When choosing a new roof for your home, the most important factors to consider are the longevity, cost, durability, energy efficiency and durability of the materials you choose. All these elements inform each other.
For example, the longevity of your roofing material or its weather resistance will be critical. Energy efficiency will determine the overall cost: if you choose a cheaper roofing material that is not very energy efficient, your electricity bills will be higher.
Although the material is extremely important, a proper installation can make or break your roof (literally). While DIY projects can be fun and profitable, do not install your own roof unless you are a qualified expert.
It is also in your interest to consult an expert before buying your equipment. You will need to consider the slope of your roof, the style of your home and the roofing material that best suits your climate.
These are the six most popular roofing materials (classified here by their longevity and cost). This can also be used to examine the unique benefits of each and choose the right roof for your home.
The asphalt shingle will last approximately 15 to 30 years. By far, they are the most popular roofing material because of their profitability.
In terms of sustainability, however, be careful. Never choose the cheapest asphalt shingles, even if the cost is a major problem for you. Look for shingles that have a decent hail index, a good indicator of impact resistance and overall durability. Asphalt shingle roof replacements in the US are by far more common than any other exterior materials.
Manufacturers of roofing materials are not required by law to report their hail index. Therefore, if you do not see it, it’s not a good sign. The hail index is particularly important with asphalt shingles. Because they are so common, their quality varies enormously.
Unfortunately, asphalt is a petroleum-based material. This means that it is not the most durable roofing material option. Fortunately, asphalt shingles are recyclable – just find a local shingle recycling center and they’ll make sure your asphalt shingles do not end up in a landfill.
Wooden shingles and shakes
This roofing material should last as long as 30 years, and 50 years in few cases. Wood shingles are usually made from fire-resistant wood such as cedar or redwood.
Although they last longer than asphalt shingles, they are not as durable. Although they resist fire (and they can be sprayed with a fire retardant), they are not fireproof. Wood shingles and shakes are also subject to cracking. So be sure to monitor a manufacturer closely with a good hail index.
When it comes to energy efficiency, wood is a natural insulator – wood shingles are naturally about twice as effective as asphalt shingles. And because they are 100% natural, asphalt shingles are one of the most durable roofing materials on the market.
Metal roofing materials will last approximately 30 to 50 years. Made of steel, copper, zinc alloy or aluminum, metal roofs are slightly more expensive than their counterparts in asphalt and wood. That said, they are much more durable.
The metal roofs are shock resistant and will serve you well in bad weather (plus, the sound of rain on a metal roof is beautiful). In addition, they require much less maintenance than most roofing materials. They are very energy efficient – while asphalt shingles tend to swing around the outside temperature (whether high or low), metal roofs act as a natural insulator. This keeps your house cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather.
Finally, their recyclability is unprecedented. Not only are most metal roofs created from recycled materials, but they are also 100% recyclable.
Polymeric plastic roofs will last more than 50 years and are an incredibly durable roofing material. Polymer roof shingles are designed to look like slate or wood shingles, but require much less maintenance.
Polymeric plastic roofs have a high hail index and resist well in bad weather. Unfortunately, they are so durable because plastics are built to last, which makes them particularly unsustainable.
If you decide to use a plastic polymer, look for manufacturers that use recycled materials. That said, they consume very little energy. Plastic roofs, like metal roofs, reflect the energy rather than absorb it. This will keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
A slate roof can last from 75 to 150 years. One of the oldest roofing materials, slate is also one of the most expensive.
In terms of sustainability, slate stands out from the competition. It is both fireproof and virtually invincible in any weather. Note that the installation must be performed with care: slate tiles may crack under the weight of the average person.
Slate is one of the most expensive materials, because it lasts more than a century and, if the roof is properly built, more than 150 years. As a result, slate is an incredibly durable roofing material.
Roofing waste (especially asphalt shingle waste) accounts for 3% of all waste in landfills. Owners must replace most roofing materials every 30 to 50 years. A roof that could last three times longer than its competitors is much better for the environment.
And slate is a natural material, which means that the manufacturing process does not introduce toxins. Finally, slate is one of the densest roofing materials on the market and is extremely energy-efficient, allowing you to regulate the internal temperature of your home.
The solar glass roof should, incredibly, last the life of your home. Currently, although many manufacturers offer solar panels for your roof, Tesla is the only manufacturer to offer a solar glass roof.
This roofing option comes with a lifetime tile warranty and has an extremely high hail rating. The energy efficiency and cost of the solar glass roof are inextricably linked. Although it is quite expensive to install, you may be able to claim a tax credit to offset this cost, depending on where you live.
Similarly, while we calculate the energy efficiency of most roofing materials in terms of energy savings, solar glass generates its own energy. As a result, the solar glass roof is the most durable roofing material on our list.