Types of Roofing Materials for Kentucky Homes: Pros and Cons

Asphalt Shingled Roofs

roof shingle texture in louisvilleIn most of the United States, shingles are the most common roofing material. They’re sturdy, affordable, and versatile, available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to fit many different architectural styles.

Around 70% of US roofs have asphalt covered shingles. Chances are, yours does, too.

These shingles fall into two main categories, based on the material they’re made from.

  • Fiberglass shingles. These are made from a specially manufactured fiberglass mesh material, which is then coated with asphalt. They’re covered in special small granules of material that help reflect sunlight, preventing melting and overheating. The granular component also contributes to the shingles’ coloration.
  • Organic shingles. Instead of using fiberglass, which is a synthetic material that doesn’t biodegrade, organic asphalt shingles are based on a special paper-based material instead. They’re actually a bit heavier than fiberglass shingles. This can make them harder for roofers to work with, but an advantage of the heavier construction is that they have better wind damage resistance.

Some of the pros of asphalt coated shingle roofs include:

  • Many colors and styles to choose from
  • An average lifespan of thirty years for most shingle roofs
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Good fire resistance (particularly for fiberglass shingles)
  • Simple and inexpensive to repair

However, there are also a handful of drawbacks to them.

  • They sometimes incur a higher lifetime cost than other roofing materials, like slate or metal
  • Individual shingles may last as little as a decade
  • In shady areas, they can be vulnerable to mold and algae growth

Wood and Shake Shingles

wood shingles in louisvilleShingled roofs can also be made from wood, most commonly in the form of “wood shake roofing.” Most commonly seen with certain architectural styles, these visually striking roofs can be made from pressure treated cypress, pine, or other woods from conifer trees.

“Wood shingles” are machine cut and mass produced, while true “shake shingles” are hand-cut and known for their rustic appearance.

Some of the benefits of wooden roofing styles include:

  • A very distinctive visual appearance that stands out
  • Ultimately, although treated to last for a long time, wood will biodegrade
  • Class A fire rating
  • Longer lifespans for individual shingles than you’ll get with asphalt.
  • Better insulation than asphalt shingles.

There are also a handful of drawbacks, as with any roofing material.

  • Less expensive untreated wood shingles only have a class C fire rating
  • In some areas prone to wildfires, wood shingle and wood shake roofing is prohibited by local building codes
  • If not installed correctly, wood shingles and wood shake are prone to leaks and water damage

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing in louisvilleThis old-fashioned roof material is often seen on older houses in historic districts, but has found some renewed popularity in newer housing developments as well.

Metal is durable and eco-friendly, and a metal roof can last much longer than other kinds of materials.

Advantages include:

  • Metal roofing is available in many colors and styles, some of which mimic other materials like shingles or slate
  • Metal roofs repel water and snow more effectively than most other roofs
  • As a result, metal won’t ice over in extremely cold weather
  • Warranties for metal roofing are usually anywhere from 30-50 years, a testament to the material’s superior longevity

Drawbacks include:

  • The initial material and installation costs are higher than other roofing materials
  • When it rains, metal roofs can be rather noisy
  • Heavy objects, like large hailstones or fallen tree branches, can cause dents

Slate Roofing

slate roofs in louisvilleSlate tiles are common in historical architectural styles that originated prior to the 20th century in Europe.

Today, slate roofing can be made from either natural or composite materials. Synthetic slate tiles are more lightweight.

Advantages include:

  • Aesthetic appeal and historical accuracy
  • Slate roofs are relatively low maintenance
  • Although slate tiles are lightweight, they’re durable and strong


  • Natural slate is heavy, although composite synthetic versions are lightweight. Because of the weight issue, natural slate roofing may require extra framing to support it.
  • Poor installation can cause leaks and moisture issues, more so than with some other roof materials.

Need Roof Replacement or New Roof Construction? Ask Us About Your Options

Not sure what roofing material would be best for your home? At MasterBuilt Construction, we serve Louisville’s local communities with the area’s best new roof construction and roof replacement. Our dedication to great craftsmanship has earned us a reputation as one of the top companies in our entire region for roofing services.

To find out more, or schedule a consultation with our experienced contractors, call us any time at (833) 678-7258.

2018-07-08T03:31:15+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Services|