Understanding the Top 5 Most Popular Roofing Materials Among Homeowners

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

As a roofing contractor, helping your customers understand the most popular roofing materials should be a consistent part of your sales process. Being prepared to answer questions on material longevity and price is just the first step. Depending on where your customer lives, educating them on materials that offer protection from specific weather conditions like fire, or hurricanes should be a part of your conversation. On top of the practical applications, you will also want to ensure that the roof matches the look and feel of their house, making color availability and aesthetic another important consideration.

Read: How ABC Supply and AccuLynx Simplify Material Ordering for Roofing Contractors

With all of these factors and tons of options to choose from, selecting a roof with your customer can be a large task. Make sure you have a basic understanding of the top five most popular choices and be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of each with your customers.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular and most common roofing material in the United States. They are easy to install, widely available, and come in a variety of colors to match your home. At a price of $70-120 per square, asphalt shingles are also the least expensive roofing material, providing many homeowners with an affordable roof option. One drawback of asphalt shingles, however, is that they only have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years if maintained properly. While this may seem like a long time at first, when compared to other roofing materials it is quite short.

roofing materials

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a more expensive option, with its cost ranging from $100 to $800 per square; however it lasts for 40-75 years. This trade off in price and life span means that the more expensive upfront cost can be worth it in the long run. Metal roofing is also highly reflective and so can help keep homes cool and lower air conditioning bills. The popularity of metal roofing has increased dramatically thanks in part to the recent wildfires on the West Coast, creating higher demand for fire-resistant roofing. Metal roofing is not only fire resistant, but it can also withstand many other types of extreme weather, such as high winds or heavy rain, making it a very popular choice wherever weather can be severe. The recent rise in metal roofing popularity has also caused many companies to release new metal roofing lines with a variety of new colors and styles, meaning homeowners will be able to choose the perfect roof for their house.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles produce a very stylized type roof. Popular with Mediterranean, Mission, Southwestern and Spanish-style homes, clay and concrete tiles have many benefits other than their look. Like metal roofing, clay and concrete tiles are fire resistant, making them a great option for areas with higher temperatures or at risk for wildfires. Clay and concrete tiles are another more expensive roofing option, with a cost of about $300 to $500 dollars per square. Additional costs may also come from their installation, as they have to be installed by a professional and their heavy weight most likely requires extra framing to be added to the roof.


Slate roofs also require extra framing due to their heavy weight and professional installation. In addition to this, slate costs more than any of the other roofing materials, making them the most expensive roof option at $600+ per square. However, what they lack in affordability they make up for in longevity and aesthetic. The lifetime of a slate roof is 50 to 100+ years, easily making them the longest lasting roofing material. Slate roofs are often chosen by homeowners because of their beauty and elegant appearance. They now come in a variety of colors, including gray, black, red, green, and purple. They also offer a very eco-friendly choice, as the slate tiles can be recycled, reused, and have a fairly low manufacturing footprint.

slate roofing materials

Wood Shingles and Shake

Wood shingles and shake are another roofing material that is often chosen for the aesthetic it produces. However, compared to slate tiles wood shingles and shake are a much less expensive option, costing only $100 to $150 per square. The downside to wood shingles and shake however, is that they are not fire resistant. While a fire resistant coating can be applied to the material, they are simply not allowed as an option in some areas across the country because of the fire hazard they pose. Wood shingles and shake roofs typically last 25 to 30 years, making them similar in both price and lifespan to asphalt shingles.

Helping your customers understand their roofing options can go a long way in ensuring they make the right choice for their home. As the subject matter expert, they will look to you so be prepared!

6 Comments. Leave new

  • Fred Gibbons
    June 11, 2020 1:54 pm

    It’s interesting that you highlight the extreme longevity of slate as a roofing material. I want to buy a roof for my home that I won’t need to replace soon, so I’m considering having a slate one installed. I’m going to look for a good company in my area that can install a slate roof on my home for me.

  • Thanks for sharing such great Article. You really shared such a useful Information with us which helped me a lot and I have bookmarked your page so that i can get to learn new things each time you share any great Information to us.
    Keep up the Good Work!!

  • My husband and I want to remodel our roof since when we moved the previous owner told us that in a maximum of 5 years it needed to be replaced. I found it very interesting to know that metal roofing is the best option when it comes to a long-lasting roofing type, although it costs more than others, it’s the best option. I will definitely consider this option, and we’ll be calling local roofers to see who offers the best deal.

  • Walter Carmona
    August 30, 2021 7:24 am

    Having landed a position as a roofing inspector and contractor this article was extremely valuable to me. I can now easily explain to prospective clients the nature of the different types of materials used in roofing and their pricing and longevity etc. Thanks. Walter Carmona.

  • Best Roof Hatches
    February 25, 2022 3:30 am

    Some roof-mounted structures, such as antennae, might damage the materials underneath and lead to punctures. Thanks for sharing!

  • Olivia Smart
    April 25, 2022 2:43 pm

    Thank you for explaining that metal roofing can help to keep your house cool because it’s so reflective. My sister has been wondering what kind of material she should use now that she is replacing her roof. She lives in a hotter state, so I wonder if this might work out best for her house.


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