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The Complete Homeowner’s Guide to Roofing Materials [2023]

roofing materials complete guide

If you don’t jump with joy when you hear the words “roof replacement,” you aren’t alone.

Most homeowners don’t like to spend much time thinking about it. After all, roof replacements are known for being expensive, messy, and inconvenient. Unfortunately, it is something most people will have to contend with at some point or another.

If it’s time for you to start considering replacing your roof, we get it. It can feel hugely overwhelming, and you likely have a lot of questions.

  • What contractor is right for me?
  • How do I choose what roof I want?
  • How much will it cost?

Don’t panic. A roof replacement doesn’t have to be scary. The key is to do your research. The good news? We’ve done it for you! If you’re trying to choose between roofing materials, we’re breaking down what to look for in terms of cost, durability, and energy efficiency.

 4 Things to Consider When Choosing Roofing Materials

If you’re not well-versed in the world of roofing materials, it can be easy to choose the wrong one. Before you call your local roofing contractor, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what your primary concerns are when it comes to your roof.

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing your roofing materials.

1) Cost

For many homeowners, cost is the primary barrier when it comes to getting a roof replacement. In fact, if a new roof system is in your future, the potential cost might be your biggest concern.

While roof replacements are never cheap, you have lots of options when it comes to cost. The average cost comes in at roughly $8,000, but there are often cheaper and more high-end options available.

Before starting, it is a good idea to take a hard look at your finances and overall home goals and decide how much you are willing to spend on a roof replacement. This will help you decide what type of roofing material is right for you. It’s good to remember that the majority of roofing contractors will offer financing options to help you get the care you need.

2) Climate ☀️

Did you know that you can get a roof that is tailored to take on your local weather conditions?

Different materials react differently to various weather conditions. You might have different needs based on the environmental conditions of your home. Worried about hail damage? Dealing with high moisture levels? Live somewhere where wildfires are common?

These are all things to think about when choosing roofing materials.

3) Maintenance ⏰

roofing materials maintenance

All roofing types come with some level of maintenance. That being said, some definitely require more attention than others. When it comes to choosing a new roof, you might want to take an honest look at how much maintenance you are willing to do.

4) Installation

Are you an avid DIYer?

If you are, it is possible that you are considering doing your own roof replacement. DIY roof replacements are sometimes doable, depending on the materials that you choose. Some roofing types require specialized tools and installation techniques that might be too advanced.

Remember, your roof system is vitally important to protecting your whole home from water damage and keeping it well insulated. Faulty installation could cause you all sorts of problems further down the road. It might be worth it to invest in a quality roofing professional if you aren’t 100% confident in your skills.

Before You Begin ✅

Ready to get started? Not quite!

Before you jump into action, here are a few steps that you should take.

  • Schedule a Roof Inspection – Roof replacements are expensive. Why go through it if you don’t need to? We recommend scheduling a roof inspection before beginning your roof replacement. A roofing contractor will be able to assess the state of your roof and tell you whether or not you can get away with just making some repairs. This could save you lots of money in the long run.
  • Consult With a Roofing Contractor – Thinking of going the DIY route to save some money? Think again! We recommend reaching out to local roofing contractors for quotes before you tackle the project yourself. You might find that it is not as expensive as you thought, and might be worth the money if you don’t have to do it yourself.
  • Educate Yourself – If you are determined to go the DIY route, take the time to educate yourself before you begin your installation. This will help boost your confidence and ensure that your roof is installed properly.

7 Popular Roofing Materials

The moment you’ve been waiting for! We are breaking down all the details you need to know about the 7 most popular roofing materials on the market.

1) Asphalt Shingle Roof

If there were a King of Roofing, asphalt shingles would rule supreme. Asphalt shingles are the go-to choice for the majority of homeowners, and it is easy to see why. They are affordable, durable, and easy to replace and maintain.


Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable options on the market. Coming in at about $3-$8 per square foot, the average homeowner can replace their entire roof for $3,000-$10,000!


A well-maintained asphalt shingle roof can last up to 20 years, making it a great choice for most homeowners. On average, it lasts for about 15 years, provided you are regularly replacing cracked or blown-off shingles.

2) Metal Roofs

You might be used to only seeing metal roofs on commercial buildings. But these days, more and more homeowners are coming around to the idea of installing a metal roof on their homes.

Don’t be fooled by what you’ve seen, either. There are a variety of styles to choose from that can make any home look polished. Whether you are drawn to standing seam metal roofing, or metal shingles, there is a style for you!


The downside of metal roofing? It’s gonna cost you. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10,000-$30,000, with the national average coming in around $10,000.


The good news is that, for the price, you are getting a hugely durable roofing material. Metal roofs can last up to 50 years and often raise the resale value of your home, making them very cost-effective in the long run. They are popular in warm climates for their fire resistance and are a great choice when it comes to energy efficiency.

3) Slate Roof

roofing materials slate roof type

If you are looking for a roofing material with huge visual impact, you can’t go wrong with a slate roof!

Slate roofs have been around for thousands of years, but they are only recently coming back into style. If you are considering a slate roof, make sure that you hire a qualified contractor, as slate requires specialized installation. Slate tile is incredibly heavy, and a professional roofer will need to assess your home to ensure that it can withstand the extra weight. Structural support may be required before installation.


When it comes to cost, slate roofs win the prize for the priciest roofing material. Slate tile typically runs about $10-$20 per square foot, making the average cost for a roof replacement total between $10,000-$50,000.


While it wins in terms of the most expensive option, a slate roof may also be the most durable option on this list. If you install a slate roof, it is likely to be the last roof you ever purchase. Some people report it lasting up to 100 years! It is fire-resistant, hail resistant, and a great insulator.

4) Wood Roofs

If you are looking to create a charming, rustic exterior for your home, you cant go wrong with a wood roof. Wooden shingles are a classic design element that will never go out of style.

Be warned: a wood roof will require more annual maintenance than many of the other materials on this list. If the idea of power washing your roof once a year sounds terrible, you might be better off sticking to another option.


Wooden shingles are relatively affordable when compared to other roofing materials like metal or slate. Also referred to as cedar shakes, this type of roof can generally be installed for around $20,000.


A well-maintained wood roof can be enjoyed for many years to come. The average wood roof has been known to last 15 to 30 years. They also stand up well to a variety of environmental stressors, such as hail, snow, and rain. In order to get the most out of your roof, we recommend performing a thorough maintenance check each year. This will involve removing debris, such as leaves and twigs that are stuck on your roof or your gutter system. In addition to an annual power wash, it might be worth your time to invest in a cedar shingle treatment that can protect against rot and buckling.

5) Composite Shingles

Do you love the look of wood or slate tiles but are intimidated by the cost and upkeep? Composite shingles may be the solution you are looking for. Made of polymers and other recycled materials, composite shingles are designed to look like real cedar shakes and slate roofs. You can get the aesthetic appeal of the real thing for a fraction of the cost.


While composite shingles aren’t exactly cheap, you’ll be saving a great deal more than you would by purchasing the real deal. Composite shingles generally total around $12-$15 per square foot. While this is certainly a hefty price tag when compared to, say, an asphalt shingle roof, we encourage you never to underestimate the power of curb appeal! Investing in a composite shingle roof could drastically help increase your home’s value.


While few things beat the durability of a real slate roof, composite roofing materials are not to be dismissed. Composite shingles have been known to last for 40-50 years, which is comparable with many of the more durable options on this list.

6) Clay Tiles

roofing materials clay roof type

Unless you live in a place like southern California, or Arizona, it’s possible you have never seen clay tiles used on a home in your neighborhood. And while it’s true that clay tiles are well known for their iconic use on Spanish-style homes, more and more homeowners are learning just how versatile this type of roofing material is.


Clay tiles generally fall in the middle range of prices for a new roof. The tiles cost between $7 and $25 dollars per square foot. This means that homeowners can expect to pay around $30,000-$40,000 for a brand-new roof.


Clay roofs aren’t just beautiful. They are also designed to last. Like slate roofing, they have been proven to last more than 100 years if properly installed and cared for. They are excellent for providing thermal insulation and are fire resistant.

7) Living Roofs

Do you consider yourself to be an eco-conscious homeowner? Want to protect your home and give back to the environment? Then a statement-making living roof system may be just what you are looking for!

Living roofs are also called green roofs and are a powerful way to decrease your environmental footprint. These unique roof systems have been used in Europe for years but are only now gaining popularity in the USA. Homeowners create a sort of rooftop garden that absorbs rainfall and uses it to hydrate the plants.


Installing green roofs can be expensive, but it comes with lots of benefits. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $200 per square foot, depending on the style and design they choose.


Living roofs have been shown to increase the life of your roof by 300% or more. Yup, you read that right. That being said, this roofing style does require a lot of maintenance and is not for the faint of heart. Think of it as having an extra garden to take care of. If that sounds overwhelming, you might be better off selecting a different type of roofing material.

Talk To a Pro Roofing Contractor ☎️

Ready to revamp your roof? You need a trusted roofing professional on your side! Our team at Dreamworx are experts on all things roofing and can help assess your home to find the best types of roofing materials for your needs. Contact us today to get started!

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