The material you put on your roof will not only change the way your home looks, but it may also impact its energy efficiency and its ability to repel water. There are many types of roofing materials, from slate and metal to asphalt and synthetic roofing. Whatever material you choose, roofing is an important consideration that contributes to the overall style and value of your home.
Factors to Consider
When choosing your new roof, consider these questions:
- Will the material require special framing because of its weight?
- Are there special maintenance or installation issues to consider?
- Does the material you want to meet fire codes in your area?
- What are the cost, life span, and warranty of the product?
- Does the material stand up to the extremes of weather in your area?
- Has the product been utilized in the marketplace for at least ten years?
- Are a variety of colors and styles available that will complement your home?
Answering these questions will help you determine which choice is best for your home and your budget.
Different Types of Materials Available
The outermost or top layer of your roof is the weatherproofing material. It is exposed to natural elements and must be made of a material that can withstand the seasons in your region. Material types vary considerably between countries, and also between residential and commercial uses.
In the United States, the most commonly used weatherproofing material falls into a few categories, and installation cost varies based on the difficulty of installation, the price of the material, and its expected longevity.
A few of the most popular options are:
Wood or Asphalt Shingles
Regardless of the type of material, the word “shingle” is a generic term for any roofing material that has several overlapping edges.
- Asphalt Shingle – The most common residential roofing material, it is made of a material called bitumen which is embedded in an organic or fiberglass mat. The mat is then typically covered with colored, man-made grit. Because the application and removal of this style of roofing is a rapid process, it is a cheaper option than slate or tiles.
- Pros – This material is readily available, easy to install, economical, and comes in a variety of colors.
- Cons– It can last 20 – 25 years if properly maintained – which is a shorter lifespan than some other materials. It also doesn’t provide the insulation that other materials offer, and there is a wide variation in the quality of products available on the market today.
- Wood Shingle – For hundreds of years, this was the go-to choice for roofers. Wood shingles are made from bolts of wood, like cedar or pine. Homeowners love how the wood weathers and ages to a lovely shade of gray.
- Pros – It’s a natural material that is readily available, and the life expectancy is up to 30 years.
- Cons – Some areas prohibit the use of wood shingles due to fire codes. In wet climates, wood shingles can mold, split, or rot. Additionally, some insurance companies have special requirements for homes with wood shingles.
Clay and Concrete Tiles
These tiles are very durable and add texture to a roof. They fit well with Mission, Mediterranean, or Spanish-style homes. This material requires professional installation.
- Pros – They can last 40-50 years and are energy-efficient.
- Cons – Tiles are expensive and usually require additional framing because of their weight.
Metal roofs stand up well to extreme weather conditions. They are lightweight, long-lasting, and recyclable. This material works well with cabins, contemporary, or cottage-style homes.
- Pros – It’s a durable material that lasts longer than shingles or wood, usually 40 – 75 years. It also offers high solar reflectance and works well for rainwater harvesting.
- Cons – Metal roofing is relatively expensive.
This material has a distinctive, beautiful appearance and comes in a wide range of colors. It works well with Colonial, European, or Chateau style homes.
- Pros – It is fire resistant and has a long lifespan, typically 50 – 100 years. Slate is also a sustainable material that can be recycled.
- Cons – Slate is one of the most expensive materials and requires additional framing to install. The quality of slate can also vary, especially when it is imported.
There are many synthetic roofing options available. These newly-developed options can give you the same look, color, and texture of natural materials like wood and slate. Synthetic products were created to be durable and easy to maintain. One of the most popular synthetic options is rubber shingles made from recycled tires.
If you choose to install a synthetic roofing material, be sure to look at installations in your area that have been in place for at least ten years to see how they have held up.
- Pros – It’s not as expensive or as fragile as other options, and it often has a warranty of up to 50 years.
- Cons – Newer products aren’t as time-tested, and quality often varies.
Do Your Research
Whatever roof you choose for your home, always ask about warranties and experience with similar installations. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends looking at full-size samples of products and suggests requesting a copy of the manufacturer’s brochure.
If you have any questions or would like a free quote on your next roof, give us a call today! We’d love to help your house weather the storm.