When looking for a home, there are a plethora of things one must consider. One of the most important, is the condition of the roof, and the materials used for the roof. Knowing and understanding a little about some common roofing materials, as well as how long they usually last is important and could save you money in the long run. The following will discuss some of the pros and cons of eight common roofing materials.
Asphalt or composite shingles. This is often the most widely used choice when it comes to roofing. Asphalt or composite shingles work well with almost any style of house and are relatively easy to install. Lower end 3-tab shingles usually last about 15-20 years, while the heavier, higher construction grade, costlier “architectural” shingles can last nearly 40 years. The downside to the heavy, more costly shingles, is that it is more difficult to find matching replacement shingles should there ever be a need. Also, less expensive choices may end up devaluing a high-end home.
Clay tiles and concrete. This roofing material, while more unusual, looks very stylish on certain homes such as Spanish or Mediterranean styled homes. Clay tiles and concrete are usually found in warmer climates since clay heats up slowly. This has a moderating effect on hot temperatures. Tiles tend to be lighter weight than concrete, but tend to be more fragile. These materials can last 50 – 100 years. However, clay tiles and concrete are usually more expensive than asphalt shingles to install, take longer, and require a knowledgeable contractor.
Metal. A more modern, and unique choice in roofing. Ruggedly charming, metal roofs come in many colors and weather handsomely. Usually manufactured in shapes, from shingles to panels, some come in unique textures – some even resemble dragon scales. Metal shingles or panels can be louder than other types of roofing when it rains and unless there is sufficient sound proofing in the ceiling. Metal roofing is also among the more expensive choices when it comes to roofing materials, copper being the most high-priced. However, metal roofing can have a life span of easily 50 – 100 years.
Synthetic. There has been a recent influx of new polymer products coming on the market. Synthetic roofing materials are heralded as durable, light weight, and fire resistant. Much like synthetic hardwood floors, composite products can resemble a broad range of roofing materials, all the way from cedar shake to slate. Even though they aren’t the real thing, they still can be on the pricey side. Synthetic materials also haven’t been around long enough to stand the test of time.
Slate. Among the most expensive choices for roofing materials, the installation process for slate is very time consuming and requires a seasoned contractor to install. However, the cost of installation and materials is offset by it’s being unmatched aesthetically. Slate has a very “exclusive” look to it as well as unique coloring to make the roof look amazing. Slate can last 50-plus years.
Planted “green” materials. More often used in commercial settings than in residential homes. Planted roofs offer ecological progress. Planted materials work best on flat roofs, can be costly to install and maintain, as well as become quite heavy to support once all the material is in place. Before installation, an engineer should inspect the foundation and other support structures to ensure that the roof is capable of handling the stress of the greenery’s weight. Despite this, a well maintained planted roof gives your home the look of an embrace of nature and a very earthy, green, and natural persuasion.
Wood shakes and shingles. These natural materials look great on most homes, whether traditional or contemporary. They also last up to 50 years. However, they must be treated to withstand fire, and some states building codes don’t permit them. They can sometimes be quite costly, almost as much as slate. The installation process is less time consuming than it would be for slate though.
Solar shingles. The ever more popular roofing adventure. Dow Chemical Co. will soon be releasing the PowerHouse Solar Shingle, which can be incorporated into existing home roofing systems along with standard asphalt shingles. They will cost less than solar panels, and be much easier to install and maintain.
All of the options above present unique and interesting roofing materials. When one is considering replacing their roof, or deciding what type of roof they want to have, most of these options ought to be weighed and considered, keeping in mind location and cost of installation and materials.