So, you need a roof replacement for your Louisville home. Where do you start? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much variety in terms of roofing materials, colors, costs, and more. Whether you’re shopping for a brand-new build or a replacement for your current residential roof, which material do you pick?

It’s important to decide what’s best for both your home and your wallet. Any upgrades to your roof, despite type and kind, will add value to your home overall. But you don’t want to sink too much money into your roof if it’s not necessary.

We understand the importance of working with a roofing company in the Louisville area who can accurately provide you with advice, samples, and guidance so you can make the best choice for your home and family.

Roofing Materials Buying Guide

At Abrams Roofing, we serve families with the five most common roofing materials: asphalt, wood, metal, tile, and synthetic slate. Each roofing material has unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

Asphalt Shingles and Shakes:

More than 70 percent of all single-family homes in the U.S. are roofed with asphalt shingles. They are affordable and do a good job of protecting your home from the outside elements.


  • Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors, thickness, and warranties, and all of them are affordable for the average home.
  • They are easy to install, maintain, and make roof repairs, if necessary, without replacing the entire roof.
  • Asphalt shingles are an attractive option and look good on almost any style of home.
  • Most 3- Tab shingles will last close to 20 years in hot, sunny climates, even though warranties extend to 25 years. The best asphalt shingles may last for up to 40 years, but this is the exception.


  • Hail and strong winds can easily damage asphalt shingles. Most are only rated for 60-70 mph winds.
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack and break.
  • Most asphalt shingles can’t be recycled, making them the least eco-friendly option.

Wood Shingles and Shakes:

Wood shingles are just one of the types of roofing materials offered in Louisville, KY.

Wood delivers a naturally beautiful touch to any roof. You can find wood shingles or shakes in cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine, depending on the look you’re after.

What’s the difference between a wood shingle and a wood shake? We’re glad you asked.

Wood shingles are machine cut, while shakes are hand cut. The major difference is in appearance. Shingles have clean lines and a smooth surface, while shakes are more rustic. The manufacturing process makes shakes slightly more expensive than wood shingles.


  •  Wood roofs can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced if properly installed for our area, and worth it because of their lifespan.
  •  If well-cared for, a wooden roof can last up to 50 years as long as split and cracked shingles are replaced immediately and the roof is kept clean and clear.
  • They add a unique, traditional, cottage feel to your home.


  • Some wood shingles contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects, but others do not, which can cause pest problems.
  • Untreated wood roofs are high maintenance. They require cleaning regularly and debris needs to be cleared so the wood can breathe.
  • Wood isn’t a great choice in any location where there are seasonal wildfire hazards.

Metal Roofing:

Metal roofing has recently spiked in popularity due to demands for durability, eco-friendly roofing, and the new styles that are nearly indistinguishable from other materials. The most common metals used in roofing materials are aluminum, lightweight steel, and zinc. Copper metal roofs are especially beautiful but are also the most expensive type of metal roof on today’s market.


  • The new styles of metal roofing can mimic the look of shingles, shakes, slate, and tile, with dozens of colors available.
  • Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years, the longest in the industry. It does not crack or rot and is designed to be rust resistant.
  • In certain colors, metal reflects solar radiant heat, so can keep your home cooler in hot weather and trap in warmth during the winter.
  • Most brands are guaranteed to resist winds of up to 120 mph.
  • Metal roofing materials are inherently low maintenance.


  • The cost of metal roofing is higher than asphalt shingles.
  • Metal panels tend to produce more noise than other roofing materials, especially during heavy rain.  
  • When hit with a heavy object, like large size hail, metal roofing materials can dent.
  • Even small repairs are still more expensive than repairing asphalt or wood shingles.

Tile Roofing:

Today’s tile roofing materials are most commonly made with either clay or concrete. Clay tiles are reinforced for strength and durability. Concrete tiles are manufactured with a special lightweight blend that maintains the strength of concrete but are surprisingly easy to work with. Both roofing materials are finished with a waterproof coating before installation.

One other commonly used roofing materials on homes in Louisville, KY is tile.Pros:

  • Both clay or concrete tiles offer 50+ years of durability, which rivals metal roofing for the best in the industry.
  • Tile is naturally resistant to fire and insects.
  • Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, so it reduces heat penetration and cooling requirements.
  • Clay tiles have a natural thermal resistance, which makes them a strong contender for eco-friendly building material.
  • Concrete tiles are a low-maintenance option, impervious to rot, water damage, fire, or insect activity.
  • Concrete tiles can be manufactured to mimic the look of shakes, slate, clay, and other high-end roofs.
  • Little to no maintenance required.


  • There are not quite as many style options as asphalt shingles.
  • Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost.
  • The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal, and wood.
  • Clay tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues can be tricky, especially if not handled by a professional.

Slate Roofing:

Slate roofing shingles are made from slivers of real rock and stone and are available in a wide range of patterns. Slate roofing materials bring elegance from Old World style in classic color schemes. It is best for Tudor, French, or other European home styles.


  • Slate is impervious to moisture, insects, fire, and inclement weather.
  • Natural slate tiles are the most durable roof you can put on a building. It can last for over a century.
  • Slate is highly energy-efficient due to its durability and low environmental impact during manufacturing.


  • Slate material is heavy and often requires additional and costly support.
  • Slates can also shatter under the weight of a person walking on the surface.
  • It is more expensive than almost all other roofing materials.
  • Must be installed by a contractor who specializes in slate roofing.

Roof Materials Cost Comparison

As with most home improvement choices, it’s a delicate balance between quality and expense. We’ve done our best to give you an honest representation of the average costs for each of the five most popular roofing materials. The range represents the varied cost of both the roofing materials and installers. All prices are listed in square feet.

Type of MaterialMaterial CostInstallation CostTotal Cost
Asphalt Shingles $1.00-$3.00 $2.00-$4.50 $3.00-$7.00
Wood Shingles and Shakes$2.50-$4.00$3.00-$5.00 $5.50-$9.00
Metal$2.00-$6.00$3.00-$7.00 $5.00-$13.00
Tiles (Clay and Concrete)$5.00-$12.00 $6.00-$10.00 $11.00-$22.00
Slate$4.00-$10.00$5.00-$12.00 $9.00-$22.00

It’s tempting to choose the cheapest option when you’re faced with an emergency roof replacement for your Louisville home. However, taking a long-term view may show you that a more expensive roofing material can be the better value over the lifetime of your home. Choosing the shingles that work best for your home, your area, and your family can be frustrating. We’ve made the pros and cons easy and clear for each material.

  • Asphalt shingles are a good short-term choice if you plan to sell your home in less than 10 years. They are popular, look great, and protect your home.
  • Wood shingles and shakes are best if you desperately want that rustic look. Make sure your roof gets plenty of sun, and you choose an experienced contractor for installation.
  • Metal roofing is a great option if you’re looking for something to last almost forever, or you want to increase resale value. Beautiful new options are nearly limitless.
  • Clay or concrete tiles are perfect if they fit your style and your budget. They are durable and can last for 50 years with minor maintenance and small repairs if necessary.
  • Slate roofing is perfect if you’re looking for something unique to make your home look truly special. This roof can last for generations and brings a distinctive aesthetic.

For additional information about roofing materials and which one may be right for your home, give Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal a call today!