Types of Roofing Materials

Most homeowners desire a roof that is not too expensive, requires no maintenance, and lasts forever. Nonetheless, virtually all roofs require some form of occasional upkeep and over time will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. Choosing a suitable roofing material and having it installed correctly can greatly assist in the effort to acquiring the ideal roof.

There is a wide choice of materials used to roof a house, ranging from composition to slate. Modern products like plastic, fiberglass, and concrete are available, and some innovative, energy-efficient homes are being roofed with “green” materials. New products are being developed to overcome the shortcomings of older roofing materials, meet the demands of modern building techniques, and conform to increasingly stringent building codes.

What follows is an overview of the most popular types of roofing materials. Remember that cost alone does not determine quality, and not all of these products will meet the needs of your home. By carefully selecting the right material, making sure it is installed properly, and performing modest maintenance occasionally, you can have a roof that functions properly for 20 to 50 years – or even longer.

Using an experienced and professional roofing contractor such as Performance Roofing will ensure that no matter the roofing material chosen for your home, the end product will deliver visually appealing results and reliable functionality for the future.


Popular among New England architecture and upscale homes, slate tile offers a wealth of benefits. These shingle-like slivers of rock are impervious to fire damage, insects, and rotting, and may often be seen functioning 100 years after installation. Although a physically heavy tile, slate is nontoxic, recyclable, and very energy efficient. Its natural look creates a timeless appearance for homes and may be laid out in a variety of patterns. Available in an array of sizes and colors, slate is a great upgrade for any structure and is commonly installed by Performance Roofing.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs have been a favored roofing material for centuries. Made from galvanized or galvalume stainless steel, aluminum, and copper, the advantages of metal roofs make choosing the right roofing material an obvious decision for many individuals. Not only is metal roofing very energy efficient, it is also lightweight, extremely durable, recyclable, and unyielding to the dangers of other materials such as fire, insects, and mold. Metal roofing is almost maintenance free and is available in a variety of styles and colors. Quite practical in regions with heavy snowfall, metal roofing also is coming back into vogue in warmer climates such as southern California, where standing-seam steel roofing is the most popular residential metal roofing installed by Performance Roofing.

Clay Tile

Common among structures built with southwestern, Italian, and Spanish Mission architecture, clay tiles offer superb protection with a long lifespan. Despite the physical weight of clay tile, it is resistant to fire, insects, rotting, and mold. Additionally, clay tile provides a distinctive look with its many available colors, types, styles, and brands. Similar to slate tile, clay is an all-natural roofing material that is nontoxic, recyclable, energy efficient, and requires little maintenance.

Asphalt Shingle

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in the United States, featured on over 75% of American roofs. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors, longevity options, and price points that are usually the least expensive option available. Furthermore, asphalt shingles adapt well to almost any type of climate and are durable solutions for structures across the country. This roofing material has a low insulative value and is usually not recyclable. Asphalt shingles are a viable solution for those looking for a lightweight, walkable, and less expensive roof.

Concrete Tile

Standard weight concrete tile is the most commonly used product on new production homes in southern California. Concrete tile comes in a variety of profiles to emulate historic roofing materials like wood shake, clay, and slate. Most manufacturers now have a selection of Cool Roof Tile colors available for reroof and new construction projects. These tiles are approved by the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and Energy Star. Concrete tiles of this nature help a project to qualify for newer codes that require “green” building practices (Tile 24). Available in standard weight for new construction and lightweight for reroof, concrete tile is a popular choice as an upgrade roof. Concrete tile is fireproof and is impervious to insects and rot.

Hot Mop or Torch Down

Hot mopped roofing, commonly referred to as Built-Up-Roofing (BUR), is typically installed on low sloped or flat roofs. It is applied in a series of layers of hot asphalt and interply sheets – usually fiberglass based – and topped with rock or granulated cap sheet. Newer technology has allowed the development of “low odor” or “no odor” asphalt, which has been one of the biggest drawbacks during its application.

Torch Down is a APP modified asphalt roll that is applied over a fiberglass base sheet. The asphalt on the back of the roll is melted with a torch then adhered solidly to the base sheet. It has a granulated surface and comes in many colors. This roofing material is a good option for a small patio or flat roof or when access is unavailable for a hot mop kettle. Material costs for asphalt rolled goods have risen sharply in 2011 due to the increased cost of oil.