Installing a roof on your home can be a huge decision. Whether you are building a home from scratch, updating an outdated roof, or changing the appearance of your home, it is important to understand your options so you can make an informed decision. With so many options to explore, knowing what to look for in a roof can help you save valuable time and money.

Asphalt Shingles

brand new roof

My new Roof by pointnshoot is licensed with CC BY 2.0

One of the most popular roofing materials in North America, asphalt shingles can be a reliable choice for homeowners because they perform well in many weather conditions and environments. Quality can vary widely with this roofing type, so performing thorough research and understanding how different options can withstand wind can ensure you get a reliable shingle option that lasts for many years. Not including installation, asphalt shingles cost between $1 and $1.20 per square foot.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs can be a great option for those living in places that receive a lot of winter snow or are under threat of fire danger. Because a metal roof will not burn, some insurance companies and lenders might offer lower rates to homeowners or even require those who live in fire risk areas to put these roofs on their homes. They are also a good option for snow because heavy snow can slide off easily. Although hail might dent them, rain also runs quickly off these roofs. The lifespan of a metal roof is approximately 60 years.

You might see some metal roofs with sheer panels, whereas others can mimic the appearance of tiles, slate, or shake roofs. Metal roofs typically cost between $5 and $14 per square foot, but this does not include the price of installation.

Stone-Coated Steel

Areas that experience heavy rain can benefit from stone-coated steel tiles, which often resemble slate, clay, or shingles. These tiles are also a worthy match for hail, and will not dent like metal roofs or some other roofing options might in heavy storms. Some stone-coated steel tiles or shingles come with home lifetime warranties and can be quite affordable.

If you live in an area with wildfires, heavy rainfall, or frequent temperature changes, stone-coated steel is a durable and visually appealing roofing option to consider. Some asphalt roofs are also capable of withstanding high winds, like those we see during tornadoes in some of our communities in Indiana. Pricing can differ according to style, but this roof type typically costs between $5.40 and $10.21 per square foot.

Clay or Concrete Tiles

Good in warm, arid climates, clay and concrete tiles are an attractive choice that pairs well with stuccoed or European-style homes. These tiles can crack easily when you apply unequal pressure, like when walking across their surface, but they can withstand heavy winds, like those from hurricanes or tornadoes. They have also been shown to fare well in earthquakes. Concrete tiles often cost between $3 and $5 per square foot. Clay tiles are slightly more expensive, ranging from $10 to $18 per square foot.


Slate roofs have an impressive lifespan and can last upwards of 100 years when installed properly. They are waterproof, which helps them resist the build-up of harmful molds or fungi. Slate is also fireproof. Although it is a good option for wet climates, slate is one of the least economic roofing options and might not fare well under the weight of walking or in weather like hail storms. Hard slate typically costs about $20 to $30 per square foot.

Rubber Slate

Rubber slate offers many of the same benefits as slate and lasts for a long time, often up to 100 years. Like slate, it will not always fare well beneath the weight of someone walking atop it, after satellite installation, or in a hailstorm. Because you can cut rubber slate with a knife, it is well-suited for creating intricate roofing patterns and shapes. Rubber slate can help you design a beautiful roof, though finding professional roofers who have experience with the material is often challenging. Rubber slate is typically cheaper than hard slate; it ranges between $7.75 to $12.50 per square foot.

Solar Tiles

Solar tiles typically go atop roof tiles or shingles, helping provide electricity to your home and generating power from the sun. If you live in an area that restricts your ability to put solar panels atop your roof, this can be a useful alternative. That said, solar tiles are sometimes cost-prohibitive, often representing a higher dollar value than many other solar options. Solar roof tiles are not a roofing option on their own and they typically cost approximately $21.85 per square foot.

What to Consider When Getting a New Roof

There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you explore the various roofing options. Here is a closer look at some decision points to consider:

  • Environment: Where you live can determine the best roofing option for you. Be sure your roofing material can withstand the weather in your area, like fires, heavy rainfall, tornadoes, or snow.
  • Budget: The amount you spend on a roof can vary drastically. Some options that require skilled installers, like rubber slate, might cost more than more traditional options like asphalt shingles.
  • Longevity: Look at the lifespan of the roof to ensure your purchase is worth its cost. You want a roof that lasts for many years. Some roofs also come with excellent warranties.
  • Appearance: Determining how a roof choice will look with the aesthetic of your home is also important. Clay tiles can be a statement roof well-suited for Spanish-style or stucco homes; rubber slate can look nice with Victorian-style domiciles.
  • Insurance: Some insurance companies might offer discounts for different roof types or even have roofing requirements. Check with your insurance provider to get their opinion on the best roof for you and your area.
  • Installation costs: The cost of the roofing material alone is not the only price to consider; installation costs can majorly increase the price tag of your roofing project. You also need to find someone with experience using your chosen material. Costs can range depending on the roofing company you work with, the size of your home, and the material you choose.

We hope this guide helps you in your search for the perfect roof. There are so many things to consider when building a new home and a roof is one of the most important things. If you have a roof type you love or are looking to build your next home, contact us. We would love to hear about your vision and to share more about choosing the perfect roof.