Other Roofing Materials to Consider Besides Asphalt Shingles

When it comes to residential roofing materials, asphalt shingles are the unbeaten and most popular choice due to their affordability and ease of installation. In fact, over 80% of residential homes in the United States have a brand of asphalt shingles installed on their roof. 

However, the great thing about the roofing industry is that there are several other roofing options worth considering that offer unique aesthetics, durability, and other benefits you might not have thought of. In this article, we will explore alternative roofing materials so that we are able to make better decisions that suit our preferences, budget, and style.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is highly durable, lightweight, and available in various styles, including standing seam, corrugated and metal tiles. It is typically made of steel, aluminum, or copper. Metal is most likely the second most popular item on our list, because of its unique look and benefits that it brings with it. It is also a great material for commercial roofs in Indiana.

Costs: Metal roofing prices range from $6 to $12 per square foot, including installation. The specific cost depends on the metal type, style, and time to install.

Preferred Regions: Metal roofing is suitable for all regions, but it is particularly popular in areas prone to high winds, heavy snowfall or wildfires.

Popularity: Metal roofing has been gaining popularity every year, especially for residential and commercial buildings that want to achieve a modern or industrial aesthetic.

Pros: Long lifespan (50+ years), highly durable and fire-resistant. It is also a good source of energy efficiency since the roof gets less heated and provides good insulation. Some parts of the metal roof can be recyclable after removal.

Cons: Higher upfront costs. This is probably the biggest con against metal roofs. Some customers do not want to go over budget with their installations. Do consult a roofing contractor to see what their estimated price would be and if they offer monthly payments. Other cons include  potential for noise during heavy rain or hail.

Clay or Concrete Tiles

Clay or concrete tiles are made from molded clay. They are known for their classic and elegant appearance, offering a timeless charm to any home. Clay or terracotta tiles are distinctive because of their dark orange tones, which gives it a Mediterranean look.

Costs: Clay or concrete tile roofing ranges from $10 to $25 per square foot, including installation. The cost varies based on the tile type, quality, and time of installation.

Preferred Regions: Clay or concrete tiles are commonly found in regions with warm or Mediterranean climates, such as Florida or California.

Popularity: These tiles are popular in areas where their distinctive style complements the architectural heritage or desired aesthetics.

Pros: Longevity (50+ years), exceptional durability, fire-resistant and is heavy enough to resist heavy winds.

Cons: Heavyweight, requiring a strong roof structure, higher installation costs and can break easily if you step on them or add any weight. Do require some maintenance in order to remove any mold or moss that can begin to grow over time.

Wood Shakes or Shingles

Wood shakes or shingles provide a natural and rustic look, enhancing the charm of traditional or cottage-style homes. Wood shakes are composed of cedar, redwood and pine.

Costs: Wood shakes cost between $6 to $12 per square foot. Prices can vary based on the wood type, quality and availability.

Preferred Regions: Wood roofing is popular in areas with moderate climates and a desire for a warm, natural aesthetic, such as the Pacific Northwest. New England is a great area for these types of shingles.

Popularity: Wood roofing remains popular in areas where architectural guidelines prioritize traditional or historic appearances.

Pros: Natural beauty, excellent insulation, eco-friendly if sustainably sourced, and can be treated for fire resistance.

Cons: Higher maintenance requirements, vulnerability to rot, mold, and insects, shorter lifespan than others on this list (25-30 years), and potential for fire hazards if not coated with fire resistant sealant.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is known for its timeless beauty and exceptional longevity. It is crafted from natural slate stone, providing a sophisticated and elegant appearance to any structure.

Costs: Slate roofing costs range from $15 to $30 per square foot, including installation. The price varies based on the quality of the material, thickness, and installation process.

Preferred Regions: Slate roofing is popular in areas with cooler climates.

Popularity: Slate roofing is often chosen for upscale homes or buildings wanting a luxurious and durable roofing option.

Pros: Unmatched longevity compared to other materials, around 100+ years, fire-resistant, low maintenance, and natural beauty that only improves with age.

Cons: High upfront costs are required and the material is quite heavy. Therefore, it requires a sturdy roof structure and professional installation due to the complexity of working with slate.


 When it comes to choosing the right roofing material for your home, there are more options than one originally thought. Each alternative material offers many pros and cons, and each has their own distinctive features and costs.

Metal roofing provides durability and energy efficiency, clay tiles offer classic charm, wood shakes provide a natural and rustic look and slate roofing is simply timeless elegance.

Consider your budget, climate, architectural style, and personal preferences when selecting the roofing material that best suits you. It never hurts to consult with roofing professionals and obtain different quotes to ensure accurate cost estimates for materials and installation.

Investing in a high-quality roofing material will not only enhance the curb appeal of your home but also protect it for years to come. Take the time to research and weigh the pros and cons of each option and your budget.