What Is the Best Type of Roofing? An Architect’s Perspective

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The most crucial aspect of any home is arguably the roof—at least for homeowners. It is what protects the residents from harsh weather, falling tree limbs, and many more hazards. Having a weak roof will lead to danger for all the building’s occupants. 

For architects, however, other considerations such as design might be the more pertinent factor. As such, there can be a disconnect. Here, we explain the best materials for roofs from an architect’s perspective and what that means for homeowners.

Metal Roofing

In architecture, metal is both a timeless and trendy material. Architectural feats such as the Belvedere Palance in Vienna are famous for the stunning copper roof, and the material also has become quite prevalent in commercial building and residential design.

The two most common metal roof materials are copper and aluminum. Copper roofs are versatile and can last anywhere from 60 to 100 years with very little maintenance. For homeowners and architects, longevity is desirable. 

One roofer notes that Columbus OH metal roofing is the most common in this temperate region. Besides lasting a long time, it helps homeowners save on maintenance since they don’t have to worry about fires burning the roof or bugs feeding on it.

Aluminum is also a good option for a roof and is much cheaper than copper. It is also very lightweight and easy to install. This material is also a heat reflector, so architects will often incorporate it when designing sustainable homes. The material will keep a house cooler during the summer and warmer in the winter.

The main disadvantage to aluminum roofing is that it doesn’t last as long as copper. Aluminum only lasts about 50 years if properly maintained. However, the Metal Roofing Alliance assures homeowners and people looking to purchase a house that investing in a metal roof is well worth the money.

Rolled Roofing

Older, historic buildings built in the late nineteenth century often featured rolled roofing. This is a very cheap, common option even today. Rolled material comes in a few different types, but all contain some amount of rubber. 

For architects, this may seem like a good option for historic preservation. However, there are actually many disadvantages to using rolled material for homeowners. One disadvantage is that the material is only good for about 5 to 10 years. It means that a homeowner would have to replace it every few years, which can be a costly investment.


There are five different kinds of shingles: 

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Metal shingles
  • Tile shingles
  • Wood shingles
  • Slate shingles

Asphalt shingles are cheap to purchase and easy to install. Architects who design prefab homes will usually opt for this type. 

Metal shingles are more expensive to purchase, but they can last up to 50 years. Wood and slate shingles can also last up to 50 years but are also much more expensive than asphalt tile. Building designers will usually incorporate these materials if working with clients who have more customizable plans.

Clay Tiles

This kind of roof is very beautiful to look at, but also a pricey option. It is also very durable, lasting up to 100 years. 

This material is excellent for places that experience hot weather or are close to the sea. However, this roofing system is very heavy and can break under certain conditions. 

Architects will often use this material for specific styles, such as Spanish villas, or specific regions, such as in areas with hurricanes. Clay tiles tend to hold up better than other materials during high winds and rain.


An architect’s vision may not always be the most economical or durable for a homeowner. If you’re a homeowner, make sure you keep the durability and cost in mind when working with an architect to design your future dream home.

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