Warm Climate Roofing: Best Roofing Materials for Arizona Homeowners

roofing for hot locations

In a climate like Arizona, where the temperature are mildly warm for six months of the year and extremely hot for the other six, residents have gotten pretty savvy at figuring out ways to make their homes retain less heat. Good ventilation, central air conditioning, and swimming pools can all accomplish this, but one aspect of the home that people tend to forget about is their roof. When people buy a new home, they’re usually concerned with the size of rooms, quality of plumbing and electricity, and other details, but usually take the roof as it is and don’t think about it until it comes to be time to replace it. When deciding on a new roof, here are some of the best roofs to install that will keep your home reasonably cool whether you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area or anywhere that’s warm for extended periods of time!

Go Green! If a major concern for you is energy conservation and environmentalism, you might be particularly interested in the following two options, which work directly with the outdoors to produce a cooler home for you.

Solar Roofing Panels

Solar Roofing Panels
You’ve probably heard of solar panels and may even have seen some before. Solar panel roofing has been picking up in popularity over the year in response to the climate change crisis as well as to save the homeowner a few dollars. Photovoltaic or solar-powered roofing panels store heat from the sun and convert it into electricity, so the light switches, outlets, and other electric knick-knacks in your house will run directly on solar panel. Modern solar panels mimic the shape of traditional shingles, so if you’re particularly concerned with the aesthetic of your home, you might not have to worry about the larger and more bulky solar panels you may have seen before. Many people who have installed solar panels on their homes — even if it’s not the entire roof, but just a section — celebrate the decreased electric bill every month, but the initial investment has been a deterring factor for many hesitant homeowners. However, in a place like Arizona where it’s always sunny, many people have been glad to make the switch to solar.

Green Garden Roof


If you’re really serious about reducing your carbon footprint and giving back to the Earth, where the benefit of a cooler home and reduced utility bill is more of a bonus feature, planting a rooftop garden or “greening” the roof space is becoming more and more popular. Large expanses of black asphalt roads retain heat from the sun rays, and creating a so-called living roof is a direct way to counter this. It is expensive to install and residents who live in particularly dry climates will have to be careful about what they include, but the idea behind these living roofs is that plants use the sunlight to release oxygen and use up carbon dioxide emitted from human technologies. This creates a cleaner environment around your home. The waterproof structure is a type of tray or membrane that is filled with soil and fertilizer to keep the plants up there happy. They absorb the sun rays so the bones of your roof doesn’t have to, and even collect any water runoff to prevent molding and other damage.

Beat the Heat! If investing in a fully green or fully solar-powered roof isn’t for you, never fear. Any type of roofing material that reflects heat and keeps your home as cool as possible will reduce your power usage since you won’t need to be cranking the air conditioning so high! Here are some less-expensive cool-climate roofing materials for you to consider.

Concrete Tile

Durable and relatively inexpensive, concrete tile will prevent your home from overheating because the dense material takes a long time to heat up. Poured concrete slab roofing is a great option for areas that have to deal with harsh weather and pesky animals in addition to high heat, since concrete is tough enough to survive heavy rains and winds, unlike thinner shingles. The poured slab can be left alone or, if you’re picky, can act as a more durable underlayer beneath a more aesthetically-pleasing material.

​Concrete tiles are typically easier to install and can be dyed different colors, where paler colors are the common choice to increase energy efficiency (since dark colors absorb light while cooler colors reflect it). A more lightweight and inexpensive option are white ceramic concrete tiles, some of which even come in different combinations of cement and other materials. The white color is extremely efficient at reflecting light, however can cause some cosmetic issues when exposed to the elements so might require more upkeep than darker colors.

Slate Tile

Slate Tile

​Slate comes in a natural arrange of beautiful cool tones and is highly sought-after in Spanish and Mediterranean homes. This is because slate contains natural properties that work to reflect sunlight. Slate tiles are also popular because they require little cosmetic maintenance and can be recycled and repurposed for future roofers to use.

Clay and Terracotta Tiles

Keeping with the theme of lighter-colored roofing materials, clay roofing does not keep in as much heat as darker colors. Natural clay color is quite light, but more recent roofing designs have been treated to mimic traditional terracotta coloration and fight color fading from long exposure to the sun. Terracotta tiles are baked thoroughly and quite dense, like concrete, and traditionally folded into an arched “S” or barrel shape, allowing a bit of space for more airflow throughout the roof. If you like a nice warm rust or sand-colored roof to complement the Arizona desert landscape, you’d probably prefer to clay or terracotta to slate.

Metal Roofing

A less popular option due to its general shininess that can distract drivers, metal roofing is excellent at reflecting light and comes in typical silver tones as well as white. White metal roofing cools quickly and is extremely low-maintenance, as they often come pre-treated to prevent oxidation or corrosion. Steel, aluminum, and even copper roofs are widely available and less expensive than slate or real terracotta.

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