Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Roof Replacement | Roofing materials

The 4 Most Popular Types of Roofing Materials for Residential Roofing

May 6th, 2022 | 6 min. read

The 4 Most Popular Types of Roofing Materials for Residential Roofing

Print/Save as PDF

Going through the roof replacement process requires you to make some big decisions. One of the biggest decisions you’ll make is choosing the type of roofing material. 

Because it’s such a big decision, you want to be sure you’re making the right one. That’s why you need to explore your options and learn as much as you can about them. 

The best way to start learning about them is to know the most popular types of roofing materials used in residential roofing.

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners find the perfect roofing material for their roof replacement. Now we want to do the same for you and your upcoming roof replacement. 

Let’s get to the 4 most popular types of roofing materials for residential roofing. 

1. Asphalt shingles 

The first roofing material (and most commonly used in the United States) on our list are asphalt shingles. There are three types of asphalt shingles to choose from for residential roofing: 3-tab, architectural, and luxury. 

While 3-tab asphalt shingles dominated the roofing industry for a long time, they’re starting to be phased out. Because of this, architectural asphalt shingles have become the most common (and most affordable) type of material used in residential roofing.

However, luxury asphalt shingles are popular with homeowners looking for a step up from architectural shingles. Even though both types of shingles are made of asphalt, they offer different looks, lifespans, and come in at different price points. 

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural (dimensional) shingles offer a random pattern to give a roof more dimension or simulate the look of a wood shake roof. 

luxury asphalt shingles

Luxury or premium asphalt shingles are designed to mimic slate tiles. They are also larger and thicker than architectural shingles, which makes them more durable. 

But this durability comes at a higher price point. Homeowners can expect to pay almost double the price for luxury-style shingles.

While both are great roof systems, you need to pick the right one for your situation. If you’re looking for affordability with good quality, architectural asphalt shingles are a great option. 

But if you have the budget, luxury asphalt shingles are worth the extra price to raise your home’s curb appeal and get a roof system that’ll last longer. 

2. Standing seam metal roofing

The next residential roofing material on our list is metal roofing. There are two types of metal roof systems, but a standing seam metal roof is the recommended choice for residential roofing. 

standing seam metal roof

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of metal (steel, copper, or stainless steel) panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. This allows the metal panels to expand and contract freely when the metal goes through thermal expansion.

While not as commonly seen on homes as asphalt shingles, standing seam metal roofing is becoming a popular option for residential roofing. However, it’ll be around three times more expensive than an asphalt shingle roof

While you can get a standing seam metal roof as a full roof system, the versatility of metal allows you to use it anywhere on your roof. This means you’ll see a standing seam metal roof over a covered porch, dormers, flat roof facets, and more.

3. Synthetic (composite) shingles

The next one on our list is a newcomer to the roofing industry and is becoming incredibly popular with homeowners. This residential roofing material is synthetic shingles. 

synthetic slate and synthetic cedar shake shingles(Left: Synthetic Slate, Right: Synthetic Cedar Shake)

Synthetic (also known as composite) shingles are made of recycled materials (rubber and plastics) or an engineered polymer. What makes synthetic shingles stand out is their look. 

They’re designed to look exactly like cedar shake shingles or slate tiles. Manufacturers actually use molds of actual cedar shake shingles and slate tiles to make them look as authentic as possible. 

But the look isn’t the only thing that sets them apart. Synthetic shingles also have a high impact rating that allows them to stand up well to anything that hits your roof.

Even though they’re newer to the industry, we’re starting to see synthetic shingles more and more. If you have the budget, you’ll get a great and durable residential roofing material in synthetic shingles. 

4. Cedar shake shingles

The last popular residential roofing material on our list is cedar shake shingles. Cedar shake shingles are a premium roofing material made out of natural wood (cedar).

cedar shake roof

To make the 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. 

Unfortunately, there’s no manufacturer warranty on the materials if they fail prematurely because cedar shake shingles are naturally made. This only leaves you with your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty if there’s ever a problem. 

A cedar shake roof is one of the best-looking roofing materials on the market. But you need to be aware that cedar shake shingles lose their color, rot, crack, and curl as they age.

The climate in your area determines how much of this occurs over time. That’s why you need to ask your roofing contractor about how the climate in your area impacts cedar shake shingles before investing in a cedar shake roof. 

How do you make your roofing material decision?

There you have it, the 4 most popular roofing materials for residential roofing. No matter which one you choose, all of the materials listed here are great options to protect your home for decades to come. 

After reading this article, you may think you’re ready to make your roofing material decision. But the truth is, you need to ask yourself some questions to truly determine which one is right for you. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the 4 main questions you need to ask yourself when going through the decision-making process. After that, you’ll have all the confidence you’re making the best purchasing decision. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality residential roof replacements to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. No matter what type of roofing material you choose, you can count on our workmanship to give you a roof that’ll last for decades. 

Check out How to Choose the Right Roofing Material for My Roof Replacement to ensure you make the best decision for you and your home.

roofing material quiz

Table Of Contents

Related Articles