Which Roofing Material Is Best for Your Home? (Best 5 Picks)

Whether you’re looking to upgrade an old roof or one damaged in a storm, you’ll have to select a material that protects both you and your home.

Gone are the days when concrete tiles, clay and asphalt were your only options. Although asphalt shingles may be the most common roofing material, residential roofing companies offer many others, each with its own benefits. These materials mix style, durability, fit and function seamlessly to offer roofing that is just right for your home.

If you think choosing the right roofing material for your home is difficult, here’s a breakdown of five of the most common ones. Which is right for you?

Top 5 Roofing Materials for Residential Properties

Here is a look at the different roofing materials to consider for your next home roofing project.

  1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common home roofing materials because they’re durable, economical, and effective in different environmental conditions and climates.

There are two main types:

  • Organic asphalt shingles: These begin with paper that is generally recycled and saturated in asphalt, then covered in granules. This kind is generally heavy and difficult to work with but offers good stability when exposed to high winds. However, they tend to dry out and become less waterproof which is why few manufacturers still make them.
  • Fibreglass asphalt shingles: These begin with a mesh fibreglass mat covered in asphalt and topped with tiny granules. This is what creates its colour and reflects sunlight. This kind is lightweight and resists wear and tear well.


The durability of asphalt shingles allows them to last anywhere between 20 to 30 years with proper care and maintenance. Additionally, this kind of roofing is fire retardant and provides reliable waterproofing.

One major drawback is that they don’t stand up well to foot traffic. Also, when installed in areas prone to frequent hail and thunderstorms, they can be damaged and may become dislodged.

  1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Also known as tar and gravel roofs, built-up roofing has been used for many years. It is constructed by alternating layers of fabric and bitumen to create a material resembling a membrane. This kind of roofing system can be made using a different number of layers or piles, depending on what the homeowner is looking for. The fabric used is either ply sheets or roofing felts reinforced using either a fibreglass or organic mat. The layer of bitumen between the ply sheets is typically tar, asphalt or a cold-applied adhesive. The coal tar or asphalt needs to be heated before being applied evenly using a special spreader. The BUR system is best suited to flat and low-sloped roofs. The material can easily be walked on without causing damage and performs well in warmer climates. Its average lifespan is 20 to 30 years but, when looked after properly, can last upwards to forty.

  1. Flat Roof System

Flat roofs generally have an incline less than 10 degrees. They are extremely beneficial when homeowners are thinking of extending their property or building a new one from scratch. Overall, this roofing system is the least expensive as it requires the fewest materials for its construction and the materials needed are much cheaper than others. They also take much less time to install, meaning you don’t have to spend much on labour.

You can make use of your flat roof by growing a garden on it. Plants absorb the heat of the sun and keep your interiors cool in summers. Alternatively, you could turn your rooftop into a dining area, or install solar panels to reduce energy consumption year-round.

However, when poorly built or not maintained, flat roofs are susceptible to leaks.

  1. Solar Tiles

Most homeowners confuse solar tiles with solar panels. They are very different, although they’re both eco-friendly and have the same stylish and sleek appearance.

They are expensive initially, but the cost savings can match your investment in 7 to 10 years. Additionally, they help in long-term savings and add value to your property. Solar tiles can help reduce your home’s utility bills, allowing homeowners to achieve total independence from local utility companies.

This roofing material is built to last and isn’t expensive to repair or maintain. Solar tiles perform well against fire, hail and high winds. Installing them reduces your dependency on exhaustible resources since it’s a renewable, clean energy. Also, they don’t emit greenhouse gasses.

Are you worried about how your roof will perform on cloudy days and during bad weather since it’s powered by the sun? Don’t. These tiles collect solar energy on sunny days for use on said cloudy days. This ensures a continuous supply of electricity, no matter the weather.

  1. Slate and Tiles

If you’re in search of a modern-looking roofing system, slate shingles or tiles are your best bet.

Obtained from areas with a fair amount of volcanic ash or clay, slate is a popular home roofing choice. Although quite expensive when it first hit the market, it’s become an economical option thanks to technological advances. Its natural appearance, durability and superior fire resistance allow it to last up to a century.

Additionally, slate is impervious to extreme weather like hail, thunderstorms and high winds, all of which can damage other materials. Slate also comes in a wide range of colours, making it suitable for both new roof installations and upgrades.

Its primary disadvantage is that it doesn’t stand up well to foot traffic and is heavier than other roofing materials. Slate also needs to be installed professionally to ensure it fits well and lasts.

Your choice of home roofing material depends on your budget and personal preferences. Each material offers distinct benefits, but it mostly comes down to your choice. Still have questions? Consult a residential roofing company to determine the best option for your property.

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