Types of Roofing Materials Used to Build Homes

Roofing refers to the application of finish or protective coating to a roof, designed to provide structural strength against weather and environmental forces. The roofing is generally the covering on top of a structure, comprising all structures and materials needed to support it on top of poles, covering the entire structure to either protect it from the weather or on top of uprights. The roofing is often a part of a building envelope. It protects the structural members of a building from being damaged by weather and/or external threats such as vandalism, winds, rain, snow, sunshine, ice, debris, etc. In addition to providing protection, the roof also aids in the aesthetic appeal of the buildings.



There are three basic types of roofing materials used for different applications: shingles, slate, tile, and cedar shake. Most houses have at least one type of roofing, most often tar roofs. Tar roofs are made by combining two or more types of materials in varying density and thickness, usually over a rigid core that holds the shingles. Shakes are roofs that are flexible membranes attached to the tar and are used mainly to provide thermal insulation. To prepare a new roof, a thin layer of asphalt is applied to the surface, followed by a rubber roofing patch, if necessary.

Roofing Materials

One other type of roofing material commonly used is known as roofing felt, which is a thicker version of tar paper, though not as dense. The applied roofing felt acts as a vapor barrier to keep excess moisture out of the house, which allows the existing roof to dry. On top of this, the felt also captures and holds heat, preventing heat gain and loss. After the tar has dried, the final layer is a rubberized, galvanized, UV-resistant sheet metal layer that abides by local building codes.

Asphalt shingles are another option for roofing, although they are not as common. The most common form of asphalt shingles is the granular asphalt shingles, which are similar to felt in fee structure and physical quality. These shingles are made of loosely packed and bonded asphalt granules affixed to a stainless steel backing. They can be applied in a number of different colors depending on your preferences. As a result, asphalt shingles are often used as the primary roofing material in low-sloped regions.

Other roofing materials include concrete tiles, clay tiles, wood shakes, metal tiles, gypsum boards, and even bamboo shake. The concrete tiles are an inexpensive and practical way to provide a durable roof for any home. However, these concrete tiles are a bit heavy, thus they need to be placed on top of the concrete foundation. Wooden shakes and metal tiles are lighter than the other roofing materials, and they can also be applied to slope regions.


Regardless of what type of roofing material you decide on, it is important to hire a reputable contractor who will perform a thorough inspection. It is also important that you ask questions when learning about a re-roofing project. For example, if you have questions about whether or not certain roofing systems will require re-roofing, ask the contractor. A good contractor should know whether or not roofing materials will need to be replaced after a certain amount of time. In addition, you should ask whether or not they will perform tests on your roofing system to make sure that it is still in good shape before actually re-roofing it.

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