Comparisons of Roofing Materials

For Your Porch Project

Our Comparisons of Roofing Materials Guide will give you the essential information you need in order to select the right material for your porch roof or other roofing project.



Comparisons of Roofing Materials Guide

Please Note: The information below is to provide you relative comparisons. While we may not update the information on this table frequently, hopefully it gives you relative comparisons to help in your decision making.

Asphalt (Basic Three Tab,No Cut Out, Dimensional,Interlocking, Angle-Lap, Specialty
Use: Most common on residential homes
Cost: $50 - $150/square
Longevity: Phoenix-14yrs, Minnesota-19.5

Metal (Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Tin, Corrugated)
Use: Increasingly popular - energy savings
Cost: $100 - $600/square
Longevity: 40 - 60 years +

Shakes (Redwood, Hardwood, Metal, Rubber)
Use: 4:12 pitch and steeper/Metal: 3:12+ pitch
Cost: $20K - 35K/average size home
Longevity: 40 - 60+ years

Slate (Natural and Synthetic)
Use: 3:12 and steeper
Cost: $1000 per square
Longevity: 200+ years

Ceramic Tile
Use: 3:12 and steeper
Cost: $300 - $500 installed per square
Longevity: 100+ years

Concrete Tile
Use: Requires reinforced roof
Cost: $4 -$10 per square foot
Longevity: 30+ years

Membrane (Thermoset, Thermoplastic,Bitumen, Sprayed, Fabric
Use: Primarily for flat or very low sloped roofs
Cost: $125-$135 per square foot
Longevity: 40+ years

Polycarbonate and Vinyl
Use: Primarily for screen and 3-season porches
Cost: Unknown
Longevity: Usually lifetime warranty

We found that there's a lot involved with comparisons of roofing materials. I'm sure we have not exhausted the subject by any means, but hopefully the information we provide here is helpful to you.



Asphalt Shingles (Composition)

Probably the most common roof construction material in the United States. Asphalt shingles come in two basic types: fiber glass and organic.
  • Organic shingles contain around 40% more asphalt per square than fiber glass shingles which gives them more weight, excellent durability, and wind resistance.
  • Fiberglass shingles; however, are more flexible and stronger.
  • Shingles come in a wide variety of colors. Composition roofs can be overlaid with a new roof if the initial roof is a single layer and in good condition.
Asphalt shingles are easy to install and is a favorite of DIYers. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors and styles, are fairly durable and can be easily repaired and maintained.

Advertised as 20 year and 30 year shingles, my experience has been that longevity is relative to where you live. Asphalt shingles are affected by weather.

In Nashville, our shingles only lasted about 14 years. However, tests indicate that those living in Reading, PA., can get 20.8 years from the same shingles.

Comparisons of Roofing Materials - Metal Roofing

Metal roofing comes in shapes that imitate either asphalt shingles or tile, and wood shakes. You can also get metal trim pieces to coordinate with the color of your roof.



Metal roofs are becoming very popular because:
  • although more expensive initially, metal roofing can be a good investment in the long run.
  • metal roofs last 2 -3 times longer than asphalt shingles
  • they increase a home's resale value
  • they decrease a home's energy consumption by up to 40%
  • they can reduce your insurance premiums
  • you can install it right over the top of an existing roof in most cases

Types of Metal Roofing Materials

  • Suitable for a slope of 3:12 or more
  • a properly installed roof made from copper panels will last for over 75 years
  • copper is not flammable
  • provides a great barrier against flood damage from torrential rains or heavy storms.
  • acceptable for extremely heavy loads like blizzards
  • $48.00/5ft. shingle
  • resistance to corrosion and rusting
  • less expensive material than aluminum, zinc, or copper
  • install sheathing under the tin to insulate from the noise of rain and hail
  • recommended for harsher environmental conditions
Corrugated Metal Roofing
  • high initial cost but will last longer than other materials
  • Stainless steel roofing is chosen more often for its corrosion resistance
  • zinc coating reacts to the environment which may cause color changes

metal roof on home and front porch See our entire metal roofing section to explore the possibilities for your home and porch!

Comparisons of Roofing Materials - Shakes

Historically, shakes have been made of wood. However, there are now metal and rubber shakes.

We understand that in some geographical areas, wood shakes are no longer permissible due to a fire hazard so check your local building codes prior to installing wood shakes on your porch or home.

Types of Roofing Shakes

Red Cedar
  • can last up to 30 years; however, young growth red cedar has a significantly shorter life expectancy
  • relatively expensive
  • can be used on a 4:12 pitch and steeper roof
  • require extensive maintenance to keep it looking good as to maintain performance

Metal Shakes
  • have a longer life but costly as well
  • use on roofs of 3/12 pitch or greater
  • more color choices and more durable

Rubber Shakes
  • more durable, longer lasting, environmentally friendly, and more energy efficient
  • suitable in any climate and are comparatively attractive
  • relatively new product - find an experienced contractor to install
  • rubber shakes cost more than asphalt shingles or wood shakes but will last longer - up to 100 years!
  • use less energy to heat and cool your home because they are great insulators
  • negotiate labor costs (easier to install and lighter)
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Slate is the most beautiful and durable roof construction material available. For centuries, it's been the roofing material of choice for the world's greatest buildings. In fact, some slate roofs have lasted for literally hundreds of years.

  • expensive; installation costs begin about $10 per square foot up to over $40
  • requires skilled craftsmen to install
  • not recommended for low sloping roofs

Ceramic Tile

  • can cost $300 to $500 installed per square
  • fire-resistance and adds additional insulation
  • a tile rooftop can last for generations
  • tile is brittle, individual tiles may break and need replacement periodically
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Comparisons of Roofing Materials- Membrane

Membrane roofing usually comes in large sheets which are fused together to make a continuous in penetrable surface. Our comparisons of roofing materials wouldn't be complete without discussing membranes.

Types of Membranes

  • Thermoset membrane (e.g. EPDM rubber): Layers of synthetic rubber are affixed with adhesive. Normally used on very large commercial roofs
  • Thermoplastic (e.g. PVC, TPO, CSPE): Plastic sheets welded together with hot air creating one continuous sheet membrane.
  • Modified bitumen: Asphalt and polymers are combined and applied over fiberglass.

Need Help with Your Porch Project?

Get free estimates from local contractors.

We hope our Comparisons of Roofing Materials was helpful to you for your roofing project.


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