The top roofing materials for your home | homify
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The top roofing materials for your home

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Building a house is always a stressful, but very rewarding experience. It can be so exciting to finally put your carefully thought out designs into practice and see your dream house rise up before your eyes. There are so many decisions that need to be made when building your own house. It may seem as if they will never end. These decisions are important and will require a lot of thought and perhaps even research. One such consideration is the choice of roof for your house. There are many different types of roofs available today; concrete, metal, asphalt, clay and wood to name just a few. To make the best choice of roof for your house you will need to consider a few things; the qualities of the roof type, the type of house you are building and the climate of the area you will be building in. homify has found the top 4 roofing materials for you to consider.


Concrete has been used as a roof material for over a century. It is not only a very attractive material for a roof, but it also has some very important qualities. Concrete as a roof covering is both fire and wind proof. This could be an important consideration to make if you live in a fire prone area. Concrete is available in a variety of colours, making it suitable for most home styles. Concrete can also claim to have a much longer lifespan than many other roofing options at between 60 to 100 years. Concrete does however have a number of drawbacks. It is a very heavy option for a roof material, and so may require extra roof support. Concrete can also be very expensive and easy to damage so will require expert installation.


The traditional metal roof has come a long way in the last few decades. Technological advances have meant that they are available in several different metals including steel, aluminium copper and alloy. They are also very flexible in their appearance. Many companies can offer metal roofs in a huge number of colours. There is bound to be one suited to your house. The new breed of metal roofing also has a number of impressive benefits; they are fully recyclable, fire resistant, low maintenance and has a lifespan of between 50 to 75 years. A metal roof is much lighter than other roofing options, so is very flexible to use. It can also be retrofitted on top of an existing roof. The main drawback of using a metal roof is the cost. A metal roof can cost more than many other roofing options.


Roofing projects Classic style conservatory by Ploughcroft Classic

Roofing projects


The most popular roof material in recent times has been asphalt. Asphalt is made from fibreglass sandwiched between asphalt and ceramic granules. There are also more environmentally friendly versions made of organic paper fibre. Asphalt is often used as an alternative to traditional shingles as they can be made to look similar in appearance. Asphalt is fire resistant and moderately wind resistant. These tiles can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years, making it a less durable option than other alternatives. Asphalt tiles are moderate in weight which makes them flexible in their use. Overall asphalt is a very economical option for house roofing, although it is not the most environmentally friendly. This roof was created by Ploughcroft in the United Kingdom.


Clay tiles are one of the more natural options for home roofing. These tiles are very popular in Mediterranean climates. They area available in many colours and provide an attractive finish to any home. Clay tiles are made by firing moulded tiles at very high temperatures in a kiln. This makes them very durable. They are known to have a lifetime quality as they can last over 100 years. Clay tiles also have a very high fire rating and have little or no on going maintenance. Be aware however that clay tiles are significantly heavier than other roof options, so may require extra structural support. Clay tiles are also easily broken and cracked. This should be taken in consideration when walking on the roof.

​Wooden Shingles

Wood shingles are an incredibly attractive option for roofing material. They can make a house easily blend into its natural environment. This can make them a wonderful choice for many rural homes. Wood shingles are characteristically made from Western Red Cedar, Cypress or Pine. Wood shingles are very resistant to rot and moisture and provide a great environmental option. These shingles can last between 30 and 50 years when properly maintained and cared for. They also have the added benefit of being completely unique; no two wooden roofs will be the same. The unique patterns and tones in individual trees create a wonderful ranges of colours in a roof. On the negative side they have a low fire resistance and weigh more than other alternative roof options. These can however be balanced by using a fire retandant for fire risk and extra structural support for the weight. This roof was constructed by CatiTadilati.

​What Material is Cheaper?

When deciding on the most economical roof option there are a number of considerations to make. It is important to first consider the climate you live in. The climate can play an important part in deciding what sort of roof you need. There is not point installing a budget roof only for it to start leaking in a heavy downpour. Consider also the fire threat in your area. If you live in an area with a higher fire threat consider materials such as clay tiles which have a very high fire resistance. Next, consider the weight of the intended roofing material. Certain materials will be heavier than other and depending on your house, you may require extra structural support. Given these considerations the most economical roofing materials are asphalt, metal and wood.

​What Material is Most Practical?

The most practical material for your roof will depend on the type of house you are building and the area where you will be building. There are many considerations to make when deciding on the most practical roof for your house; what is your budget? What roof is recommended by the architect? What roof will best suit the style of the house? What roof material will be safest? How long do you want the roof to last? You may want to have the environmentally friendly and very attractive wood roof, although if there is a history of fire in the area clay tiles may be a more practical option. In a way similar asphalt is a very economic option for a roof, although it may not last as long as a metal roof. It may be a more practical option to spend a little bit more for the longer life of this roof.

When choosing the right roof type for your home there are many things to consider. While it may initially seem like the choice of roof type is based on aesthetic qualities only, there are several other more important consideration that need to be made.  When choosing a roof consider not only the budget you have but also the environmental credentials, the lifespan of the roof material, the weight and fire resistance. While concrete is a very strong and fire resistant roofing, it can be very expensive. Asphalt is one of the most economical ways of roofing a house, although it is not the most environmentally friendly options. These are just a few options for roofing materials. For more inspiration on home building materials see A Contemporary Home in Wood.

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