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  • Writer's pictureBig Red Contracting

Choosing the Best Roofing Material For Your Home

Shingle Roof

When it comes to your home, the roof is more than just a protective cover. It’s a pivotal component that influences energy efficiency, aesthetic appeal, and overall value. Selecting the right roofing material is a crucial decision, one that requires careful consideration of various factors. At Big Red Contracting, we understand the importance of this choice and are here to guide you through the process. In this extensive guide, we’ll explore the myriad of roofing materials available, weighing their pros and cons, and providing insights to help you make the best decision for your home.

Understanding Different Roofing Materials

The roofing market offers a diverse range of materials, each with unique benefits and drawbacks. The most common options include asphalt shingles, metal roofing, wood shingles and shakes, clay and concrete tiles, and slate. Your choice should be informed by several factors, including your home's architectural style, local climate, budget, and personal preferences.

  1. Asphalt Shingles

  • Pros: Cost-effective, widely available, and easy to install. They come in a variety of colors and styles, suitable for most homes.

  • Cons: Shorter lifespan compared to other materials. They can be susceptible to wind uplift and are not the most environmentally friendly option.

  • Ideal for: Homeowners looking for an affordable, versatile option with a traditional aesthetic.

  1. Metal Roofing

  • Pros: Durability, longevity (can last 40-70 years), and energy efficiency. It's lightweight, fire-resistant, and recyclable.

  • Cons: Higher initial cost and can be noisy during rain or hail without proper insulation.

  • Ideal for: Those seeking a long-term, eco-friendly solution, especially in regions prone to extreme weather.

  1. Wood Shingles and Shakes

  • Pros: Natural beauty with a rustic charm. They offer good insulation properties and are usually made from sustainable, recyclable materials.

  • Cons: Require regular maintenance to prevent rot, mold, and insect infestation. Not ideal in fire-prone areas.

  • Ideal for: Homes where aesthetic and traditional appearance are prioritized, and homeowners are committed to maintenance.

  1. Slate

  • Pros: Incredibly long lifespan, fire-resistant, and naturally waterproof. Slate roofs are beautiful and can significantly increase home value.

  • Cons: Very heavy, requiring a reinforced roof structure. Expensive and requires skilled installation.

  • Ideal for: Luxury homes where durability and aesthetics are a top priority, and the budget is not a primary concern.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roofing Material

Selecting the right roofing material involves more than just picking a color or style. Several critical factors should guide your decision:

  1. Climate Adaptability: The material should be suitable for your local climate. For instance, metal roofing is excellent for snowy areas as it sheds snow quickly, while clay tiles are ideal for hot climates due to their heat resistance.

  2. Architectural Style of Your Home: The roofing material should complement your home’s architectural style. Traditional homes might benefit from wooden shingles or slate, while contemporary homes might look best with metal or asphalt shingles.

  3. Durability and Longevity: Consider how long each roofing material typically lasts. While asphalt shingles may last around 20-30 years, materials like slate can last over a century.

  4. Budget Considerations: Your budget is a significant factor. While asphalt shingles are a cost-effective option, materials like slate and metal come with a higher initial investment but offer longer lifespans.

  5. Energy Efficiency: Some materials are more effective at reflecting sunlight and insulating your home, leading to lower energy costs.

  6. Weight and Structural Requirements: Heavier materials like slate and clay tiles require a sturdy roof structure, which might entail additional reinforcement.

  7. Maintenance Needs: Consider the level of maintenance you’re willing to commit to. Wood shingles require regular treatment to resist moisture and pests, while metal roofing requires minimal upkeep.

Cost Analysis: A Comparative Look

Understanding the cost implications is crucial in making an informed decision. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Asphalt Shingles: $3 to $5 per square foot. Affordable with moderate lifespan.

  • Metal Roofing: $6 to $14 per square foot. Higher initial cost but offers longevity and energy savings.

  • Wood Shingles: $5 to $10 per square foot. Mid-range cost with higher maintenance.

  • Clay Tiles: $10 to $18 per square foot. Expensive but very durable.

  • Slate: $15 to $30 per square foot. Most expensive, but with unmatched longevity and elegance.

Installation and Maintenance: What to Expect

The installation process and maintenance requirements vary significantly between materials. For instance, asphalt shingle installation is relatively straightforward and can be handled by most roofing contractors. On the other hand, materials like slate require specialized skills and experience. Maintenance also varies; metal roofs may need occasional repainting, while slate roofs require minimal maintenance but should be inspected regularly for broken tiles.

Environmental Considerations

For environmentally conscious homeowners, the choice of roofing material can impact your home’s ecological footprint. Recycled materials, energy-efficient options, and sustainably sourced products are available across different roofing types. Metal roofs, often made from recycled materials, reflect sunlight, reducing cooling needs. Wood shingles, when sustainably sourced, offer a natural, biodegradable option.

Common Questions Answered

  • Are metal roofs noisy? With proper insulation, metal roofs are no noisier than other types.

  • Can I walk on a tile roof? It’s not recommended as tiles can break under weight.

  • How long will a slate roof last? With proper maintenance, a slate roof can last over 100 years.


Choosing the right roofing material is a decision that affects your home’s aesthetic, functionality, and value for decades. By considering factors like climate adaptability, style, cost, and maintenance, you can select a material that not only looks great but also meets your practical needs. At Big Red Contracting, we’re committed to helping you make the best choice for your home. Whether you opt for the affordability of asphalt shingles, the durability of metal, or the elegance of slate, our team is here to ensure a smooth and successful installation.

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