Choosing the right Roofing system and contractor for your home can be a daunting task. Blistering heat, frigid cold, snow, sleet, torrential downpours, gail force winds and damaging hail can all take a toll on your roof. While there are many types of roofing materials, styles and colors available for your region of the country, all roofing systems serve one main purpose which is to protect your home from the elements under normal conditions the average roofing material will last from 20 to 50 years. The length of time depends on many factors including type of material, manufacturing process, and installation methods. When it is time to replace your roof it is important to choose a professional roofing contractor, and to arm yourself with the information you need to make an informed decision.
We hope that the following information will help choose the right material for your home. Now let’s take a look at the difference between the residential roofing systems available today so you may have a better understanding in regards to selecting the right materials to match your taste and fit your budget.
Asphalt Shingles - This is the most common type of roofing material used on homes across America today and with good reason. Asphalt roofing shingles (sometimes referred to as Fiberglass or Composition shingles) are very economical in comparison to other roofing materials with the “3 Tab shingle” being the least expensive and most common. Shingles are also easier to install and weigh substantially less than Slate or Ceramic Tile roofing products. These advantages allow for faster framing in new construction projects, and often one day removal/replacement of existing roofs.
Over the past two decades shingle manufacturers have created “Architectural” and “Designer” shingles which replicate the natural look of shake and slate roofs. These upgraded shingles offer a unique look to homes, and when compared to standard three tab shingles they often provide additional protection due to the thickness, and manufacturing process. Additional benefits offered by some manufactures are Class 4 Impact resistant shingle which can be more durable during a Hail storm as well as Energy Star rated shingles with solar reflective granules which can help save up to 20% on your cooling bill during the summer months.
Metal Roofing - Although Metal roofing is widely seen on commercial or industrial buildings it has grown in popularity over the past decade in the residential market. This is due in part to increased availability, and more affordable metal roofing products. These materials are also offered in a wide array of colors and styles to help accent a customer’s individual taste. Metal is a fairly light, durable material than can last 50+ years if maintained properly. You can choose from a basic galvanized metal roofing panel with a Kynar® paint finish, to higher end copper roofing on the other end of the spectrum. Metal roofing is often used to accent homes. Often on the roof of a “bay” window or other architectural feature.
Natural Slate - Many older homes in the Northeast and Midwest were built with Slate Roofs. Slate is a very strong and durable natural stone product that can add timeless beauty to any structure. A Slate roof can literally last a few hundred years if basic maintenance is performed on a regular basis. Slate is very heavy and would require special framing techniques on new homes, and alterations to roof framing on many existing homes. In addition the process of installing the material can be complex, and this adds to the cost of the install.
Wood Shakes & Shingles - Before the mass production of asphalt shingles, wood shakes were one of the few products that were available to roof a home. Now a natural wood shake roof is a premium choice that can add beauty to any roofline. The life of a wood shingle is dependent on the care and maintenance performed. When properly maintained it is not unusual to have cedar shakes last 50+ years.
Ceramic Tiles – The first use of ceramic tile as a roofing material has been traced to china in 10,000 B.C. This was the roofing material of choice for hundreds of years due to its natural fire resistance, low thermal conductivity, durability, and ease of maintenance. Ceramic tile roofs are still considered by many to be the most beautiful roofs in America and are more prevalent in warmer climates such as Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Southern California. This product is one of the heaviest of all roofing materials so most states have stringent framing requirements for both new and existing homes. Due to the weight and the installation requirements Ceramic tiles are one of the most expensive roofing materials in the residential market.
Synthetic Shingles - Manufacturers have created Synthetic products that mimic the look of authentic clay tile, wood, and stone shingles. They are molded composites that often incorporate recycled materials. The cost is substantially less and the installation is also much more streamlined due to the light weight. This leads to typically a lower overall cost in comparison to the authentic products. Many synthetic slates and shakes are backed by 50-year warranties, and are UL-certified for Class 4 impact resistance. As an added bonus some materials have attained a Class A fire resistance rating, and are rated to resist uplift in high winds.
Flat Roofing - While not very common in the residential roofing market it is on many homes. Often these materials are used over a porch roof, or other low slope rooflines. There are many types of Flat or Low slope roofing materials used on a residence such as EPDM (rubber roofing), Self adhering Modified Bitumen and Roll Roofing. Flat roofing is becoming more common along the coastline. This is due to the construction of stronger homes that withstand the severe weather. Often to conserve energy these roofs utilize cool flat roofing products such as thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing membrane technology.