Roofing Materials Guide

There’s lots of roofing materials available and it’s important to know the types to choose the right one for you. Most don’t think about their home’s durability until it’s too late. If you wait for any noticeable damage to occur, it can be very costly to you.

roofing materials

Whether it’s your first home or you’re a long-time homeowner, know the pros and cons of different roofing materials to choose wisely so your home can last for a long time.

Choosing Your Material

When making your choices, look for ones that both fit your structural style and climate. Making the best choice can help you avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Asphalt shingles are the most common type, known for its durability and easy installment, which can last about 25 years. They come in variety of colors and offered at affordable prices. Copper or zinc granules can be found in some, to prevent algae growth if you live in a humid place.

Wood shingles and shakes are common in the Pacific Northwest and Western regions. The price is twice as much as asphalt with the same life expectancy, but provide a vintage, rural charm to any home. They are uniformly machine waved and sometimes handmade. Beware however, as some government fire codes forbid the use of wood shingles despite a factory-applied treatment that makes the wood fire resistant.

Tile, clay and cement roofing are fire resist and durable, fitting for Spanish-style homes in the Southwest. The huge downside however, is that they are triple the price of asphalt, but with a much higher lifespan of 50 to 100 years.

Slate is the most durable roofing material as it’s heavy and a natural stone composition. It’s the most expensive due to its material structure, about 12 to 20 times more costly than asphalt. Slate however, can last over 100 years.

Aluminum, steel and copper models are popular amongst flat or low-slope roofs. They are sometimes created to mimic shingles and tiles. They are known for durability, light weight, fire and weather resistant, all while lasting about 35 years.

Synthetic, polymer, or composite roofing are good if you want a slate or wood look within a budget. They are man-made options that mimic the most popular styles and materials. They are lightweight, durable and the price range is about the same as asphalt. It requires little to no maintenance and lasts for about 50 years.

Installing Your Roof

To avoid costly damages down the line, there are important safeguards to consider after picking your new roofing material.

Proper ventilation will help to ensure your roof lasts longer. If no device is installed, heat and moisture will build up underneath the roof, causing structural damage. Roof vents, louvers and soffit vents can fix these issues.

Leaks should be avoided at all costs. Flashing points should be installed, which are metal sheathing adjoined with different materials, such as skylights or vents. Staggered joints and proper overlap can also prevent leaks.

Ensuring Long-Lasting Results

The elements and the climate you are in are direct factors on the performance and lifespan on your roof. Whether it’s rain rotting the roof deck or wind blowing off shingles, you are at risk.

To be prepared for these instances, regularly inspect your roof after a major weather event and annually. Catching little problems that can turn into big problems will help prevent huge bills in the future. Look for red flags such as:

  • Loose shingles – Check to see if there are shingles that are not lying flat to know which ones to repair. Shingles that show signs of cracking, curling, buckling are damaged and need to be repaired immediately.
  • Sagging areas of roof – Drooping areas of the roof can be a sign of rotting from moisture damage. Check the underling deck, as it may need to be repaired and stop larger issues from occurring.
  • Shingle granule debris – If the shingle granules are in the downspouts or gutters, it may mean the roof it at the end of its life.

When in doubt of any issues, contact a roofing contractor to make sure there are no major problems.