When we invited our readers to submit their home improvement questions for our recent Home Improvement Sweepstakes, you all answered the call and sent us a ton of great questions. In the coming weeks, we’re going to be answering some of the best ones.

Today’s reader question is as follows:

What type of roofing material is the most durable and energy efficient?

That’s a really good question, and it has a complicated answer. See, it really all depends on what type of structure the roof will be on.

Let’s take a look at some of the different advantages offered by the following roof types:

  • Shingle roof—For a residential home with a pitched roof, shingles offer the highest level of durability. A quality shingle roof can easily last over 20 years if maintained properly. Durability and overall performance is further increased if you invest in ENERGY STAR certified shingles, like the GAF Timberline Cool Series Shingles. These shingles use modern reflective technology to make the shingles more reflective, thus resulting in less heat entering your home. Not only does this keep your home cooler, but because it helps the roofing materials maintain a more stable temperature and reduce thermal shock, it can extend the lifetime of the shingle roof.
  • Flat roof (TPO)—Flat roofs aren’t just found on commercial buildings. Many modern homes feature flat roofs, creating a sleek, stylish architectural element. A TPO roofing (Thermoplastic PolyOlefin) membrane offers a host of performance and installation benefits. A TPO roofing membrane is white and highly reflective, making it exceptionally resistant to the sun’s UV rays to help keep your home or building cool. With recent advancements in technology by manufacturers like GAF, today’s TPO membranes also offer great protection against heat aging and UV degradation for increased longevity and durability.
  • Metal roof—Metal roofing, particularly white metal roofing, has become very popular in recent years because of its energy efficiency. A white metal roof reflects about 2/3 of the sun’s energy away, and it also cools more quickly at night and holds less heat for shorter periods than many other roofing types (source). All of this adds up to lower energy bills for homeowners. And when it comes to durability, metal roofs are hard to beat. According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, a metal roof lasts about 2-3 times longer than a regular roof on average (source). So, while a metal roof might have a slightly higher upfront cost, its durability and energy savings make it a smart investment.

Have more questions about roofing? Leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer!