The Best Roofing Materials to Select for a Steep Pitch

There are certainly important factors to consider when choosing roofing materials and one of those is the roof’s pitch. Pitch refers to the angle, slant, or slope of the roof. The designations are the first number, the vertical or height, divided by the second number, the horizontal or length. A steep pitch roof is defined as any roof with a pitch of over 4/12. Steep pitch roofs are also known as “residential roofing” because they are very common for single family homes, whereas flat roofs are more common in commercial buildings.

How does roof pitch affect the best roofing materials to use? Well, the pitch of a roof can affect how water drains, which is definitely something to keep in mind when choosing the right material. For instance, flat roofs typically need tar or gravel in order to keep water out.
When deciding what materials to use, the most important factors are the level of protection and weather resistance. Also, price and general upkeep. Choosing the wrong roofing materials can lead to difficulty with repair and maintenance. A steep pitch is also typically more visible from the ground, so the chosen material should be aesthetically pleasing.

With all those factors in mind, here is a breakdown of the best roofing materials for steep pitches


Composition Shingles

Composition shingles are overall the best roofing materials for a steep pitch. These shingles cover about 70% of roofs in the country and they are the most popular option for a good reason. Composition shingles are UV and weather resistant, and incredibly versatile and durable. They are also a cost-effective choice because they are not as expensive as some other material options.
But even with the lower price point they are still a great quality roofing material and will provide excellent protection. They do not allow for moisture buildup, can prevent algae and mold growth, and are flame resistant. They are also able to be installed fairly quickly and easily and require minimal maintenance. And these shingles have a good lifespan, typically lasting about 25 to 30 years.
They are compatible with most flashing and edging products. And, they also have a wide variety of visually appealing choices available as they come in different colors and styles. One variety is reflective shingles, which will help lower utility costs.
Composition shingles usually come with a warranty, though those are typically only applied if the shingles are installed by a certified roofer. Thankfully, because they are such a popular option, it won’t be too hard to find one. For example, Interstate Roofing serves the Portland and Vancouver, WA areas and offers upgraded and lifetime warranties. More information can be found here.


Slate is more expensive than composition shingles. It is also heavier, slower to install, and difficult to replace. And it can crack easily if stepped on. On the plus side, it has an elegant, beautiful look and can come in a variety of colors and textures. It lasts for a very long time, even up to 100 years, and can be fairly low-maintenance once installed. But when these shingles do need maintenance, that can also be fairly expensive.
Slate needs to be installed very carefully and correctly, so it absolutely needs an expert roofer. And, unfortunately, this type of material does not always come with a warranty.


Metal roofing options include aluminum, copper, and steel, and comes as shingles or panels. A downside to metal roofing such as aluminum is that it can be easily dented, especially during harsh weather like hail storms. To avoid water seepage, this material usually needs to have something like a rubber membrane underneath.
Metal is less expensive than slate, but still more expensive than composition shingles. Its life expectancy is typically about 30 years. The aluminum shingles are more lightweight than composition shingles. Aluminum shingles also come in different colors and can even come in styles such as imitations of the cedar shakes, slate, or tile. Overall, the reason a lot of people choose this material is for its modern look.


Tile is a roofing material that is becoming more and more popular. It comes in clay or concrete, and in a variety of colors and shapes. And, it is an energy efficient option.
Like slate roofing, the biggest issue with this material is its weight. The existing structure may not be able to support this material, which could be a serious problem. Also, like slate shingles, this material does not always come with a warranty. The price of tile is about the same as wood, but it has a much a longer lifespan at up to 50 or even 100 years.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

These are shingles that are typically made from cedar or redwood. The wood shakes also usually come from cedar logs. They are typically chosen because they are the best roofing materials to provide a specific type of aesthetic.
Shakes, unlike shingles, are handmade instead of machine-made for a rougher type of look. But while they are great for aesthetics, wood shakes and shingles have a shorter life expectancy than other types of roofing materials. They can typically last from 8 to 25 years. Also, wood can be a fire hazard, so it is usually required for the shingles or shakes to be treated with fire retardant before they are installed.
Each of the materials listed above has its own benefits. But the best roofing material, that is low cost, low maintenance, long-lasting, with many different stylish options and great warranties is ultimately composition shingles.
Composition shingles are also sustainable, another reason they are the best roofing material. They can also be recycled.
Because of the protection it offers, the roof is such a significant investment for the whole house. Therefore, it is important to both choose the best roofing material, as well as to work with a trustworthy contractor.
Customer testimonials, photos of previous steep pitch roofing work, and a breakdown of services offered are all considerations that should be taken when looking to install a new roof on your home.
You might also like