Residential and Commercial Roofing: The Best Material Choices

When it comes time to replace the roof of your home or commercial building, you should be prepared to encounter and choose from a whole range of options–some familiar and others, highly technical and a bit intimidating.

It is possible that when you first had your home or building constructed, you entrusted most of the crucial decision-making to the contractor. Or, you might have acquired the property from a previous owner.

Both scenarios can result in you not having an exact idea what type of roof is installed on the property. Don’t worry — you can still choose a different roofing material that will also give optimal strength and value.

How to Choose the Best Residential and Commercial Roofing Material

To select the best type of roofing material for your home or building that is sure to prove worthy of your investment, you have to consider the following:

  • Material lifespan – When a roofing material is durable, it tends to last longer than others. This means that you can benefit from your investment for a longer time.
  • Weather-resistance – As the weather gets more unpredictable by the day, it is important that you choose a roofing material that can withstand extreme heat, cold and moisture, as well as wind uplift and hail damage.
  • Slope – The materials that you can successfully install will depend on your roof slope. Some materials, such as asphalt shingles, are best for steep-slope roofs. On the other hand, there are also materials that are specifically designed for low-slope or flat applications.
  • Appearance – The roof can significantly impact on your property’s curb appeal, so it’s also imperative that you choose one that will look good even from afar.
  • Maintenance – Roofs that do not require extensive maintenance are most likely to last longer and prove cost-efficient over time.
  • Cost – Speaking of cost efficiency, you should consider both initial and lifetime cost of a roofing material.

The Best Material Choices for Homes

Most homes have steep-pitched roofs, so you need to choose a material that is suitable for this type of slope. Additionally, you’ll want a roofing material that won’t require extensive maintenance and won’t need replacing for at least 15 years or so. This is because when you own and maintain a home, every penny used toward maintenance, repair and replacement will come out of your pocket. With these reasons in mind, we list the top three materials that you should consider for your home.

Asphalt Shingle

Asphalt shingle roofing is billed as the most popular residential roofing choice in the U.S. It is generally more cost-efficient than other material choices. It can be installed over an existing roof layer, minimizing the need to tear off an entire roof layer. When properly installed, it can last up to 20 years, although its longevity will also depend on the quality of material used and external factors, such as climate.

Fiberglass Shingle

Fiberglass shingles have also grown in popularity among homeowners because of their various benefits. It practically looks and functions like asphalt shingle. However, instead of being composed of pure asphalt, fiberglass shingles are reinforced with fiberglass, making them more durable. Because of their non-porous nature, they are tougher and more resilient. They also do not change shape or dry out when exposed to extreme heat. Fiberglass shingles are also known to be more eco-friendly than traditional asphalt shingles.

Architectural Shingle

If you want the cost efficiency, longevity and durability of asphalt or fiberglass shingles, but you’re looking for a better aesthetic, then architectural shingles are your best bet. Also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, they offer a three-dimensional appearance, making for a more refined look. They are commonly composed of a fiberglass base and ceramic-coated mineral granules embedded in refined asphalt. Thus, they provide the benefits of both asphalt and fiberglass shingles.

The Best Material Choices for Businesses

Whether you own a business and own the building, or operate a building with units being rented out, it is of utmost importance that its roof is always in tip-top condition. A lot of assets are being sheltered in your building. If the roof fails, those assets might be damaged or destroyed.  If you want a roof that can promise ultimate protection and value, here are your choices.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Commonly known as “tar and gravel” roofing, built-up roofing (BUR) is typically composed of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforced fabric. It is a great choice for business owners looking for multi-layer protection, outstanding thermal performance, fire and uplift resistance, and cost efficiency.

EPDM and TPO Roofing

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) are popular types of single-ply flat roofing membranes. They are highly regarded for their durability and longevity. They offer sufficient resistance to heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays, making them some of the most energy-efficient commercial roofing options available on the market.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen (MB) roofing is a combination of modern flat-roofing technology and traditional application methods, which involves attaching polymer modified bitumen membrane to the roofing substrate using hot asphalt. The material and application make for a strong, flexible and durable protective roof layer.

If you are still unsure about what roofing material to choose for your home or roof, make it a point to consult a trusted roofing contractor in your area.


About the Author

Gary Howard is the son Bobby Howard, the founder of Howard Roofing and Home Improvements. After his father retired, Gary took over the management of their family business, with 16 years of hands-on experience in the roofing industry already under his belt. Gary’s success can be attributed to his willingness to uphold his father’s work ethic, combined with the addition of his own marketing and business strategies. Catch more of his helpful articles on home improvement on the company blog.


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