fbpx Skip to content
remodel contractor working on a roof

Good, Better, Best: Roofing Options for Your Home

When considering roofing material for your home, it can be challenging to find the one that best fits your needs while still meeting your budget. While many homeowners view re-roofing as a chance to improve the quality of their home, the differences in options and features can feel overwhelming. In this article, we’ll break down the most popular roofing options in terms of good, better, and best.

As one of the top remodeling companies in the Portland Metro Area, Lamont Bros. Design and Construction has guided many Portland homeowners through the process of renovating their homes. Several of our past projects have involved installing new roofing.  Our team has seen firsthand how choosing the right type of roofing can make a huge difference in how you as a homeowner feel about your home.

This article will help you understand several types of roofing materials using a good, better, and best ranking. After reading, you’ll have a strong understanding of the different types of roofing and be able to identify which ones might work best for your home. The products we’ll discuss include:

Good: Asphalt & Architectural Shingle
Better: Premium Architectural Shingle, Metal Seam Roofing, & Flat Roofing
Best: Tile, Cedar Shake, and Metal
Bonus: Solar Roofing

Good Roofing: Asphalt and Architectural Shingles

When it comes to roofing options that provide durability at a low cost, asphalt and architectural shingles stand out in the “good” category. Here’s what homeowners need to know about these roofing materials:

Asphalt Shingles: The Practical Choice

Asphalt shingles are a common sight on homes nationwide. They are known for their affordability and reliability. They offer several benefits:

Affordability: Among the most cost-effective roofing materials, asphalt shingles fit well within a tight budget.

Variety: Available in various colors and styles, they allow for some degree of customization.

Ease of Installation: Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install, reducing labor costs.

Decent Lifespan: With proper maintenance, they can last up to 20 years.

However, the drawbacks of asphalt shingles include a shorter lifespan compared to other materials and a tendency to be less resistant to extreme weather conditions.

3-tab asphalt shingles are among the most common types of roofing. Image source.

Architectural Shingles: Enhanced Durability and Style

Architectural shingles are a variant of asphalt shingles. They are designed to be affordable while offering a bit more in terms of longevity and aesthetic appeal:

Improved Durability: These shingles are thicker and more durable than standard asphalt shingles, offering better resistance to harsh weather.

Aesthetic Appeal: With a more 3-dimensional look, they provide a more visually interesting appearance. Color options are also more varied among architectural shingles.

Longer Lifespan: Architectural shingles typically last about 30 years, making them a more lasting long-term investment than regular asphalt shingles​​.

With the added benefits, it should be no surprise that architectural shingles are more expensive than standard asphalt. However, for this extra price, they provide much greater value in terms of lifespan and appearance.

Architectural shingle, TrueDefinition “Duration” by Owens Cornering

Better Roofing: Premium Architectural, Seam Metal, & TPO

In the “better” category, roofing materials not only offer an increase in durability but also bring more style and aesthetic appeal. This category includes premium architectural shingles, standing seam metal roofing, and flat roofing options like TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin).

Premium Architectural Shingles: A Step Above

Premium Architectural Shingles are a higher-quality variation of Architectural Shingles, such as CertainTeed’s Presidential line.  They offer several enhanced features from the standard architectural shingles described above.

Extended Lifespan: With a lifespan of up to 50 years, these shingles are designed for longevity, making them a great long-term investment.

Sophisticated Appearance: They offer a more refined and luxurious look, and can even be made to mimic the appearance of cedar shakes at a distance.

Improved Durability: These shingles are constructed to withstand harsher weather conditions better than standard architectural shingles.

Energy Efficiency: Like their standard counterparts, they provide good insulation, contributing to energy savings.

While more expensive than standard architectural shingles, their longevity and aesthetic appeal make them a popular choice for homeowners seeking better quality without moving into the highest price bracket.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing: Modern and Durable

Standing seam metal roofing is made of long sheets of metal that are installed with overlapping seams. This option offers a distinct look and enhanced durability without the tacky appearance that sheet metal roofing often carries.

Long-Lasting: Metal roofs are known for their ability to last upwards of 50 years or more.

Modern Aesthetics: Their sleek, contemporary design can significantly boost a home’s curb appeal.

Weather Resistant: Metal roofs are exceptionally resilient against harsh weather, including heavy snow, rain, and wind.

Energy Efficient: Although metal is a conductor and has poor insulation properties, metal roofing helps to reflect sunlight. As a result, it can help to reduce cooling costs during hot weather.

The primary drawback of metal seam roofing is the cost, which is higher than traditional shingles. However, its durability and low maintenance requirements often justify the investment.

Standing-seam metal can add character and functionality to your home’s roof.

Flat Roofing Options: TPO for Low-Pitched Roofs

Although more popular in commercial spaces, TPO is an excellent option for homes with low-pitched or flat roofs. It’s also good for applications in areas of the roof that are hidden from view at ground level.

Durability in Flat Applications: TPO is particularly waterproof, making it well-suited for flat or low-pitched roofs where water pooling can be an issue.

Energy Efficiency: The reflective surface of TPO deflects sunlight rather than absorbs it. This helps in reducing heat buildup, lowering air conditioning costs.

Seamless Installation: TPO is installed in large sheets, reducing seams and potential leaks. Because installation is relatively simple compared to shingle roofing, you’ll probably save on installation costs.

Cost-Effective: While more expensive than basic asphalt, TPO is still considered a cost-effective option for flat roofing.

Some downsides of TPO roofing are that, while durable and efficient for flat roofs, it may not have the same aesthetic appeal as other pitched roof options and is more commonly used in commercial buildings.

Best Roofing: The Pinnacle of Quality and Style

The “best” category in roofing represents the highest quality in materials. This tier features unparalleled durability, aesthetic appeal, and customization. “Best” level roofing includes tile, cedar shake, and metal tiles, including luxurious options like copper.

Tile Roofing: Elegance and Longevity

Tile roofing, made from materials like clay stone, stands out for its distinct, natural visual style and long-lasting quality. 

Aesthetic Appeal: Tile roofs offer a classic, elegant look that can enhance nearly any style of home. It looks especially good on more traditional styles homes designed to elicit a more classical feel.

Durability: Known for their exceptional longevity, tile roofs can last more than 50 years with the proper maintenance.

Weather Resistance: Tiles are excellent in withstanding harsh weather conditions, from heavy rains to high winds.

Energy Efficiency: Their heavy thermal mass helps regulate indoor temperatures and block out external heat, contributing to energy savings.

The main consideration with tile roofing is the cost, which is significantly higher than less premium options. Additionally, the weight requires a sturdy structural support system.

Stone tile roof in Norway. Image source.

Cedar Shake: Natural Beauty

Cedar shake roofs — made from natural wood — bring a natural, rustic charm to homes:

Unique Appearance: Each cedar shake has a unique texture and pattern, offering a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

Insulation Properties: Cedar has natural insulating qualities, providing better energy efficiency.

Water & Fungus Resistant: While many wood species are prone to moisture, cedar excels in moist climates. It’s resistant to rot and fungus, making it especially popular in coastal construction.

Eco-Friendly: Cedar is a renewable resource, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

The major drawback of Cedar shake roofing is that it requires regular maintenance to prevent deterioration and insect damage. It’s also worth noting that cedar roofing will turn grey over time, even with regular maintenance. Additionally, cedar roofs are also much more expensive than standard roofing materials.

Roofs made of cedar shakes are popular in moist climates due to cedar’s natural resistance to rot and fungus.

Metal Tiles: Modern and High-End

Metal tile roofing includes options like steel, aluminum, and copper. It offers a modern twist on traditional roofing:

Distinctive Style: Metal tiles, especially copper, offer a unique, upscale look. Some manufacturers can achieve different tile shapes and textures for varying home styles.

Long-Lasting: Metal roofs are extremely durable. Chances are, if you install a metal roof on your home, it will last longer than your lifetime. 

Low Maintenance: Unlike traditional materials like asphalt, wood, or even stone tile, metal tiles require minimal upkeep.

Energy Efficient: As with seam metal roofing, the reflective properties of metal tiles contribute to reduced cooling costs.

The cost of metal tiles, particularly copper, is among the highest in roofing materials. However, their visual appeal is unparalleled, and a metal roof is likely to last for generations.

Copper tile roofs are a beautiful feature, but expect to pay a high cost for the material. Image Source.

Bonus: Solar Roofing

As a bonus category, solar roofing represents a relatively new product on the market that is revolutionizing the functional application of roofing materials. 

Energy Production: Solar roofs generate electricity, potentially reducing or eliminating energy bills.

Environmental Impact: By harnessing renewable energy, solar roofing contributes to a lower carbon footprint.

Aesthetic Integration: Modern solar roofing designs are sleek and integrate well

with traditional roofing styles, maintaining the home’s aesthetic appeal.

Long-Term Savings: Despite the initial high cost, solar roofing can offer significant savings over time through reduced energy bills.

While solar roofing is an exciting and environmentally friendly option, the initial installation cost and the need for suitable sun exposure can present some challenges. Additionally, technology in this field is rapidly evolving, so staying informed about the latest developments is crucial for making the best decision.

Solar shingle by CertainTeed

Want More Inspiration for Your Home Improvement Projects?

After reading this article, do you feel confident in your ability to choose a roofing type for your home from the good, better, or best categories? Now is the time to continue your research and gather more ideas for your home improvements. To see more ideas for how your home could look, go check out our Home Remodeling Portfolio, where you can see how Portland homeowners just like you are transforming their own homes. 

Ready to meet with a designer about a home renovation project you’ve been thinking about? If so, click the button below to schedule a free design consultation with a member of our team. We’ll walk you through the process of remodeling step by step, so you never have to the challenges alone.