Which Roofing Materials Are Best? A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Justin Havre on Thursday, August 8th, 2019 at 8:29am.

Everything You Need to Know When Picking a Roofing MaterialIf you're building a new construction home or buying a pre-existing home sometime in the next few months, you should be aware of the different types of roofing materials. Knowing their advantages and disadvantages can help you decide whether a roofing type is right for you. While this is especially important for building a new construction home, roofing material might even affect the type of pre-existing home that you might choose to purchase. Here's what you need to know.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing types in North America. This durable, universal building material comes in a variety of colours and can withstand years of exposure to sun, wind, rain and ice. Asphalt is popular in part because of its affordability: it is one of the least expensive roofing types available.

Asphalt does have some drawbacks. Compared to other roofing materials, asphalt shingles have a relatively short service life. Some asphalt shingles now last up to 50 years, but many types of shingles will only last twenty to twenty-five years. In addition, shingles are not able to withstand high-wind situations, and are not the best material in areas where strong winds are a common problem.


Clay roofing has been in use for hundreds of years. It's popular in areas where high winds are typical, and where wildfires are a frequent issue. Clay is resistant to fire and wind, and comes in a variety of colours (although orange is the most common). Clay can also last for 50 years or more, if it's properly maintained.

Unfortunately, clay can be very heavy, and homes must be properly reinforced before they can support clay. A homeowner who would like to switch from an asphalt roof to a clay roof would need to speak with their contractor to ensure that the home can support the weight of a clay roof, and if it cannot, then the home must be retrofitted before this would be possible.


Roofing slate is very similar to clay in many ways. It's fire resistant, long-lasting, incredibly durable, and wind-resistant. Slate roofing that is properly installed and maintained can last for a century or more. However, like clay, slate has a lot of weight and the home must be properly reinforced before a slate roof can be installed.

Although slate is similar to clay in performance, it is different from clay in its appearance. Slate comes in shades of gray, with some types of clay taking on a red, green, or even purple or blue cast. Whereas clay tends to come in rolls, slate comes in straight, flat shingles.


Metal is quickly becoming a popular option among homeowners seeking a practical alternative to asphalt shingles. Metal is lightweight, relatively easy to install, and comes in a variety of colours. Metal is also said to last fifty years or more. Homeowners seeking a green alternative to asphalt shingles often turn to metal roofing, because metal is easily recyclable and is often made of recycled materials.

It's important to work with a roofing company that has experience installing residential metal roofing, as there are some significant differences between residential and agricultural metal roofs.

Building Your Home? Choose Your Contractor Wisely

Westridge home buyers who plan to build their property rather than purchase a pre-made home should choose their contractor wisely. Working with an experienced contractor who understands the materials and who produces quality work can make all the difference. Home buyers should check references before hiring a contractor and signing a contract.

For more information about buying a pre-built home, work with a real estate professional. Your real estate agent can help you determine whether a property is right for you.

Leave a Comment