Comparison of Asphalt Shingles, Metal, Plastic Polymer, Clay Tile, Concrete Tile, Slate, Wood Shingles and shakes

Last week we talked about things to consider when picking out the roof that’s right for your home. Now, we’re going to compare a few of the different types of roofing materials available letting you know a few of the pros and cons of our 7 most popular types of roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles in Orland, CA

(photo courtesy of CertainTeed Corporation)

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular types of roofing for residential properties due to it’s affordability!


–          Made of either an organic paper fiber mat or fiberglass saturated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules. These roofing materials are ideal for homes that have cold weather and need require roofing that is able to provide more wind resistance. The fiberglass also helps provide more fire and moisture resistance to homes.

–          Available in traditional 3-tab shingles as well as thicker laminated shingles

–          Can be used for multiple style roofs including low or steeper sloped roofs

–          Great fire resistance as well wind resistance

–          Budget friendly


–          Not eco-friendly – the petroleum based products used in it, is not the most sustainable material. It can be recycled however it needs to be taken to landfills

–          They’re not the most durable shingles available.

Metal Roofing

 Metal Roofing in Orland, CA

People used to think that metal roofing was reserved for commercial properties only, well, times are a changing and metal roofing is becoming increasingly popular with residential properties.  Metal roofing might be more expensive, but its length of life is a lot longer.


–          Can be made of a multitude of materials ranging from steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc alloy. Steel roofs come with either a zinc coating or a painted finish while copper roofs require an extra layer of protective patina.

–          Often made from recycled materials and when it’s time to replace your roof, it’s very easy to recycle the roofing materials when it’s time to remove the roof and replace it.

–          Extremely durable

–          Great resistance for fire and wind.


–          More expensive than other types of roofing

–          Absorbs 1/3 less heat than asphalt (though with the right insulation, this shouldn’t matter in the winter time!)

–          Copper roofs are installed unfinished so it does require an extra step of adding protective patina

Plastic Polymer

Plastic Polymer Roofing in Chico, CA

Looking for an alternative to wood shakes or slate but want the same aesthetic look? Synthetic  polymer shake shingles are a great option.


–          Made from synthetic high-tech plastic materials

–          Looks like slate or wood shakes, but without some of the wear and tear issues

–          Extra-long life span and low maintenance due to its plastic material

–          Easy to recycle when it’s time to replace the roof.


–          We have yet to determine a list of cons other than that it’s synthetic versus real so for those who are wanting a real tile or shingle, this isn’t the option for you.

Clay Tile

Clay Tile in Orland, CA

Clay tiles are one of the most common and popular types of tiles mainly due to their aesthetic look , longevity over time and because they are very resistant to weather and fires.


–          Very long lasting

–          Exceptional Fire resistant materials

–          Made from natural materials

–          Low maintenance


–          Can break easily because they’re fragile (it’s always a good idea to have extra on hand or make sure your roofer buys extra)

–          Extremely heavy and requires reinforced framing on your roof in order to provide enough support for these very heavy tiles

–          Extremely expensive

 Concrete Tile

Concrete Tile roofing in orland, CA

Photo Courtesy of Eagle Roofing Products

Concrete Tiles are a great alternative to clay tiles because they are less expensive but are also fire resistant and known for being long lasting!


–          Long lasting

–          Affordable

–          Fire resistant

–          Low maintenance

–          Moderate pricing – more affordable than clay tiles


–          Can break easily because they’re fragile (it’s always a good idea to have extra on hand or make sure your roofer buys extra)

–          Heavy and requires reinforced framing on your roof in order to provide enough support for these  tiles



Did you know that slate is one of the oldest styles of material used for roofing? Well it is! Slate shingles are durable as well as resistant to temperatures, winds and fires.


–          Durable

–          Wind and fire resistant

–          Made from natural materials

–          Longevity overtime is excellent


–          Really expensive

–          You won’t be able to install without a specialized roofer

–          Fragile so susceptible to breakage

Wood Shingles and Shakes


If you live in an area that is highly susceptible to fire damage or wildfires, we wouldn’t recommend getting wood shakes as they are very minimal fire resistance (unless specifically treated).


–          Natural look

–          Good wind resistance

–          Affordable


–          Low level of fire resistance

These are a few of the things that we’ve found when weighting the pro’s and cons of each our most popular roofing materials!

Nor-Cal Roofing is Northern California’s premier choice for residential and commercial roofing projects in Chico, Orland, Corning, Oroville, Hamilton City, Durham, Paradise and other surrounding North State areas in Butte and Glenn Counties. If you would like an estimate or consultation on roofing services please feel free to call us at (530) 892-9960!



We Carry These Providers

We only use the highest quality materials available
  • Boral Roofing
  • CertainTeed
  • Gaf
  • Owens Corning
  • Pabco Roofing Products
  • ASC Building Products