Asphalt composite shingles are the most popular roofing material in North America. Made from a fiberglass base topped with asphalt and mineral granules, these three-tab shingles are an all-around good choice for most home roofing needs. They typically come with a 20- to 30-year warranty, and replacing individual shingles that are damaged is a fairly easy job. Virtually every roofing company is familiar with installing these singles. Composite shingles excel at flexing and adapting to a roof’s movements due to expansion and contraction.
The most common type of metal roof is the standing seam roof, so named because the aluminum or steel roofing panels meet in raised seams that interlock to keep moisture out. Metal roofs of all kinds are increasingly popular in regions with heavy snowfall or where there is a notable danger of wild fires since this is a roofing material that is fully fireproof.
Metal roofs are very long-lived and are fully recyclable when they finally do wear out. But installation requires special skills and not every roofing company is prepared to install a standing seam metal roof.
Clay tile is made from earthen clays molded into rolled or interlocking shapes and fired for hardness. It is often left unglazed, with the characteristic reddish-orange color; or it can be glazed and fired to form ceramic roofing tiles. Clay tile is a very good roofing material for hot climates or where salt air is present, which is why these roofs are seen so often in southern coastal regions or desert regions.
A slate roof is perhaps the most beautiful roofing material there is—a choice for the homeowner who will accept only the finest. There are slate roofs hundreds of years old that are still functioning. True slate roofing is just as it sounds: authentic, thin sheets of real stone. Because slate has a tendency to cleave off in thin sheets, it is easy to quarry, making it ideal for roofing. But installing slate is a highly specialized skill, and qualified installers can be hard to find.