic Performance of Concrete and Clay Roofing Tiles.” This roofing type is perfect for warm, dry climates, as the roofing tiles can handle desert heat and intense sunlight without a problem.

Unfortunately, clay tile roofs are just as delicate as slate roofs — they will usually crack when stepped on or when met with a falling tree-branch or golf-ball-sized hail. These roofing tiles are best saved for open spaces and less hail-prone climates.

Wood Shakes

Cedar shake roofing is a classic choice for the environmentally conscious. They’re exceptionally beautiful, highly durable, energy efficient (they are twice as energy efficient as asphalt shingles), and can handle extreme storms with ease. Plus, they can be recycled or decomposed fairly easily, especially compared to any other roofing material on the market.

However, there are certainly downsides to installing wood shingles on your roof. These shingles need regular maintenance (every year at the very most), and they’re one of the most expensive roofing types. If you have the cash, don’t mind the maintenance, and want to make an environmentally conscious decision, wood shakes are for you. But if you’re a “set it and forget it” type, we’d recommend something that needs less maintenance.

Choose Your Top-Rated Roofers

There are plenty of roofing materials out there — but there’s only one that’s perfect for your home. The team at PRN Roofing is happy to help you find the right material, configuration, and color for your roof so you can love your home exterior and stay protected for years to come. Get a free estimate from PRN today.