Your Guide to the Types of Roofing Materials

When it’s time to re-roof your home, it’s also time to prepare yourself for a flurry of decision-making. Re-roofing offers you a rare opportunity to change the look and style of your home in a dramatic way, so before you agree to the same old color and design scheme, it’s wise to take a look at your options. There are more types of roofing options than ever before, and new technologies have lowered the cost of shingles, putting more luxuriant styles within reach of the average homeowners. In addition, new profiles and shingles designed to look like more expensive, high-maintenance materials make for a dizzying array of choices to be made. We help you sort it all out with our guide to roofing options.

choices of shinglesAsphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most popular type of roofing material, covering four out of five homes in the U.S., and with good reason. Asphalt shingles now come in an array of styles, colors, and designs. If you’re on a very tight budget, you can opt for a traditional—and low-priced—three-tab shingle, available in a range of colors. Prefer a more distinctive look? Diamond-shaped shingles evoke an Old-World elegance, while other shingles are styled to look like wood shake for a more rustic look. You can even get shingles made to look like slate or clay, for a fraction of the cost of the real thing, and at a lighter weight that won’t require beefing up the strength of your roof structure. Want a different color for your new roof? With asphalt, you can choose from brown, red, green, blue, black, gray, beige, gold. Virtually all types of roofs will look great topped with asphalt shingle.

Clay Tile

Clay is one of the oldest and most durable roofing materials, and real clay roofs offer authentic European appeal for high-end homes whose owners can afford the high price tag. Not only is clay tile itself expensive to produce, but working with this material is challenging, and clay tile should only be installed by experienced pros. Also, clay tile should be installed on roofs that slope at least 20 degrees—the greater the slope, the better the tile looks. Clay is made from different grades of terra cotta, sometimes mixed with other materials to create different colors and increase hardiness, and is manufactured in different profiles, including the traditional Spanish “S” shape, the barrel shape, and many more. It also comes in a surprisingly wide array of colors.


When you think a metal roof, the standard standing-seam roofing option may come to mind. However, the reality is that metal roofs come in many profiles, colors, and styles. Metal is a great imitator: it can be styled to look like asphalt shingle, clay tile, or slate, and is made from many materials, including copper and aluminum. These materials are often treated with resins and other coatings to help them resist rust, fading, and discoloration. So why would you go with a metal roofing style? Metal is highly durable and offers excellent protection against the elements. It’s also environmentally friendly—recycled materials are often used and metal naturally reflects radiant heat. As such, metal roofs can easily make for a great whole-house covering for all types of homes. The traditional standing-seam roof is ideal as both a whole-house covering and as a contrasting material to largely shingled homes—it can offset a certain architectural structure, such as a portico or dormer.


Slate offers a unique look that’s both rustic and luxurious, making it ideal for many styles of high-end homes. When considering this type of roofing, you should know that slate is very expensive—both in materials and installation. It’s also very heavy, meaning that it may not work for your home unless you’re willing to add strength to the roofing supports, which will also add to the costs of your new slate roof. in addition, because slate roofs have an extraordinarily long lifespan, you’ll want to invest in the highest-quality materials for the entire roofing system, such as flashing and sheathing. Still interested? Slate roofs offer an undeniable enduring beauty and are perfect for historic homes. Slate is also the only roofing product that is found in nature (so no two pieces are exactly alike), and the materials are often hand-cut, meaning your home will have a truly one-of-a-kind roof.

Making a Decision

When considering your roofing options, you certainly have many decisions to make. We know how overwhelming these choices can be, so rest assured that the experts at George J. Keller and Sons are here to objectively walk you through the process, step-by-step, providing you all the resources you need to make a well-informed decision. By working with us, you’ll have the peace of mind of having chosen exactly the right roof for your home, carefully and skillfully installed by the highly experienced professionals at George J. Keller. Give us a call today at 973-927-0963 to get started!