Roofing Materials & Types | RPI roofing

Which roofing materials are right for you?

Much like any other part of a house, roofs are completely customizable. There are different roofing materials to help achieve the perfect look for your home. Roofing has come a long way, and there are many different options to choose from.

Asphalt Shingles:

Also known as ‘composite’ shingles. Most popular roofing material. Made from petroleum, which can fluctuate in price. Three tab shingles made of fiberglass mat topped with asphalt and mineral granules. Can fade in sunlight; shorter lifespan than other heavier materials. Can fit a variety of architectural styles. Can be low in price. Can last 20-30 years. Easy to replace.

Clay Tiles:

Genuine flat, ribbed or scalloped clay tiles are extremely durable but also very heavy. Must be installed by a professional. Long-lasting and non-combustible. 40-50 lifespan.

Concrete Tiles:

Versatile and are less expensive than genuine clay, but also have a heavy weight. Energy efficient. Long-lasting and non-combustible. Expensive, heavy and usually require additional framing. 40-50 lifespan.

Ceramic Tiles:

Resistant to fading and fireproof. Unsuitable for climates with fluctuating weather. Prone to erosion because of this. Fragile. High winds can damage them as well as walking on them. 50-70 year lifespan.

Copper Roofing:

The price of raw copper can make this option incredibly expensive.

“Green” Roofing:

Also known as a “living roof”. Provide thermal insulation, absorb rainwater, and can grow plants. Can come in two styles: intensive and extensive. Intensive can support large plants and people. Extensive can be thin and lightweight, perfect for growing moss. Layered on roof with waterproof membrane and providing adequate drainage.

Metal Shingles:

Average in price. Much more stylish roofing materials than they used to be, so they’re not just for warehouses anymore. Fire resistant and repellant to pests like termites or carpenter ants. Add to resale value. Eco-friendly. Low maintenance, lightweight. Tricky installation. Might lose shine but can be repainted. Costs less to repaint rather than replace. Require installation by highly experienced professionals. Can exist over current roof but can also cause complications. 30-75 year lifespan.

Rolled Roofing:

Is essentially one big shingle. Can come in rolls of 100 square feet. Fast, dead-cheap for roofing out buildings like sheds, workshops, and the like. Necessary for roofing with little to no slope. Good for holding back moisture. Least expensive. Low durability. Easy to install. Short lifespan: 5-8 years.


Real stone. Natural appearance. Invulnerable to rot. Easy to cleave off in thin sheets. Sophisticated. Best installed by highly qualified professionals who handle or specialize in slate. Said professionals be especially hard to find and incredibly expensive to hire. Heavy, expensive roofing material. Fragile. Can complicate gutter cleaning. 50-100 year lifespan.

Synthetic Roofing:

Include rubber, plastic, and polymer roofing. Gives the look, color, and texture of natural materials. Strong and easy to maintain. Some are fire resistant. Cheaper, lighter, and more durable than natural products. Some can absorb water and quality varies. Up to 50 years.


Some of the most expensive to purchase and install, but it’s also one of the most long-lasting and durable roofing materials on market. Homes might not be able to structurally support weight. 80 year lifespan.

Wood Shakes and Shingles:

Made from renewable resources. Preferred as environmental choice. Wood shakes are handmade and rougher-looking. Wood shingles are usually machine-cut. Can have a fire-resistant coating if living in an area prone to fire outbreaks, though fire codes might prohibit them altogether in some areas. Wood shingles can be a concern in wet climates as they can mold, split or rot. 30 year lifespan or more.