Best Roofing Materials for Homes in 2023: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

What's a Typical Cost To Install a new Roof? Average Price: $5,960 - $12,740
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This comprehensive guide to roofing materials is all the research you’ll need to evaluate the top choices for residential re-roofing and new construction projects.

What to Expect: In this guide, we’ll cover the following most common roofing options: asphalt shingles, cedar wood shingles and shakes, metal shingles and standing seam metal roofs, concrete, clay, and fiber-cement tiles, natural stone and faux slate/synthetic shingles, and the latest BiPV solar tile options.

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For each material, we cover the following topics:

  • An overview including how the roofing is made
  • Pros and cons including maintenance, repair, durability, options, home styles they work with and more
  • Cost for materials and installation
  • Choosing your roofing material: The “bottom line” summaries of each type
  • How to save money on a new roof

Types and Styles of Roofing Materials

The material options presented below cover more than 95 percent of all residential roofs in the United States. So, unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like BiPV solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed below

1. Asphalt/Fiberglass Composition Shingles
2. Wood Shingles and Shakes
3. Metal Roofing
4. Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles
5. Natural and Synthetic Composite Slate Tiles
6. BiPV Solar Shingles and Tiles
7. Low-sloped and Flat Roof Options

Asphalt/Fiberglass Composition Shingles

More than 75 percent of all single-family homes in the US are covered with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to the more energy-efficient and durable materials like metal.

Asphalt (composition) shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options, and do a good job protecting homes from the nature’s elements.

There are two main types of asphalt shingles:

  • Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide color and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight and resist tearing.
  • Old-school organic asphalt shingles (almost non-existent today) would normally have paper, an organic material, saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they generally offer better stability in high winds. Although you can still see them on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued over the course of last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof and more prone to excess moisture absorption.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of asphalt shingles are:

  • Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
  • Look good on most any style home
  • Shingles are often the most affordable roof covering option, especially in good/better ranges
  • The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
  • The cheapest 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market
  • Broad selection of colors and styles including affordable three-tab and architectural shingles that mimic shakes and slate
  • DIY asphalt shingle installation is possible for those with good skills, experience, and equipment
  • No support beyond standard roof sheathing is required for shingles
  • 3-tab shingles are rated for 60-70 MPH wind uplift, while standard architectural shingles are rated for 110 MPH winds; high-wind shingles are rated for 130 MPH
  • High-impact shingles such as the ones manufactured by GAF should be used for heavily wooded locations and areas where large hail is possible
  • Some shingle repairs are easy and cost-effective

A few words of caution:

  • The lifetime cost of shingles is higher than metal, tile, or slate, because composition shingles must be replaced more frequently
  • Cheaper or low-end asphalt shingles like 3-tab or strip shingles may only last some 10-15 years in hot, sunny climates like Arizona and Texas
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack prematurely
  • A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingles’ lifespan by cupping or cracking them
  • While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options
  • After a second layer of shingles needs replacing, all layers must be torn off the roof, creating extra expense and a lot of potential landfill waste
  • Mold or algae can be a problem on shingles in shady areas, unless treated with anti-algae/anti-stain treatments
  • Organic/felt shingles are heavy; getting them to the roof in bundles can be a challenge
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Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress, and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes are available.

How are wood shingles and shakes different?

  • Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance.
  • Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so slightly more expensive than wood shingles.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of wood shingles and shakes are:

  • Wood has natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
  • Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
  • Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
  • Cedar shingles and shakes can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt when properly maintained, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan
  • Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles. However, your home’s insulation levels including walls and attic are far more important than the R-value of the roof covering
  • Many shakes and shingles are made from salvaged trees – those that have fallen over from age or were toppled by storm
  • Wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch, or compost
  • They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow and cabin/cottage

Keep these potential disadvantages in mind:

  • Non-treated materials have a Class C fire rating, but wood can cedar shingles and shakes are also available as a more-costly treated option
  • Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first
  • Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
  • While DIY installation is possible if you have good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
  • Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood
  • While wood is quite durable, but repairs will be expensive if they are required

Metal Roofing

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Your great-grandfather’s home or barn might well have been roofed in metal, and some of those 100-year-old roofs are still going strong.

Metal has enjoyed a recent resurgence led by demand for durability, eco-friendly roofing and the introduction of new styles.

Metal roofs are manufactured/fabricated from pre-painted and pre-coated sheet metal coils. The metal coil typically gets fed into a metal fabrication machine that can form standing seam, ribbed R panels, and corrugated U metal panels.

The sheet metal coil can also be fed into a metal press that stamps out metal shingles, shakes, and tiles.

The manufacturing processes allow for a variety of appearance options including traditional or classic roofing profiles made to look like shingles, shakes and tiles. The most common metals used are aluminum, lightweight steel and zinc. Copper metal roofs are a beautiful but costly specialty!

Pros and Cons

The advantages of metal are:

  • New styles can mimic shingles, shakes, slate, and tile, and dozens of colors are available
  • Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years
  • Metal reflects solar radiant heat, so can keep your home cooler and control energy costs in hot weather — something that is a challenge with asphalt shingles
  • Many metal roofing profiles have a Class A fire rating
  • Some styles of metal such as corrugated and ribbed panels that are common to barn roofs can be installed quickly and on a budget
  • Metal sheds rain and snow better than most other roof materials, which helps prevent ice dams during extreme cold
  • Recycled materials are used in most metal roofs, and old metal panels are 100% recyclable at the end of their service life
  • Today’s metal roofing products are surprisingly lightweight yet offer outstanding resistance to impact
  • Metal roofs look great on wood-sided homes, cabins, cottages, and those with simple, rustic design
  • Many residential metal roofs such as metal shingles, standing seam, and stone-coated steel tiles are designed to meet the most-stringent building codes and wind uplift standards such as those of Miami Dade county in Florida

Before you choose metal, know its potential disadvantages:

  • The cost of metal roofing is higher (copper is in the league of its own as the most expensive option) than asphalt shingles and wood roofing, but that is usually offset by its durability and longevity
  • Without an attic space or a proper substrate such as solid sheathing (boards or plywood), metal roofs installed over open framing and directly over living space can be noisier than other materials when the rain hits it
  • The material can dent when hit with a heavy object, and replacing metal panels is costlier than replacing asphalt, wood, or tiles, although many metal roof styles are rated to withstand large hail
  • While protecting the home from windblown sparks and cinders, in some situations metal roofing can make it more difficult for firefighters from breaking through the roof to pour water on an interior fire

Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles

This ancient roofing option has been thoroughly modernized with newer and stronger materials that look fantastic. Today’s products are made in three versions:

  • Traditional clay tiles are reinforced for strength and durability
  • Concrete tiles are formed with a lightweight blend that makes them very tough but easy to work with
  • Fiber cement tiles are composed of wood and clay blended into the concrete for lightweight strength

The finished tiles are glazed or coated with waterproof coating.

Pros and Cons

Why do homeowners choose tiles?

  • All types, clay, concrete, and fiber cement, offer 50+ years of durability
  • Tiles resist fire and insects
  • The rich aesthetics of tile increase curb appeal
  • While not as varied as asphalt shingles, tiles are produced in a good range of colors, styles, and textures
  • Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, so reduces heat penetration and cooling requirements
  • The tiles are recyclable
  • Tiles look fantastic on Spanish/Mission, European, Mediterranean, and some contemporary homes

These are some of the potential drawbacks of tile roofs:

  • Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost
  • The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal, and wood
  • Tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues is trickier when the roof is covered with tiles

Natural Stone Slates and Composite or Synthetic Slate (and Composite Shake) Tiles

Some European structures have natural slate tile roofs that are centuries old; composite or vinyl slate tile is expected to last 40-60 years.

Both genuine and synthetic slate are produced in lengths from 8” to about 24” with widths from about 4” to 16”. The size options allow you to choose the best look for your home’s architecture.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of slate are:

  • The luxurious good looks of genuine slate are unsurpassed
  • Genuine slate is a “lifetime” roof for any building and enhances curb appeal and resale value
  • Slate requires little maintenance
  • Synthetic slate is lightweight yet strong
  • This is a green roofing material due to its durability, the fairly low impact of manufacturing and that it can be reused and recycled

Consider the disadvantages too:

  • Genuine slate is the heaviest roofing material at up to 1,500lbs per 100 square feet, so extra framing support (and extra cost) is necessary
  • If a slate roof isn’t properly installed, moisture issues will start quickly
  • Slate roofs should only be installed by contractors that specialize in slate, so you must do your due diligence before hiring an installer
  • Slate might break if walked on, so roof and chimney repairs are more difficult to make

BiPV Solar Shingles and Tiles: Tesla Solar Glass Tiles

Tesla solar tile roofs always seem to be “ramping up” but are never actually made available to consumers. Elon Musk claimed that Tesla would be making 1,000 solar tile roofs a week by the end of 2019.

However, here we are today, but that claim of producing 1,000 solar glass tiles a week hasn’t materialized yet. Not only that, but the total contracted price for a new Tesla Solar Roof has recently been increased drastically by Tesla on contracts that have already been signed by both parties. Go figure!

Tesla smooth solar glass tile roof. Source: Tesla

More homeowners would choose solar if the large PV panels weren’t so obtrusive while also often requiring drilling holes in the roof. Tesla claims they are attempting to change the game with the new solar tiles that resemble the look of standard tiles.

Tesla’s solar roof tiles were originally promised to be made of glass with four available styles. However, it has now been over 5 years since the initial unveiling of the product by Elon Musk, and after multiple product iterations and delays, Tesla recently came out and announced a drastic price increase on the latest iteration of the solar tile roof, which looks nothing like the initial unveiling.

The original contracts that have already been signed by both the homeowners and Tesla were recently nullified by Tesla, compelling buyers to agree to a 50% price increase if they still want to the promised solar tile roof for which they’ve already put down a deposit.

That said, here are the two types of the originally revealed solar roof tiles (before the numerous product design iterations that are difficult to keep up with):

  • BiPV solar tiles are made from glass over a photovoltaic (PV) substrate. The solar tiles are wired to the Tesla Powerwall energy storage battery. Depending on the climate where you live, and whether you own a ranch or multistory home, Tesla will recommend coverage with solar tiles of 35 to 70 percent.
  • Non-solar tiles are glass with no PV substrate. They cost less, look the same as the functional solar tiles, and are used on the remainder of the roof not covered in solar tiles.

Pros and Cons

What is the attraction of a Tesla solar roof?

  • The solar tile system can produce 100 percent of the home’s required electricity, reducing electric costs to zero
  • Currently, federal solar investment tax credits of 26 percent based on the installed cost of a solar system are available nationally
  • It’s expected that utilities will begin offering rebates for installation of Tesla solar roofing
  • Tesla tiles were guaranteed to generate power for 30 years, and they were promised to carry a lifetime warranty against breakage and defects
  • The originally unveiled tile options were quite stylish

What were the disadvantages?

  • At $25-$45 per square foot (before the recent 50% price increase, which was quite drastic), Tesla solar roof tiles are quite expensive
  • Few installers are up to speed on installing a Tesla system, so there is a risk of having to wait a long time to have your roof installed by an experienced roofer or having it installed improperly by an inexperienced contractor

Low-Sloped and Flat Roof Options

A small percentage of homes have flat or low-sloped roofs. Both flat and low-slope roof options including EPDM Rubber, PVC, and TPO, are covered here:

Breakdown of Costs by the Material Type and Installation Expenses

Here’s the raw data on the cost of each type of roof for the material and installation. In most, there is a range of costs because both materials and installers are available in good/better/best options. You get what you pay for!

All costs below are listed on a per sq.ft. basis:

Material Cost Installation Cost Total Cost
Asphalt Shingles $1.25 – $3.50 $3.00 – $4.00 $4.25 – $7.50
Wood Shingles & Shakes $3.00 – $5.50 $4.50 – $9.00 $7.50 – $14.50
Metal $3.50 – $7.50 $4.50 – $11.00 $8.00 – $18.50
Tiles (Clay & Concrete) $4.00 – $12.00 $8.00 – $12.00 $12.00 – $24.00
Slate (stone and composite) $5.00 – $15.00 $7.00 – $10.00 $12.00 – $25.00
Tesla Solar tiles (based on % of solar tiles used) $25 – $45 (Plus 50%)

Choosing the Right Roofing Material for Your Home

Here are brief summaries to help you narrow your options or choose a roof that will suit your home and your purposes.

  • Asphalt shingles: Cheap shingles are a good short-term choice if you plan to sell your home in less than 10 years; better shingles offer a good combination of cost and durability that is a good value over 20-25 years.
  • Wood shingles and shakes: If you want a rustic yet handsome look, these are tough to beat. Think twice if your roof doesn’t get much sun, and choose an experienced contractor because quality installation is crucial for durability.
  • Metal roofing: If you want stylish, eco-friendly roofing that stands up to snow and ice better than the other materials, metal is a great option. It’s ideal if you plan to live in your current home “forever” or want a roof with excellent resale value.
  • Clay, concrete, or composite tiles: If a tile roof fits your home’s architectural style, strongly consider this material if it fits your budget. Clay tiles are costlier but last longer than concrete tiles. Fiber cement composite tiles are a good middle-ground.
  • Slate roofing: Upscale brick and stone homes just need a slate roof to make them truly special. If cost isn’t an issue and you want the most distinctive aesthetic of any roof, choose slate.
  • Tesla solar tiles: These roofs are still largely untested outside the “lab,” but show tremendous promise in theory. However, in practice, only a handful of these roofs have been installed since the unveiling, leading us to believe that Tesla solar tiles will likely go down in history as hyped-up vaporware. If building green with focus on BiPV solar tiles is a high priority for you and you love, then we recommend checking out the following guide to BiPV solar shingle roofs:

How to Save Money AND Get a Great Roof

If saving money were the goal, then hiring the cheapest labor would be the path to accomplishing it. However, that will likely turn out to be a mistake discovered when the roof falls apart or fails to protect your home from the elements.

The better route is to request estimates from several licensed and insured roofing contractors that specialize in the type of roof you want. Let them know that they are competing with other companies for the project. Then, get some references, drive by homes they roofed from 5-15 years ago to see how the roofs they’ve installed are holding up.

Pro Tip: Inquire about the experience of the crew that will be installing your roof.

This is the most complete overview of these materials and their costs that you’ll find anywhere. If you have comments, questions, or costs to submit, we invite you to join the conversation by leaving a reply. If the information was helpful, please share it on social media since every homeowner will need a new roof sooner or later!

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What's a Typical Cost To Install a new Roof? Average Price: $5,960 - $12,740
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35 thoughts on “Best Roofing Materials for Homes in 2023: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons”

  1. I will be moving from Europe to Tempe, Arizona soon and would like to prepare a remodel for my house, which has a gable roof, on a brick structure, typical for residential homes in the 1950ies through early 1970ies.

    I am European, so my mindset is on energy efficiency immediately, as prices are so much higher here!

    I am considering solar panels and using the opportunity to get the roof properly redone with proper insulation and a tile roof, more like Northern Italy type.

    I may also plan for an open space inside without the ceiling (vaulted ceilings), but I do not have access at the moment to the trusses so I wonder if that can be done, rather a structural problem.

    Can you advise what roof aspects, particularly materials would be important for the hot desert like Phoenix area with lots of heat, high sun intensity to accommodate solar panels on the roof and achieve a low maintenance roof.

    Are there any aspects about weight or fixtures I should plan in?

    • Hi Frank,

      Congrats on the upcoming move! So, if you want a house with vaulted ceilings it’s probably cheaper to buy one than try to update the one that doesn’t have them, but certainly, it should be doable on the right property.

      Tile roofs are beautiful and long lasting, generally speaking, but they are also heavy and expensive. An important question to ask is whether the roof structure will support the added weight of solar panels. An experienced solar integrator will help answer that during the onsite assessment.

      That said, we would be a bit hesitant to recommend installing solar panels on a tile roof, unless the solar integrator has a lot of experience with tile roofs, as tiles can be brittle and easily damaged if the installers aren’t careful.

      Asphalt shingle roofs don’t last very long in places Arizona and Texas due to high temperatures and rapid temperature shocks in desert-like environments, leading to premature cracks and failure of asphalt shingles. Most modern solar panels are designed to generate electricity for 25 years+. An asphalt shingle roof likely won’t last that long in Arizona.

      A properly ventilated and insulated attic space is a MUST-have with an asphalt shingle roof, although it’s highly recommended for any roof to achieve comfort, energy efficiency, and to improve overall health of the house.

      The best roofing system for going solar in Arizona would be a standing seam metal roof, as it’s super light-weight and energy-efficient. There is no need to drill any holes, as solar mounts get clamped onto the raised seams of a metal roof, making for an easy, clean, and secure installation.

      A metal roof will last longer than solar panels, so there are no concerns with having to potentially replace the roof while solar panels are still going strong and generating electricity.

  2. Tesla recently came out and announced a drastic price increase on the latest iteration of the solar tile roof, which looks nothing like the initial unveiling. Thank you, amazing post!

    • Hi Neoma,

      Metal roofs cool off much quicker at night than asphalt roofs. Kynar 500 coated metal roofs with CRRC rating also reflect much of the solar radiant heat during the day, so they don’t get nearly as hot as composition shingle roofs.

  3. Hi, I own a home in San Francisco that I need to replace the roof on soon. My main concern is trying to keep it more energy-efficient. The few days a year when temps reach 90’s are very miserable inside the house with the heat being held in and no AC! What material would you recommend to best deal with this problem?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Diana,

      So, there are some good solar-reflective roofing options for sloped roofs available in both, asphalt shingles and metal roofing.

      Metal roofing will generally offer more energy-efficient options in both, metal shingles and standing seam.

      Look for CoolRoof rated colors, specifically solar reflectivity index SRI. The higher the SRI number the more a given roofing product will reflect solar radiant heat back into the atmosphere.

      All major asphalt shingle manufacturers also offer solar-reflective and CoolRoof rated asphalt shingle options.

      Here are some CoolRoof rated products from Owens Corning, GAF Timberline CS solar-reflective shingles and Timberline HDZ Reflective series, CertainTeed Solaris, solar reflective shingles, and Malarkey solar reflective series shingles for sloped roofs.

      For flat and low-slope roofs, you have a lot of great options such as solar-reflective PVC membrane from IB Roof.

      In terms of costs for San Francisco Bay area, metal shingle roofs will cost between $10.00 and $15.00 per sq.ft. installed. Standing seam, which can be easily integrated with solar panels, will cost between $15.00 and $20.00 per sq.ft.

      Solar-reflective asphalt shingles will cost between $5.50 and $8.50 per sq.ft. installed, on average.

      All else being equal always look for the highest available solar reflectivity rating (SRI) and lighter colors to get the most energy efficiency from a roofing system.

      Another great option that is also worth exploring is upgrading the existing level of insulation in your home’s attic space to the optimal level for your region. This upgrade can often be easily completed with the Spray Foam (SPF) insulation application.

      Whenever you do insulate your attic space, it’s always important to make sure that the soffit vents are not blocked by the spray-foam. A well insulated and ventilated attic space is a must have for home energy efficiency, comfort, and longevity of your home and its roofing system.

      We hope this is helpful and let us know how it goes and what product you ultimately pick.

      Best of Luck!

      • Hi Alex,

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed reply! I’m still in the very early stages of this process, but will update once I have more information!

      • Hi Alex,

        I’m finally doing my roof. thank you for your advice. I have a flat roof with small pitch in front. I think I’m going with the IB 60mil, though i would probably be fine with the 50mil and will do this if cost becomes a major factor, there will be no foot traffic.

        I wanted to explore adding insulation when the roof is torn off and the roofer has recommended OWENS CORNING FIBERGLASS BLOWN-IN INSULATION as an option to help efficiency. They said they would install vents. Is it a risk to insulate flat roofs? Or should it be OK if the ventilation is done? Any thing I need to know or make sure the installer performs? You had recommended SPF is that a safer option? Thank you.

        • Hi Diana,

          So, a PVC roofing membrane like the one from IB roof is typically installed over insulation sheathing/boards secured to the roof deck. The one exception is a fully adhered roofing membrane glued directly to the roof deck.

          If you have a sloped roof with an attic space, then you can definitely insulate the attic space itself for additional insulation benefits.

          With a mechanically attached installation method, insulation boards like the ones from Poly-ISO roof cover boards ranging from half an inch to a few inches in thickness get attached to the roof deck before a mechanically attached PVC membrane is installed over the insulation boards and secured to the roof deck with the help of special screw plates and approved screw fasteners.

          The insulation boards underneath the PVC membrane can be insulation sheets (some with reflective) from Home Depot/Lowe’s, IB Roof, or a building supply warehouse. Insulation boards/sheets can be anywhere from half-an inch to a few inches thickness. It’s important that the installer meets the local building code with respect to insulation for a flat or low-sloped roof.

          The installer will use special plates and screws to mechanically attach PVC membrane over the insulation boards to properly secure the PVC roofing membrane and insulation to the roof deck. Special vents from IB roof will later be installed over the membrane.

          The things to watch out or check for is rainwater drainage and whether any drains or tapered insulation will be needed to ensure proper drainage of water away from the roof. While PVC membrane can withstand pooling water, it’s always a good idea to have a way for water to run off the roof rather than accumulating and ponding on the roof surface. If there are parapet walls on the roof, the installer will need to check the condition of the walls/brick and use proper termination bars. Chimneys and skylights will require special flashing from IB Roof.

          Check with the installers whether they are certified by IB Roof. Ask how many PVC roofs they have installed in the area and whether you can get references and see/talk to other homeowners to make sure the job was done right and they are happy with the quality of product and service they received. Installers should be able to show you pictures of other jobs they completed in the area and offer references for those jobs.

          Check to see whether a residential warranty from the installers and manufacturer (IB roof) will be provided upon completion of the installation. Also check with IB Roof reps about the requirements for the warranty. IB roof will need to come out and inspect the job upon completion before they can grant you their residential warranty on the installation. So, make sure the installers are familiar with the IB residential warranty process and check with IB Roof reps to make sure the required steps for the residential warranty coverage have been met.

          Lastly, when you hire a contractor, it’s always important to make sure they are properly insured and have worker’s comp for their crews. Asking about the experience of the crew and knowing who will be managing your project is also important.

          For general questions to ask a roofing contractor, check out our guide here:

  4. This is a very informative guide!

    I have a typical slopped, composition shingle roof that’s about 17 years old. It started leaking in one spot and a few other areas on the roof appear to have a few low spots.

    A roofer recently came out and temporarily fixed the leak by essentially putting a wedge under the shingles in a low spot, but he recommended a full tear-off and replacing the OSB decking with 1/2″ CDX plywood.

    The roofer also said there was some fungus/mildew growing in the attic (white spots on some of the roof joists), which was an indication of poor ventilation in the attic.

    When I re-roof, should I go with the plywood versus OSB? Should I have the number of attic vents increased?

    • Hi Don,

      You can use 1/2 inch plywood for roof sheathing installed on rafters spaced 24 inches on center in most areas. However, be sure to check your local building code requirements if you live in a high wind area. In high wind areas, 5/8 or 3/4 inch plywood may be a better option for more durability.

      For proper venting, you would need to check to see whether there are soffit vents in place. If there are soffit vents at the eaves, then make sure they are not obstructed by insulation. Soffit vents will also require ridge-vents for proper circulation and exhaust of warm air through the ridge of the roof.

      If there are no soffit vents in place, then you don’t actually need to have any ridge vents installed, either. Instead, you would be using either gable vents or roof-mounted power vents to ensure proper venting of the attic space.

      You may also want to consider using breathable underlayment, such as the Deck Armor by GAF, over the new roof sheathing to make sure that no moisture gets trapped in between the plywood and the moisture barrier underneath the shingles.

  5. Hi, this is a great article, thanks! What do you think of GAF HDZ roof with the GAF golden warranty. Do the tiles hold up? Does the warranty hold up. I have a big house about 9,000 square foot roof and I am looking to replace the roof since it is asphalt directly on cedar shingles, no plywood. It’s going to cost a pretty penny but I firmly believe in doing it right the first time.

    I would be open to a metal roof but I don’t want to hear the rain echo through he house. Any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Jaime,

      You should check your local building code to see whether installing asphalt shingles over the existing cedar shingles/shakes roof is even allowed. Chances are the contractor wants to avoid dealing with the removal of the old wood shingles and pitches the idea to you, the homeowner, as a great way to save money. The reality is removing the old cedar roof may be the preferred way to go, but it does require quite a bit of work.

      If the local building code doesn’t allow installing asphalt over wood shingles, but you still go that route, this may lead to issues with your homeowner’s insurance and potentially losing the coverage.

      Timberline HDZ shingles are a fine product, as long as the roof is installed properly, meaning it adheres to the local building code requirements and manufacturer’s specifications for roof ventilation, underlayment, ice-and-water shield, flashing, etc.

      Warranty-wise, you should make sure the installer doing the work provides an appropriate workmanship warranty. There will be a premium to pay if the warranty is through GAF rather than directly from the contractor doing the work.

      Good Luck and let us know what you decide!

  6. Hi,

    I live in Montana and I am in the process of getting estimates for a new roof. The third one in 13 years on a home I built in 2007.

    We get weather ranging from low 100’s in the summer to well below zero in the winter, Large hail, wind, rain and snow. Last time I upgraded to 50 year malarkey shingles. — Lasted 5 years. The warranty doesn’t cover hail, which was not relayed to me by the contractor, and which is what caused damage both times.

    I’m looking at 2 possible products. First is DaVinci composite slate. second is Decra stone coated steel. Can you help with the pros and cons side by side? Anything you may know about the warranty follow thru.

    Which you would lean towards in the area I live in? Thank you!

    • Hi Vicki,

      I would recommend you go with a stone-coated steel roof given the hail storm concerns. Stone-coated steel roofs come in shingle and tile profiles coated with stone granules. These roofing products are known for their remarkable durability and longevity.

      For example, DECRA, a manufacturer of stone coated steel roofs, has the only warranty which has no limit on the size of hail.

      Steel is naturally resistant to impact, and many stone-coated steel brands including Gerard USA (now Boral Steel) are warrantied to withstand hail stones up to 2.5 inches in diameter

      Roser Roofing Systems offers stone-coated steel (Galvalume Steel) roofing products that come with warranty for hail impact damage from hail stones of up to 2.5 inches in diameter.

      • 50 Year Warranty
      • Class A Fire Rating
      • 120 mph wind resistance
      • 26 Gauge Steel
      • 2.5″ Hailstone Warranty
      • 1.4 Lbs per square foot
      • 3M Color Palette
      • Superior Energy Efficiency
      • Sustainable

      In addition to stone-coated steel tiles, it may also be worth exploring standing seam or metal shingles roofing options.

      Granted, thera are also Impact-Resistant Class-4 rated asphalt shingles designed to withstand severe hail storms, but most of the asphalt shingle products don’t actually come with the hail impact damage warranty.

      Class 4 shingles undergo UL 2218 testing to withstand impacts from a simulated 2″ hail stone hitting a roof at speeds seen in severe storms without sustaining damage.

      However, as you found with Malarkey Shingles that only lasted 5 years before getting damaged by a hail storm, Class 4 hail rating on shingles doesn’t translate to the warranty coverage from the asphalt shingle manufacturer.

      In fact, Malarkey Roofing Limited Warranty specifically excludes hail storms.

      Lastly, there is also a rubber shingle product, Vermont Slate Solid Core by EuroShield Roofing, which comes with the replacement warranty coverage for Hail Impact Damage, regardless of the size of hail stones.

  7. Hi, we are going to buy our first home in San Francisco where it can get damp and moist. What would be the best roof besides metal? This will be our forever home.

  8. I am trying to get some comparable prices for a re-roof of our home. The HOA is restricting us to re-roof with cedar shake or an approved DaVinci shake.

    The roof size is about 3400 sq. ft. Medium to low complexity, with 1 skylight. The reroof will require a tear off and 1/2″ plywood, as well as the vents. etc. What should I expect to pay per sq. ft. — I saw complaints on the DaVinci product with shakes splitting from the nail. From your experience, do you know if this is a lifetime product like the mfg states? Thanks

    • Hi Stan,

      I would expect the cost to be around $10 to $12 per sq. ft. installed, give or take, depending on your location. I would carefully check with the manufacturer and contractors who install the product regarding warranty details, especially workmanship.

      It’s one thing to have the shake split in half during the installation, the installer can simply toss it a side and use a new shake, but we don’t have sufficient data on how well the product performs post installation.

      It would be helpful to get more details on project location and what the actual quotes you are getting are compared to natural shake.

      Let us know how it goes and what you ultimately decide!

  9. I have received my check for replacing my concrete tile roof from the insurance company and am now faced with replacing it. Can you advise between a “stone coated steel” or a “concrete tile” roof?

  10. A roofing system not mentioned in Ironstone porcelain roofing.

    Apparently, it has a 75 year warranty and has excellent wind rating and is even available in Class IV impact resistant choice. It weighs only 538 lbs per sq for the standard tiles and 640 for the Class IV which is much less than real slate.

    It looks beautiful. What do you know about this product?

    Thank you for your help.

    • Thank you for sharing this Dennis,

      It seems interesting, but we would need to get some data on actual installations and what the product price/installation costs homeowners can expect.

  11. Thanks for providing high quality information on various roofing options!

    I live in rural South Mississippi. It’s hot, humid, with plenty of pine trees and pine tree needles around here.

    The house was built in 1905 and has some steep slants on two sides, the rest is more flat.

    I have a metal roof on a non-attached garage and storage. I like the metal roof for all the right reasons, but the shingles are most affordable. From some of my construction friends I have learned that the screws and rubber covers can be a problem over time. Leaks can occur and you don’t really know where they come from. What do you think? Any suggestions for my roof?

    • Hi Tony,

      Yes, indeed, metal roofs are normally going to be pricier compared to asphalt singles, however when you are looking at high-end asphalt shingle options, such as CertainTeed or Malarkey, as well as some GAF lines of shingles, the difference in pricing between metal roofing and asphalt shingles are not as great.

      That said, you are right in saying that screw-through metal roofs such as corrugated and ribbed panels can develop leaks over time due to washers and screws becoming loose. However, in addition to having the option to re-tighten the screws and/or replacing the washers, you can also consider concealed fastener systems, such as metal shingles and standing seam.

      When you live in a hot and humid climate, cost savings from energy efficiency can help making a stronger case in favor of metal roof.

  12. I have a very small house. 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, eat-in-kitchen, plus a covered carport with a small utility room. I live in Phoenix, AZ where it’s VERY Hot.

    Longevity of roofing is more important than price. Would solar roofing be a good option for me?

    • Hi Paul,

      A metal roof can be a sound, energy-efficient, and long-lasting option for Phoenix, Arizona area.

      If you opt for standing seam, you can combine with PV solar panels without having to drill any holes in your roof.

      A metal roof should last two to three times as long as asphalt, and you will see an additional benefit from energy savings via lower cooling costs.

  13. Hey Roof Guy,

    I live in HOTlanta, GA and still have the defective Atlas Chalet shingles on my roof.

    Any suggestions on the best shingles out there for my area of the country?

    And any suggestions when working with contractors on replacing my roof under, hopefully, insurance coverage?


    • Hi Mike,

      Not sure about the insurance coverage, but we would recommend going with either a CoolRoof rated shingles such as GAF Timberline HD Reflector Series or similar. More info on various asphalt shingle options from Certainteed and GAF (the top two asphalt shingle brands in the US) here:

      Another great option for Atlanta area, would be a metal roof, such as metal shingles (Tamko Metal Works or similar metal shingle product if you like the look of shingles) or standing seam.

      Make sure you go with a Kynar 500 paint finish equivalent and a CoolRoof rated color to maximize the longevity and home energy savings from a metal roof. More info on this here:

      As far as contractor selection, always get a few quotes and go with a company that has ample experience installing the roofing system you choose.

      Tip: Use our Find a Roofer service to get some professional roof quotes for your home. It’s also a good way to get answers to any roof or insurance claim related question you may have. The service is completely free to homeowners.

      Good Luck!

  14. We are in the process of getting estimates on a new roof and trying to decide between Malarkey Legacy shingles that are popular around here and Certainteed Landmark architectural shingles.

    Our home is located in the pacific northwest where we get plenty of rain and storm winds during winters.

    Any thoughts or pointers would be welcome!

    • Hi Brent,

      Malarkey Legacy shingles would be a sound choice for Cascadia region where frequent rain and moisture can cause moss growth on asphalt roofs during winters.

      Malarkey Legacy shingles come with a 20 year warranty against algae growth. These shingles are also fairly thick and heavy making them a good choice for storm protection.

      The shingles are rated to withstand wind uplift up to 110 MPH with standard installation and up to 130 MPH with specialized installation.

      That said, Certainteed Landmark shingles are certainly a high quality choice as far as asphalt shingle roof choices go.

      We would recommend going with a roofing company that will provide the best workmanship and customer service following the installation.

      Our view is that the quality of installation and attention to detail are ultimately far more important than the type of shingles being installed.

  15. Tesla’s solar tiles are not the only game in town these days. The new “3 in 1” Roof ( offers insulated PV tile roofing system that is estimated to cost $11 per sq. ft. less than Tesla’s offering, while also providing a potent roof/attic insulation and ventilation solution to resolve those pesky condensation and moisture issues in the attic.

    The system is rated to withstand hurricane grade winds up to 200 MPH. did a nice job explaining this alternative to Tesla here:

    • Ian,

      Thank you for sharing this. You are correct, the BIPV roof tile product offerings are rapidly advancing and the competitive landscape in the residential solar market may soon be due for disruption.

      Tesla is certainly not the only game in town and their product has not really proven itself to be viable, yet. Only a few early adopters had Tesla solar roof installed on their homes so far.

      There are also competing offering from the likes of Certainteed with their Apollo 2 solar tiles.

      It remains to be seen if any of the new BiPV roofing products can achieve any significant marketshare and survive the competition from the traditional PV solar power system installers.


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