Exterior Roofing

Roofing Roundup: 7 of Today’s Most Popular Choices

Whether you are replacing an old roof—or building a new home from the ground up—you'll want to check out these seven popular roofing choices.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

The Right Roof


If you’re in the market for a new roof, you certainly won’t find a lack of options to consider.  While climate, house style and budget will be important factors to take into account, new technologies and innovations have made it possible to get any look—just about anywhere.  Here are seven of today’s more popular roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingles


Economical to produce, relatively easy to install, and widely available, fiberglass asphalt shingles are today’s most popular roofing material.  Made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays, they are available in a full range of styles and colors to complement any home’s architectural style.  Most are guaranteed to 30 years. Cost: $200 – $400 per square installed.

Wood Shingles and Shakes


There are two types of wood roofing: shingles and shakes. Wood shingles are machine-cut and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance.  Wood shakes are hand-split, giving them a more rustic appeal.  While not as practical as modern asphalt shingles, there is no denying the appeal of a wood roof on a traditional or historical-style house.  Cost: $400 – $900 per square installed.

Slate Roofs


Slate quarried for roofing is dense, sound rock, and is exceedingly tough and durable. While it is labor-intensive and costly to install, a natural slate look will give character to a building unlike any other roofing material.  Available in an array of colorations, slate roofing is non-combustible, waterproof, and requires little to no maintenance over the course of its long life. Cost: $600 – $1,500 per square installed.

Composite Shingles


If you want the look of slate, tile or wood shake—without the installation and maintenance costs, consider today’s composite roofing.  Made from poly-based products, companies like CertainTeed, EcoStar and DaVinci Roofscapes all offer superior products that are lightweight, fade resistant, fire safe, and warrantied for up to 50 years. Some are so realistic that they have been approved for use in historic preservation!  Cost: $400 – $800 per square installed.

Clay and Concrete Tiles


In addition to their intrinsic beauty, tile roofs are extremely durable, lasting for centuries in some cases.  Whether made of clay or concrete (the latter is more colorfast), individual tiles are often molded in barrel shapes for interlocking installation. Weight will be an issue, so be sure ask a structural engineer if your roof framing will support a tile application.  Cost: Concrete $200 – $800 / Clay $500 – $1,000 per square installed.



There is no material more capable of protecting a structure from wind, rain, hail, fire, or rot than a durable and energy-efficient metal roof. For decades, metal roofs meant corrugated panels, which looked like they belonged on sheds or barns. Today, metal roofing products are available in a variety of styles to suit a wide range of architectural styles.  Cost: $300 – $700 per square installed.

Going Green


Creating a green “living” roof is an investment that holds many benefits, among them better insulation, reduced run-off, and extended life to your roof.  A green roof requires several layers of support vegetation.  You’ll need a waterproofing membrane to protect the roof—and depending on the slope—likely a root barrier and irrigation system. Cost: Variable.