PART 1: Knowing Your Roof: Identifying Your Roofing Material

Who has the time and interest to study about roofs? It is quite unfortunate how many see roofs simply as a structural part of our house that provides cover against the weather and elements.

Being here reading this, let us congratulate you — you are now a step closer to taking better care of not only your roof, but your home, investment, and family.

There is actually a lot to learn about your roof, but let us first discuss roofing materials, which can be considered the basic factor every homeowner should know about.

The importance of knowing more about your roofing materials

There are a number of roofing materials, and these materials have different characteristics, features, advantages, and disadvantages. Many typical homeowners are uninformed when it comes to roofing materials.

If you don’t find the time to learn, how can you possibly know how to care for your roof, resolve common and minor issues, and decide the best course of action in case of more serious problems?

Different roofing materials – their advantages and disadvantages

Roofing care and maintenance methods vary depending on the material. Below, you can find general information about your roofing material.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

These are among the most common types of roofing materials available and are installed in many homes. They are composed of a backing, which can be made of fiberglass or an organic material such as cellulose), mineral granules, and asphalt.


✓      Inexpensive and is the most economical roofing option

✓      Excellent fire resistance

✓      Plenty of options in terms of styles, color, and cost

✓      Easy to install and replace


×       Can degrade faster than other roofing materials due to exposure to sun and other elements

×       Prone to hail and impact damage

Wood Shingles and Shake

Typically made from redwood, cypress, pine, and western red cedar, wood roof shingles make a good choice for steep-pitched roofs as they can effectively bring out elegance.


✓      Visually appealing with nice texture

✓      Made from sustainable materials making them a green choice

✓      Generally cooler than other roofing materials


×       Not fireproof — not a good choice for homes in fire-prone areas

×       Prone to rot and decay

×       Appearance can change over time, looking dull and weathered

×       Requires extensive maintenance

Metal Roof

This type of roofing can be made of steel, copper, or aluminum. It can also come in two forms: sheeting or tiles.


✓      Highly durable

✓      Fireproof

✓      Can shed snow and ice effectively

✓      It is a cool roofing material


×       Difficult to match with the architectural style of most homes and neighborhoods

×       Can corrode over and rust time

×       Prone to denting

Clay or Concrete Roof Tiles

This type of roofing is known for being durable yet heavy, requiring the underlying roof structure to be designed carefully to be able to provide sufficient support.


✓      Durable, long-lasting, and virtually maintenance-free

✓      Fireproof

✓      Comes in a variety of styles and designs that mimic wood or slate roof

✓      Has good insulating value


×       Requires professional installation

×       More expensive than other roofing materials

×       Heavy — requires a lot in terms of roof support

×       Tiles are more fragile compared to other types of roofing materials

Slate Roof

Slate is real stone and comes in different shades. It is known for being aesthetically appealing, but just like with clay roof it requires sturdy framing.


✓      One of the longest-lasting roofs you can find

✓      Provides good visual appeal

✓      Fireproof

✓      Can be reused, making it a green roofing option


×       Requires installation of professional and experienced contractors

×       Costlier than other roofing materials

×       Because of its weight, the roof structure may need additional reinforcement

Composite Roof

Roof tile of this type is made from rubber, plastic, or a combination of both. It may also be made of fiber cement and/or fiberglass. It can mimic the appearance and features of other roofing materials, while promising added benefits such as durability and sustainability.


✓      Makes for a cheaper alternative to more expensive roofing materials

✓      Lightweight

✓      Can be installed over standard roof framing structures

✓      Generally durable and can last long

✓      Some products are made from recycled materials, making it a green roofing option


×       May not be as visually appealing as other roofing materials

It is relatively new in the industry, thus, the maximum length of its service life and durability are not yet fully known