Choosing the Right Roof – Pros and Cons of Popular Roofs

Choosing the Right Roof – Pros and Cons of Popular Roofs

Once you’ve made the decision to replace your roof, you might find yourself surprised by the vast amount of options for roofing materials on the market.

You may feel overwhelmed and wonder how you will ever choose between wood, asphalt, metal, slate, and synthetic products.

As is the case with most home renovation projects, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of material. It is important to research the different options. This will help you arm yourself with information before deciding what type of roof would work best for your home and budget.

Popular Roofs

Let’s take a look at popular roofs and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

House with asphalt roof

Asphalt Shingles

The asphalt shingle is the most commonly seen roofing material in America today. Asphalt shingles are inexpensive, and they come in a variety of colors. An asphalt roof will last between twenty and thirty years.

The value that comes with a roof constructed out of asphalt shingles simply can’t be beat, which explains why it is chosen by so many homeowners.

If you are looking for a roof that will help to set your home apart, there are architectural shingles. Architectural shingles are a step up (in both style and price bracket) from traditional asphalt shingles. Though still constructed of asphalt, these shingles are about twice as thick and add a level of interest and impressiveness to your roof.

Asphalt shingles require occasional maintenance and are susceptible to deterioration due to sudden climate changes. In addition, they are not environmentally friendly as the shingles cannot be recycled.

House with metal roof

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are another alternative that are available in copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and zinc. The advantages for metal roofing include durability, resistance to extreme weather conditions, and they are fire resistant.

Additionally, they are energy efficient as they reflect solar heat and can cut cooling costs from 10 to 25%. They typically have a life span of 40 to 70 years depending on the metal used.

The drawbacks of selecting a metal roof include they are typically expensive, can be noisy during hail storms or heavy rains, and can rust if water pools due to improper installation. Furthermore, they can be damaged in hail storms depending on the metal used.

House with slate roof

Slate Roofs

Slate roofs provide a distinctive appearance and a variety of colors from black and gray to green, red, and purple. Slate is a great choice if you are looking for durability and a fire resistant solution. They can last 50 years and in some cases, up to 100 years or more.

Some of the disadvantages of slate roofs include the cost, and the extra framing needed to support the weight. The quality of the slate can also vary depending upon where it is imported from.

Synthetic slate roof

Synthetic Roofing Material

An alternative to asphalt and wood would be a material that is manufactured to look like wood, slate or another roofing material that either isn’t affordable for the homeowner or is not allowed in the particular region where one lives.

For example, in many western states there are strict codes that require all roofs to be fireproof because of the high incidence of wild fires in the area. In a case such as this, an engineered material might be just the ticket.

Typically constructed of recycled rubber and plastic, but difficult to differentiate from the real thing, a ‘fake’ wood or slate roof can lend an unrivaled touch of class to your home’s appearance. Roofs constructed of synthetic materials such as these often last around 50 years.

Certain types of synthetic roofing materials lack durability and may have a shorter lifespan. For example, synthetic slate is not as strong as genuine slate.

Wood shingles roof

Wood Shingles / Shakes

Another great option for roofing material is wood shingles, or shakes. Some may argue that wood is the most attractive, durable and long-lasting roofing material. Wood fades to an attractive silvery-gray color over time that seems to complement the rest of the home as well as the landscaping.

The process for installing wood shingles varies slightly from that of an asphalt roof. Wood requires air to circulate around the around the shingles to prevent rotting as well as to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. A sponge-like barrier is typically installed underneath the shingles instead of just the standard roofing paper used alongside other roofing materials.

They may cost a bit more and require more upkeep, but a huge advantage is that a well-maintained wood roof can last up to fifty years.

Wooden roofs are more expensive than asphalt. They require some extra effort to maintain such as washing to remove dirt and mildew and periodically re-staining and sealing the surface.


In conclusion, choosing a new roof may be a daunting task if you are not familiar with all the possibilities. Michigan’s extreme temperature changes can also make your decision more complicated. Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of popular roofs will aid in your decision.

If you are looking to replace your roof, but are having trouble deciding what material is best for your home, let us help. Contact Renovations Roofing & Remodeling, Inc. today!


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