Ever wonder which roofs will stand up best to smoldering summer heat?

If you live in an area with high summer temperatures, think twice before you choose asphalt or wood as roofing materials because they may not stand up to the triple digits. Instead, consider metal, slate or clay tiles, or rubber roofing, all of which we’ll detail below. All of these options are more eco-friendly than asphalt and require less maintenance than wood—plus, they last longer than both.

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Metal Roofing


This is a premium roofing material that’s a bit pricier than the more common asphalt, but the perks are worth the investment. First of all, there are several options to choose from both aesthetically and price-wise, from affordable corrugated steel to luxurious copper and everything in between. Metal roofing is already reflective and therefore considered a “cool roofing” material, but highly reflective paints and coatings can even further improve its energy efficiency.

standing-seam metal roof, especially steel, is a roof type that’s growing more popular on residential structures. This is partly due to the material’s longevity, since it can hold up decades longer than asphalt. Metal is also fire-resistant and therefore safer for a hot environment than other roofing types. After several years, exposure to the elements will cause your protective coating to wear down, but a simple re-coating is all the maintenance a metal roof needs.

Metal roofing typically costs anywhere from $7-$9 per square foot. Even though it’s a bigger investment than an asphalt roof, the energy savings in your home combined with the potential for a higher resale value can make it a worthy investment for a new construction or roof replacement. Additional draws include the fact that metal roofing can be made from recycled metal and can be easily recycled once you remove it.

Slate Roof Tile


If eco-friendly is up your alley and you don’t mind investing a little more for a quality, beautiful roof, natural slate tile roofing may be the way to go. Slate is a stone formed by intense heat underground, so it’s as fireproof as materials come—especially helpful in states that have certain roofing regulations due to fire danger caused by heat and lack of rain. While you may think slate only comes in a dark gray, it is actually available in various natural colors.

Slate can reduce heat transfer in your attic by up to 95 percent with good insulation—but even better, it can hold up for an entire century.

However, there are a few drawbacks and special considerations. Slate is a heavy material, so you will need to have your home’s structure professionally evaluated to ensure that it can safely support the new roof. It can also cost between $50 and $100 per square foot. While this is cost-effective when you consider the entire lifespan of the roof, it’s a little intimidating as an up-front cost.

Clay Roof Tile


Thermal resistant, impervious to fire, and available in rich earthy tones, clay tile roofs are an attractive choice for homeowners who love rustic architectural nuances – and who want to beat the heat. Like slate, clay is a natural product and is therefore eco-friendly and easy to recycle. It’s also similar to slate in its weightiness, which means a thorough evaluation of your home will be part of the installation process. Running at $2.50-$5 per roofing square, it may not be the choice of the everyman, but it is a very low maintenance material that will last up to 100 years.

Rubber Roofing


To reel it back in price-wise, rubber roofing is an affordable alternative to the lavish terra cotta and sophisticated slate. But don’t let that get you down. Rubber roofing materials can mimic the look of slate and cedar. It is also made from recycled materials, proving that you don’t have to break the bank to be friendly to the environment. Its price is comparable to asphalt, but it’s more energy efficient and can protect your home from the heat.

Upgrading to an energy-efficient roof may qualify you for a tax credit. Be sure to look into federal and local rebate programs before you decide on a cool roofing material.