If you’re planning a new roofing project for your California home, you may be wondering which roof types and styles are best. In this article, we’re going to take a deep-dive into your options, eliminating confusion and helping you to choose the roof that’s right for you. 

Which Roof Types And Styles Are Best? 

No single roof type is best in all conditions. The roof you choose depends very much on your circumstances. A couple of things to consider before selecting a roof product:

  • What type of product is currently on your roof?
    • If you have an asphalt shingle roof or a wood shake roof, you will need to install a product that is less than 6 lbs per sq. ft.  If you have a standard weight tile, you can install almost any product because the structure was designed to handle the load of 10 lbs per sq ft.
  • What type of product is in your neighborhood?
    • Your neighborhood will tell you a lot about the type of roof you can install.  For example, if you live in a homeowners association and you have a tile roof, you will most likely have to stick with tile.  If you live in a predominately asphalt shingle neighborhood, asphalt shingle would make the most sense.  If you notice a good mix, then it really is your call.
  • Another question to consider is how much of your roof do you see?
    • The look of your roof can have a tremendous impact on the curb appeal and thus, the value of your home.  If much of the roof is seen from the ground, it makes sense to lean towards a higher-end product.  If, however, you have a gable roof and can hardly see your roof, there is no real need to spend extra money on a luxury product you can’t see.

When it comes to style, the roof type you choose will have the most significant impact on the appearance of your roof. There are a couple of popular roof types for your California home that you should consider: asphalt shingle and concrete tiles (S-shaped, and flat-smooth/slate-like or brushed/shake-like). 

Asphalt ShinglesAsphalt shingles

Figures indicate that more than 70% of US homes use asphalt shingles. It is a common roofing material, and for good reasons. Asphalt is not only highly affordable, but it does a great job protecting your California home from the elements.

What’s more, it looks good too, and with modern additives, you can customize the color to match the rest of the exterior of your home. 

The benefits of choosing asphalt shingles include the following: 

  • Lower upfront cost
  • Minimal roof support required
  • High-wind resistance
  • Selection of colors and styles
  • Will protect your roof for 30 years or more

Some of the downsides include: 

  • May crack in areas prone to rapid temperature change
  • Shorter lifespans when placed above attics with poor ventilation
  • Can develop mold and algae problems in some climates

To add another layer of complexity, asphalt shingles come in three qualities: good, better and best. At the top of the range are so-called “luxury asphalt shingles.” Manufacturers design these to look just like slate and cedar shake roofs, but at a much lower cost. The warranty you get with asphalt shingles depends on the quality of the underlying material. The best shingles, as you might guess, have the best warranties. 

Concrete Tile

Custom Brushed Roof Tileflat concrete tile roof flat and S-shapedBoth flat and S-shaped concrete tile is a popular roofing solution for many homeowners in California. Concrete tile offers a host of benefits, but also suffer from some drawbacks too, which you’ll want to consider. 

The benefits of concrete tile include: 

  • Extremely long-lasting implying a low lifetime cost
  • Low maintenance: concrete tiles are unlikely to cause leaks, however regular (every 2-3 years) maintenance is suggested
  • Concrete tiles are thermally efficient, keeping warm air in your home. 
  • Lots of choices over tile style and design

There are, however, some downsides to choosing concrete tile: 

  • You need a strong roof: a concrete tiled roof can weigh several tons
  • Higher cost: concrete tile roofs are more economical than conventional tiles, but you’ll still pay more than for asphalt shingles. 

Popular California Roof Styles

There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of roof styles. But there are particular designs which are uniquely suited to California. 

Modern House StyleModern 

You commonly find homes with modern-style roofs in residential areas built between the 1950s and 1970. The emphasis during this future-focused era was on geometric shapes, straight lines and simplicity. Modern roofs were particularly popular in California where residents pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable architectural designs. Modern homes tended to use exposed roof beams and rely on more advanced roofing materials, like asphalt shingles or metal. 

Spanish style roofsSpanish

Spanish style roofs in California take their inspiration from the originals in Spain but with a colonial flourish. Spanish-style roofs have a shallow pitch and make extensive use of ceramic tile in the traditional reddish-orange. 

Spanish tile have the appearance of overlapping waves connecting in roof valleys to stunning effect. The great thing about Spanish tiles is that they are suitable for regions with regular sunshine interspersed with heavy rainfall. Sounds like California! 


Craftsman homesCraftsman homes, also sometimes called arts and crafts homes, were popular at the turn of the twentieth century, between 1905 and 1930. The main feature of this style was the use of wooden features within the home, such as built-in seating and shelving. But craftsman homes also had a specific form of roof. Houses tended to have broad overhanging eaves, lots of decorative braces and gables, and framed porches. Many craftsman homes also made use of exposed rafters. 

Mediterranean-Style HomeMediterranean-Style

The Spanish influence in California has leaked out and increased the popularity of the closely-related Mediterranean style roof too. Mediterranean-style roofs became more popular in California between the 1920s and 1930s after architects first floated the concept in 1915. 

Meditteranean-style roofs took many of their design cues from their Spanish forebears. Low-pitched roofs, overlapping tiles, and stucco on the exterior made them immediately recognizable. 

Choose Roof Colors To Match The Exterior Of Your Home

Thanks to the vast array of roof types and styles available today, homeowners in California have substantial control over the appearance of their properties. How do you know which roof color you should choose to complement your home? 

  • Choose the same color scheme but a different shade. Color matching your roof to the color of your walls doesn’t work. Instead, choose a roof color that is a different shade, usually darker. 
  • Take lighting into account. How the light shines on your roof can change its appearance. When choosing a roof style, make sure that you select a color that looks good from dawn until dusk. 
  • Consider curb appeal. If you’re planning on reselling your property in the near future, you’ll want to choose a roof color that is most likely to attract buyers. Stick within the style boundaries of your particular property type, if possible. 

Want help in choosing the right roof types, styles or roofing materials for your home? Give GreatWay Roofing a call today! (805) 523-2550

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