From picking materials, color, style, and everything else in between, it can seem like an overwhelming task to choose the perfect roof for your home. This is truer than it’s ever been because, now more than ever, there are so many different choices to pick from. While this can lead to a seemingly infinite number of choices, there are plenty of roof styles that will work brilliantly for your house.
Whether your goal is to replace the roof of an existing home or you’re designing a new home from scratch, there is an abundance of choice available when it comes to quality roof materials. These include, but are not limited to, clay tiles, composite shingles, asphalt, concrete and wood. The weight of the materials, their cost, and how they must be installed are all factors that will ultimately guide you to the best roof for your needs.
Factors to Consider
When you’re ready to get a roof for your house, there are numerous factors you’ll need to keep in mind:
- How long will these materials last?
- Can the material hold up against likely natural disasters?
- Are the materials recyclable and green?
- Is there enough slope?
- Are the materials too heavy for the framing?
- Does it look good?
- Do local building codes permit this type of roof?
- How much does it cost?
Although there are all kinds of roofs nowadays, not all materials work with all styles of roof. The materials you would use on flat roofs would generally not be the same ones that are used on roofs with steep pitches. That’s because tile and slate weigh too much for most houses to handle on their own. When narrowing down your choice of materials, consider the following options:
Asphalt shingle. Due to its very low cost and minimal installation requirements, asphalt shingle remains the most common roof material. It’s also not very heavy, comprised of a mix of fiberglass and asphalt made to feel coarse like sand. Not only is this type of roof inexpensive to build, but they will also last at least 25 years, making them a good choice if cost is the primary factor.
Wood. For hundreds of years, houses had wooden roofs, and many continue to do so where it’s still legal; certain areas in the country enforce fire codes that no longer permit wood for use as a roof, so it’s important to check your local building code. When wood can be used, it often comes down to a choice between southern pine, cedar or redwood. Like shingles, wooden roofs can live at least 25 years, but they’ll come at about twice the cost.
Metal. If money isn’t one of your bigger concerns, you will find success with metal roofs. Often, contractors rely on durable types like copper with asphalt, standalone copper, aluminum, lead, and steel. “With an exception for copper/asphalt and lead, most of these materials are soldered together as long sheets of metal, and with copper/asphalt and lead, shingles are the best option,” said 1st Coast Metal Roofing Supply.
Cement and Tile. These are expensive, durable, heavy materials. Depending on the type of tile, you can also enjoy the benefits of a naturally cool roof, such as lower energy bills and a more comfortable interior with less effort.
Slate. A very durable material, slate is one of the strongest choices of roof material. They’re not all the same, however; there are quarries throughout the United States, but the best quality slate will easily outlast the materials used to install it into place. In fact, it’s common practice to recycle 100-plus-year-old slate as a roof expected to withstand the elements for another 100 years. Of course, this comes at two costs: a heavy cost-per-square and a heavy weight.
When roofing a house, be sure to consider two types of warranties. A warranty from the manufacturer will insure you for any defects that may exist in the materials. The roofing contractor may also offer their own warranty to coverage problems that occur due to bad installation.
Of course, the warranty is only as good as the company that offers it, so do your research on the company’s history and stick with one that has happy clients and plenty of financial resources to honor its warranties.