Roofing is your home's umbrella. So it's important to make sure it will keep out rain and snow. The average asphalt roof is expected to last around 15 to 30 years, which may make you think of purchasing something more permanent. But all roofing types have their pros and cons.
Metal may be your best bet in fire-prone areas of the Southwest. It is effective in preventing the spread of fire and some insurance carriers may give safety discounts for a metal or other non-flammable roof. New styles are available that are made from attractive copper, steel, or aluminum, unlike the old style metal farm roof made from corrugated steel. Metal roofing is quite lightweight and quite effective in preventing leaks as well, and of course it will not rot away.
Clay tile is a very long lasting option, as well as very beautiful, and can last for centuries. Think of those Roman bathhouses and Italian villas. These tiles are interlocking for stability and are available in numerous colors and styles. Concrete tiles are similar but less expensive and less durable than clay. This is another fireproof option. One drawback of these types of roof tiles is the weight. You should have your home inspected by a structural engineer to make sure it is stable enough to support the weight of all that concrete or clay tile, plus snow if you are in an area where its snows. Mediterranean style homes are most conducive to using this look.
Slate tiles for roofing are lovely as well and very long lasting. Slate from some of the areas of the US's East Coast will last 50 years or more depending on conditions. Can you picture a New England home with a slate roof to hold back the ocean's fury? Slate is fire safe and waterproof, and you will not have to seal it, treat it, or do much of anything to maintain it. Slate is, however, labor intensive to implement and costly to purchase, but it provides a unique look that can't be beat.
Wood shingles are beautiful and work well with an older or historic home. They are machine cut and last about 30 years, like asphalt, but are a pricier material, about six times as much. Wood shakes are actually cut by hand which will understandably add to the cost. Wood is not particularly fire safe but can be treated to mitigate risk.
Composite shingles can be made to look like many of the other types. They are quite durable, said to last around 50 years, but since it is a new material the jury may still be out. Good thing it's warrantied for 50 years. But it's expensive and may be hard to find in your area.
Asphalt is the least expensive, and the least of these is made partially of fiberglass. It comes in many colors and styles nowadays, and can even be made to look like slate, tile, or wood shake. Mid century homes were known for asphalt roofing and that is certainly the most common in the Midwest.
Now you most likely know which material you want to use on your home. It's time to start thinking about the color of your roofing material.