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Types of Roofing Material

There are many different types of roofing materials available today – from historic reproduction materials to ultra-modern components. This is where choosing a qualified, knowledgeable roofer becomes so important. The performance of your roof goes well beyond the surface shingles, and starts well before it rains.

Asphalt Shingles

Composite shingles - also known as asphalt shingles - are the most popular type of roofing material around.  These three-tab shingles are made of fiberglass mat topped with asphalt and mineral granules.  An all-round good choice for most home roofing needs, composite shingles typically come with 20 to 30 year warranties.



  • Typically the lowest cost of all roof materials

  • The most commonly used material for homes

  • Excellent fire resistance


  • Hard to dispose of and not environmentally friendly

  • Shorter life span when compared to other roof materials


No, metal roofing isn't just for warehouses anymore.  Metal roofs have come of age - they look cooly industrial, even on high-end mansions; are fire-resistant, provide no food for wood-boring insects such as termites or carpenter ants; and can provide good resale value.  On the downside, metal roofs are more expensive than composite shingles and do require installation by highly experienced installers.  Eco-friendly is on everyone's mind.  If you are one, metal roofing is considered a sustainable building material.



  • Available in tin, steel, and copper

  • Available in a variety of colors

  • Extremely long life span

  • Very light weight


  • Can be higher cost

  • More difficult to install

Natural Slate

Slate - actual shingle-like slivers of rock - is another roofing material that shows up on more upscale homes. Although slate is an expensive choice, it offers a very natural look and can be laid out in a variety of patterns.
The benefits of slate are identical to those of tile: a very long lifespan, good fire protection, low maintenance, and an invulnerably to rot and insects. It comes in a good selection of sizes and colors, although colors are limited to those found in nature.
Like tile, slate can be very heavy, sometimes requiring expensive extra support. It, to, is breakable enough that walking on it is difficult for a non-professional, complicating such tasks as rooftop maintenance, gutter cleaning and painting.

Synthetic Slate

Synthetic slate roofing shingles can be made of plastic/polymer composite. They’re made as individual slate tiles with the exposed end molded with the ridges. Often these synthetic shingles are made with recycled plastics. Synthetic slate shingles can also be made of recycled rubber or a combination of rubber and plastic. Rubber-based synthetic slate roofing shingles are usually more flexible than synthetic slate tiles made from other materials.



Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofing is a type of thermoset membrane roof material. It is the most common material used to create rubber roofs, and is derived from oil and natural gases. EPDM roofs are widely used in commercial and residential applications.

Like all rubber roofs, EPDM systems are very lightweight and easy to install. They are extremely effective at waterproofing a roof structure, and last for many years with little to no maintenance. EPDM is also flexible, and can be installed on any type of roof regardless of shape or design. These roofs can also be patched fairly easily when damaged by punctures or tears.


TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing membranes have been available for over 10 years. TPO roofs are gaining in popularity for new construction and as the replacement roof of choice.

Thermoplastic polyolefin roofing membrane is white. It is particularly popular in southern states where its reflective properties reduce energy costs for companies. When companies are able to consume less gas or electricity to cool their buildings, their operations have a reduced environmental impact.


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