Among the many decisions homeowners face – from landscaping, to what mortgage type is best – the kind of roofing you have may not exactly come first to mind. (“Fabulous! Are those new asphalt shingles?” is not a query we hear often from neighbors.) Nonetheless, types of roofing chosen cansignificantly impact your housing experience – for better or worse.
The front-end investments of both taking your time considering your options, and paying for quality, will likely spare you the headache and stress of later upkeep costs. After all, while no one intentionally advertises their warm attic for refuge-seeking wildlife to nest up – say, by way of rotted holes in their roof – very few of us plan not to.
Factors to Consider for Roof Types
Which types of roofing suit you best will depend on matters most important to you. Factors to consider are climate, budget, durability, and appearance. Do you live in a snow- or rain-heavy region? Is environmental friendliness important to you? How about energy efficiency? Are you planning to sell, and wish to raise the value with a centuries-lasting tile roof? Does your dream home emit a warm, rustic glow of wood shakes atop your log cabin? Reputation and experience of your roofing company will also influence the final price.
Fortunately, a range of favorable options exists. To cover your home, here are ten roofing types we recommend for a quality roof.
Synthetic Roof Types
Synthetic roofing products have expanded in variety to include rubber, plastic, and polymer, which tend to be cheaper, lighter, and less fragile to install than natural products. Some are even fire-resistant. A trained eye might be able to spot synthetic from natural; more likely, telling the difference from the curbside is nearly imperceptible.
Asphalt shingles – Don’t be fooled – it’s not just for paving driveways. The most popular option in the United States, this gritty type of roofing is easy to install and lightweight and therefore the most economical option. Its woven fiberglass base mat and ceramic granule covering create a sturdy protection that keeps out undesirables like UV rays. Asphalt’s availability in a full range of colors offers flexibility with most architectural home styles. While it is the most wallet-friendly material, asphalt is also environmentally unfriendly, and will not last as long as its heavier and costlier roofing compadres.
Lifetime: 15-30 years
Low maintenance, extreme impact, fire rated, authentic in beauty if not in composition – what’s not to love? Mimicking the appearance of its natural counterpart, synthetic wood shakes offer that similarly pleasing log-cabin look at a fraction of the cost. Innovations in technology have reached a quite convincing comparability to the real wood roof types, minus the same upkeep headaches that often come with natural wood.
Lifetime: 30 years
Synthetic slate – is formed from a blend of petroleum-based materials into metal forms, cast together from authentic slate. Like synthetic wood to natural, this too mimics the favorable appearance of natural slate. It also costs less – about one third to one half – thanks to its lighter weight and easier installation. Bonus: even synthetic slate is still considered a “green” alternative. If using recyclable content is important to you, a few synthetic slate options do incorporate post-consumer recycled materials.
Lifetime: 50-80 years
Durable, pliable and waterproof, rubber comes next for synthetic roof types. Designed to install where asphalt shingles don’t perform well, rubber can be installed on top of certain types of existing roofing and consequently save substantial labor costs.
Lifetime: 50 years
Natural Roof Types
Wood – roofing is installable in either shingles (trim and crisp, cut by a machine) or shakes (hand-splint, for a rustic appeal). The highest-value option is cedar, which tends to outlast most common types of roofing by at least a decade. If aesthetic matters greatly you, this may be a viable choice: a cedar roof will reward you with that enhanced, natural beauty to your home. Wood roofs pair beautifully with more traditional or historic houses. Residents of fire-prone regions should look for products treated with fire-resistant coating.
Lifetime: 30 years
When it comes to weathering all elements – rain, sleet, snow, or hail – no other substance exceeds metal roofs in durability and performance. Sow a heftier front-end cost, and you will reap long-term gain of little to no maintenance, fire protection, and longer wear from the elements, as it will outlive other options like wood and asphalt. Available in panels or shingles, metal types of roofing include aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and zinc.
Lifetime: varies (aluminum will last 50 years, while copper could make it to 100 years or more)
Slate – offers a distinct elegance, available in black, green, grey, red, and purple. A heavier option like this one does call for structural consideration – can your home bear the weight of a denser roof material? Though of far higher cost, a slate roof gifts its investors with a century-long lifetime of little to no troubles.
Lifetime: 75-100 years
For a touch of texture to a roof, clay and concrete tiles bring a distinct beauty atop one’s home. Both roofing types are energy efficient and extremely durable, but expensive, and quite heavy, and therefore must be installed by a licensed professional.
Lifetime: 100+ years
Finally, our tenth and final among our list of roof types is Spanish tile. Reminiscent of Spanish moss and stucco homes, with its distinct sheen, color, and wavy shape, Spanish tile proffers a uniquely upscale look. A bit of a synthetic/natural hybrid, it’s frequently composed of items like wood, concrete, plastic, or solar cells. It’s a great insulator and non-combustible, and one of the longest-lasting options on the market. Given its longevity and durability, Spanish tile falls at a surprisingly high-value rate.
Lifetime: 100+ years
We get it. As a homeowner, it can be daunting to face an unfamiliar decision like choosing from the many types of roofing. Never fear: our professional and experienced contractors are here to help.