Roofing Materials: From Traditional to Innovative

Roofing Materials: From Traditional to Innovative

Roofs are an integral part of your house’s structure and exterior design. The right roof adds an aesthetic flare to your house’s exterior and can have several practical effects, like providing insulation and sheltering you against external elements. You can get roofs made from different materials, and we will discuss some of them in this article.

Traditional Roofing Materials

These materials are traditionally used in houses:

1.   Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are popular roofing materials made of fiberglass or organic mat coated with asphalt and mineral granules. You can get architectural shingles with a three-dimensional appearance or the more economical three-tab shingles that provide a flat, uniform look.

Asphalt shingles are cost-effective, and they come in various styles and colors. It is easy to install an asphalt roof due to its flexible and lightweight nature, and they require minimal maintenance. However, they have a shorter lifespan than metal roofs, and harsh sunlight, heavy rain, or hail deteriorates them. They are also prone to algae and moss growth.

2.   Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are roofing materials made from cedar, redwood, pine, or other timber. They are machine-cut and have a smooth appearance. You can also get a hand-cut wood that shakes the roof with a more rustic look.

Wooden shingles are considered aesthetic and have natural insulating properties, keeping your house warm in winter and protecting you from the outside heat in summer. Properly maintained wood shingles can last for decades. However, they are generally more expensive than metal or asphalt roofs and require high maintenance. They are also flammable, making them a fire hazard.

3.   Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles are made of molded and cured cement and sand. They offer an elegant look and are present in several shapes, sizes, and colors. These tiles are exceptionally durable, lasting for 50 years or more. They also offer resistance to wind, hail, and fire. However, concrete tiles are heavy and require a robust, structured roof system. Their installation is complex and requires expertise. Concrete tiles are also more expensive than other roofing materials.

Metal Roofs

Some roofing companies, like Cavalier Metal Roofs, offer metal roofing. Here are common metals used for metal roofs and their pros and cons:

1.   Steel Roofing

Steel roofs are made from steel or steel alloys, making them lightweight but strong and resistant to corrosion and weather conditions. They can mimic different roofing styles, such as shingles, shakes, or tiles, and can be installed on various roof slopes.

Steel is a durable material; steel roofs can last as long as 70 years with proper maintenance. It also requires minimal maintenance and is resistant to weather conditions and fire. Plus, the material is eco-friendly, as it is recyclable. You can also conserve energy by applying reflective coatings to it. However, steel roofs are expensive and noisy during rain or hailstorms; a heavy hailstorm can also dent them. The sun’s UV rays often fade a steel roof’s color too. And steel isn’t an insulator.

2.   Aluminum Roofing

You can also use aluminum as your roofing material. It is incredibly durable but lightweight, making it easier to handle and install. Its corrosion resistance makes it suitable for areas with high humidity, like coastal areas.

Aluminum roofs are durable, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. They naturally reflect sunlight, reducing heat absorption. This lowers your cooling costs and makes your house more energy efficient. Aluminum roofing requires minimal maintenance, limited to just regular cleaning.

However, aluminum roofing is more susceptible to denting than steel or other roofing materials. It expands and contracts with the heat; you just accommodate this in installation. It can also be noisy during rain or hailstorms.

3.   Copper Roofing

Copper roofs are considered beautiful and long-lasting due to their patina development properties. Over time, copper oxidizes and forms a protective layer that slows corrosion. This greenish layer called a patina, enhances the roof’s visual appeal.

Copper roofs have an exceptional lifespan and last over 100 years. They are considered very aesthetic due to their patina and require little maintenance. And they are durable and lightweight.  However, copper roofs are expensive, and the patina may take several years to develop. Copper is soft and malleable, making it prone to dents when hailstorms occur. It can also expand and contract under heat; you must adjust for that during installation.

Innovative Roofing Materials

While many prefer traditional and metal roofs, some are moving towards innovative and unique ones. Some examples include:

1.   Solar Roofs

Solar roofs are roofs covered with photovoltaic solar panels. They convert solar energy to electrical energy. Solar panels have many benefits; they provide clean and renewable energy, saving you thousands in energy bills. An efficient solar system can even offset any need for grid electricity! They lower your cumulative emissions, making them environmentally friendly. Homes with solar panels also have a higher resale value, and governments often offer tax credits and rebates for installing solar panels. However, solar panels have a high upfront cost.

You can integrate solar panels with different roofing materials, like asphalt shingles or metal roofs. You can also get solar panels of your desired color and design to augment your existing roof. However, you must ensure that your roofing structure is structurally sound and can support the weight of solar panels.

2.   Green Roofs

Green roofs are completely or partially covered with plants and a medium to promote their growth. That is why they are also called living roofs. You may get an extensive green roof or an intensive one. Extensive green roofs are lightweight and have shallow soil depth supporting low-maintenance vegetation. In contrast, intensive green roofs have deeper soil and support a wider variety of plants, but they require more maintenance.

Green roofs offer many benefits. They are aesthetic and make your house more energy efficient by providing insulation. They absorb rainwater, providing you with an eco-friendly storm management option. And they also act as noise-reduction barriers.


Your house’s roof stands out far away from your home, so you should invest in getting an aesthetic and practical roof. Traditional roof materials like asphalt or wood shingles and concrete tiles are still popular, but they are slowly getting replaced by metal roofs made of steel, aluminum, or copper.

Meanwhile, many innovative roofs like solar roofs and green roofs are trending too, which provide energy efficiency and are eco-friendly. Check your budget and the pros and cons of every roof type, and get your roof installed by professionals.