Imagine coming home on a hot summer day and being comfortably cool inside without running your AC full blast. This energy-efficient utopia is possible with well-insulated roofing materials.

The type of material you choose for your roof will impact the durability and longevity of your roof as well as your energy savings. Keep reading to learn more about the best roofing materials for energy efficiency.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs have long been used on industrial buildings and barns, but they can be a smart choice for homeowners as well. They are strong, with a lifespan of 50 years or more, and they can save energy because they reflect the sun’s heat instead of absorbing it. They are fire-resistant and, depending on the material chosen, are recyclable at the end of their life as a roof.

When it comes to choosing a metal roof, there are many different options. Steel, aluminum and zinc are commonly used materials for residential roofing. The type of metal that is best depends on the climate in which you live. For example, if you live near the ocean, you should choose a corrosion-resistant alloy such as copper or galvanized steel. Other considerations include the gauge or thickness of the panels. You want to avoid a flimsy 29 gauge steel, which is not as durable and will not last as long as the heavier 24 or 26 gauge metal.

Some of the most common types of metal roofs are shingles, corrugated panel and standing seam metal. Shingles can have a traditional or modern look and are available in a variety of styles and colors. Corrugated panel and standing seam metal can give a building an industrial, contemporary or rustic appearance.

Stainless steel is another option for those who are considering a metal roof. It is a stronger material than copper and will not dent as easily from hail or foot traffic. However, it may be more expensive than copper.

If you decide on a metal roof, be sure to talk with the manufacturer about its quality. Look for a roof that has a Class 4 impact rating, which means it withstood testing by dropping 2-inch diameter steel balls from 20 feet. This test is a standard in the roofing industry and demonstrates that the roof is capable of protecting your home from damage from large hail.

One downside to metal roofing is that it can be noisy during inclement weather, especially when the rain or hail is hitting the roof hard. The noise can be mitigated, though, by using sound-deadening insulation and plywood sheathing and by having an attic between the roof and living space.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are an affordable and versatile roofing material. They’re easy to install, come in a wide range of colors, and can be customized to suit any home. Plus, they’re fire-resistant and offer superior longevity when compared to other roofing materials. If you ever want to have your own home with the best roof applicable, you can get a free roof inspection from companies like Select Roofing Pros.

The basic shingle style is the standard three-tab strip shingle, but there are also architectural shingles and luxury shingles available. Both types are composed of a base mat of organic or inorganic material that’s saturated and coated with asphalt. Then, it’s surfaced with granules that give the shingles color and weatherproofing properties. These granules can include special algae-resistant granules to prevent discoloration of the roof or reflector granules that help minimize the sun’s heat, which cuts down on energy consumption.

Most residential shingles are made of either fiberglass or organic material, although the fiberglass versions have more fire-resistant qualities and offer better warranties. They’re also lighter than organic shingles, which helps prevent damage to the roof from the weight of additional roofing materials. And, they can withstand winds that would otherwise damage other roofing materials.

As the demand for green and energy-efficient homes grows, many manufacturers are creating a line of asphalt shingles that offer more eco-friendly benefits than traditional varieties. These shingles are designed with solar reflective asphalt to help prevent the sun’s heat from heating the building underneath them. That cuts down on the amount of energy needed to cool the house, saving both money and resources.

In addition to energy efficiency, these new shingles are designed to look like other roofing materials, so they can blend seamlessly with any home’s architectural design. This includes styles that resemble wood shake and natural slate, as well as bolder designs that make the shingles more distinctive. Regardless of the style you choose, it’s important to work with an experienced roofer to ensure that your shingle roof is properly installed and maintained.

Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles have a rugged look that some homeowners appreciate, particularly those who want to avoid synthetic roofing materials that may clash with the design of their home. Cedar shingles and shakes come in shades of brown, red, gray, and can be stained to enhance their appearance, although they naturally weather to a silvery-gray color. The durability and strength of cedar shingles and shakes make them resistant to heavy winds, rain, hail, snowstorms, and other severe weather conditions that can damage or destroy lesser roofing materials. This low-maintenance roofing option also resists mildew, mold, and other water-harboring fungi that can plague some other types of roofing.

Many cedar shingle manufacturers offer a wide range of stains to give homeowners more options when choosing the color of their new roof. In addition to offering a more attractive visual appearance, these stains also protect the wood against the sun’s harmful UV rays and help prevent warping, rotting, or sagging.

Like asphalt shingles, the base of a cedar shingle contains glass-fiber mat or organic felt to add strength and support the weather-resistant components. The top layer contains a high percentage of asphalt and fillers that are bonded to the base material. This combination makes a shingle highly resilient and long-lasting, and it helps to reduce the risk of fire in homes.

Cedar is a sustainable roofing material that contributes to the green living movement. However, it does require regular maintenance and is susceptible to fire, so if you live in an area with a high wildfire threat, you might prefer the safer, more durable, less expensive alternative of asphalt shingles.

If you choose a cedar roof, be sure to use only the highest quality shakes and shingles, such as 100% edge grain Western Red Cedar or Alaskan Yellow Cedar free of knots. Low-quality cedar shingles and shakes have a much lower lifespan. The shingle’s longevity will also depend on the proper installation and maintenance of your roof, including annual inspections to ensure mildew and mold do not build up. The proper application of house wrap and air gap will help to increase the lifespan of your cedar roof.

Synthetic Slate

Natural slate has been used for centuries in Europe and the United States to provide a distinctive look to estate homes, libraries, and cathedrals. This premium roofing material is beautiful, but it also has a few drawbacks. Authentic slate is costly to quarry and ship, requires a lot of labor for installation, and it breaks easily and can crack in the event of an impact or hail damage. Synthetic slate is a modern improvement on this construction classic that offers a cost-effective alternative, while still providing the same beauty and longevity as traditional real slate.

Made from recycled materials, synthetic slate roofs resemble the look of natural slate and can even feature chisel marks to make them appear hand-crafted. In addition, these roofs are highly durable and have excellent water resistance and energy efficiency levels that exceed the best asphalt shingles. While the initial investment may be higher for this roof type, it is a great option for homeowners who want to maximize their home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal.

One of the primary benefits of synthetic slate is that it can be installed much quicker than authentic slate, as there is no need to quarry and prepare the natural stone for use as a roof. Additionally, these tiles are much lighter in weight and can be shipped to your roof replacement project at a fraction of the cost of real slate. This makes it a great choice for those on a tight budget but who are looking to add the timeless beauty of natural slate to their property.

Because of their lightweight structure, these roofs can also be easier to install. The rubber-based composition of these tiles makes it possible to simply nail them into place, allowing for a much faster and more cost-effective roof installation than is often required with other roofing materials. Furthermore, because of the durability and weather resistance of these tiles, they can last a much longer time than authentic slate. In fact, many manufacturers offer 50-year warranties and claim that these roofs can last up to 100 years!