Innovation in Roofing

Today, we are talking about innovation in roofing. While the roofing industry has gotten the roofing process down to a tee, there are new materials that come out every couple of years that bring additional choices for the unconventional homeowner or businessmen or women who are interested in trying something new with their home or building. Or perhaps, you are simply looking for something more environmental friendly or that will help reduce costs down the line.

Today, we are highlighting some of these latest materials and how they have their benefits as well as some drawbacks. Of course, as a conscientious homeowner you have all the information here today to make better decisions. Keep reading to find out these new products! We also take a look at some common systems that are tried and true. Let’s take a look at some comparisons.

1. Metal Shingles

metal roof lifespan 2022


Lead and copper materials led the way in metals in the 19th century. Nowadays, steel components make up metal roofs. These are put through durability weather tests, paint coating tests, etc. Made to be highly durable during all weather conditions, including hail storms, high winds and even rot, metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular in the past years. Especially in open areas where hailstorms can pass through. Combined with their durability is their lifespan. Metal roofs can last for decades longer than regular asphalt shingles, making them the sturdiest material on this list.

Another positive anecdote is that metal roof systems can be safer than regular asphalt shingles. Metal roofs have a class A fire rating, this is crucial in wildfire-prone areas or places were homes are relatively close to one another. Having a metal roofing can prevent fire from spreading from home to home.


While a metal roof has many positive attributes, the one drawback that may turn some homeowners away is the cost. The cost of a metal roof is typically higher than asphalt shingles, due to the higher cost materials and additional expertise for installation. A special crew of installers are necessary for the metal installation. Of course, it can be cost-effective if you are willing to look at it in a longer-term. Metal roofs are cost effective because it can a one time and done deal, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance every couple of years. The investment is up front, if you are comfortable with the purchase.

Metal roofs are beneficial for residential homes that are prone to high wind areas or hail storms.

2. Synthetic Slate Shingles

Natural slate shingles are commonly found on libraries and older cathedrals around Europe and the U.S. There is no denying that this beautiful material really makes the building stand out. However, these materials are costly. The production of the material, the transportation and installation, fragility makes it a difficult material to pick for the average homeowner.

A good option in contrast is synthetic slate. Synthetic slate looks like natural slate, but with some additional benefits. The material is made from a plastic and rubber combination and made to look identical to the authentic slate at a fraction of the cost.


Synthetic slate systems last longer than other materials on this list, they are also more durable(due to their ultraviolet inhibitors, which reduce tear and wear from the sun and can withstand storm damage). In fact, synthetic slate is a Class 4 impact resistance, which is one of the highest level of roofing material type that you can place on your roof. With a proper installation, the lifespan of synthetic slate roofs is between 40 to 50 years.

Synthetic slate is a Class A fire proof material and is not capable of spreading fire.

Synthetic slate shingles are lighter than most regular asphalt shingles and the installation process is similar to a routine installation. During installation, these shingles are field-cut using a utility knife and nailed down using standard using nails.


Price-wise, synthetic slate falls in the mid range prices. The material is less expensive than authentic synthetic, but more pricey than asphalt shingles and are considered a premium product. Regular slate ceramic costs three times a regular asphalt shingle installation, for example. Comparing to synthetic, the cost is close to $12-$15 per square foot. With increase in prices depending on other add-ons.

Specifically for Midwest and Indianapolis homes, with our weather conditions, synthetic tiles might not be the most economical option. Slate tiles are prone to damage from hail impact. Additionally, during the summer months, the strong rays can cause the color to fade over the years. All in all, if you are looking for a beautiful, intricate design(and can certainly throw a few bucks in without hesitation) then we recommend synthetic tile. However, look for other common residential materials on this list for durability if this is the main concern.

3. Synthetic Cedar Wood Shakes

Synthetic cedar shakes come from common recycled materials, while designed to look identical to cedar shake roofs. In fact, synthetic shingles are so identical to the original cedar that they have the realistic grainy patters. Synthetic Cedar Wood also comes in different color options and styles.


While normal cedar shake roof systems will start to crack, curl and even rot after constant strains for the elements. Polymers and resins are combined to make synthetic cedar shake. Because they are synthetic, they are able to withstand moisture and evade leaks. They are more resistant than regular cedar.

Since they are synthetic, the material will not loose its color to fading. And while it will not look completely natural like a regular cedar wood shake, the synthetic has more additional benefits while looking nearly identical.

Its always a good idea to know the basics of the warranty materials being used on your home. One of the leading synthetic brands in the roofing market is the Davinci Roofscapes synthetic cedar shake shingles. According to their website, the Davinci Roofscapes provide a limited lifetime material warranty for their shakes. While many other companies provide their warranties, its always a good idea to ask your roofing contractor and check their website for their warranties and get everything in writing.


When comparing these two similar materials, you might be leaning towards the synthetic shakes, depending on where you live and the weather conditions. Price wise, and of course, depending on the roofer you pick, their labor costs and material costs, synthetic roofs can cost similarly to cedar shakes, but typically be less expensive. To get an idea of the price differences, synthetic cedar shakes can cost from $16.00-$20.00 per square foot, while real cedar shake currently costs between $27.00- $32.00 per square foot.

When comparing cost prices to other roof materials, for example, synthetic shake roofs are typically more expensive than regular asphalt shingles. No matter the cost differences, its always a good idea to ask your roofing contractor for a quote to get a good idea for budgeting.

4. Solar Shingles



Solar shingles are the latest technology on this list. Similarly to solar roof tiles, solar shingles are environmentally friendly and great for the environment. These are made of  slim photovoltaic sheets(PV), these absorb the sunlight and convert it into electricity which is used by the house, saving homeowners money from electricity bills. These specifically designed shingles, while protecting your wallet, are also able to protect your home from all weather conditions. Depending on your aesthetic, these can be found to be more attractive than regular asphalt shingles.

While solar shingles are similar to solar roof panels, there are a some significant differences. Mainly in their size, material components and how much power they can produce. Solar shingles are made to be the same size as more traditional asphalt shingles. The tiles around the shingles are less than an inch thick, normally it takes 340-350 tiles for a roof installation. The number of tiles vary depending on the roof size. The reason solar shingles are able to be so thin is due to their components, made from copper indium gallium selenide, this semiconductor is able to convert the sun-rays into high energy rates, typically an average of 10%-12%.

Depending on the number of tiles on your roof, you can lower your electricity bill between 40%-60%. And if you install more tiles, then your energy output will increase of course. The drawback is, there is more investment up front for the extra tiles. When it comes to the lifespan of the solar shingles, they typically have a long one. Between 20-30 years is the standard lifespan, but keep in mind your manufacturer warranty and the different options they provide.


One of the main factors to keep in mind is the cost, solar shingles do tend to cost more than their counterparts. This is due to the hassle of installation and materials needed to make the panels. As of 2022, the average price of solar roof tiles range from $17,000-$22,000.

Solar shingles do have a major advantage to solar panels, and that is their durability. Since the tiles are part of the roof and do not sit on top of it, they are more durable. Solar shingles are also fire resistant, while solar panels are not as resistant. If you would like to know more about solar shingles and which companies provide these, check out our other article here.

5. Louvered Roofs

Louvered roof systems tend to go on pergolas or patios, essentially, outside spaces. These protect outdoor areas from rain or strong sun rays.  Louvered roofs are also able to withstand snow and strong winds.



Louvered roofs are slants that are horizontal, and are able to open and close with the push of a button. These slants can rotate a full 180 degrees, letting sun rays in and wind. During high winds, rainstorms or snow storms, you can close the slants to avoid these weather conditions.

Louvered roofs are able to give your outside space a more regal look, while helping to boost the curb appeal of your home.

Louvered pergolas are durable and highly resistant and have a long lifespan.

Made of aluminum, such as stainless steel fasteners. There are different type of roof systems, such as the Apollo opening roof system and the Renson louvered roof system.

Louvered roofs are constantly preferred in commercial buildings, and go on restaurants, poolside cabanas, country clubs, etc.


Just like a lot of other counterpoints in this article, the main drawback of louvered roofs is the cost. The installation and materials of louvers can be incredibly costly since this is a functional roof with additional amenities that can be considered optional for the average homeowner. The louvered roofs components are optional for their functionality as roofs.

Depending on the model chosen and your budget, the louvers can come with less amenities as well. Some less expensive louvers can be noisy and not have enough opening options.

6. Long Lasting Roof Underlayment

Every roof needs a roof underlayment type during its installation. Its the last layer of defense, once water has pooled and goes through the underlayment, then leaks will start to appear around your home. The history of underlayments is a long one, for example, felt paper is one of the oldest types of underlayment. Saturating paper or fiberglass mat along with asphalt makes felt paper. Also called black paper, felt paper was popular due to their cost. Black paper is cheaper than their synthetic counterparts, which is its main highlight. The downside is that felt paper damages easily. Its prone to tearing, wrinkling and is slippery. Nowadays, most roofing contractors use synthetic underlayment.


Long Lasting underlayments, such as the Titanium PSU30 take it a step further. These, like normal underlayments, are tougher than the black paper. They will also not tear as easily. Titanium paper is slip resistant and can resist all types of temperatures, from -40 degrees to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also be exposed to UV rays for up to 6 months, not that you would want to leave your roof exposed for that long. However, its good to know the pros of this material. Titanium is also made to not buckle or wrinkle and does not expand or contract with weather changes.


The one drawback from this material is its price. It is one of the most expensive underlayments on the market. It can also be difficult to install at first and necessary equipment is necessary for installation.

Final Verdict

We highlight different types of roofing materials that differ from the traditional asphalt shingles. For Indianapolis and Bloomington homes, if you wish to pick an alternative material, we strongly recommend going with the metal option over all others on this list. Although, solar shingles are a strong second option.

The reason for this is due to the weather factors we Hoosiers are susceptible to. From strong heat rays in the summer to cold winter storms and even the periodically, hail storms, we need durability as the number one factor for most homes. While asphalt is one of the oldest materials, its one of the best, which is why its the most used popular choice.

Metal however, has gained a lot of popularity for many residential homeowners for its durability and long lifespan. Which makes it the perfect roof material for Bloomington and Indianapolis homeowners.

Oscar Roofing: Materials We Specialize In

These are just some of the other roofing product types that are on the market today, with a wide variety of styles and materials. These are best able to fit what you are looking for. We are sure that many more different types and styles of roof will be coming to light. No matter the house or building goals you have in mind, contacting a roofing contractor to weigh your options is the first step in order to get an idea of what works for you and your goals.

Oscar Roofing has been in the general contractor business since 2003. We provide roofing, siding, gutters and painting services throughout Indiana. Give us a call or contact us for your free inspection.