Roof Material Types: Asphalt Roof, Metal Roof, Tile Roof, & Wood Roof

Asphalt roof shingles dominate roofs across Minnesota – and America for that matter. So if you’re searching for the popular opinion – there’s your answer! But there are other roof materials you can consider if you are curious, or simply want to do something different. Let’s review the most common types used in this area and by the end, you’ll have a better idea of what option is best for your home.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet if you’re looking for the basics:













Cabin / Cottage


Mediterranean Southwest



Cabin / Cottage



Cape Cod

French Country

Budget / Cost




$$ – $$$







15-20 Years

75-100 Years

100 Years

15-50 Years

Popularity, Ranked 1-4






Now, let’s dive into the good stuff.

Asphalt Roof

It’s pretty easy to understand why asphalt roofs are the popular choice for homeowners today. The low cost and maintenance, paired with its versatility in style makes it a great, flexible option. Color options, shingle layout, and design can create endless roofing configurations, allowing homeowners to get a reliable, yet unique roof that boasts personal style and complements your home.

Asphalt roofs hold up in any type of climate, and the maintenance required is typically non-roof related, though goes a long way reaching your full 15-20 year lifespan. Apart from removing debris from your roof – any sticks, leaves, or heavy snow that can cause damage if left alone – the remaining tasks are preventative. Keep your gutters clean and trim trees that have branches that pose danger to your roof.  

Additional choices you have with asphalt shingles:

    1. Color: Black, Gray, Brown, Tan, Red, Green, Blue – and many variations in between. Plus, there’s the added option of a single shade or blended. But roofing color decisions is a whole conversation on its own, so we’ll save that for another blog.
    2. Shingle Type: 3-Tab, Dimensional, or Architectural, listed in order of cost and appeal. 3-Tab shingles are your basic shingle, dimensional features add layers and textures, and architectural shingles are designed to look like another roofing style without its cost.
    3. Impact Resistance: This option is an important consideration for Minnesota homes, as we are prone to hail and severe storms. These shingles are engineered slightly differently and the asphalt composition includes stronger materials. Increases in protection also increases cost, there is a potential homeowner’s insurance discount you can check into, too.

Metal Roof

Growing in popularity, for many good reasons, is metal roofing. There are two primary styles of metal roof options – standing seam or shingles. Both come in a variety of colors, and the shingles can be made or mimic the style of other roof options (i.e. wood shakes or tile), but allow you to save on the cost. Both are extremely lightweight, which is great for your installation team, but also appealing if your home’s structure isn’t up to bearing the weight of the heavier roofing options.

When it comes to withstanding weather, there are pros and cons. In Minnesota, you’ll love this roof’s ability to clear snow on its own, for the most part. And, if harvesting rainwater is on your priority list, this roof offers advantages over its alternatives. While it will withstand the harshest weather (hail is the outlier, here), the noise it makes can take some getting used to.

Arguably one of the highest performing roof options, a metal roof can last at least through your lifetime in the home, making it worth the added cost.

Tile Roof

Leading in durability are tile roofs. This material can withstand any type of weather – from the hottest heat to the heaviest snows – and is capable of lasting the lifetime of a home. Secondly, it provides a distinct character that can’t be achieved authentically by any other roof option.

While the shingles themselves can be reasonably priced, the cost to install is high. Plus, there may be added cost to prep your home to support the significant weight of a tile roof.

Maintenance is fairly straightforward, requiring routine inspections (though it is ill-advised for you to walk on your roof to inspect with not only the danger of slipping and falling, but of damaging tiles), debris removal, and cleaning.

The most common options for tiles are clay and concrete – both of which are incredibly heavy, but equally durable. Variation in shingle style – straight, scalloped, ribbed – adds an unmatched character and aesthetic to your home.

Wood Roof

Wood Shingles & Shakes by In-Ex Designs Roofing in Denver

Historically the most popular roofing option, wood roofs are a beautiful, durable option if you are looking for a natural or rustic high-end appeal. Your primary options here are:

    1. Shingle vs. Shake: Shingles are sawn on both sides, giving them a clean, even look, while shakes are split right from the tree, creating dimension in their uneven, imperfect shapes.
    2. Type of Wood: Pine, Cypress, Redwood, Cedar

Treatment options available prepare these shingles to stand up to the Minnesota climate. But maintenance is high, in comparison to our other roof options listed above. To take your roof to its full life, regular treatment, cleaning, and inspections are necessary. Clearing trees and branches away from your roof allow sunlight to dry your roof properly, preventing moisture-inducing problems. Plus, you lessen the danger of debris falling from those trees onto your roof, which can eventually cause damage. Regular power-washing and treatment are recommended every couple of years to ensure protection and longevity.


By now, you hopefully have a clearer understanding of your roofing options, and which may suit your home, style, and budget. All that’s left is to make a choice (easier said than done, for sure).