What materials are used in roofing?

The materials used in the construction of roofs vary in cost, design and durability. The style of the residence or building, the color, the ecological factors and economic factors lead to the selection of materials. Therefore, understanding the numerous available materials allows for a clear selection process. Whether you choose a green (organic) or a historically correct option, there are many possibilities in the 21st century.

Environmentally friendly

European turf roofs have been in use since the early times of last century, something considered unconventional in the United States in 2010. This material provides a good insulation for cold winters while maintaining cool temperatures during the summer heat; these green roofs, besides being attractive, also have low maintenance.

Asphalt shingles

The variety of colors and range of prices varying from cheap triples (three sections per unit), to the more expensive and durable tiles, are still popular. Easy to repair, asphalt shingles are petroleum-based, non-organic and not recycled and generally end up in landfills. In warm climates cracks, mold and moisture form on or in the shingles which translate to a short life of 15 to 30 years.


Unless they are not pressure-treated (infused with chemical protection against weather and insects), wood rots due to the growth of mold and mildew. Very useful for bungalow roofs, cottages and historic houses, wooden tiles mix well with the environment while providing some insulation. When making your choice, please note that wood shingles are expensive and need constant maintenance to achieve a life of 30-50 years.


A steel or aluminum roof has a long shelf-life of over 50 years. This choose is lightweight and available in a variety of colors and styles (cedar shingles or sheets) and because it’s a recyclable material, it is actually a good investment. Although it can be expensive, this material can be easily installed over an existing roof.

Concrete and clay

Both fireproof, concrete roof tiles and clay go well with buildings that reflect a Mediterranean style or those residences of contemporary or country style. They need regular maintenance and are durable. Often used for new construction because of the special requirements of their weight structure, these expensive materials are easily broken when walking on it; therefore, keep in mind that repair and installation require certain skills.


More visually suitable for homes reflecting a French and Italian colonial style; slate roofs offer beauty, fire resistance and have a long life. However, they need a professional with the right equipment for installation due to its weight and fragility.

Rubber and plastic

New in the 21st century, the roof of engineering plastics and rubber fit with any architectural style and has life duration of 30 to 50 years.  It’s a profitable material that’s constructed of recycled materials.  This roof has a light weight and comes in a range of colors.