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What Roofing Material is Best?

Whether your roof has been damaged or you’re wondering if it’s time to replace your roof, you are probably looking for the best quality roofing material to protect your home and family. Some things to take into consideration before buying a new roof are your budget and the condition of your current roof. The roof is one of the most important home improvement repairs that a homeowner must face so doing the research and finding a trustworthy roofing company is vital. For this reason, we pulled together a list of commonly used roofing materials and their advantages and disadvantages. We hope this list will guide you in the right direction for your next roofing project.

Slate:

As a traditional, natural roofing material, slate provides beauty, high fire resistance, versatility and strength. A slate roof increases your home’s aesthetic appeal and value and is unparalleled in design, longevity and energy conservation. In fact, a slate roof can last as long as 75-150 years with proper maintenance. While it is one of the most expensive materials, slate offers long-lasting durability and is a wise investment, as well as being a selling point to your home’s future owners.

Advantages:

  • Long-lasting
  • Good for the environment and energy efficient
  • Aesthetically pleasing, especially with copperwork

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Requires professional installation

 

Final result of asphalt shingle and aluminum gutter installation.

Asphalt Shingles

One of the most popular options for roofing, asphalt shingles are found on more than 80% of homes. Their structure consists of fiberglass between asphalt and ceramic granules. The strength comes from the fiberglass, while the asphalt granules provide the waterproof benefits. Easy to install, asphalt shingles are the economical option. They last around 15-40 years, depending on the quality of asphalt shingles used and how well the roof is taken care of. 

Advantages:

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Repairs are easy and cost-effective

Disadvantages:

  • Shorter lifespan compared to other materials
  • Mold or algae growth in shaded areas
  • Vulnerable to cupping and cracking

 

Copper valley on wood shingle roof.

Wood Shingles/Shakes

Wood Shingles:

Wood shingle roofs are made of thin pieces of wood, tapered and smooth on both surfaces. An attractive option, wood shingle roofs are long-lasting with an average lifespan of 25-30 years. Of the many wood options, cedar and redwood are the most commonly used types of wood in North American these days for roofing. Compared to asphalt shingles, wood shingles are trickier to install and require installation by a professional roofing company. In addition, because wood is a natural insulator, they are two times more energy efficient than asphalt shingles. If you live in an area where wildfires are frequent, wood shingle and shake use may be restricted.

Wood shingles and shake roofs are beautiful, but expect more maintenance compared to an asphalt roof.

Wood Shakes:

Compared to wood shingles, wood shakes are hand cut from blocks of wood and are thicker and more expensive. They also stand up to weather and UV rays better than wood shingles. A wood shake is split to reveal the uneven natural grain of the wood on the face and is naturally beautiful and long lasting. They can last anywhere from 35-40 years but require proper maintenance. Keep an eye out for debris or moss because it needs to be removed immediately to ensure the longevity of the shakes.

Advantages:

  • Natural beauty of wood
  • Last longer than asphalt shingles
  • 2x better insulation than asphalt shingles
  • Enhance a multitude of architectural styles including, Cape, Bungalow, Tudor, and Victorian.

Disadvantages:

  • Untreated wood has a class C fire rating and is risky if not properly treated
  • Untreated wood shingles and shakes are high maintenance
  • Repairs are expensive

 

Standing-Seam Metal Roof

Another durable and eco-friendly option is standing-seam metal roofing. This type of roof is constructed from large metal panels placed on the roof deck with the seams overlapping in raised ridges that run vertically down the roof. Of the metals, steel, aluminum, copper and zinc are often used. Copper is a popular choice because of it’s beautiful color that becomes an attractive green patina. It is resistant to extreme weather conditions and has a lifespan of around 30-50 years. Metal roofs are nearly maintenance-free but be sure to have a roofing professional check if the fasteners and seals on the ridges are secure.

Advantages:

  • Durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions
  • Low maintenance and long-lasting
  • Very sleek and attractive depending on the metal
  • Prevents ice dams

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Can be dented by fallen debris
  • Without proper substrate between roof and living space, metal roofs can be noisier when rain hits
  • Needs ice rails to prevent falling ice and snow

 

Tile

Similar to slate, tile roofing offers an attractive appeal with a long lifespan. While popular in the southwest, terracotta tiles can be found across the country due to their strength and durability. With proper maintenance, they can last 100 years or more. Not only are they immune to rot, moisture, and mold, but with proper installation, they can stay leak-free. Pricing for tiles may vary based on whether the tiles are traditional clay terracotta, fired ceramic, or concrete.

Advantages:

  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Attractive and distinct appearance
  • Low maintenance and not vulnerable to rot and mold

Disadvantage:

  • Heavy weight, requires a sturdy roofing structure
  • Expensive
  • Cannot be installed on a roof with a pitch of less than 4:12, over 5 is recommended

 

Now that you have finished your search for the right material for your roof replacement. Now your next step is to find the right roofing company and read what to expect from your roof replacement!