How to Choose Roofing Materials

As we’ve talked about in previous posts, the roof is one of the most important parts of your house. But, when it comes to installing a new roof there are many materials to choose from.

How can you know you are choosing best roofing material for your home?

Fivecoat Roofing Inc. has been in the roofing business for over 30 years and we’re here to help.

We can walk you through the common types of roofing materials that you have to choose from. Outlining important factors like function and aesthetics. Giving you the tools to choose a roof material that will make your home look beautiful and last for decades.

Common Roofing Materials

AsphaltRed asphalt shingle roofing on a roof
Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials on the market for several reasons. Usually made from a fiberglass base, coated with a layer of asphalt, and covered in sand like granules; asphalt shingles are very inexpensive, come in a variety of colors, are fire resistant, and durable (even lasting from 20-30 years). Asphalt shingles can be used on any architectural style of home and are generally very easy to install.

While asphalt shingles can really give you ‘bang for your buck’, some homeowners want a more unique or long-term roofing solution.

With today’s technology, metal roofing has come leaps and bounds from the old corrugated siding look. Metal roofing can come in many different styles, colors, and even mimic the look of tile and wood. Metal is a very durable, and fire resistant, roofing option that can last almost twice as long as other roofs. Because metal roofing comes in so many diverse styles it can match with almost any architectural style.

But all of those benefits come at a cost. Metal is usually one of the more expensive roofing materials on the market and can be more difficult to install than regular asphalt roofing.

SlateSlate Roof
Slate is a type of stone that is usually quarried in states like Vermont, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Slate is one of the most durable materials on the market and can even outlast some of the materials used to mount it to your roof. It comes is several different colors and grades and is very fire resistant. Most commonly Colonial, Chateau, and French style homes utilize slate as a roofing material.

While slate may last a lifetime, it is also very expensive and difficult to install. Slate is also quite a heavy material and requires that a roof’s structure can handle a larger weight load before installation is approved.

red roof texture tile


Many tile roofs are manufactured out of clay and cement. A common style of tile roofing is Mission or Spanish style round-topped tiles, but flat tile also reflects classic French and English style homes. Tile roofing is very durable and fire resistant.

Yet, like slate, tile roofs are usually very expensive and heavy. Limiting the homes that can afford and support this style of roof.


Commonly found in the Pacific Northwest wood shingle and shake roofs have a very unique look and style. ‘Wood shingles’ are cut mechanically with a saw, whereas, ‘wood shakes’ are split by hand and have a rougher, more natural look to them. Wood roofing is
fairly inexpensive like asphalt and fades in the sun over time to create an earthy look. Wood roofing, if maintained, is quite durable
and can last up to 30 or 40 years. House architectural styles like cottage, Cedar Shinglesbungalow, ranch and even contemporary homes all fit well with wood roofing.

Due to its’ poor fire resistance, wood roofing is not allowed in some city codes. Wood roofs also require a fair amount and maintenance and are susceptible to mold, mildew, and rot. This can cause wood to become a liability in some very wet or fire-prone climates.


Factors to Consider

When deciding which roofing material to install, make sure to consider all of the factors at hand, so that you don’t find yourself wishing for a different roof a decade down the road.

The foremost consideration of a roofing material should be if it will work well for your house and climate. Roofs need to protect your entire home and must maintain a good condition to do that. If you invest in a roof that will quickly rot and fall apart, while it may look spectacular, you are simply putting your home at risk.

Consider the humidity, temperature and extreme weather conditions of your climate. As well as, the structural capacity and slope of your roof when determining a material’s potential functionality.

A roof can be a very large purchase affecting the life of your home. Think of the long term investment you are making in the protection of your house when deciding whether to choose quality materials. A 20-30 year warranty on materials is a good indicator of quality. Fivecoat Roofing Inc. recommends GAF shingles that come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. In the end, using quality materials will pay for themselves in saved repair and replacement costs.

StyleRoof Line
Generally a roof that is consistent with your home’s original construction style will always match. A tip is to look around at similar style houses in your neighborhood to get a good feel of what other roofing materials look good, or bad, on their roofs. Also, when finding a roofing contractor, you can often ask to view similar roofs they have installed in the past to give you an idea of their roof installation style.


Ask Your Neighborhood Roofing Expert

When in doubt, you should always ask an experienced neighborhood roofer for advice. If you live in the Portland Metro Area, Fivecoat Roofing Inc. is here for you. We have over 30 years of experience installing and repairing roofs in Oregon and can help guide you in your search for the right roof.

We know exactly what roof will work the best for any style home and pride ourselves on the quality of our products and services.

Call us today for a Free, No Obligation Consultation. 503.481.3699