The Best Roofing Materials for a Healthy Home

Upgrading your roof adds incremental value and curb appeal to your home. More than just change the look, style, and color of your roof, the roofing material you select impacts its energy efficiency, performance in extreme weather conditions, overall longevity, and more. Before you replace an old roof (or build a new house from the ground up), consider the best roofing materials for a healthy home.

Asphalt shingles

Economical to produce, cheap to purchase, and easy to install, asphalt shingles top the list of the most value-added roofing materials for a healthy home.

Expect a solid 15 to 30-year lifespan from the most popular and widely available residential roofing material in the US, covering more than 70 percent of all single-family homes.

Top manufacturers reinforce asphalt shingles with fiberglass or organic materials, creating a waterproof barrier to protect against the elements without changing the appearance of the shingle.

Asphalt shingles give homeowners a full range of styles and colors to complement any architectural design. Premium asphalt shingles with high-end warranties — like the 50-year Golden Pledge warranty backed by a certified roofer — promise peace of mind. And good hail ratings guarantee stronger impact resistance and overall durability.

The quality (and longevity) of asphalt roofing material varies drastically from one manufacturer to the next. Beware of cheap versions and consult with a certified contractor to find the best asphalt shingle for your home. And manage your expectations: know that asphalt shingles feature shorter lifespans and less insulation than other roofing materials.

Wood shingles and shakes

The rustic charm of wood shingles and shakes pairs beautifully with a range of architectural styles. Elevate the curb appeal of your bungalow, Cape Cod, cottage, Craftsman, or Tudor-style home with a variety of attractive finishes from cedar to redwood to southern pine.

Wood is 100% natural and tops the list of sustainable roofing materials. It’s a natural insulator, boasting twice the energy efficiency of asphalt shingles and almost double the lifespan (30 to 50 years). Its natural oils also resist moisture and insects. The only caveat: asphalt is more durable.

The appeal of a wood roof complements traditional and historical-style homes alike. Sophisticated homeowners love how wood shingles and shakes weather to an attractive shade of gray. And the roofing material’s natural beauty ranges from handsome, neat shingles to rustic shakes.

Thin and flat, machine-cut wood shingles feature clean edges, smooth surfaces, and a more uniform appearance. Hand-cut wood shakes, made from thicker blocks of wood, create a more rustic aesthetic with a more fortified surface that better stands up to weather and UV rays.

Fire codes in some areas prohibit the use of wood shingles and shakes. But Class A fire-rated materials (particularly cedar and redwood) keep the dream of wood intact. Wood can also mold, split, or rot in wet climates. Select a material with a good hail rating to minimize cracking.

The high-maintenance nature of wood means removing all debris and replacing split shingles as well as curled, cupped, or split shakes ASAP. And a proactive approach to moss removal lengthens the lifespan of your wood shingles or shakes.

Clay and concrete tiles

Modern versions of ancient clay and concrete roofing materials boast exciting new levels of strength, beauty, and protection.

Discover 50 plus years of durability, maximum curb appeal, and an exciting range of colors, styles, and textures. Cover any contemporary Spanish, Mission, European, or Mediterranean-style home with a long-lasting, non-combustible, and energy efficient roofing material.

Intrinsic beauty meets versatility with a range of options from strong and durable traditional clay, to tough but easy to install concrete, to wood and clay-blended lightweight fiber cement, each one glazed or coated for waterproof protection.

Just like decay on a wood shingle or shake, cracked or broken tiles mark the Achilles heel of clay or concrete roofing material. Despite its durable and versatile nature, the tile roof is also heavy and expensive. Hire a structural engineer to gauge your home’s capacity to support a tile roof.

Metal roofing

Mainstream demand for a durable and eco-friendly roofing material put metal in the spotlight. The 50 to 100-year roofing material — with warranties up to 30 to 50 years — promises homeowners dozens of colors and a range of new styles from the traditional metal roof to metals made to emulate shingles, shakes, and tiles.

No other roofing material protects against wind, rain, hail, fire, and rot quite like metal. The material resists extreme weather conditions, reflects solar radiant heat, and reduces your energy costs in hot weather better than asphalt.

Designed sleek, lightweight, long-lasting, energy efficient, and 100% recyclable, metal costs a bit more than asphalt and wood but protects your home with a lot less maintenance. Select from aluminum, lightweight steel, zinc, and the slightly more costly copper to cover your bungalow, cabin, contemporary, or cottage-style home.


Slate quarried for roofing is dense, sound rock. The exceedingly tough, incredibly sustainable, and uniquely durable slate offers the strongest protection you can put over your head. Waterproof, fireproof, and virtually invincible to inclement weather, slate can stand strong for more than 100 years.

The timeless beauty and distinctive elegance of natural slate adds character to any Colonial, European, or French chateau home. And its rich color palette ranges from black and grey to green, red, and purple. But the extra charm is not without the larger price tag.

Natural slate tiles are expensive, labor intensive, and costly to install. Real stone laid down thick also demands a strong truss to hold the heavy load. Quality can vary from one slate roof to the next. Consult with a certified contractor to help you find the best slate roofing material for your home.


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