A new roof is an inevitable expense! Whether you own a commercial building or you have just purchased your very first home, roofing will come up eventually. Choosing the right roof and roofing materials for your home or building is important.

Consider these questions when choosing a roofing material:

  1. How accessible is my roof? If it is hazardous to make repairs, a very long-lasting and durable option is smart.
  2. Is the home or building a historic one? Is a specialty roofing material desired to keep the house how it was originally built?
  3. How much weight can the frame of the household?
  4. How eco-friendly do you want to go?

There are many different types of roofing materials, and they all vary in price and eco-friendliness. To help you out, we’ve listed five popular roofing materials and some basic information about cost, durability, and sustainability.

Asphalt Shingles

Since asphalt shingles are the most cost-effective roofing material, they are also the most popular. Over 75% of homes have asphalt shingles. There is a wide range of colors and styles to choose from, and they look nice on just about any home or building. The price can vary widely depending on the longevity of the product. Made from petroleum products, asphalt shingles are the least eco-friendly option from a manufacturing standpoint. However, recycling old asphalt shingles is gaining popularity where convenient. The recycled, ground-up shingles are most commonly used to make new roads!

  • Cost: $
  • Durability: Will last 15-30 years, depending on region. Asphalt is much more susceptible to weather damage than other materials.
  • Eco-friendly Factor: This is the least eco-friendly roofing option because of the way that it is manufactured.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood shingles and shakes look great, and they give a rustic and cottage feel to a property. The most popular types of wood used are cedar, southern pine, and redwood, but there are concerns to consider. Being wood, they do not have a favorable fire rating, unless you coat them with a specialized product. They also have a tendency to rot and mold over time and can be difficult to repair when something does happen. For less maintenance, consider a composite that looks like wood but is a combination of wood and other materials. These have a better rating but are not recyclable.

  • Cost: $$
  • Durability: Wood shingles will last 30-50 years. Being wood, this product has a poor fire rating and requires regular maintenance. They tend to rot, split and mold.
  • Eco-friendly Factor: It’s a natural product, so little manufacturing impact and easy to recycle.

Metal (steel, aluminum, copper, and tile)

Metal roofing has become popular for its rustic curb appeal and durability. There are many forms of metal roofs – sheets of metal, individual metal tiles, etc. The type of metal, as well as the form of metal, will determine the price. You feel good about choosing metal because it is extremely durable, lasting 50 years or more, and because it is traditionally made with a high percentage of recycled material. The material is light and easy to install.

  • Cost: $$, but can be $$$$
  • Durability: A metal roof will last 50 years or longer. They are resistant to all kinds of adverse weather.
  • Eco-friendly Factor: Metal roofs are light and will keep the home or building cooler than slate or traditional asphalt shingles making it one of the most eco-friendly options.


Slate is undoubtedly very pretty—and pricey. But it is very durable and will withstand some pretty nasty weather conditions. Repairs are easy with slate, as with asphalt shingles. But slate is not recommended for high-heat areas, and it is very heavy. If you are seriously considering slate, make sure your home or building can withstand the weight.

  • Cost: $$$$
  • Durability: Very durable, will last 50-100 years or more.
  • Eco-friendly Factor: Slate is a natural product. Cutting and quarrying have little environmental impact, and this product is recyclable.

Tile – Clay or Concrete

Like metal, tile is resistant to fire and weather. This type of roof is extremely durable and very heavy, making it difficult and time-intensive to install. Tile roofing materials come in a wide variety of colors and styles, including tiles that look like wood shakes, metal, or slate. While on the expensive side, it could be worth the investment for your Mission or Spanish Colonial-style home.

  • Cost: $$$
  • Durability: Clay or concrete tiles will last 50 years or more.
  • Eco-friendly Factor: These tiles are made from natural sources and are energy-efficient.

Contact Us Today

Austermiller, Inc. has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for over 25 years. Our team of certified contractors and roofers is trained to install the highest-quality roofing materials and provide the highest-quality service. We are proud to specialize in both commercial and residential roofing, as well as storm damage repair and restoration.

Schedule your FREE estimate today by visiting us online or calling 615-553-2041.