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Everything You Need to Know About Roofing Material Types

Everything You Need to Know About Roofing Material Types


Storm Guard of Austin

What do you need to know about roofing materials?

Asphalt or clay? Solar or metal? When it comes to roofing materials, you have a whole lot of choices - more than you probably even realized. And while having many options at your disposal can be a good thing, it often makes narrowing down your selection to just one roofing type a challenge.

In this post, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about different roofing materials on the market so you can best determine which type is right for your Austin home, budget and lifestyle. Specifically, we’ll discuss

  • The similarities and differences between asphalt, metal, clay and solar roofs.
  • The pros and cons of things like cost, maintenance and durability depending on the type of roof you have, and
  • The best ways to prolong the life of your roof, no matter the type of material you choose.

If you have questions about your roof or what to expect when replacing your roof, please give our team at Storm Guard of SW Austin a call today at 512-843-0078. 

Let’s get started.

Roofing Material Types 101: Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing materials in Texas. Relative to many types of roofing materials, they’re inexpensive yet durable enough to withstand numerous weather conditions

While they won’t last forever (a traditional 30-year shingle might get you 25 years if it stays very well maintained), they do hold up fairly well against the sun, wind and rain we experience in Austin. They’re also lightweight and come in a variety of colors to meet your design goals. 

Asphalt shingles are a popular choice for Texas homeowners because of their ease of installation (it usually just takes a few days) and their price tag. Relative to other roofing types, asphalt shingles are the most budget friendly.

Roofing Material Types 101: Solar

Solar roofs are the way of the future, and the main options on the market today are solar roof panels and solar shingles, or solar tiles. Whereas solar panels can be attached directly to your traditional asphalt-shingled roof, solar tiles can effectively replace your existing roof’s shingles. 

The lifespan of solar shingles will vary by manufacturer and installation, but you should expect them to last more than 20 years. Before making your final product decision, it’s worth researching your options and understanding manufacturers’ warranties, as they also can vary. 

Roofing Material Types 101: Metal Roofs

Metal is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing materials, yet it’s not nearly as common as asphalt shingles for residential properties. If you’re considering metal as a roofing material for your Austin home or business, factors such as durability, lifespan and efficiency should be top-of-mind.

Metal roofs can last upwards of 40-70 years and many come with extensive manufacturer warranties. A couple downsides are that they can be quite noisy during rainstorms and they are also more expensive than asphalt shingles.

An additional caveat – if your metal roof gets dinged from a hailstorm, you have to replace a whole panel (rather than potentially a few shingles). And, assuming the damage is aesthetic and not structural, your insurance will not likely cover it – which adds up to an expensive repair. 

Roofing Material Types 101: Clay and Concrete Tiles

The aesthetic of clay roofing tiles is hard to beat. They add an instant Mediterranean charm to any home. But more than just beautiful, clay roofing tiles are also durable and environmentally friendly. They have the strength to withstand high winds and tornadoes and are easy to recycle because they are made from natural materials.

Clay roof tiles can last upwards of 100 years in Central Texas. By contrast, metal roofs come in second at nearly 70 years, whereas traditional asphalt shingles are lucky to push 20 years.

The Pros and Cons of Each Roofing Material Type

Each roofing material type offers advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your budget, lifestyle and goals, you may find yourself swaying toward one type over another. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a roofing type for your Austin property.

  • Cost - Roof replacements are large ticket items that must be thought through carefully and in coordination with other factors like durability and longevity. While asphalt shingles require the least amount of upfront investment, they also have the shortest lifespan (roughly 20-25 years at most). Conversely, clay and metal roofs can last more than 70 years but are more expensive in the short term. Solar panels or solar tiles will also be among the more expensive types of roofing materials to install, yet homeowners will benefit from significantly reduced energy bills on a monthly basis.
  • Maintenance - In terms of maintenance, asphalt shingles are a popular choice primarily because when they do become damaged, your roofing contractor can easily repair or replace just the damaged shingles without having to redo the entire roof. On the flip side, clay shingles can become damaged simply when walked on so it becomes trickier to make repairs without the help of a professional. Metal roofs also can be susceptible to damage, water pooling and dents if it’s not installed correctly or if it’s made of a softer metal. For these reasons and more, it’s important to hire a reputable roofing contractor whenever installing or repairing a roof.
  • Durability - When you think of durable roofs, metal and clay roofs likely top the list. Metal roofs can sustain winds up to 140 miles per hour, heavy rains and heat, though asphalt shingles also hold up fairly well against the sun, wind and rain we experience in Central Texas. For prolonged durability, staying on top of ongoing maintenance can help your asphalt roof go the distance.

How to Prolong the Life of Your Roof

Roofs have a reputation for being out of sight, out of mind…until there is a problem. Please don’t wait for a problem to check on your roof! 

Regardless of the type of roof you have, keeping up with maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of your roof, save you money and offer you peace of mind.

Simple things like ensuring your gutters are clear and free of debris can be done yourself. For a more complete roof inspection, give us a call at Storm Guard of SW Austin for help. Moreover, you’ll want to be sure your attic ventilation is also sufficient for your roof. Proper ventilation in your attic can prolong the life of your roof and enable your home to work most efficiently from an energy perspective.

To have your roof checked for adequate ventilation or to ask any of your questions about residential and commercial roofs in Texas, get in touch with our team at Storm Guard of SW Austin.