what is the best roofing material for new england

What is the Best Roofing Material for New England?

Finding the best roofing material for New England homes can be a tricky task. Primarily speaking, there are four major types of common roofing materials. These four are: asphalt shingles, slate shingles, rubber roofing, and metal roofing. Depending on the area of New England you live in, one material may be more prevalent than others. For example, rubber roofs are common in more densely populated areas like Cambridge. On the other hand, roofs in Arlington are commonly asphalt and slate. All four of these may be considered to be the best roofing material for New England depending on the area. These materials all have benefits and drawbacks, so it is impossible to say what is the best for your particular home. We will explore these four, and explain what homes they are best suited for.

One thing to keep in mind, shingles, rubber, and metal are just the top layers of a roofing system. Beneath them are many different parts that all work together to create an impervious barrier for your home. We will just explore top layer materials for now, while most buildings include various roof layers.

Is Asphalt the Best Roofing Material For New England?


Asphalt shingles are the best blend between aesthetic, durability, and cost. Compared to slate shingles, asphalt has a lower life expectancy. With that, they are substantially less expensive. The traditional New England home aesthetic relies on history of wooden shingles. While these has largely been phased out in recent years for options with more technology behind them, the general look and feel stays the same. For most of the area, homes possess asphalt shingles, which are available in a myriad of different colors to best suit your home. A drawback to asphalt shingles is they can become damaged during high winds and harsh weather. This is not a common problem on most systems, but it can be viewed as a slight drawback in comparison. Most homeowners view asphalt shingles as being the best roofing material for New England homes.

Slate Shingles in New England


Slate shingles offer a unique aesthetic to most homes but are less common than their asphalt counterparts. A drawback is slate is a much higher upfront cost than asphalt. Slate shingles are much more durable than traditional asphalt, and offer that protection for a longer period of time. The look of slate is most similar to traditional homes in New England, and owners of historical homes opt for them more often than asphalt. If you can afford the higher cost, slate is a fantastic option for New England homes due to their overall durability and lifespan.

Rubber Roofing


For flat and very moderately pitched roofs, rubber roofing reigns supreme. As these styles do not shed water like normally pitched roofs, rubber is necessary as it creates an impermeable layer to protect against standing water. This style is commonly seen in more densely settle areas consisting of flat top condo roofs. Rubber roofs have a strong lifespan and are quite durable.  As there are less exposed edges, wind and harsh weather are not a concern. Also, due to thickness, excess debris during storms should not cause issues. As with any roofing system, proper cleaning is a must, but rubber will stand up. Rubber is the best roofing material for flat New England roofs.

Metal Roofing in New England


As you have probably seen on TV or the internet, metal roofs are on the rise. The lifespan on a metal roof falls between than of asphalt and slate at around 40-70 years. Similar to slate, homeowners pay more for this increased lifespan, which is a downside to choosing metal. Metal roofs are incredibly durable, especially during the worst weather systems. On the downside, metal roofs are incredibly noisy during storms. Asphalt and slate offer an unintentional sound deadening which is not found in metal roofing. As with any roofing material, it is wise to choose the best performing system at your price point. There are lesser quality metal roofs that do not perform as homeowners would expect.


Finally, no perfect roofing material exists for New England weather. Owners must weigh the  pros and cons to any system you may choose unless it is a flat roof. When embarking on the process of a roof replacement, there are many factors you must weigh. Depending on what is important to you in a roof will influence what material best suits your home. As a result, working with a local roofing company that knows your town helps homeowners select the best roof for their needs.