What Is the Best Roofing Material for Pennsylvania Homes?

Asphalt, metal, wood, rubber, or slate? Choosing a roofing material can be tricky if you don’t know what you need. Plus, Pennsylvania’s weather varies from season to season. You need a roof that can withstand everything from gusty winds to intense heat. 

This blog will break down the pros and cons of opting for different roofing materials, so you can make an informed decision about which roofing material is best for your home. To answer the ultimate question—what is the best roofing material in PA?—let’s review the different types of materials. 

Asphalt Shingles

Many homeowners opt for asphalt shingles because they’re affordable and easy to install and repair. They’re also aesthetically pleasing and can help boost a residential home’s curb appeal. Their sleek look is a Pennsylvania favorite and a nationwide favorite for that matter.

Asphalt shingles come in different types, so we’ll review the pros and cons of opting for each.

A house with new asphalt shingles.

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles


  • 3-tab asphalt shingles are some of the least expensive roofing materials. 
  • They have a lifespan of up to 20-25 years and are wind-resistant and waterproof.
  • They have a class A UL fire rating.
  • Certain ones are Energy Star certified.


  • 3-tab asphalt shingles have fewer aesthetic options than other types of roofing materials.
  • Wind uplift and blow-off can occur with older or poorly installed roofs.
  • They can be less eco-friendly than other types of shingles.

Architectural Asphalt Shingles


  • Architectural asphalt shingles are more aesthetically pleasing, more durable, heavier, and have more curb appeal than 3-tab asphalt shingles.
  • They have a lifespan of 30+ years. That means fewer roofing replacements than 3-tab asphalt shingles.
  • They are wind and impact resistant.
  • Certain ones are Energy Star certified.


  • Architectural asphalt shingles are more expensive than 3-tab asphalt shingles.
  • They are not as eco-friendly as other types of shingles.

Designer Asphalt Shingles


  • Designer asphalt shingles are fairly affordable shingles that look similar to more expensive roofing materials.
  • They have better wind and fire resistance than other asphalt shingles.
  • The heavier weight of designer asphalt shingles gives them good impact resistance.
  • They have excellent curb appeal.
  • Certain ones are Energy Star certified.


  • Designer asphalt shingles are more expensive than other roofing shingles.
  • They are not the most eco-friendly roofing material.

Asphalt Shingles’ Overall Effectiveness in PA

With all of the debate over what is the best roofing material, asphalt shingles are an excellent choice in Pennsylvania because of the state’s varying climate. 

Are asphalt shingles the best roofing material, though? In terms of durability, these shingles can withstand extreme heat, heavy snow, and intense rain, making them a strong, affordable choice for PA homeowners. It all depends on what you’re looking for, so we’ll review some other roofing options as well.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs offer weather resistance, UV protection, and durability. They can withstand wind speeds of up to 140 mph. And they’re versatile in that metals are malleable and can be shaped into many different designs

Metal roofs also come in different types such as standing seam or corrugated roofs. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each type to see what makes metal one of the top-rated roofing materials.

A metal roof installed by KSW Construction.

Metal (Standing Seam) Roofing


  • Metal standing seam roofing is durable, long-lasting, and relatively low maintenance.
  • These roofs also reflect heat well and can be mounted with solar panels.


  • Metal standing seam roofs tend to be more expensive than other roofing materials.
  • They can also be more difficult to repair or replace than other types of roofing.

A corrugated metal roof.

Corrugated Roofing


  • Corrugated metal roofing is durable and affordable. It’s similar to the price of asphalt shingles.
  • Corrugated metal typically costs 50% less than metal standing seam roofing.
  • Installation is also quicker and more economical than metal standing seam roofing.
  • It’s more sustainable and eco-friendly than asphalt shingles.


  • The biggest con is corrugated metal’s leak potential. Due to Pennsylvania’s fluctuating temperatures year round, even when installed perfectly the screws are likely to loosen, allowing moisture to seep in.
  • Corrugated roofs require more maintenance than metal standing seam roofs and don’t last as long.
  • If you’re concerned about aesthetic appearance, corrugated roofs are generally viewed as less sophisticated than other metal roofing options. They look less sleek because of their exposed screws.

Metal Roofing’s Overall Effectiveness in PA

Metal roofing may be less traditional and more expensive than asphalt shingles, but its overall effectiveness comes down to your priorities.

Depending on the type of metal roofing you opt for, your roof can be just as affordable as an asphalt shingle roof with more eco-friendly and sustainable materials. The biggest concerns with metal roofs in PA are water leaks and the cost of maintenance, repairs, and replacement. 

EPDM Rubber (Flat Roofing)

EPDM rubber roofing offers modern, sleek designs with relatively easy upkeep. These roofs are perfect for a minimalist aesthetic and allow for additional features like skylights, solar panels, or air conditioning. 

What is the best roofing material for your tiny house or energy-efficient dream home? The answer might just be EPDM rubber. The versatility of this material also allows homeowners to convert their roofs into functional spaces like rooftop gardens or lounge areas. So let’s run through some of the pros and cons of choosing EPDM rubber roofing.

A flat roof made of EPDM rubber.


  • EPDM rubber offers more durability than other types of roofing materials.
  • This roofing has high solar reflectivity.
  • EPDM rubber is one of the more energy-efficient roofing materials.


  • Rubber roofing tends to be more difficult to install than other types of roofing materials.
  • EPDM rubber is also notoriously prone to water leaks, making storm damage repairs more of an issue.

EPDM Rubber’s Overall Effectiveness in PA

Opting for EPDM rubber roofing in PA comes down to preference and priorities. If you’re going for the minimalist look, want solar reflectivity for solar panels or skylights, or simply want to maximize rooftop space, EPDM rubber might be the best roof type for you.

On the flip side, be prepared for water leaks and a trickier installation process if you opt for EPDM rubber over other types of roofing materials.

A roof made of cedar shingles.

Cedar Roofing

Cedar roofs are made from western red cedar trees. They offer good protection but unlike some of the other roofs, cedar roofs require consistent maintenance, treatment, and fire/water-resistant coating. 

Cedar Shingles and Shakes

Often cedar roofing comes in 2 options: cedar shingles and cedar shakes. Cedar shingles are more neatly cut and arranged, whereas cedar shakes offer a more rugged look. 


  • Cedar is a renewable resource.
  • Cedar roofs are aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cedar provides good insulation for your home.
  • Cedar roofs are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses.


  • Cedar presents a potential fire risk if untreated.
  • Cedar roofs must be pressure-washed every 4-5 years.
  • Cedar also needs to be treated with CCA (chromated copper arsenate) to prevent fungus, mold, and mildew.

Cedar Roofing’s Overall Effectiveness in PA

If you don’t mind the maintenance and upkeep that comes with cedar roofing, cedar offers a unique aesthetic choice with decent durability (10-20 years). 

If you live in a fire-hazardous state like California, cedar roofing might be a riskier choice. In a state like Pennsylvania, the material is a viable option when treated, pressure-washed, and maintained regularly.

Slate roofing. When asked what is the best roofing material, the answer may be slate depending on your climate.

Slate Roofing

Slate tiles are both the most durable roofing material and the most expensive roofing material. Soft slate has a lifespan of 50+ years, and hard slate can last up to 200 years. 

If you live in an area with severe inclement weather, you might want to consider slate roofing for your home for maximum protection against high winds and heavy snowfall. Slate roofs are also naturally fire, rain, and hail resistant.


  • Slate roofs are one of the highest-quality roofs on the market.
  • Slate roofs are aesthetically pleasing.
  • Slate tolerates a wide range of weather conditions exceptionally well.
  • Depending on the type of slate, your roof can last 50-200 years.
  • Solar panels can be easily installed on slate roofs.


  • Slate roofs are extremely expensive.
  • Slate shouldn’t be walked on.
  • Slate roofing requires a solid roof deck board to support its weight. It is a heavy roofing material.

Slate Roofing’s Overall Effectiveness in PA

Slate is one of the most durable and weather-resistant roofing materials on the market, but its cost and weight can be a burden.

Depending on the climate you live in, real slate tiles are an excellent investment to protect against the elements. Pennsylvania’s weather probably doesn’t necessitate that level of snow and wind resistance, but if you want the added durability and are willing to pay top dollar for it, slate may be the best roofing material for you.

What Is the Best Roofing Material According to KSW Construction?

So what is the best roofing material in PA? That depends on your priorities as a homeowner, but if you need help deciding, our experts are here to guide you.

KSW Construction can help you with residential or commercial roof repair, residential or commercial roof replacement, and storm damage roof repairs. Check out some of our past roof replacement jobs in Central PA and see the difference that our craftsmanship makes in every job we do.

We offer many shingle brands in over 25 colors, including CertainTeed, Tamko, and GAF. The alternative materials we offer also include EPDM rubber, cedar shake, slate, standing seam metal, and corrugated metal.

Having trouble deciding what is the best roofing material for your property? Contact our team of experts today to learn about our roofing services custom-tailored to your needs, budget, and timeline.