A new roof on your house can increase its curb appeal and desirability. Choosing the right material for your new roof can upgrade its style and longevity, and add value to your home.
Start a checklist of your priorities for installing a new roof. Do you need a roofing material that can handle the extreme weather conditions in your area? Or, do you want a material that enhances the style of your home. Is low-maintenance high on your list of priorities?
Once you have your list of wants and needs for a new roof, you will be ready to research the various roofing materials and products available through your contractor or roofing product manufacturer. Here is a short list of some of the popular roofing materials currently being used in roof-replacement.
Some Popular Roofing Materials
Synthetic or Composite Materials
The most significant change in roofing materials today, is a shift to engineered, or synthetic, roofing materials. This trend has likely been driven by the high cost of wood, and the fact that many local building codes now mandate fireproof construction materials. There are synthetic (or composite) roofing products made from plastics, polymers and rubber, developed with high technology to give them the color, style and texture of natural materials, like wood and slate.
Wood Shingles and Shakes
Wood roofs need to breathe and should be laid over a substrate that lets air circulate behind them — wood strips or battens nailed directly to the rafters—is the traditional way to of install a wood shingle roof. Shingle and shakes require some periodic maintenance to remove mildew or moss, and re-oiling with a wood finish. A well maintained wood roof can last up to 50 years.
Ceramic tile roofs are often seen in the Mediterranean-influenced architecture of Florida and California. They are quite heavy, and may require reinforced framing. The installation is labor-intensive, which makes it expensive. However, the expense of a tile roof may turn out to be cost-effective, with the life-span of a tile roof 60 to 80 years.
Clay and Concrete Tiles
If you want a roofing material that will add texture and elegance to your Southwestern, Spanish or Mediterranean style home, clay and concrete tiles can achieve that. Ribbed, flat or scalloped clay tiles are durable but also quite heavy and need professional installation. Concrete tiles are less expensive than clay, but heavier. Both materials usually require special framing. Clay and concrete tiles are long-lasting (40-50 years) non-combustible, and concrete is energy efficient.
Metal roofs are available in panels or shingles. They can be made of aluminum, copper, stainless steel or zinc, and are resistant to extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snow or high heat. They look sleek, are lightweight, last longer than asphalt or wood (up to 50 years), and are recyclable. However, they can be expensive.
A slate roof offers beauty and elegant to a home, especially with European or French chateau styles. It is durable, fire-resistant and is a recyclable material. Slate is heavy, though, and requires extra framing and professional installation. Slate can last 50 to 100 years or more.