Whether you have gone to the architect to get a customized house built or you are repairing or replacing your current roof, there is one thing you cannot overlook. The type of roofing material you use will ultimately change the overall appearance of your home as well as the durability and value. But how do you know which one to choose?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Our experts have written this quick guide to help you choose the best roof to put on your home.
What To Look For In a Roof
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you begin browsing catalogs and reading product descriptions for the best roof, including:
- The lifespan of the material
- Regional climate
- Resistance to severe weather and natural disasters
- Weight of the materials
- Aesthetics of the materials and your property
- Local building codes
- Eco-friendly and recyclable
- Roof slope
This means that some roof materials are going to be better for your home than others. Knowing the slope of your roof and how much weight the internal framing can support will help limit your choices.
Cost of a New Roof
One of the major considerations when choosing the best roof is the overall cost. Be sure to have a budget figured out. Consider the cost of the roofing materials as the starting point of the expenses then think about other things factoring into the price. For example, if you’re removing an old roof, you will need to pay for the disposal. You might have to do repairs.
The shape of the roof also contributes to the cost of installing a roofing system. Gable roofs, for instance, have fewer breaks caused by chimneys, dormers, and vents, making them easier to do.
The Different Kinds of Roofing Materials
While there are plenty of choices of roofing materials out there, some are going to be better than others for your home. Flatter roofing, for example, cannot handle the same kinds of surfaces and weights as a steeper roof. Some materials are incredibly heavy, and the internal structure of your house may be unable to carry that load.
Consider the following roofing materials then discuss your choices with a professional roofer to make sure the job can be done.
Nearly 80 percent of residential homes have asphalt shingles. Inexpensive, easy to install, and available in a wide range of colors, asphalt shingles are ideal for a number of architectural styles and roofing pitches.
- Materials: Made of fiberglass and asphalt with mineral granules (adding moisture and fire resistance) or organic paper fibers (for cold and wind resistance).
- Lifespan: Composite shingles can last anywhere between 15-40 years, depending on the quality. Some are rated to last as long as 50 years with maintenance.
- Appearance: Numerous shapes, colors, sizes, and textures are available with architectural shingles. Less is available with 3-tab shingles.
- Weight: Moderate.
- Slope: Low to steep.
- Eco-Friendliness: Can be recycled but not eco-friendly due to petroleum.
- Resistances: Fiberglass is for fire and water, while the organic variety is better in the wind and cold. Algae resistance is higher in humid climates. Prone to tears. Cannot be washed with a power washer.
- Cost: Low to moderate. 3-tab shingles are cheaper than architectural varieties.
Wood Shakes and Shingles
Add a touch of natural beauty to your home with wooden shingles and shakes. Competitively priced, wooden shingles are a good alternative for those who don’t want asphalt shingles. They also have twice the R-value of asphalt shingles.
- Materials: Cedar, cypress, redwood, and pressure-treated pine.
- Lifespan: On average, wood shingles and shakes last about 25-30 years. Some shakes last between 35-40 years. When maintained, these can last up to 50 years. Be sure to repair or replace cracked shingles as soon as possible to prolong life.
- Appearance: Rustic look that enhances Cape Cod, Victorian, and Tudor architecture.
- Weight: Moderate.
- Slope: Moderate to steep slope.
- Eco-Friendliness: Natural materials that are eco-friendly, recyclable, and compostable.
- Resistances: Cedar and redwood have natural oils that repel insects and moisture. Make sure you get treated shingles, since untreated ones are not very fire resistant. Good wind resistance.
- Cost: Low to moderate. Machine-cut wood is cheaper.
A mix of aesthetic appeal, durability, cost-effectiveness, and conservation, metal roofing has seen a resurgence recently.
- Materials: Steel, copper, aluminum, copper-and-asphalt are widely available. Standing seam and stone-coated steel are the most popular versions.
- Lifespan: Metal roofs can last between 30-50 years; under the best circumstances, 75 years.
- Appearance: Can be made to mimic other roofing materials. Rustic to contemporary, the choice is yours.
- Weight: Lightweight.
- Slope: Suitable moderate to steep slopes.
- Eco-Friendliness: Made of recyclable materials.
- Resistances: Wind, rain, and fire resistant. Also does an excellent job of blocking heat transference. However, it can be dented if struck with heavy objects or debris.
- Cost: Can be high depending on metal chosen.
Cement and Clay Tile
Add a touch of the Mediterranean to your home with cement or clay tiles.
- Materials: Can be made from clay, concrete, or fiber cement.
- Lifespan: When properly maintained clay tile and cement can last 100 years or longer. However, this is only with continuous maintenance. Avoid walking on tile shingles and wash off any efflorescence on terracotta.
- Appearance: Look lovely with Mediterranean, Spanish/Mission, contemporary, or European style architecture. Not as varied in style and color as asphalt.
- Weight: Heavier than most kinds of roofing materials.
- Slope: Moderate to steep.
- Eco-Friendliness: Made from natural metals and can be recycled.
- Resistances: All types of tiles resist insects, fire, and moisture. Light colored tiles will reflect sunlight, reducing heat conduction and lowering the cost of cooling.
- Cost: Higher than asphalt, wood, and metal.
Slate (Natural or Vinyl)
One of the oldest roofing materials around, natural slate roofs from the Shakespearean era still exist today.
- Materials: Made from either natural slate stone or a vinyl mixture that mimics natural slate.
- Lifespan: Like tile and cement, slate can easily last for 100 years or more.
- Appearance: Usually dark gray with minor deviations tinged blue or pink or brown.
- Weight: Requires reinforced structure to support the weight of the stones. Vinyl option is lighter.
- Slope: Steep roofs only.
- Eco-Friendliness: Vinyl option is not very eco-friendly.
- Resistances: Excellent wind and fire resistance.
- Cost: Very expensive. Slate requires professional roofers to install.
Without going into too much detail, there are two kinds of warranties you need to keep in mind: the manufacturer’s warranty and the contractor’s warranty. The first is what protects you if a product arrives damaged or defective. Sometimes, depending on the warranty and manufacturer, workmanship may also be covered. Contractor warranties usually cover anything that happens as a result of improper installation.
Remember that, when you shop around for shingles, the warranty is only as good as it is written. In other words, if you are buying from a less reputable company, you may end up having less coverage. Make sure you are getting shingles from a reputable manufacturer. Even still, be sure to read over the warranty to know what is covered for how long and whether the warranty is transferable.
Choosing the best roof to put on your house is easy when you know which materials are within budget and match your aesthetic. Depending on what you are looking for, there are always going to be options that are more appealing than the others. However, if you are looking for a balance of curbside appeal, easy installation, low cost, and durability, asphalt shingles are always an excellent choice.
Have questions about shingles? Want to know what we recommend? Send us a message using the contact form. We’ll get back to you soon!