Guide to choosing the right roofing materials (2023)

Weather and climate take their toll on roofs, and they eventually need to be replaced, but choosing a new roofing material takes more than just choosing something that looks good. When choosing between different types of roofing materials, several factors come into play. Different roof types and roof angles play an important role in choosing the best options for your roofing project.

Understanding the pros and cons of each roofing material and how those characteristics match your home's roof type can help narrow down your options.

roofing considerations

You know looks aren't everything, but what's important when choosing roofing materials? The characteristics of your home, and your roof in particular, play a role in determining which material will work best. Here are some considerations when choosing materials for different types of roofs:

What environmental or climate issues might affect the type of roofing material? Hurricanes, forest fires, snow and sea air are examples. A local roofing expert is a great resource for recommending suitable materials for your specific location.

(Video) Roofing Materials review: asphalt shingles , rubber, metal, clay and cedar / @Roofing Insights

How much weight can your existing roof support? Some materials, like B. Slate, are very heavy and need a strong support system to function. This may require additional reinforcement for proper installation.

Is the roof slope steep or low? Certain roofing materials will not work on roofs that are too low or too steep.

What roof shape does your house have?

What is the existing roofing material? Does this material meet your needs? If you're not happy with the durability or appearance of your current roofing material, explore the other options to see if they work for your roof type.

What is the expected service life of the materials you are considering? Choosing a material with a long service life will save money overall and keep your roof looking good, which increases its overall attractiveness.

What care does the material require? Are repairs easy, or do you need to replace the entire roof if something goes wrong?

What's Your Budget Remember that a new roof is an investment. Spending a little more upfront can save you money in the long run by getting a durable, long-lasting roof.

Type of cover material

(Video) Homeowner Guide: Choosing the Right Roofing Systems by Designing Spaces ft. Owens Corning

basic roof styles

Roof is roof, right? If you look closely, you'll see that not all roofs are created equal. Several different roof styles offer different looks for homes. The type of roof you have can affect the best type of roofing material for your needs.

If you're not sure what type of roof you have, read these basics beforehand. Choosing a roofing material:

  • gabled roof:Perhaps the most basic of all roof shapes, the gable roof has a basic triangular appearance with two sides forming a shape similar to an inverted V. A variant is the cross gable roof, in which two different gable sections run perpendicular to each other. Some homes may also have a gabled front roof with a separate gabled section over the front door.
  • hip roof:Another common residential roof style, the hipped roof, has four sloped sides instead of the two sides of a gabled roof. These four sides meet at the top to form the ridge. This roof shape can be square or rectangular and offers more stability than gabled roofs.
  • flat roof:Houses with flat roof types are easy to spot. The roof has little or no slope, giving it a flat appearance. Although it is most popular on commercial buildings, some residential roofs also have the flat style. This type of roof requires special materials to create a waterproof covering, as water does not drain away easily.
  • shed roof:This style is similar to a flat roof, but generally has a little more slope.
  • Gambrel Roof:The gambrel roof is the style you'll most often see on a barn, but some home styles use this option as well. The two-sided style has two different slopes on each side. The upper part has a flat slope, which turns into a very steep slope at the bottom. This type of roof can be tricky as it has two different slopes that can better suit different roof types.
  • Attic:A mansard roof is similar to a pitched roof, except it has four sides instead of just two. Each of the four sides even has a shallow slope at the top, followed by a steep slope at the bottom.
  • hood roof:This roof style takes the opposite approach to the mansard. Each side of the roof has two slopes, with a steep upper slope and a small shallow slope below. This bottom flat slant hangs over the sides.
  • Salt box roof:The roof of the salt box has two sides, each side is different in size and sometimes with different slopes. One side is usually much longer than the other, with a steep drop.

sloping ceilings

The slope of your roof is another important factor when choosing your new roofing material. Roof shape often plays a role in the slope of the slope. For example, gambrel roofs often have a very steep slope at the bottom. However, there is some variation in the slope within each style. For example, a hipped roof might have a steeper slope than another hipped roof on the street.

The slope of a roof is represented by a ratio that shows how many inches the roof rises for each foot of travel. A roof that rises 6 inches every 12 inches has a pitch of 6 in 12, also written as 6:12. You don't need to know the exact slope of your roof to choose roofing material, but it does give you a general idea of ​​the specific requirements for your roof.

Any type of slope requires special consideration when choosing roofing material. Here are some general guidelines for any type of incline:

Slope of steep roofs: Steep roofs have a slope between 9:12 and 21:12. Most types of awnings will work on these steeper pitches, but may require different installation methods. These roofs often require special safety equipment as they are too steep to walk on.

  • Conventional sloped ceilings:A conventional roof pitch ranges from 4:12 to 9:12. These roofs often have a noticeable slope, but are still walkable.
  • Low roof slopes:The low pitch category generally ranges from a 2:12 to 4:12 ratio. Roller roofs generally work best on low roofs to prevent water from seeping into the roof.
  • flat roofs:Flat roofs include pitches of less than 2:12. Roofs usually have at least a slight slope, even if they look flat, to help drain water.

Another factor to be considered depending on the pitch is the cost of the roofing project and the scope of the installation. A roof with a steeper slope has more area to cover than one with a lower slope. This increases your material costs for the project. If you choose an already expensive material, the cost increases even more. Labor prices can also increase on an extremely steep roof. A steep slope requires more careful installation and sometimes additional safety equipment.

(Video) 10 Types of Roof Materials: Choosing The Best Option

asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles claim the title as the most popular roofing material for residential buildings. In fact, about 80% of homes in the United States have asphalt shingles. This popularity stems from asphalt's affordability and ease of installation, as well as its versatility.

Asphalt offers a wide variety of colors and styles, including the traditional three-protrusion shingle design and thicker architectural shingles made from multiple layers laminated together. Laminated architectural shingles appeal to homeowners because of the added thickness and texture that makes them stand out more than traditional thinner asphalt. The variety of styles available makes asphalt shingles suitable for a variety of home styles.

Consider these factors when choosing asphalt shingles:

  • Longevity:Expect asphalt shingles to last anywhere from 15 to 50 years, depending on the quality, environment and conditions in your area.
  • Supported architectural styles:Due to the variety of colors and appearances, asphalt shingles match almost all building styles. This guy looks good in everything from Victorian to modern homes. The architectural clapboard option makes it easy to find a style that fits your home's specific design and look.
  • Compatible roof types:Asphalt also works on almost any type of pitched roof, including gable, hip, hooded, and salt box roofs. These tiles are not suitable for roofs with little or no slope as they do not form a waterproof barrier. Asphalt works best on roofs with a slope between 4:12 and 21:12. Slopes between 2:12 and 3.9:12 may work with asphalt shingles with special application methods, but asphalt will not work for roofs below 2:12.


A slate roof provides lasting beauty to your roof with impressive durability and a high level of fire resistance. The roof is made from slate that is cut into thin, flat slabs for smooth installation. Slate is one of the more expensive options, but the longevity of the roofing material means that, with proper installation and care, it should last a lifetime. The beauty of natural slate also makes this roofing option a strong contender for many homeowners.

An artificial slate roof is also available. You get the look and durability of slate in a lighter, more affordable package.

  • Longevity:The durability of slate means it can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years or more.
  • Supported architectural styles:Slate works well with most styles of architecture, especially Colonial, English or French styles. It tends to have an upscale appeal, but slate can work in homes at any price point.
  • Compatible roof types:Roofs with steep slopes are best for installing slate because water drains off the roof more quickly. A roof pitch of 8:12 or more - or a roof so steep you can't walk on it - is ideal. A roof below 4:12 usually doesn't work with slate roofs because it simply isn't steep enough to drain water effectively.


Metal roofs offer a durable option with exceptional energy savings. Metal roofs are more expensive than asphalt, but the long-term investment pays off due to the long service life of metal roofs. The material stays cool with high solar reflectance and weighs less than other roofing options while withstanding the elements. It also works well in areas with heavy snowfall, as snow is less likely to build up on a metal roof.

The metal comes in a variety of colors and styles, making it a versatile roofing option for a variety of home styles. Permanent seam and corrugated are the two main types associated with metal roofing.

(Video) Roofing Materials - Components of a Proper Roofing System

  • Longevity:Metal roofs can last 50 years or more.
  • Supported architectural styles:Metalwork in a variety of home styles including modern homes, bungalows and traditional style homes. The variety of styles expands your choice of metals, with options that replicate traditional roofing materials.
  • Compatible roof types:Metal roofing works on gabled, four-pitched, mansard, gambrel, hood and flat roofs. The material is normally supplied in large sheets with tight joints between them, making it a versatile material for roofs with low and steep slopes.

Synthetic rubber (EPDM)

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), a synthetic rubber roofing material, resists tears, punctures, impacts, weather and UV rays, making it a durable roofing option. The single layer membrane is suitable for low slope roofs where traditional shingles will not work, with the option of mechanical fastening or full bonding of the material with adhesive.

  • Longevity:The life expectancy of EPDM is around 50 years, making it a durable option.
  • Supported architectural styles:EPDM works with any architectural style with a flat or low roof. It's usually a very simple design.
  • Compatible roof types:EPDM roofing material is typically used on a flat or low pitched roof.

Modified bitumen is an ideal laminate roofing material for low pitch roofs. The product is applied in layers with glue or a hot welding process with a torch. Modified bitumen has a smooth or grained surface, similar to traditional tiles. The product is available in several colors.

  • Longevity:Modified bitumen can last 20 years or more when properly installed.
  • Supported architectural styles:Like EPDM, modified bitumen will generally work with any flat or low roof architectural style. With the option of a smooth or textured finish, you can choose the finish that best fits the overall style of your home.
  • Compatible roof types:The laminated nature of modified bitumen makes it ideal for low pitched roofs such as flat roofs or sheds.

All together: Choosing the best roofing material

Weighing all the factors including roof type, home style, roof pitch and budget will help you narrow down your roofing material options for your home. If you are considering roof replacement in Maryland, call Garner Roofing410-753-2322orcontact usconnected. Our professionally trained staff can help you select the best roofing material for your roof type, with the quality service and products you expect.

(Video) Choosing The Right Roofing Material


1. Top 5 Roofing Materials | Know A Pro
2. Different Roofing Materials and choosing the right one for your home
(eastcoast roofingny)
3. How To Choose A Roofing Contractor
4. Roofing Buying Guide
(Kent Building Supplies)
5. 2021 Roofing Shingle Guide: Ultimate Review by Roofers
(Dmitry Lipinskiy)
6. How To Choose the Best Shingle for Your Roof


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 10/05/2023

Views: 5791

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.