Tidewater Roofing
701 Industry Dr Hampton VA 23661 1-757-320-5970
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What Are the Types of Residential Roofing?


There are a few things you should keep in mind when roofing your home. The most important is to select the right roofing material for your climate and roof structure. There are a variety of roofing materials available, including asphalt shingles, metal roofing, tile roofing, and slate shingles.

Shingles are ideal for homes with a pitched roof but not an option for flat roofs. If you’re building a home from scratch, you’ll have more options for all the roofing materials you’ll be using. But for people replacing or installing a roof on an existing structure, there are some limitations.

When you’re deciding what type of residential roofing you’ll use, consult an expert. You want to make sure your selections will perform! There may even be some options new to the market in your area.

What Type of Roof Does Your Home Have?

There are three basic types of roof structures for homes in Virginia: gable roofs, hip roofs, and flat roofs. Gable roofs are the most common type of roof structure in the United States. They’re simple to construct and provide good attic ventilation.

Hip roofs are more complicated to build than gable roofs, but they’re more resistant to wind damage and provide better attic ventilation. Flat roofs are the least common type of roof structure in the United States, but they’re easy to construct and maintain. Flat roofs are more common in commercial buildings and industrial structures.

What is a roof slope, and how does it affect my home’s roof design?

The roof slope (or roof pitch) is the angle of the roof surface relative to the horizontal plane. It’s usually expressed as a ratio, such as 4:12 (the roof rises four inches for every 12 inches it extends horizontally). The roof slope affects the design of the roof, the amount of attic space, and the amount of headroom in rooms with cathedral ceilings.

Roofing materials are generally categorized by their pitch range. Asphalt shingles, for example, are typically used on roofs with a pitch between 2/12 and 4/12. Metal roofing can be used on roofs with a pitch between 4/12 and 12/12. Tile roofing is typically used on roofs with a pitch between 3/12 and 8/12. Slate roofing can be used on any pitched roof.

Residential Gable Roofs

A gable roof is a roof with two sloping sides that come together at a ridge in the middle of the roof. Think of a classic A-frame. The two sloping sides are called “pitches.” Gable roofs are the most common type of residential roof in the Hampton Roads area.

Residential Hip Roofs

A hip roof is a roof with four sloping sides. These roofs look like a pyramid. Hip roofs are more resistant to aggressive winds because of the slope on all 4 sides.

Residential Flat Roofs

A flat roof is a roof with a single, flat surface. Flat roofs are the least common type of roof for homes, but they’re easy to construct and maintain. These types of roofs are more susceptible to standing water and snow build-up.

What Are the Different Roofing Materials for Residential Roofing?

We’re going to focus on roofing materials for sloped roofs in this blog because the vast majority of homeowners in North America have a gable or hip roof. Residential flat roofs can use many of the same solutions used for commercial roofing.

Shingles are overlapping pieces of material layered on the roof to protect the substructure. These flat, rectangles are the most common way to protect residential buildings and come in a variety of materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material in the United States. They’re made from a fiberglass or paper mat that’s covered with asphalt and ceramic granules. Asphalt shingles are available in a variety of colors and styles.

These shingles are lightweight and generally easy to install. But they lack the durability of other shingle styles. There are different types of asphalt shingles, including:

  • 3-tab asphalt shingles: single layer and cost-effective, these shingles are lighter and more susceptible to wind damage.
  • Architectural/laminate/dimensional shingles: two layers in their manufacturing make them more durable and provide a look similar to slate or wood. These are the most popular shingle choice in America.
  • Luxury/designer asphalt shingles: heavier than other asphalt materials and most resistant to tear away in storms and wind. Luxury asphalt shingles are less expensive than slate or metal roofing.

Rubber Shingles

Rubber roof shingles are made from recycled tires and are available in a variety of colors. Rubber roofing is durable and easy to install, but it’s not as common as asphalt shingles.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is another popular roofing material. Metal roofing is available in steel, aluminum, and copper. It’s durable and low-maintenance, but it can be 2-3 times as expensive as asphalt shingles.

Wood Shakes

Shingles made of wood are long-lasting when maintained, and give a specific rustic look to your home. Wood shakes will expand and contract with different weather conditions.

Tile Roofing

Tile roofing is a popular choice for homes with a Mediterranean or Spanish-style design. Tile roofing is made from clay or concrete tiles. It is durable and low-maintenance, but it’s also more costly due to materials and installation labor.

Slate Shingles

Slate roofing is a natural roofing material that’s made from slate rock. Slate roofing is extremely durable and low-maintenance, but it’s also much higher in cost than a traditional metal roof.

Because slate roofing is heavier than most other materials, some homes’ roofs will not be able to support this type of shingle without reinforcing the structure.

What about roof vents? Are there different types?

Your roof ventilation options will depend on the type of roof you have. Ridge vents, soffit vents, gable vents, and roof turbines are all common types of roof vents.

Ridge vents are installed along the ridge of the roof and allow hot air to escape from the attic. Soffit vents are installed in the soffits (the space between the roof and the exterior walls) and allow cool air to enter the attic.

Gable end vents are installed in the gable ends (the triangular portion at the end of the roof) and allow hot air to escape from the attic. Roof turbines are small fans that are installed on the roof and help to ventilate the attic.

Insulation for Residential Roofing

There are also choices a homeowner has when it comes to selecting a type of roof insulation. Each has its pros and cons, and it comes down to your roofing needs and the climate you live in.

Insulation is placed directly under your sloped roof. The effectiveness of insulation is measured by R-value, the insulation sheet’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass batts are the most common type of insulation. They’re made from fiberglass fibers that are woven into a mat. They’re made from recycled glass and are available in a variety of R-values as well as a variety of widths and thicknesses.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products. It’s treated with fire retardants and insecticides, and it’s available in loose-fill and batt form. Cellulose insulation has a higher R-value than fiberglass insulation, and a higher price.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is made from polyurethane and is available in two types: closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell spray foam has a higher R-value than open-cell spray foam. This insulation works great but costs more than the alternatives.

What Type of Shingle is Best for Your Home?

Finding the “best” roofing material is a matter of what your roofing needs are as well as your priorities and budget. No one type of roofing serves all homes or homeowners the same.

Ask yourself what is most important: Price? Durability? Environmental impact? Each residential roofing material has its benefits.

What roofing material is the most energy-efficient?

The most energy-efficient roofing materials are metal and tile roofing. Metal roofing doesn’t absorb and radiate heat like an asphalt product, which helps to keep your home cool in the summer. Tile roofing is a natural insulator, which helps regulate temperatures inside your home.

What shingle type is the most durable?

The most durable roofing materials are metal, slate, and rubber roofing. Metal roofing is impervious to fire, rot, and pests. Slate roofing is extremely durable and can last for centuries. Rubber shingles can withstand large hail and other inclement weather.

What is the most affordable roofing material?

Asphalt shingles are the most cost-effective for replacing or installing a roof. Even architectural asphalt shingles are more affordable than other roofing materials.

What’s the most low-maintenance roofing material?

Metal roofing and asphalt shingles are both low-maintenance options. Metal roofing is available in a variety of finishes that don’t require painting or staining. Asphalt shingles are easy to install and are generally just replaced if they incur damage.

What roofing material is the most fire-resistant?

Tile, slate, and metal roofing are all very fire-resistant roofing materials. Metal roofing is non-combustible and will not ignite in the event of a fire. Tile and slate shingles are also non-combustible and have very high fire ratings.

What roofing material is the most wind-resistant?

Great choices for areas with strong winds are metal, tile, rubber, and slate roofing. Metal roofing is available in a variety of profiles that are designed to resist high winds. Because of their weight, tile and slate shingles are hard to displace. Rubber shingles do not easily bend and resist wind uplifts.

What roofing material is the most eco-friendly?

The most eco-friendly roofing materials are metal roofing and wood shingles. Metal roofing is 100% recyclable and can be made from recycled materials. Wood shakes are an all-natural product and can be reused sustainably after their lifespan as a roof shingle.

Stay Informed When It’s Time to Decide on Roofing

When it’s time to replace your roof at home, there are lots of options when it comes to selecting shingles, vents, and insulation. There are a variety of roofing materials available for residential roofs, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Making decisions about your residential roofing is always easier with the guidance of a professional roofing contractor. Tidewater Roofing in Hampton Roads helps homeowners get the most value out of their new roof with the materials that will keep them protected for years to come.

Give us a call for an assessment and quote on your new residential roof.

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