How to Choose the Right Roofing Material

Posted on June 5, 2014 in Roofing Installation

roofing types

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, our roofing installation specialists can tell you all about the variety of roofing materials that are available and which one would best fit your home and your budget. Read more about the pros and cons of common roofing options:

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material around. These shingles are very easy to install, come in a variety of colors, and look great on nearly any home. Asphalt shingles are available in traditional shapes or architectural shapes (for a more “sophisticated” look). Asphalt is low maintenance, very affordable, and can last up to 25 years.

Slate Shingles

Slate roofing became popular in the Northeast on luxury homes and municipal buildings. Slate is one of the most durable roofing materials available (lasting about 50 years), and will often outlast the fasteners that hold it. Slate is very heavy, though, which means it’s not only expensive, but it can only be installed on homes that can withstand the weight.


When you think of galvanized metal roofing, you may think of agricultural structures like barns or sheds. Many feature metal roofs because they are easy to install, long-lasting and hold up well against snow. On the other end, however, you may also find many high-end mansions and governmental buildings with metal roofs – made of copper. There is a wide variety when it comes to metal roofing, so you could easily find one that fits your budget.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are often used for homes in warm climates like California, Florida, and in the Mediterranean. Like slate, ceramic is heavy, and only homes that can withstand the weight can sport them. Because the installation process is so intricate, ceramic tiles cost up to three times more than standard three-tab shingles (like asphalt). However, they are also the longest-lasting roofing material and will withstand the elements for up to 80 years.


Wooden roofs give you a very traditional look and over time, the material fades and the roof blends right into the house. Wood shingles are usually made from a hardy wood like Cedar or Pine, and can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. Because the wood needs to be properly protected, however, wood roofs require more maintenance than other materials, and in some areas, fire codes don’t allow for wooden roofs.

The Decision

With so many options, it may be hard to decide. First consider your home’s roofing structure – is it “beefy” and strong? If not, you may want to eliminate slate shingles. Also consider the way you want your home to look. While metal roofing can give your home a modern look, slate can make it look Colonial. Price should also be a factor in your decision. You may want the look of an expensive roof, but can you afford it? Lastly, consider how long you plan on owning the house. If it’s only for a few years, you may want to settle for asphalt or wood (if your area allows it and you don’t mind the maintenance).

Still need help deciding? Just call our roofing installation experts at 302-482-4034 (Delaware) or 484-436-4374 (Pennsylvania). We’d be happy to discuss it with you!

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