When you’re in need of roofing, all of a sudden, you can’t help but stare at everyone’s rooftops. Their patio roofing, their shed, their house, their cottage—once you start looking, you realize there are dozens of types of roofing. When it comes to the classic style timeless roof, slate roofing is always a popular choice.The following will explore the most commonly available roofing types as well as look into some of the newer or less widespread options.

Polycarbonate Roofing

Polycarbonate is a durable and tough thermoplastic material. It’s also incredibly lightweight and designed to withstand brutal temperatures, whether that’s heat or cold, where you live. Because of this, it is an excellent choice for decks, garages, patios, sheds, and conservatories. It’s also commonly used to cover pools or industrial warehouses.

Of course, within this category of roofing, there are several options, and which one you’re going to want will depend on what you’re covering. Moreover, many polycarbonate patio roofing options are branded and designed for practicality as well as aesthetics. There are transparent options (that still block out the UV rays) that are perfect for sunrooms, options that mimic glass (without being so breakable), options that are designed to hold their color in bright and sunny areas, and many more. It’s a good idea to speak to your local patio or roofing team to figure out which polycarbonate option best suits the weather in your area and aligns with your functional and aesthetic needs.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are among the most commonly seen roofing materials as they tend to be cost-effective and come in many colors. Asphalt roofing tends to be suitable for most weather conditions, but the color can fade over time. Typically, this type of roofing needs to be updated every 20 years or so, given the wear and tear that occurs from the weather.

Clay or Concrete Tile Roofing

Clay or concrete tiles tend to be preferred in areas where the climate is dry. In areas without much moisture, they can last up to 50 years. It’s also worth noting that the color and shape of these tiles make them the perfect aesthetic choice for certain types of houses and buildings, especially the Mediterranean or Spanish-influenced architecture styles. This type of roof tends to be heavier than some of the other options, however, so this means more framing support might be needed to make them work with your building.

Slate or Ceramic Roofing

Slate or ceramic roofing tends to be more expensive than some of the other styles and often can’t withstand all climates. They erode over time and can easily be broken by people walking on the roof, so this isn’t the right choice if the roof is regularly (or even rarely) walked on or stood on. They come in a variety of styles and create a luxurious feeling. Most typically, you can see slate or ceramic roofing on French and Colonial-style houses and homes.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is among one of the lowest maintenance roofing options. It’s lightweight and often turned to by environmentally-conscious folks. Metal roofing comes in options that look just like wood, slate, asphalt shingles, or roof panels, depending on the aesthetic you’re interested in. Metal roofing is quite durable for extreme weather conditions and tends to last upwards of 50 years. Zinc, aluminum, copper, and steel are the most common options, and you tend to see this type of roofing in cabins, bungalows, and cottages.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Similar to the option above, standing seam metal roofing involves flat panels with vertical ribs on either end. The panel are then fastened together; given the lack of exposed fasteners, there’s a lower risk of leaks. This option is a favorite among those who wish to install solar panels on their roofing as it tends to be secure enough to take on the extra weight. Standing seam roofing can last up to 75 years, sometimes longer if well maintained.

Corrugated Steel Roofing

Known for its distinctive wavy, round shape, corrugated steel roofing involves metal panels that are attached to the roof via screws. This type of roofing often is chosen as a less expensive alternative to asphalt shingles or clay tile roofs.

Aluminum Shingle Roofing

Aluminum shingle roofing is an interlocking roofing system that resists fire, wind, and impact damages. It is a particularly energy-efficient option as aluminum reflects the rays of the sun rather than absorbing them. Over time, less air conditioning is needed, so utility bills can be cut down a bit.

Stone-Coasted Steel Roofing

Exactly as it sounds, this type of roofing involves rust-resistant steel coasted with a layer of stone. This makes shingles incredibly durable, resistant to high winds and heavy rains, and not likely to curl, crack or bend. This is one of the lowest maintenance roofing options and can last up to 70 years.

Wood Roofing

Made from redwood or southern pine, wood roofing is often one of the most expensive options available. It works best in drier climates without frequent fires or moisture and tends to suit cottage, Craftsman, or Tudor-style buildings. This type of roofing will last up to 20 years in wetter climates and up to 50 years in dry climates.

Cedar Roofing

Cedar roofing has a natural aesthetic and can last for up to 30 years if well maintained. Its color can be lost over time, but this type of roofing can also be stained or painted for a fresh look.

Green Roofing

While this type of roofing is pretty popular in other countries like Germany, many homeowners in North America are getting interested in this sort of roofing system. This kind of roof can support 150 pounds of plants, flowers, and vegetation per square foot if intensive, or 25 pounds per square foot if extensive. This eco-friendly option is excellent for retaining stormwater and reducing heat as the greenery covers the part of the home that tends to generate the most warmth. Of course, over time, the weight of the vegetation can cause the roof to sag, and there is the risk of tough roots growing through the shingles.

Solar Roofing

While many people are aware of solar panels placed onto rooftops, not everyone knows about the new solar panel shingles that appear very much like regular roofing shingles; only they also generate electricity. Created by the enigmatic Elon Musk, these tiles come in Tuscan, slate, textured, and smooth looks meaning you have a decent chance of matching the aesthetic of your home with them. While they are quite expensive, this option is predicted to last upwards of 100 years and will likely become very trendy in the near future.

The above breakdown should give you a good idea of the types of roofing available and what conditions and structures these options best suit. Of course, every home and climate is a little different, meaning that it might be tough to narrow down your final choice. If you’re struggling, reach out to your local roofing or patio experts for advice on these types of roofing in your area.