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What Are the Types of Roofing?

Asphalt shingles are popular because they blend looks, longevity, and a reasonable price, and they’re typically the easiest to install, saving you money on labour costs as well. Specialty roofing materials like slate, tile, or metal tend to cost more than ten times as much or more in some cases but they can also last much longer and they look nicer.

Tile roofing remains popular in the Southwest and Florida because it reflects heat and matches Mediterranean-style houses, while slate roofing is a more popular pick in the Northeast, where Victorian and Gothic houses from the 1800s are still quite common. Metal roofing can be found across the country. The performance of these options on your roof really depends upon the skill of the installer. A metal roof can last 50 years, while slate roofs can last more than 100, with diligent upkeep.

CR tests only asphalt shingles, but below we also offer information about faux slate and composite tile. These two alternatives give the upscale look of slate and tile, respectively, but they’re easier to install and cost significantly less than the genuine versions. For comparison, a true slate roof can cost $1,500 per square, plus at least that much to have a skilled mason install it, leaving you with a total bill of $50,000–$100,000. Looking for a roof replacement? Check out Top Glaze for a wide range of roof services. 

Types of Roofing Materials

If you are in need of a new roof for your home, you no doubt have been doing at least some preliminary research. While this is a good thing, you may be a little confused about the options available to you. You may also feel a bit lost in regards to the different types of roofing material that you can choose from. That is where we can come in and lend a helping hand! With decades of experience with all manner of residential roofing materials, the Stay Dry Roofing team can help you get the new roof that is just right for your home. Here are some of the most common type of roofing material we use with our customers today in Indianapolis:

Not every roofing material can be used on every roof. A flat roof or one with a low slope may demand a surface different from one with a steeper pitch. Materials like slate and tile are very heavy, so the structure of many homes is inadequate to carry the load. Consider the following options, then talk with your designer and get estimates for the job.

What Are The Causes Of Roof Leaks 1
  • Asphalt. This is the most commonly used of all roof materials, probably because it’s the least expensive and requires a minimum of skill to install. It’s made of a fiberglass medium that’s been impregnated with asphalt and then given a surface of sand-like granules. Two basic configurations are sold: the standard single-thickness variety and thicker, laminated products. The standard type costs roughly half as much, but laminated shingles have an appealing textured appearance and last roughly half as long (typically 25 years or more, versus 15 years plus). Prices begin at about $50 a square, but depending upon the type of shingle chosen and the installation, can cost many times that.
  • Wood. Wood was the main choice for centuries, and it’s still a good option, though in some areas fire codes forbid its use. Usually made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine, shingles are sawn or split. They have a life expectancy in the 25-year range (like asphalt shingles) but cost an average of twice as much.
  • Metal. Aluminium, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead are all durable—and expensive—roofing surfaces. Lead and the copper/asphalt varieties are typically installed as shingles, but others are manufactured for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal that are joined with solder. These roofs start at about $250 per square but often cost two or three times that.
  • Tile and Cement. The half cylinders of tile roofing are common in Spanish Colonial and Mission styles; cement and some metal roofs imitate tile’s wavy effect. All are expensive, very durable, and tend to be very heavy.
  • Slate. Slate is among the most durable of all roofing materials. Not all slate is the same some comes from quarries in Vermont, some from Pennsylvania and other states but the best of it will outlast the fasteners that hold it in place. A hundred-year-old slate, in fact, is often recycled for reinstallation, with the expectation it will last another century. But slate is expensive typically prices start at about $800 a square and very heavy.

How to Tell When You Need a New Roof?

Water Will Find a Way In

Watermarks on a ceiling, or worse, dripping water, may have you worried that your whole roof is in tatters. But just because there’s a leak doesn’t mean your roof will require a massive amount of repairs. Sometimes stopping it is as simple as filling a crack with caulk, replacing a few shingles, or installing some flashing—a membrane or layer of metal that provides a mechanical barrier to redirect water at corners, crevices, gaps, and other spots vulnerable to leaking.

Fallen tree limbs, hail, and even wind can loosen or remove shingles. Damaged flashing is another common culprit. Even rubberized boots around plumbing pipes, or with improperly installed satellite dishes or solar panels can cause isolated leaks. To determine what kind of leak you’ve got on your hands, first try to trace it to its origin. 

Looking for Leaks

It’s easiest to find a leak when it’s raining outside. Remember that water often accumulates at a spot that’s different from where it’s entering—it generally runs down the length of a rafter or stud and only drips once it reaches a low point.

In an unfinished attic, the framing is visible, so simply start at the leak and look along the length of any wood framing that leads to that point, to see if you find a trail of water that originates higher up on your roof. In a finished attic, you’ll need to use a handheld tool called a jab saw to cut away any drywall that obstructs your view. Once you think you’ve found the origin, look at top of the roof (you can do this safely from the ground with a pair of binoculars) to see if you can identify any obvious culprits, like missing shingles, or worn out flashing near a chimney. 

If you can’t locate the leak yourself, a licensed roofing contractor can perform an inspection and make recommendations about whether repair or replacement is needed. Even if you’re able to locate your own leak, you’ll want to leave the repair job to a pro—climbing onto your roof with a tall extension ladder is a dangerous job. Most leaks can be stopped if they’re limited to a few spots. If, however, you’re experiencing recurring leaks, and your roof is out of warranty, it may be time for a new roof. The money you would spend on multiple short-term fixes is probably better applied to a brand-new roof with a lengthy warranty.  Check out our range of roof restoration services here. 

Other Warning Signs

You don’t have to wait for leaks to appear before you consider repairs to your roof, though. Missing, damaged, or curling shingles can all be signs of leaks to come. And the age of your roof itself can be a guide—homeowner’s insurance companies generally assume an asphalt shingle roof will last about 20 years, and some insurers won’t provide coverage if your roof is older than that. If your roof was put on by the previous owner of your home, a roofing contractor or a licensed home inspector can generally provide a rough estimate of the age, based upon the condition of the shingles. 

Even without leaks or obvious signs of damage to the roof, it can make sense to replace an out-of-warranty roof that’s more than 20 years old. That’s because once a leak develops, it can do serious damage to the wood sheathing beneath the shingles. And if that sheathing becomes warped or rotted, replacing it can add several thousand dollars to the overall cost of your new roof when you do get around to replacing it. The illustration below shows the different layers involved in a typical roof. 

Insurance Coverage

Before you hire anyone to work on your roof, call your homeowner’s insurance company to check your deductible and coverage for roof repairs or replacement. You’ll want to weigh your out-of-pocket costs against the cost of replacing your roof entirely. Consider any resulting increase in your premium as well—it may make more sense to simply cover the cost yourself.

Generally, homeowner’s insurance policies may cover, or contribute toward, the repair of isolated leaks, but won’t cover the cost of replacement. Most insurers will send an adjuster to provide an estimate for the repair, and policies typically cover repairs to the roof, as well as any damage to the framing, drywall, or flooring that results from a leaking roof. If you do receive a payout from your insurance company, you can use that money to make the specific repairs, or apply it toward the cost of a total replacement.

How to Select the Right Roofing Material for Your Coastal Home?

Whether you’re replacing a roof on an existing home or choosing a roofing material for new construction, selecting the right material is critical. Since beach homes tend to be subject to harsher conditions than homes in many other areas, the responsibility to choose the right roofing material in these situations becomes even more critical. Let’s look at the various factors you should consider when choosing the best roofing material for your beach house:


Elements like sun, salty air, rain, winds and more can all take a toll on the roof of a beach house, but some materials can stand up to these elements much more effectively than others. Looking for weather-resistant roofing materials is absolutely essential if your home is on the coast. Make durability a top concern as you consider potential materials.

In particular, you want to make sure a roofing material is resistant to corrosion since salty sea air, humidity and rain could otherwise compromise your roof’s integrity. You also want to make sure your roof is wind-resistant. Hurricanes strike the US coastline an average of five times every three years, so you should prepare for this scenario. You want to give your roof a fighting chance at remaining intact in the face of high winds. For the best weather-resistance, you want quality installation and quality materials.


Insulation should be a concern for any homeowner, but it’s of particular concern when your home is located in an area that experiences extreme temperatures. For example, if your home is in Miami Beach, the oppressive summer heat can place a high demand on your air conditioning system, resulting in high energy bills.

Your roof is one of your home’s key defences against outside temperatures, so it’s wise to select a roofing material that offers an impressive insulation value. This will not only help keep out the hot sun but the cold, as well. If there are seasons when you want to keep the inside of your home warmer or colder than it is outside, then insulation is an important factor.


Another factor to consider is how much maintenance a roofing material will require. Since coastal homes tend to experience harsher conditions than the average American home, they may require more roof maintenance. If you don’t want to perform maintenance tasks yourself or hire a professional to do so, then you’ll want to make sure you choose a roofing material for your beach house that is low-maintenance. To do that, you might have to choose a more expensive material.

Regardless of which roofing material you pick, it’s critical that you understand what upkeep is necessary to keep your roof looking attractive and to maximize its lifespan. Typically, maintenance for beach home roofs involves

 basic tasks like removing debris as well as periodic weather-sealing in some cases. Another critical aspect of maintenance is repairing any roof damage that does occur before it leads to a more serious problem.


Aesthetic appeal is an important consideration when choosing a roofing material since it will have a significant impact on the overall appearance of your home’s exterior. Owners of beach homes often take pride in their home’s coastal style, so why pick a roofing material that detracts from that?

Ideally, the material you choose will fit the style of your home. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have a Spanish Mission-style home, you have to have clay tile, or if you have a New England coastal home, you must use cedar shakes. Choose the material that you like best for your home. You may be able to customize the appearance by choosing a specific variation or color, as well.


Another practical factor to consider when choosing a roof for your coastal home is cost. You’ll want to consider your own budget and determine what materials are available in your price range. However, simply comparing materials based on their price can be misleading. Let’s say you choose an affordable material, but the roof will need to be replaced in 20 years. If you still own the property at that point, then you’ll be paying once again for a new roof.

A higher upfront investment can pay off over time if you choose a material with more longevity. When you choose a material like wood or slate, you may never have to replace the roof.

Building Codes

Finally, you’ll need to check local building codes to ensure you choose a material and install it according to your state’s requirements. Coastal states tend to have much stricter codes when it comes to things like roofing because hurricanes are more likely. If you live in Florida, you’ll be dealing with some of the most stringent codes in the country.

Remember that material is not all that matters. In many cases, the way it’s installed is just as important. Be sure you abide by local codes, and feel free to ask your roofing company for advice on ways you can further protect your home from weather and other issues. For example, they may recommend positioning a rain screen on your roof before installing wood shingles if you live in a humid area.

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