In this article we outline the main roof materials available in New Zealand, some factors to consider when choosing the best materials for your roof, and finally we give a summary of each type of material.

In New Zealand you can choose from 6 main materials for your roof:

When installing a roof on a new home or replacing an old tired existing roof, there are many things to consider such as the property’s design and location and the environment in which you live. It’s a big decision and it’s important to get it right.

In order to choose the best material for your roof, you should consider:


What is their expected lifespan?


Does it have good temperature and wind resistance? What is the fire rating? How much maintenance will be required?


How do material, installation, and maintenance costs compare with other suitable materials?


Is it attractive? Are there a variety of colours and designs to choose from?


Is there a warranty or guarantee of the product?

Roof pitch

Is it suited to the angle of your roof?

At JP Franklin Roofing we are experts in installing, repairing, and maintaining all of these. We have experts on-hand who can offer you free advice to help you make the best decision when choosing a material for your roof.

In the meantime, here’s a quick run-down of some of the pros and cons of each type of roof …

Asphalt Shingle

Asphalt shingles are quickly becoming the most popular material for roofs in New Zealand. They are cost-effective, rot and corrosion resistant, can withstand harsh weather conditions, and are relatively low maintenance. They can have a long lifespan of up to 25-30 years.

Another benefit of Asphalt Shingles is their appearance. They come in a variety of designs, textures, and colours so you can choose the right look for your home.

Read more about Asphalt Shingles here.


Colorsteel or long run roofing remains one of the most popular roofing choices. Some benefits include ease of installation, durability, ability to withstand high UV temperatures, and low maintenance. Because long run steel roofs are lightweight, they are cheaper than a lot of other options. Another advantage is that they can be laid on roof with a low pitch (as low as 3 degrees).

Copper is also an option for roofs. It is very strong and can withstand extreme temperatures. It is 100% recyclable and is impermeable to contaminants. It is especially good for homes with tank water collection as copper inhibits bacterial growth.

You can also choose a metal roof in the form of pressed metal tiles. New technology metal roof tiles are created in panels, pressed, coloured, and coated to look just like a concrete or clay tile. They are lightweight and many come with a 50-year warranty.

Read more about Longrun Colorsteel roofs here.

Slate Tiles

Slate tiles are cut from stone. They have been used for centuries and are known to be durable and good in saltwater environments and extreme temperatures. Slate is a very heavy roofing material. It also requires significant framing support. It is mostly resistant to corrosion, rot, and insects, provides good fire protection, and is fairly low maintenance. The downsides of slate tiles are their cost and the fact they are not the most eco-friendly option (usually imported from Europe). However, they can have a lifespan of up to 400 years.

With advances in technology, there are now some great artificial slate tiles available. These can be a cheaper, more eco-friendly option (many are made from recycled materials). They are also much easier to install, lighter, and still have a reasonably long lifespan.


Membrane roofing is only suitable for flat or curved roofs with a maximum of 10-degree pitch. It is popular on commercial buildings. It is lightweight, easy to repair, and resistant to UV rays and weathering. It expands and shrinks with heat changes. An added bonus is that it can be the base for a roof garden if you want to go green and grow plants on your roof.

Read more about Membrane Roofs here.

Concrete or Clay Tiles

Concrete or clay tiles are also very popular materials for roofs in New Zealand. Like slate, they are very heavy and require additional framing support, which can mean higher costs. Tiles are extremely durable and long lasting, and require little maintenance. They do not rust or corrode and have a high wind resistance. They are great on for high pitched roofs over 10 degrees. These tiles are not suitable for curving roofs and walking directly on the tiles is not recommended. A benefit of clay tiles is that they are often made locally and so are a relatively eco-friendly option.

Read more about Concrete and Clay Tiles here.

Timber Shingles

Timber shingles or shake are cut from treated or naturally durable timbers. Most timber shakes and shingles are made from imported western red cedar. However, you can also get locally produced first grade ACQ-treated radiata pine products. Both are durable and low maintenance. Only choose timber shingles or shakes if your property is located in a drier climate as damp climates will substantially lower the lifespan of your roof to only around 7 to 10 years.

And here’s a final checklist to help you with this important decision to choose the best material for your Roof:

  • Consider the conditions: If you live by the sea or in a high-wind zone, your roof will require weather specific roofing materials.

  • Research: Look into the pros and cons of different roofing materials.

  • Talk to a professional: The location, angle, and shape of your roof could limit your roofing material choices.

  • Collect images of other roofs you like: Take photos of roofs you like and/or browse online roof galleries. Print images and note the product name and colour if available to show your roofing professional.

  • Read the warranties: Roofing warranties should be carefully considered as they differ greatly.

  • Discuss with family and friends: Spend some time discussing and eliminating roofs with your partner or a friend.


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