Roofing Materials

We've Done Roofing Installation & Repair for Decades

How to Decide Which Type of Roofing is Right for My Austin Home

When you’re putting a new roof on your home, you want to get something that will wear well and that you love. The Austin roofing experts at Kidd Roofing have been helping homeowners figure out what they should put on top of their houses for nearly forty years. Call us today at (512) 671-7791 for good information and a free estimate.

Where Do I Start?

There is no “one size fits all” roofing material. A good place to start is to use specific criteria:

  1. Cost
  2. Durability
  3. Type of home
  4. Climate

You’ll want to also consider aesthetics and how easy repairs will be.

You have several roof types to choose from. Remember that given Austin’s hot and often-humid climate, you will appreciate the advantages of materials that can give you a cool roof.

Built-Up Roofing

Consider built-up roofing (BUR) only if your roof is flat or has little slope. BUR has layers of waterproof materials, ply sheets, and bitumen, a crude oil byproduct. Roofers place the ply sheets of reinforced fabrics, like felt, over the bitumen, and then cover that with a layer of surface material, like stones or gravel. This roofing type has been around for years but now offers better insulation.

Measuring BUR against our criteria:

  • One of the most affordable roofing types to install.
  • These roofs will last 15 to 30 years.
  • Suitable for flat roofs only.
  • Well-suited to Austin’s warm climate with proper installation: a lighter stone, added insulation, reflective coating.

Asphalt Composite Shingle

The asphalt composite shingle roof has been and continues to be popular, largely because it is one of the more affordable options, is widely available, is fairly durable, and it’s easy to install and repair. You can get the shingles in a variety of colors to complement a variety of homes. You can find composite shingles made of recycled materials, including old roofing material, plastics, and even hemp.

Let’s see how suitable this roofing type is for our Austin homes:

  • One of the most affordable roofing types to install.
  • This roof should last 30-50 years.
  • Well-suited for most types.
  • Composite shingles do well in Austin, particularly in lighter colors. They also resist warping in our humid climate. You can order a coating to repel algae and moss buildup and to offer additional UV protection so they last longer.

One note of caution: Not all asphalt shingles are equal when it comes to quality. With increasing weather events, a higher quality asphalt composite shingle roof will give you better protection against extreme temperature fluctuations, high winds, and damaging hail.


Drive around the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area, and you’ll see more and more metal roofs on our homes. Typically these roofs are made from aluminum and steel alloys, although zinc and copper are also used. They are easy to maintain and are fire-resistant, are often made of recycled metal, and are recyclable themselves. Be aware, however, that firefighters may have to take some extra time to cut through it in the event of a significant house fire.

The relatively light weight of a metal roof eases installation, and in most cases, you can even have them installed over existing shingles, saving you time and money.

Weighed against our criteria, we can see why they are getting to be popular with Austinites:

  • This is the largest drawback since the initial installation is more than a shingle roof would be, but it may be worth it if you will be in your home for a long time or to enhance your resale value.
  • A metal roof can last 50 years or even slightly longer.
  • Metal roofs work well on most Austin homes.
  • Metal roofs are one of the best choices for our seasonal heat since they reflect the sun. The single- or double-interlocking panels hold up well in high winds and can also reduce the chances of water seeping into the fastener holes. The biggest drawback with our Austin weather is the noise during rain and hailstorms. Large hail may also dent your metal roof, particularly if using softer metals like aluminum and copper. Look for a dent-free guarantee. Note that some metal roofs can also be hard to walk on, should that become necessary.


You have some interesting material choices when considering a tile roof: concrete, clay, and slate. They are very durable, are recyclable, and resistant to fire and insects. Tile roofs are low maintenance, although if someone needs to get on the roof for chimney maintenance or to replace any tiles, they can break when walked on. Aesthetically pleasing, an attractive tile roof can help your resale value. You can have some fun with concrete tiles since they can be shaped and colored to imitate other roof materials, in much the same way concrete floors can mimic other materials.

  • Slate tile will cost more than concrete or clay tiles, and more than a metal roof, as well. Concrete typically costs less than clay.
  • All three tile types are extremely durable. Expect them to last as long as 100 years.
  • All of the tiles do well with most Austin homes as long as they are suitably framed for the extra weight of these dense tile materials. The terracotta clay tiles especially look good with many of our Austin stucco homes.
  • You can have your tile roof treated to maximize the cooling ability and water resistance of the tiles. Other than that, they do exceptionally well against our harsh weather conditions, even withstanding high winds and tornados. Clay tiles also won’t fade in our harsh sunlight but plan on periodic power washing to remove dirt and prevent mold buildup.


You can select between wood shingles and the thicker wood shake shingles. The biggest drawbacks of these shingles are that they can be costly to install, maintain, and repair and can be a fire hazard.

  • More expensive than asphalt, and wood shake shingles will be more expensive than wood shingles.
  • Depending on the type of wood, these shingles can last 25-50 years.
  • Suitable for most home types.
  • Wood roofing is largely an aesthetic choice. Some areas have banned wooden roofs due to the fire hazard they create. If you do use wood in Austin, use shingles that are treated for insects and moisture. Shakes would do better in our heat and sun and just wood shingles.


Rubber roofing is made from recycled materials and is typically low maintenance. It offers excellent insulation. It needs to be inspected a few times each year and properly washed.

  • More costly than asphalt but less expensive than other roof types. This roofing material needs to be properly installed.
  • Rubber roofing can last 15-30 years. It resists dents and cracks.
  • Rubber shingles are suitable for most home types.
  • You can select lighter colors for your rubber roof, which is more ideal for an Austin home. You will also need to add a UV protectant to deter mold.

It can be difficult to visualize roof materials fully installed. Give Kidd Roofing a call at (512) 671-7791 with any questions. We encourage you to come view our photographs of homes with various roofing types to help you in your decision for your Austin home. Let us help you find and plan the next roof for your home.