There are numerous other roofing materials available however we are going to look at three of the major roofing materials in use today; asphalt shingles (also known as composition shingles), wood and slate.
Asphalt or Composition Shingles
Asphalt shingles are an extremely popular roofing material which combines affordability with good, clean looks. Aside from asphalt, composition shingles may also include fiberglass or other materials, and may typically utilize recycled materials for a more environmentally friendly product.
Asphalt shingles are available in a wide range of colors and styles and they are easy to work with. Asphalt shingles can be worked by home improvement devotees though experience with roofing is preferred. Asphalt shingles are generally low maintenance products and many provide good fire protection though they can be affected by the elements, typically being subject to high winds and being blown off the roof.
Wood shakes come in an extremely wide variety of colors, shapes and finishes and as a consequence, it is impossible for any two wood shake roofs to be the same. Wood is an extremely good insulation material as well as allowing your home (and particularly the roof space) to breathe with circulating air which helps prevent the build-up of moisture and the attendant problems this brings.
Wood does require a higher degree of maintenance than most other building materials and without proper attention the roof will deteriorate and need replacing. Wood is also susceptible to rot, mold and the work of insects which adds to the cost of maintenance and repair. Wood is also not a fire proof material which means there is an elevated fire risk when using wood, however it is possible to source pressure treated wooden shakes which are injected with fire retardants and also last longer.
Installation is more involved than for asphalt shingles and the finished build quality is directly related to the ability of the contractor used for the job as well as the quality of the wood shakes used.
Slate is highly durable and despite an initial high cost, it provides the lowest overall annualized cost as it has virtually zero maintenance. Slate cannot burn, it is waterproof and requires no cleaning or painting, it is also impervious to the effects of water, excesses of heat and cold and insects cannot use it for food or as a habitat. Not only this, but slate requires very little cleaning and no chemical treating for algae, moss and mold as it provides no habitat or nourishment for them.
Slate is also highly aesthetically pleasing on the eye and comes in a variety of shades and colors from light brown through to olive green with a variety textures and feel.
Slate is heavy and usually requires additional roofing support and it should only be installed by an experienced professional.