What is the Best Roofing Material Out There?

best roofing material

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Homeowners researching a roofing project, whether new construction or replacement, may be looking at the the many solutions available today and wonder which is the best roofing material out there. We have the answer, and it may surprise you because it’s a material that is relatively new to the roofing industry. We’re going to take a look at the four most common roofing material types, and which one comes out ahead.

Common Types Of Roofing Material

While there are other materials out there, and some that are a blend of two or more types, these are the most common and widely available roofing material options.

Asphalt

Asphalt shingles are the trusted go-to for many homeowners and by far the most popular option in North America. They consist of a fiberglass mat that’s been coated with asphalt and granules that helps their performance. They can be installed by just about anyone, including some skilled DIYers, and are one of the cheapest roofing materials out there.

While they are a popular option due to relatively easy installation and price, they do not win our award for the best roofing material available. The downsides are not environmentally friendly (they fill landfills quickly), will discolor over time, and don’t offer the same functional strengths that other solutions offer (shingles can lift in the wind, allowing water to damage the roof underneath, do not resist rot or mildew) and they only have a lifespan of about 20 years before needing to be replaced.

Cedar Shake / Wood

Wood, while beautiful, is one of the most unsuitable roofing materials, especially the further North you go where temperature swings and moisture in the climate can get more and more tough. Wood tends to absorb and retain moisture, and is frequently the site of new resident pests. Wood must be maintained meticulously or it will become discolored and its seal against moisture will be compromised. While beautiful, the fact that shake roofing is bad for our environment, expensive, and is not functionally resistant to mildew, rot, pests, etc. means we can not give this material our vote for best overall available option on the market.

Metal

Metal roofing is a great option in some areas, and offers a robust roofing solution with nearly unbeatable wind resistance. Metal roofing is often installed in corrugated strips that run from the peak of the roof to its edge or in standing seam applications on higher-end residential and commercial applications. Metal roofing is eco-friendly, recyclable, durable, and long-lasting.

The drawback to metal roofing is a very high sensitivity to impact damage, and even the smallest dents and dings will be there until it’s replaced. In some situations, the roofing will “oil can.” Perhaps the biggest drawback of all is price – and for these reasons, metal is not our choice for best roofing material available.

Plastic Tiles

The plastic roofing segment is growing in popularity as quickly as any option out there. In the right application, it really can be a good option. Aesthetically, they offer many excellent color and profile options, and are priced at approximately the same price as our choice for best overall material option available (almost there!). Where this category struggles is price (the “better” options can get expensive), they are not as eco-friendly as our top choice, and most importantly, we are not sold on their ability to hold up to our weather patterns long-term here in Chicagoland. While research and development will continually make for improved product, it is still plastic on your roof and at the end of the day, it will never be as resistant as our overall top option.

Now before we get to best overall roofing material option available, we have to mention that there are other options out there, clay and slate are two popular roofing options here in North America. Slate is particularly popular here in the North Shore. But for a whole host of reasons, our vote for best overall roofing option available in the market is (drum roll)…

Rubber

Rubber roofing is one of the newest materials to become available to homeowners in our area. Rubber has only been use in roofing applications since the 1960’s, and only since the late 1980’s / early 1990’s in residential applications. The shingles are made from recycled rubber tire and strengthened and molded usually in slate or shake options. Rubber shingles can visually mimic almost any other material. They have superior UV, wind, water, and impact resistance, and shrug off hail up to 5 inches across. See our guide for what is rubber roofing and why is it better for more details, but there are many reasons why we would choose it over any other option there.

The biggest downside to a rubber roof is that they cost more than asphalt if that is the roofing material you are choosing and price point you are shopping. But a EuroShield roof replacement hits a sweet spot that price-wise, environmentally, and functionally is really hard to beat.

What Is The Best Roofing Material?

The overall best material that you can currently get for your home is rubber, without a doubt. Other materials may have some of the benefits that rubber has, but they fall short in one or more areas in which rubber still excels. While the initial cost may be comparable to the other costly materials, the incredible lifespan and long list of benefits that come with a rubber roofing system are hard to beat with conventional materials.

To Discuss Your Next Roofing Project

If you need any more information, or simply want to get the ball rolling using the best roofing material on your next roofing project, feel free to reach out and speak with a trusted member of our local roofing team.

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