4 Types of Roofing Materials and How to Choose the Right One

Choosing the type of roofing material you want for your replacement is a huge decision. It will impact the longevity and strength of your roof, and therefore the safety of your home. It also affects the aesthetic appeal of your home, which can be important if you’re looking to enter the seller’s market.


For over 40+ years, the full-service roofing team at Les Jones Roofing has helped hundreds of families select the style of roof and product that best fits their style and budget. We’d love to help you too!

Here are the 5 types of the most common roofing materials to help get you started on your research.

Asphalt shingle roof

Asphalt roof shingles are the most popular roofing material used on homes across North America, and with good reason. Designed to protect a home for decades, asphalt shingles come in 3 types that offer the most colors and styles across a wide range of budgets. 

Strip shingles, also known as 3-tab shingles, are the most economical. They are made from a single layer of asphalt and have a very flat appearance that typically offers a slate look. 

Dimensional shingles, also known as architectural or laminate shingles, are the most prevalent asphalt shingles. These products are manufactured with two or more layers of asphalt that are fused together for a thicker and richer multi-dimensional appearance. They are engineered to replicate the wood shake and natural slate roofing aesthetics. 

Luxury shingles are the highest-quality laminated shingles available. These shingles offer the most durability and a premium aesthetic, especially for those looking for the most realistic representation of the old-world wood shake and quarried slate roofing.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

While not as common as asphalt, standing seam metal roofing is becoming more popular. 

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of metal panels that are locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. This allows for the metal panels to expand and contract freely when the metal heats up.

This style is a very versatile material. While you can get it as a full roof system, homeowners can also use the standing seam metal to accent their asphalt roof for a covered porch, dormers, flat roof facets, and more.

Cedar shake roof

For a more natural product or look, a cedar shake roof may be right for you. This premium roof system is made of natural wood (cedar) A cedar shake roof is a premium roof system made of natural wood (cedar) To make the actual shingles, cedar trees are cut into 2-foot sections and hand split or sawed into a tapered thickness (tapersawn). Hand split gives you a more rugged look, while tapersawn is a much smoother look. 

In addition to its appearance, some homeowners also like cedar shake roofs for their longer lifespan, energy efficiency and sustainability. For this specialized type of roof, make sure to find a roofing company that has cedar roof installation experts as well as a good maintenance plan. 

Slate roof

A slate roof is a premium roof system that can last for 100 years. The slate itself is mined (mostly in Italy) and cut into square tiles and then installed one at a time versus other materials that come in wider strips and or panels. This makes installation of a slate or tile roof slow and expensive. 

Due to the weight of the slate tiles, homes often have to be retrofitted to support the weight of a slate roof. 

While one of the most beautiful, built to last options, they are also one of the most expensive options to put on your home.

With so many options, it’s easy for selecting a roof style to be overwhelming. As you consider each type of material, be sure to ask yourselves these questions:

  • What is my budget for my roof?
  • How long do I want my roof to last?
  • How much maintenance do I want to have to do? 
  • What is the style that I want for my house? Sleek and modern? Natural and wood? Traditional? 

Still stuck? Not to worry. Our Les Jones roofing specialists are great at understanding your needs, bring over samples, and help you decide which roof is right for you.