Your Guide to the Different Types of Roofing

If you’re thinking about getting a new roof, you’re probably starting to look at the various styles and roofing materials. As you may find, there’s a lot to choose from. It helps to have a handy guide that can walk you through the various attributes of each roofing type and material.

Roof Styles

Your roof is a significant functional aspect of your home. It helps with drainage and ensures your home stays protected in heavy storms. A roof also offers aesthetic value to your home. It’s one of the first things people notice as they drive by, and it can be a way to make your house unique.

There are plenty of roof types out there — you can sort through them and find the one that is perfect for you. Here are the different types of roofs.

Gable Roof

Most people probably think of the gable roof when they first hear the word. This design features steep ridges coming to a point — or gable — to create a triangular shape.

Hipped Roofs

While gable roofs have two sides that slope, hipped roofs have four. This design offers a look that is relatively free from complexity, and it also makes drainage easier. Rain, leaves and other debris can easily run down the roof’s surface.

French Roof

French, or “mansard” roofs, come from the French roofing tradition. This design utilizes four sloping sides broken up into two sections that usually meet in a low-pitched middle. French roofs are popular among homeowners and valued for their effectiveness in creating extra living space.

Flat Roof

As someone could guess from its name, a flat roof has little to no slope. Although they may appear completely flat, there is a slight pitch for drainage. There are a few different benefits of a flat roof:

  • Versatility: You can use a flat roof on a patio or deck. It’s a great way to add some cover to your outdoor area and enjoy the day under some shaded protection.
  • Convenience: Flat roofs are also an excellent place for heating and cooling units. You can save some space in your home by placing them on your roof.
  • Energy efficiency: If you’re looking to install some solar panels, flat roofs offer a great design to do this.

Gambrel Roof

A gambrel roof has a sloping side broken into two sections, one that slopes gently and another that drops down steeply. This type of roof is popular on barns and sheds, as it allows for maximum storage space underneath. It also can give your home or multi-family unit a unique, rustic look.

Roofing Materials

Along with style, you’ll also want to consider the various types of roofing materials. These will differ based on longevity, durability, appearance and cost, so it’s important to go through your options and see what appeals to you.

Asphalt Shingles

One of the most common roofing materials is asphalt. Their many benefits make them extremely popular:

  • Durability: Asphalt shingles are very durable. They can withstand severe weather conditions and also offer superior fire protection. If you’re looking for dependable safety, asphalt is a great choice.
  • Affordability: For all of its durability and longevity, asphalt remains one of the best roofing materials for its price.
  • Versatility: Asphalt shingles work with virtually every roofing design. Whether you’re looking for a certain size or slope, you can rely on asphalt shingles to fit your needs.
  • Easy repairs: Asphalt shingles are very popular, and nearly every roofing professional will know how to install and make repairs on them. You likely won’t have to spend time searching for a roofing specialist.

Overall, asphalt shingles are a great choice for homeowners looking for durability, affordability and the flexibility to match your roofing material to a specific design.

Metal Roofing

A metal roof can last a long time and counters heavy rains, snow and high winds. You can also make it resemble other roofing materials such as slate or asphalt. Metal roofs are light, so you can install them over an existing roof if need be. Metal roofs may dent during hailstorms, so you’ll want to consider this factor if you’re in an area that receives hail.

Stone-Coated Steel

If you’re in an area with extreme weather, stone-coated steel roofs could be the perfect choice for you. Stone-coated steel can resist damage from hail, wind and heavy rain. They’re an affordable option and very effective against various weather conditions.


Slate roofs are made of thin, authentic sheets of stone. They offer a beautiful appearance to your roof. Slate is also highly durable, with a lifespan of nearly a hundred years. Slate installation is a specialized skill, making it one of the more expensive roofing material options.


Some may want the elegant appearance of slate, but the material doesn’t make sense for their situation. In that case, they may opt for rubber, which is nearly indistinguishable from a true slate roof and has similar longevity. Because of its lightweight nature, rubber is a solid alternative to heavy slate.


Solar roofs offer the innovative option to save on your energy bill by utilizing sunshine. The solar tiles absorb sunshine, creating a flowing electric current that travels from a solar converter to an alternating current that can power your home.


This is a type of roofing specific to flat roofs. Multiple layers of tar, asphalt and more are combined to create an extremely durable material.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles offer a beautiful roofing appearance. They’re a popular choice for luxury homes. Though they may be the most attractive of all roofing materials, they don’t match the durability of other materials. Usually, they aren’t suited for areas that experience wildfires or excess moisture.


Tile roofs come in many different styles. You’ll find two main materials used for tile roofs:

  • Clay: You’ll often see the reddish-orange hues of clay tiles in desert regions and hot climates, as clay is great in heat and salty air. This is a long-lasting roofing material with an attractive, unique appearance.
  • Concrete: This is a heavy roofing material that is great for areas with high winds. You can finish it with a decorative design to boost curb appeal.

What Type of Roof Is Best?

With all the different types of roofing materials and styles out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which choice is best for you. It will help to look at your specific situation and weigh some different aspects against one another:

  • Appearance: How do you want your roof to look? Your roof is a design feature that will last a long time and that you’ll see every day, so you’ll want to put some time into envisioning how you want it to look. For an elegant, luxurious appearance, wood may be the choice for you.
  • Function: Your roof is about more than just appearance, of course — it also protects your home from weather and helps drain water away from your house. If you’re looking for pure functionality for your roof, a standard gabled roof with asphalt shingles could be the perfect choice for you.
  • Climate: One of the most significant factors you’ll want to consider when buying a roof is your climate. Are you in an area that receives lots of rainfall or very high winds? Maybe wildfires are common in your region. Those factors will impact your roofing type. Find the roofing material that matches your climate so that it will last for decades. If you’re unsure, take a look to see what type of roof you have now and see how it’s held up.
  • Cost: As you look at the various roofing materials and styles, keep your budget in mind. This will help give you a frame of reference for what you’re looking at and help you narrow down your choices.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to find a trusted provider to give you what you need.

Contact Beantown Builders to Find Your New Roof

Whether you’re looking for a repair or replacement, Beantown Builders can help. We have over 40 years of experience working on all different types of homes, including single-family and multi-family units, so we know what it takes to do quality work. We’ve built up our reputation as one of the best roofing contractors in the Boston area, and we’re the trusted service you need to gain confidence in the structural integrity of your roof again.

We know the local climate and can help you find the perfect roofing options for you. Contact us today!