Belanger Engineering > Building Systems and Engineering Blog > Roofs: Good, Better, and Best Choices for Your Building

Roofs are important components of buildings.  A poorly designed or constructed roof can be the source of headache and expensive property damage.  To avoid regret and keep your building warm and dry for years, make sure you choose your roof wisely.

belangerengineering_r1\r\n\r\nRoofing choices are very different in residential vs commercial buildings.  Industrial buildings often have roofs made of metal or asphalt – Built Up Roofs (BUR).  Residential roofs are usually asphalt shingles or sometimes wood shakes.  So what are the best choices?  How do you know what you should choose for your roof?  Here are our thoughts on the matter.roofs


  • Good: Wood or clay.  While clay tiles are durable and fire resistant, they are costly and don’t provide great wind resistance. Wood shakes are wind resistant but are more expensive than asphalt and are a definite fire hazard.
  • Better: Metal is a great option because of its durability.  A metal roof is also more wind resistant than asphalt and very fire resistant.  You can even have metal shingles, so the finished look resembles other roofing materials.  The downside is that this type of roofing is expensive.
  • Best: Asphalt shingles.  These are the most popular choice for a reason.  They are fire and wind resistant, easy to repair or replace problem areas, and come with a very reasonable price point.  Overall they offer homeowners the best value.


  • Good: BUR made of asphalt or coal tar.  These are the traditional choice for low slope roofs but have been getting phased out with some of the latest developments in roofing systems.
  • Better: Metal panels.  As in residential buildings, metal is a great choice.  It performs well and lasts but is a bit pricier than asphalt or tar.  Metal is also very lightweight, so it puts less stress on the structure of the building.
  • Best: Low slope roof systems such as TPO (thermoplastic olefin), PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other synthetic compounds.  These can vary in thickness depending on the project, include features such as UV protection, and are able to withstand weathering remarkably well.