What Are The Different Types Of Roofing?

If you are currently considering your roofing options for either a residential home or a commercial installation, you will be looking at many different types of roofing. Your purchase decision will depend on many different factors based on the style of the building and whether the roof is pitched or flat (low slope). Then there are engineering considerations such as the flood restoration melbourne weight of different roof materials and, for commercial installations in particular, whether air condition units, vent piping and other encumbrances need to be positioned on the roof.

Here is our brief guide to the different options available.


Shingles of various types are just about the most commonly used roofing materials, particularly for domestic installations as they are suitable for even the steepest of pitched roofs.

Plain asphalt shingles are mats of fiberglass or cellulose coated with asphalt and then covered with ceramic or mineral granules to deflect sunlight that can degrade the composition of the asphalt material over time – these granules can be made resistant to algae for humid climates.

Composite shingles have a similar asphalt base but have a top layer made of recycled resin or plastic that can mimic stone, slate or other, more expensive roof materials but are a little more expensive than the plain asphalt ones.

Laminated shingles are thicker, heavier and last longer than either asphalt or composite – up to 50 years. They can be made to have several layers laminated together to produce a three dimensional profile. Choose shingles with Class A fire rating. Shingles are the easiest materials to work with and probably the most economical for DIY installation. Repairs are easy and any loose or damaged shingles can be replaced. The average lifetime of a shingle roof is between 15 and 30 years with the heavier ones lasting longest. Prices start at around $50 – $60 for one hundred square feet.

Wood Shingles

Western red cedar is the best option for these small, light shingles or thicker ‘shakes’ as they are more durable than other options however, it still needs preservative applied regularly (every 2 – 5 years) for maximum lifespan (up to 25 years). For correct water run-off, the roof slope needs to be at least 4:12 for this type of shingle. Prices start at around $100 for one hundred square feet.

Metal Roofing

More often used for commercial installations, metal roofing can be made of steel or aluminum and even copper. It needs to be insulated underneath and coated with a reflective coating to keep the building below cooler. It is durable – it can last up to 50 years, it is recyclable and fire resistant. It is suitable for most roof shapes, except completely flat. It can be very noisy, it is heavy (up to 200 pounds) per 100 feet square, cheaper grades can dent. Prices vary widely according to metal and style.


There are three basic types of tiles that vary hugely in their initial purchase price, but are all very durable, some lasting more than 100 years.

Clay Tiles: These can be extremely heavy so you may need the roof frame reinforced to take the weight that can be in excess of 1,000 lbs per 100 feet square. Not really suitable for DIY installation so this is an additional expense but there are literally hundreds of colors to choose from and they are fireproof and very energy efficient. Purchase price a minimum of $250 per square.

Slate Tiles: These natural stone tiles vary in both grade and color depending where they are quarried. Like the clay tiles above, they are very heavy and usually need a reinforced roof frame and installation by a professional roofer. These tiles need no maintenance apart from replacing the occasional damaged one and cost from a minimum of $300 per square (but you need to add to this the cost of transport from the quarry and the installation costs).

Concrete Tiles:These come in a variety of shapes and weights and can be made to look like the more expensive clay or slate tiles. Molded, interlocking tiles are easier to install, so could be a DIY job. However, they can be very heavy and the roof frame may need reinforcement. They are durable and low maintenance, with prices from a minimum of $150 per square (lightweight types from $350).

Rubber Roofing

Although this is called rubber roofing, or synthetic slate, it is made from a mixture of rubber and plastic. The material looks good, is light, strong, flexible, low maintenance and can be made fire retardant. This might be more difficult to get hold of than some of the more common types of roofing material but it is usual for rubber roofing to come with a 50 year warranty, you should expect to pay a minimum of $295 per 100 feet square.

We hope that our run through of the types of roofing available has helped you with understanding your roofing options. Aesthetics are perhaps more important for residential than for commercial properties, but whatever your price range, you should be able to find roof materials that suit all your requirements.