Get Familiar with Residential Roofing Materials: Top 10 Roof Materials for Residential Properties

MSN took the time to name the 10 hottest residential roof styles based on look and price, starting with:4

  1. Asphalt: Asphalt roofs are built with thick paper shingles saturated with asphalt to keep water out. Although most people associate asphalt shingles with being gray and rectangular, manufacturers now make shingles in a variety of colors and shapes.

Asphalt shingles are a popular choice because of their low cost of installation; they can be used in any climate and may last longer in temperate areas. An asphalt roof could last up to 20 years, based on estimations from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

  • Best for most house types.
  • Expect to pay $3-$5 a square foot.
  1. Wood: Wood shingles are hand cut from cedar or pine using a machine, providing a rustic, unique look to a house. Wood shingles may also gray with age.

Roofers often recommend wood shingles because they promote better air circulation to reduce cooling costs in a house. Still, wood shingles are susceptible to mildew damage, making them a high-maintenance roofing material. A wood roof could last up to 30 years in a drier climate.

  • Best for cottages and ranch houses.
  • Expect to pay $7 a square foot for a basic wood roof.
  1. Clay: Clay tiles provide an attractive red color to a roof, available in a number of different shapes. Clay tiles are often preferred for their durability and resistance to the elements, as well as insect and fire damage.

Keep in mind that clay roofs are heavy; clay tiles will need extra support and can be laborious to install. When properly installed, a clay roof can last for over 50 years.

  • Best for Mediterranean homes in southern or coastal areas.
  • Expect to pay $15-$25 a square foot.
  1. Slate: A slate roof isn’t technically made of shingles. Instead, it is crafted from slivers of slate rock that are arranged in different patterns, normally gray blue, gray, or rust in color.

Slate roofs are popular due to their weather resistance and durability. Since a slate roof is heavy, it will require extra support to protect the structure of a home. Standard slate roofs in the US can last from 50 to 75 years.

  • Best for early 1900s homes when slate roofs were most popular.
  • Expect to pay $15-$20 per square foot.
  1. Concrete: Concrete tiles are convenient and versatile because they can be manufactured to mimic almost any other roofing material. A concrete roof is often preferred for its energy-efficiency, durability, and resistance to weather, fungus, insects, and fire damage.

Concrete tiles are heavy and will require extra support for safe installation on a housing structure. When properly installed, a concrete roof can last from 30 to 50 years.

  • Best for almost any type of home.
  • Expect to pay from $10-$15 per square foot.
  1. Metal: Metal roofs are often used on steel structures, like barns, although they can be used on larger residential homes as well. Metal roofs are praised for their durability since they last the longest out of any other roofing material, often resisting deterioration for generations.

Metal roofs are beneficial in that they are lightweight and can cut down on seasonal heating and cooling costs. But when steel roofs are used in coastal areas, they may be susceptible to rust. On average, a metal roof will last over 50 years.

  • Best for bungalows and ranch houses.
  • Expect to pay $15-$22 per square foot.
  1. Hot-Mop: A hot-mop roof is created by applying hot liquid asphalt to a flat roofing surface constructed from plywood or concrete. The final product will dry in matte black and can be decorated with different stones for added aesthetic appeal.

Although the process of installation is messy, hot-mop roofs are normally inexpensive. Still, many homeowners remain skeptical as hot-mop roofs are known to release pollutants from liquid asphalt into the environment; hot-mop roofs may be restricted in states like California. On average, hot-mop roofs can last up to 10 years.

  • Best for homes with flat roofs.
  • Expect to pay $5-$6 a square foot.
  1. Fiber Cement: A fiber cement roof is just like it sounds – a cement roof reinforced with fiber cardboard. A fiber cement roof can be easily crafted to look like slate, wood, or clay.

Fiber cement roofs are known to be both moisture and fire resistant, as well as repellent to insects. While fiber cement roofs can last up to 25 years, they are still susceptible to softening, cracking, and discoloring.

  • Best for any type of residential property.
  • Expect to pay $2-$3 a square foot.
  1. Green: An eco-friendly green roof is crafted with live plants grown on top of a house. This roofing style is energy-efficient and can reduce regular air conditioning costs by an impressive 60%. Of course, a live green roof will require its share of upkeep with estimates at $.50 per square foot in residential maintenance costs each year.

Depending upon the waterproofing method used below the plant life, a high quality green roof reinforced with solid plastic and coal tar could last up to 25 years.

  • Best for homes with large, flat roofs.
  • Expect to pay from $13-$65 a square foot.
  1.  Rubber/Plastic: An engineered rubber or plastic roof can provide an inexpensive alternative to mimic the style of other roofing materials, like slate, clay, or wood. Rubber or plastic roofing is affordable and low maintenance; eco-friendly rubber roofs can also be recycled from old car tires.

While a rubber or plastic roof may not look like the real thing, it comes in close second and could last from 10 to 30 years, depending on local climate.

  • Best for any housing type.
  • Expect to pay $2.50-$4 a square foot.