Best Roofing Options for Your Home

Is it time for a new roof?  Or do you foresee that happening down the road?  This means you have some choices ahead of you.  You can pick the standard asphalt roof or you can decide to use one of the many alternatives.  These materials can often be dictated by cost, where your home is and contractor availability.  So here is a quick guide to different roofing materials and the benefits.

Types of Roofing Materials:

Asphalt Shingles:

Pro’s of Asphalt Shingles
  • Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
  • Look good on most any style home
  • Shingles are often the affordable roofing option, especially in good/better ranges
  • The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
  • The cheapest 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market
  • Broad selection of colors and styles including affordable three-tab and architectural shingles that mimic shakes and slate
  • DIY asphalt shingle installation is easy for those with good skills, experience and equipment
Con’s of Asphalt Shingles
  • The lifetime cost of shingles is higher than metal, tile or slate, because composition shingles are replaced more often.
  • Cheap asphalt shingles last as little as 10-12 years in hot, sunny climates
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack
  • A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingle lifespan by cupping or cracking them
  • While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options
  • After a second layer of shingles needs replacing, all layers must be torn off the roof, creating extra expense and a lot of potential landfill waste
  • Mold or algae can be a problem on shingles in shady areas, unless treated with anti-algae/anti-stain treatments

Wood Shingles

Image result for wood shingles

Pro’s of Wood Shingles
  • Wood has natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
  • Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
  • Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
  • They can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan
  • Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles (but your home’s insulation levels are far more important than the R-value of the roofing)
  • Many shakes and shingles are made from salvaged trees – those that have fallen over from age or toppled by storm
  • Wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch or compost
  • They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow and cabin/cottage
Con’s of Wood Shingles
  • Non-treated materials have a Class C fire rating, but wood can cedar shingles and shakes are also available as a more-costly treated option
  • Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first
  • Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
  • While DIY installation is possible if you have good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
  • Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood
  • While wood is quite durable, but repairs will be expensive if they are required


Metal Roofing

Image result for metal roofing

Pro’s of Metal Roofing
  • New styles can mimic shingles, shakes, slate and tile, and colors are available
  • Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years
  • Metal reflects solar radiant heat, so can keep your home cooler and control energy costs in hot weather when compared with asphalt
  • Many metal roofing profiles are fire protected
  • Some styles of metal such as corrugated and ribbed panels that are common to barn roofs can be installed quickly
  • Metal sheds rain and snow better than most other roof materials, which helps prevent ice dams during extreme cold
  • Recycled materials are used in most metal roofs, and the roofing panels are 100% recyclable at the end of their service life
  • Today’s metal roofing products are light yet offer outstanding resistance to impact
  • Metal roofs look great on wood-sided homes, cabins, cottages and those with simple, rustic design
Con’s of Metal Roofing
  • The cost of metal roofing is higher  than asphalt shingles and wood roofing, but that is usually offset by its durability and longevity
  • Without an attic space or a proper substrate such as solid sheathing (boards or plywood), metal roofs installed over open framing and directly over living space can be noisier than other materials when the rain hits it
  • The material can dent when hit with a heavy object, and replacing metal panels is costlier than replacing asphalt, wood or tiles, although many metal roofing styles are rated to withstand large hail
  • While protecting the home from windblown sparks and cinders, in some situations metal roofing can make it more difficult for firefighters from breaking through the roof to pour water on an interior fire


Roof Tiles

Image result for Roof tiles

Pro’s of Roof Tiles
  • ll types, clay, concrete and fiber cement, offer 50+ years of durability
  • Tiles resist fire and insects
  • The rich aesthetics of tile increase curb appeal
  • While not as varied as asphalt shingles, tiles are produced in a good range of colors, styles and textures
  • Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, so reduces heat penetration and cooling requirements
  • The tiles are recyclable
  • Tiles look fantastic on Spanish/Mission, European, Mediterranean and some contemporary homes
Con’s of Roof Tiles
  • Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost
  • The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal and wood
  • Tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues is trickier when the roof is tile
Natural Slate

Image result for Roof slate

Pro’s of Slate
  • The luxurious good looks of genuine slate are unsurpassed
  • Genuine slate is a “lifetime” roof for any building and enhances curb appeal and resale value
  • Slate requires little maintenance
  • Synthetic slate is lightweight yet strong
  • This is a green roofing material due to its durability, the fairly low impact of manufacturing and that it can be reused and recycled
Con’s of Slate
  • Genuine slate is the heaviest roofing material at up to 1,500lbs per 100 square feet, so extra framing support (and extra cost) is necessary
  • If a slate roof isn’t properly installed, moisture issues will start quickly
  • Slate roofs should only be installed by contractors that specialize in slate, so you must do your due diligence before hiring an installer
  • Slate might break if walked on, so roof and chimney repairs are more difficult to make



The Take Away

You have many options when it comes to what material and design you want for your roof, as with everything it’s a balance of cost, desire and availability.  If you are weighing the options for putting a new roof on, cost can be an issue and you might be able to pay for it with the equity from your house.  A cash out refinance could give you want you need to finish that important project.


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