Roofing roundup: 7 of today's most popular choices

Bob Vila

If you're in the market for a new roof, you certainly won't find a lack of options to consider. While climate, house style and budget will be important factors to take into account, new technologies and innovations have made it possible to get any look—just about anywhere. Here are seven of today's more popular roofing materials.


Metal roofs on new townhouses in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo credit: /\ \/\/ /\, Flickr)

Metal

There is no material more capable of protecting a structure from wind, rain, hail, fire, or rot than a durable and energy-efficient metal roof. For decades, metal roofs meant corrugated panels, which looked like they belonged on sheds or barns. Today, metal roofing products are available in a variety of styles to suit a wide range of architectural styles.

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Cost: $300 - $700 per square installed.


Slate roof in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo credit: /\ \/\/ /\, Flickr)

Slate Roofs

Slate quarried for roofing is dense, sound rock, and is exceedingly tough and durable. While it is labor-intensive and costly to install, a natural slate look will give character to a building unlike any other roofing material. Available in an array of colorations, slate roofing is non-combustible, waterproof, and requires little to no maintenance over the course of its long life.

Cost: $600 - $1,500 per square installed.


(Photo credit: Dwight Sipler, Flickr)

Asphalt Shingles

Economical to produce, relatively easy to install, and widely available, fiberglass asphalt shingles are today's most popular roofing material. Made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays, they are available in a full range of styles and colors to complement any home's architectural style. Most are guaranteed to 30 years.

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Cost: $200 - $400 per square installed.


Green roof on the Walter Reed Community Center in Arlington, Va. (Photo credit: Arlington County, Flickr)

Going Green

Creating a green "living" roof is an investment that holds many benefits, among them better insulation, reduced run-off, and extended life to your roof. A green roof requires several layers of support vegetation. You'll need a waterproofing membrane to protect the roof—and depending on the slope—likely a root barrier and irrigation system.

Cost: Variable.


(Photo credit: Henry McLin, Flickr)

Wood Shingles and Shakes

There are two types of wood roofing: shingles and shakes. Wood shingles are machine-cut and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance. Wood shakes are hand-split, giving them a more rustic appeal. While not as practical as modern asphalt shingles, there is no denying the appeal of a wood roof on a traditional or historical-style house.

[Will wood shingles enhance the look of your home? Click to find a contractor now.]

Cost: $400 - $900 per square installed.


(Photo credit: Michael Witzel, Flickr)

Composite Shingles

If you want the look of slate, tile or wood shake—without the installation and maintenance costs, consider today's composite roofing. Made from poly-based products, companies like CertainTeed, EcoStar and DaVinci Roofscapes all offer superior products that are lightweight, fade resistant, fire safe, and warrantied for up to 50 years. Some are so realistic that they have been approved for use in historic preservation!

Cost: $400 - $800 per square installed.


Clay tiles. (Photo credit: Peter Dutton, Flickr)

Clay and Concrete Tiles

In addition to their intrinsic beauty, tile roofs are extremely durable, lasting for centuries in some cases. Whether made of clay or concrete (the latter is more colorfast), individual tiles are often molded in barrel shapes for interlocking installation. Weight will be an issue, so be sure ask a structural engineer if your roof framing will support a tile application.

Cost: Concrete $200 - $800 / Clay $500 - $1,000 per square installed.

Related on BobVila.com:

Trending Now: Metal Roofs
Asphalt Shingles: A Showcase of Roofing Styles, Colors and Options
In Quest of the Best Roofing Contractor

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