Roofing Types – Asphalt, Wood, Metal and Slate

In a previous blog, we reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of asphalt roofing. We learned why asphalt shingles have, by far, become the most popular residential roofing type throughout the United States. In today’s blog, though, we take a more well-rounded, comprehensive approach – reviewing the different roofing choices available to you. In today’s post, we compare and contrast asphalt, slate, metal and wood roofing.

At IronHead Roofing, our team has helped clients throughout Oregon with their roofing needs. We have installed asphalt, tile, and slate roofing, as well as metal and wood roofing, too. We want our clients to be fully informed before deciding which roofing type they’d like to go with. Below, we explain the benefits of each roofing type and what factors you should consider before making the final choice.

Asphalt shingles

Let’s begin at the very beginning – with asphalt shingles. You can learn more about asphalt shingles here, as we previously devoted an entire blog to this topic. Here, though, we’ll quickly run through what these benefits are. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing type throughout the United States. They are durable, effective, long-lasting and highly affordable shingles.

They also come in a variety of aesthetic types – in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures. Asphalt shingles generally last for approximately 20 years. There are disadvantages, though. The lifespan of asphalt shingles is significantly less than other, heavier tiles. Homeowners that choose darker shingles are also likely to suffer from discoloration in time; discoloration that doesn’t look very well.

Metal roofing

How does asphalt shingles compare to metal roofing, then?

Asphalt shingles are relatively simple to install, at least compared to metal roofing which is slightly more complex. In many cases, metal roofing should only be installed by a specialist roofer with many years of experience in this area. Though they are more awkward to install, the tiles themselves are not heavy. Metal roofing is also better for the environment.

However, as with all metals, the radiating shine of the roof declines with time. There are two possible options, then. One option is to replace the metal roof in its entirety. The second, cheaper option, is to paint the metal roof. The latter option is only recommended if the structure of the roof is still in good shape.


Earlier, we spoke about how asphalt shingles last 20 years. This may sound like a long time, but not when you consider other roofing types. Slate is one such example; a roofing type than can, if properly installed, last for almost a century. That being said, slate is one of the more expensive roofing styles. Slate tends to be chosen for more sophisticated properties that wants to evoke a more natural look.

Slate also comes with innumerable other advantages. For instance, slate is remarkably resistant to rot and heat. For roofing contractors, it’s also very easy to install – at least compared to metal roofing. However, there are disadvantages to consider. We discussed several disadvantages above but, chief among them, is the risk of breakage when maintaining your roof – such as cleaning gutters or for regular maintenance.


Metal roofing is more environmentally friendly than asphalt shingles, but wood roofing is more environmentally friendly than both. In that regard, wood roofing is very much “green roofing”. Depending on how the wood is sourced, there are both mild and moderate “green” solutions – such as where the wood has been recycled in the right way.

In any case, wood roofing has slowly become a popular roofing choice. Done properly, and with wood shakes, a wood roof can last upward of 30 years. The type of wood chosen impacts the degree of water runoff, for example. Wood roofing is also popular for its natural, rural look. Wood roofing is the ideal choice for homeowners looking for an authentic, organic look without impacting the environment in any appreciable way.

Come back to IronHead Roofing blog in future as we explore further roofing types; their advantages and disadvantages and what roofing type is right for you. IronHead Roofing offers an extensive range of roofing services throughout Oregon.