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Roofing Material Selection: Evaluating Durability, Performance, and Cost


Although it may not be the most exciting aspect of a home to talk about, there is arguably no area more important than the roof. Not only does it provide a basis for enhancing curb appeal, but it is also the home’s first line of defense against the elements.


“Choosing the right roofing material is like building a strong foundation for your home’s protection and aesthetics—it’s the first line of defense against the elements and a key to lasting beauty.” – Jeff Gutherie of Phoenix Roofing and Repair.


With this in mind, keep reading for a detailed breakdown of some of the most popular roofing materials assessed along the lines of durability, performance, and cost!


Asphalt Shingles


Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material that is well regarded for its affordability, durability, and performance. 


When it comes to durability, asphalt shingles are a solid–if unspectacular–choice. They can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years with proper maintenance and installation. They are also resistant to fire and many forms of weather damage. The composition of the material allows the shingles to expand and contract in response to daily temperature fluctuations. The flexibility of the material also reduces the likelihood of cracking and splitting during installation, making them a solid choice for DIY projects.


When it comes to performance, asphalt shingles are a solid option. They are reasonably energy efficient and can help to keep homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Additionally, they are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, allowing homeowners to customize the look of their home.


However, the most widely accepted benefit of asphalt shingles is their affordability. They are typically less expensive than other roofing materials such as metal or tile, making them a preferred roofing option for homeowners on a budget.


Overall, asphalt shingles offer a solid combination of durability, performance, and cost-effectiveness that makes them a great choice for homeowners looking for a reliable, no-frills roofing material.


Wood Shakes


Wood shakes are a popular roofing material known for their rustic beauty and insulative value. They are also relatively lightweight, making them easier to install than heavier materials like tile or slate. However, there are also some drawbacks to using wood shakes, such as their increased risk of fire and higher maintenance requirements.


When it comes to durability, wood shakes can last for up to 30 years with proper maintenance. They are also resistant to damage from hail and high winds when properly treated. However, they are more susceptible to fire and rot than other materials like metal or tile. To mitigate these risks, wood shakes must be treated with fire retardants and regularly inspected for signs of damage.


In terms of performance, wood shakes are excellent insulators. They can help to keep homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, reducing energy costs. They also provide good soundproofing, making them a great choice for homes in noisy areas. However, wood shakes can be more difficult to maintain than other materials. They require regular cleaning and sealing to protect them from the elements.


Wood shakes are a beautiful and durable roofing material that can add value to the right home. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision. While they are relatively affordable and easy to install, they do require more maintenance and are more susceptible to fire and rot than some other materials.





Known for its exceptional longevity and durability, metal roofing is an attractive option for homeowners seeking reliable protection for their investments. With an exceptional lifespan of up to 50 years or more, metal roofing can withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, hail, and strong winds, ensuring your home’s integrity for decades. Furthermore, metal roofs are fire-resistant, offering peace of mind against the risk of fire damage.


In terms of performance, metal roofs are highly reflective, translating to lower energy costs during summer months, as they reflect the sun’s heat away from the home. Additionally, metal roofs effectively shed water and snow, minimizing potential issues such as leaks and ice dam formation.


When it comes to cost, metal roofing may have a higher upfront installation cost compared to other materials like traditional asphalt shingles; however, its longevity and reduced maintenance costs over time result in significant long-term savings. Metal roofs are also lightweight, which simplifies the installation process and can minimize the need for additional structural support, further adding to cost savings.





Slate roofs are a popular choice for homeowners looking for a durable, long-lasting, and attractive roofing material. Slate is a natural stone that is available in a variety of colors and textures, making it a versatile option for any home. Slate roofs are also fire-resistant and can withstand extreme weather conditions, such as hail and high winds, making them a good choice for homes in areas prone to severe weather. Additionally, slate roofs are low-maintenance and can last for up to 100 years, greatly reducing ongoing repair and replacement costs.


On the downside, slate roofs are more expensive than other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or wood shakes. Additionally, slate roofs are heavy and require a strong support structure, which can add to the cost of installation. Slate roofs can also be difficult to repair, as the tiles are often custom-cut to fit the roof.


When considering a slate roof, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully to determine if it is the right choice for your home. Slate roofs can be a beautiful and durable addition to any home, but they are also a significant investment.


Rooftop Deck Tiles


Rooftop decks are an emerging trend in urban living, and for good reason. They offer a number of benefits over traditional ground-level decks, including stunning views and a unique outdoor living space.


In terms of durability, rooftop decks can be built to withstand the elements. They are typically made from high-quality materials such as metal or composite decking, and they are designed to withstand rain, snow, and wind. With proper maintenance, a rooftop deck can last for many years.


The performance of a rooftop deck is also excellent. They provide a comfortable and safe outdoor living space that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as entertaining guests, relaxing, or gardening. Roof deck tiles can be used to create a variety of different looks and styles, and they can also improve the drainage of the deck.


Of course, there are also some cons to building a rooftop deck. One potential downside is the cost of installation. Rooftop decks can be more expensive to build than traditional ground-level decks, and they may require additional structural support, such as the installation of structural b-decking. Another potential downside is the lack of privacy. Rooftop decks are often visible from buildings and streets.


Overall, rooftop decks are a great option for urban dwellers who are looking for a unique and stylish outdoor living space. When properly installed, they can be a durable, ongoing form of exterior functionality. 


Get Strategic When Choosing Roofing Materials


The quality of a home is often directly correlated to the quality of its roof. As a foundational element of curb appeal and the first line of defense against the elements, the roof is a vital component of the home’s “bones,” so it is important to choose the right roofing material to help your home thrive. For more information on the best roofing materials for your region, contact the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association today for a consultation!


Author Bio:

Roger Marx is a freelance writer who loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on the latest trending building and design products. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he enjoys spending time with his wife and working on backyard projects in his spare time. Roger’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a construction industry resource site.

Kari Meyer

Operations for NRCIA

Author: Kari Meyer

Operations for NRCIA