1. Asphalt Shingles
Generally the most frequently used, asphalt shingles are relatively inexpensive. Three-tab asphalt shingles are thinner and slightly less expensive than laminated or architectural asphalt shingles. They have a life span of 30 to 40 years.
2. Wood Shake Shingles
More expensive than asphalt, wood shingles are known to be more aesthetically appealing because of their natural appearance. If you choose a hardwood, such as cedar or redwood, the shingles should last at least 30 years and sometimes as long as 50 years. However, wood shingles are being replaced. Check with your HOA and city regulations as they are being banned.
3. Metal Roofs
Appropriate for homes with especially flat or steep rooflines, metal roofing can either be solid metal or constructed metal shingles. Low-end galvanized metal roofs are relatively inexpensive, but can last up to 50 years. Metal roofs are becoming a popular option in many areas of the country. Once seen largely in the Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions, metal roofs are making an inroad into the Midwest and southern United States.
4. Slate Shingles
This material is especially popular in the Northeastern portion of the United States, because the slate from which the shingles are made is quarried there. These shingles are extremely durable, with a life span of up to 50 years. It's not uncommon to find old farmhouses that are leak-free and still have their original slate-shingled roofs. If your budget doesn't allow for real slate shingles, you can always consider a synthetic slate product, which has a similar appearance, but a slightly shorter life span.
5. Tile Shingles
These shingles have a unique appearance characteristic of the Southwest states and colonial Spanish architecture. Tile shingles are some of the longest-lasting and durable materials on the market, lasting up to 80 years. However, The National Roofing Contractors Association cautions that some homes might not be able to structurally support the weight of tile shingles.