When you need to replace the roof, choosing a roofing material is one of the hardest decisions in the process. You need to take into consideration, weather conditions, how long you will be in your home, the neighbor’s homes, and home value. Here is some information on the roofing materials available today.
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years for three-tab, 20 to 25 years for architectural.
Construction: Asphalt is infused into a fiberglass core, and the material is then covered with colored granules. Single-layer shingles create a flat appearance; double-layer architectural shingles give a textured look.
Pros: This least expensive roofing material is lightweight, fire-resistant, economical to install, available in a variety of colors and can be installed over an existing roof.
Cons: Shingles fade, become brittle, attract mold and mildew, and may blow off in high winds.
Good to know:
- Shingles age more than any other roof types, and color is a big factor. The lighter the shingle, the slower it's going to age.
- Use the manufacturer's underlayment system. For less than $1,000 (extra), you're putting on a much, much better roof.
- Lightweight shingles are preferred over heavier roof options in seismic areas, where roofing can be damaged by earthquake movement of the building parts beneath.
Lifespan: A lifetime, but the surface may require recoating.
Construction: In a traditional installation, thin sheets of stainless steel, aluminum, copper or zinc are measured, cut into panels and seamed for custom installation over a watertight roof underlayment. Metal also can be formed to simulate wood shakes, shingles and even tile or slate.
Pros: Metal is light, durable and laughs off the fire, rot and insect perils that plague other roofing types. Metal also reflects the sun's rays, keeping attics cooler.
Cons: Metal's higher price might discourage some homeowners. Some metal roofs also can be noisy in rain or hail and show surface dents.
Good to know:
- Professional installation is the key to longevity for a metal roof. Metal roofs are very much subject to galvanic action. If you have dissimilar metals touching each other, you'll get a hole from corrosion where those metals meet.
- Using a local roofer may save you money because metal roofs are only so thick, and roofers usually either use a local shop or form them themselves.
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years.
Construction: Chunky wood shakes are hand-cut from cedar, redwood or pine trees, while wood shingles are machine-processed.
Pros: In addition to their timeless look, properly installed wood shakes can provide good insulation.
Cons: Wood shakes are expensive to buy and install, have little or no defense against fire, can warp over time and may be susceptible to rot. Insurers will almost certainly charge a premium to underwrite a shake roof.
Good to know:
- Although some manufacturers impregnate their shakes with a fire retardant to meet fire safety standards, Reinhold questions how long the treatment will remain effective. Most roofing products are rated in their virgin state as they come out of the factory, but it's unclear how long that's going to last over time.
- Be sure to check with your insurer before committing to wood. Some insurers will increase your whole-house peril cost because of wood shakes."
Lifespan: A lifetime when installed correctly.
Construction: Actual slices of slate stone are cut to form.
Pros: Like tile, slate is impervious to fire, rot and insects, with the added benefits of greater impact resistance and less maintenance. Unlike tile, slate can be easier to repair due to its natural color variations.
Cons: Slate is expensive to purchase and install, and its weight might require extra support. Expect slate to add to your home insurance costs.
Good to know:
- Slate is normally mechanically attached, so it has a high wind resistance. If winds get high enough to where the slate starts coming off, they'll probably fall to the ground a little faster than tile.
- If you're looking at slate, you would probably never do the $500 version.
- Slate tends to be used on new, large homes with roof structures specifically designed to withstand the additional weight. On a large house the average slate roof can cost $75,000 to $100,000 in materials alone.
Lifespan: A lifetime when installed with sound underlayment.
Construction: Mined clay is shaped, glazed or painted, then baked. For concrete tile -- sand and pulverized rock are mixed with concrete, tinted, then poured into molds.
Pros: Versatile tile offers a wide range of looks, will not burn, rot or attract insects, and provides optimal attic insulation.
Cons: Clay tile is expensive, and some types can crack under foot if anyone ever needs to walk around up there. Any tile adds weight to the home's structural supports. The potential replacement cost could result in higher home insurance rates.
Good to know:
- Clay tile is the only roof product that doesn't fade but instead gets darker.
- Concrete tile tends to be heavier and stronger than clay. When you get into hail, concrete has some advantages there.
- Concrete tiles formed to look like wood shakes can be a good alternative to wood in fire-prone locales.
For more information on roofing and roofing materials, contact SB Roofing.