Types of Roof Options

When building a new house or replacing your current roof, it is imperative that you choose the right roofing material based off the type of roof you have. Roofs protect your family and house from outside elements while also adding character and style to your home. Roofing materials should be picked based off the shape and structure of your home as well as the local weather and elements. Here is everything you need to know about some of the common roof shapes and materials.


Different Roof Shapes

Before getting into the different materials for roofing, it is important to understand some of the common roof shapes and what types of materials are best for each shape and structure.

Gable Roofs

1. Gable Roofs

These are some of the most popular roofs in the United States and you can easily recognize them by their triangular shape. Gable roofs easily shed water and snow, provide plenty of space for the attic, and allow for more ventilation, not to mention they are a very affordable type of roof. The downside of gable roofs is that they are not great for areas with high wind and hurricanes. These roofs do well with almost any type of roofing material including asphalt shingles, wood shingles, metal roofing, and clay tiles.


2. Flat Roofs

These types of roofs are becoming increasingly popular because they are cost-effective and modern looking. Surprisingly enough, flat roofs are not totally flat, they actually have a slight pitch that isn’t obvious, but helps with draining water. Flat roofs provide extra space on top of your house for a rooftop patio, garden, heating or cooling units, or solar panels. Flat roofs are not ideal for high rainfall or snowfall areas because of their low pitch. Ensuring that your flat roof is waterproof is very important, so they typically require stronger roofing materials like tar, gravel, metal, and PVC. 

Hip Roof

3. Hip Roofs

Hip roofs have slopes on all four sides; the sides are all equal length and come together at the top to form a ridge. Due to the inward slope of all four sides, hip roofs are durable and stable. This type of roof is great for high wind and snow areas, however they are typically more expensive to build than other roofs. Due to the additional seams hip roofs have, it is important to install a proper roofing system to help with drainage to avoid damage from water leaks forming in the valleys. Hip roofs do well with almost any roofing materials, such as shingles, metal, or tiles.


4. Skillion or Shed Roofs

Skillion roofs are composed of a single sloping roof that is usually attached to a taller wall. Some people think of them as half-pitched roofs or a more angled roof. This type of roof is more commonly used for home additions, sheds, and porches, but now they are being used more often on modern style homes. Skillion roofs are not ideal for areas with high wind, but they are great for snow and water drainage. This type of roof does best with a standing seam instead of tiles or shingles.


Types of roofing materials

Now that we covered some of the common roof types, let’s get into a few of the different roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingles

 1. Asphalt Shingles

This is the most common type of roofing material that has been used for many years, but it is being used less now that more energy-efficient and durable roofing materials are available. Asphalt shingles are affordable, come in plenty of colors that look attractive on all homes, and do a great job protecting houses from the elements. Keep in mind that shingles end up costing more over time than alternative options like metal, tile, or slate roofs, because they must be replaced more frequently. Asphalt shingles typically last anywhere from 20-30 years with regular maintenance.


2. Metal Roofing

This type of roofing material is becoming more and more popular, especially in areas prone to wildfires. Metal roofs are virtually maintenance free and they are incredibly durable, lasting anywhere from 40-80 years depending on the type of metal used. While metal roofs are more expensive to install than asphalt roofs, they are more durable and last much longer, which ultimately is cost-effective when you plan on staying in your home for 30+ years.


3. Wood Shingles

Wood shingle roofs are made from thin, wedge shaped pieces of natural wood. This type of roof is very attractive, natural looking, and environmentally-friendly. Cedar is a great type of wood to use for roofing because it is strong, reduces energy consumption, and it lasts a long time due to the natural oils that make your roof resistant to decay and pests. Wood roofs are not good for areas prone to wildfires. They typically last around 25-35 years, sometimes longer with regular upkeep and in areas with mild conditions.



4. Clay Tile Roofing

This type of roofing is very popular in the Southwest and traditional tiles are made from terracotta clay, while ceramic tiles are made from fired clay and other tiles are made from concrete. Clay tile roofing should only be done on sturdy roofing framing that can hold the heavier weight of the tiles. These roofs typically last 100+ years when properly maintained because they do not decay, however, cracking can be an issue with tile roofs, so you must be very careful when doing maintenance on them.


As you can see, there are various types of roofs and materials that you can use for your new roof. These are just a few of the more common types of materials and roof shapes, but keep in mind that there are so many other options when it comes to roofing. If you are preparing to replace your roof or renovate your existing one, make sure you work with a professional team that has experience and knowledge regarding the various roof types and materials in order to choose the best options for your home. If you have any questions about your roof and what is best for your house, give us a call!

Michaela Keilty