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Comparing Roofing Materials

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva compares the qualities of different types of roofing materials

Different roofing materials

  1. Asphalt shingles come in three-tab or architectural style. They’re reasonably durable, but the reason most people opt for these shingles is because they’re cost effective.
  2. Wood shingles can cost nearly double what asphalt shingles do, but when installed correctly, they can last as long as 50 years.
  3. Metal roofs are really good at protecting the sheathing underneath from wind and water and can last up to 100 years, but they can cost sometimes four times the amount of asphalt shingles.
  4. Tile roofs can also last up to 100 years, but it will require additional structure to accommodate the heavy weight of the material.


Tom compared a variety of roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, cedar shingles, metal, and clay tiles. These can all be found at a variety of home centers or from a roofing contractor and are more available in some regions of the country depending on the housing styles.