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Roofing Materials 101

Considering the qualities, advantages and disadvantages of various roofing materials

Today you have more types and styles of roofing components to choose from than ever before. You can choose from natural materials such as slate and wood, or synthetically-created products such as sheet metal, plastic polymers and asphalt. Each of these materials has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. So, here is a quick rundown on the different types of roofing materials to help you narrow down your decision.

Wood shingles and shakes

Wood shingles and shakes are made of rot-resistant cedar or other woods such as redwood which is an asset in areas such as ours where the weather is often wet. However they have a drawback in that they don’t offer a great deal of fire resistance. Wood shingles and shakes are very eco-friendly because they are made of natural materials with little alteration, and many people appreciate their unpretentious natural appearance. Wood shingles and shakes do require a regular maintenance and don’t last as long as more durable materials. This is generally considered to be the more affordable choice for roofing materials.

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are perhaps the most widely-used type of roofing for homes across Oregon and the United States. They are composed of an organic paper fiber or fiberglass mat saturated with asphalt and covered with a mineral granule coating. Asphalt shingles are most commonly available as 3-tab shingles. They are petroleum based, therefore not considered to be particularly environmentally friendly. These shingles are fairly fragile and prone to damage, but they offer decent fire and wind resistance, are light weight, and are suitable for roofs with low as well as steep slopes. Asphalt shingles are also relatively inexpensive.

Plastic polymer roofing

Plastic polymer roofing is made from high-tech plastic polymer, crafted to look similar to slate shingles or wood shakes. This synthetic material lasts longer than its natural counterparts and requires little or no maintenance. Plastic polymer roofing offers decent fire and wind resistance, are lightweight, and work perfectly on steeply-sloped roofs. An additional bonus is that this material can be recycled when the roof is replaced or the building is torn down.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is usually more expensive than asphalt shingles, but it lasts much longer and offer an excellent fire and wind resistance. Metal roofing may consist of steel, copper, aluminum or zinc. Copper roofs or steel roofs with zinc coatings are particularly popular. Metal roofing is available as shingles or as sheets that can be installed with a standing seam. Metal roofs can be recycled and are certainly more eco friendly than asphalt. Metal roofing material is quite durable and light weight, and can be used for both low and steep sloped roofs. The cost of metal roofing depends on the type of metal used; steel is relatively inexpensive, while copper is usually pricier.

Clay tile roofing

Clay tiles are heavy and brittle, but they are also very long-lasting and provide excellent fire resistance. Their attractive, Spanish-style appearance appeals to many people and adds value to property. Clay tiles are not particularly environmentally friendly, which may seem surprising until one realizes how much energy is consumed during their manufacturing. This material requires little or no maintenance, but the initial cost is usually quite expensive.

Concrete tile roofing

Concrete tile roofing is less expensive than clay tile roofing. Concrete is not as brittle as clay, and it is also very durable and highly resistant to fire and wind. Concrete tiles are made from a mixture of sand and Portland cement and can be made to resemble clay tiles, slate or wood shakes as desired. These tiles are not considered to be environmentally friendly and cannot be recycled. An important consideration is the fact that they are very heavy and require the support of reinforced roof framing.

Slate roofing tiles

Slate is one of the oldest materials used for roofing, and is simply made from natural slate rock. Slate tiles are brittle and quite expensive, but they last a very long time and provide excellent resistance to fire and wind. Slate roofing tiles are quite heavy and usually require reinforced roof framing for support. Today slate tiles are generally only used for steeply-sloped roofs.

For all your roofing requirements, you can trust the #1 Beaverton, Oregon roof specialists, America’s Best Contractors, Inc. We are a local, family-owned and -operated business. We specialize in composition and cedar shake roof replacement and repairs and have years of experience in the industry. We take pride in our work ethic, and we are committed to offer the best service to all of our customers. Please feel free to call us at 503-259-0538 for a free estimate.


We are a family operated business that specializes in roof repair, conversions, over layment and replacements. We take pride in the services that we provide and make sure that all of our customers are satisfied before the project is complete.

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Pressure Washing
Americas best pressure washing is a family owned and operated business that specializes in cedar shake roof maintenance, repair and treatment. We take pride in the services that we provide and make sure that all of our customers are satisfied before the project is complete.

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America's Best Roofing
(503) 259-0538

4145 SW Watson Ave Ste 350
Beaverton, OR 97005
America's Best Contractors, Inc, Roofing Contractors, Beaverton, OR