What Is the Best Residential Roofing Material?

June 4, 2019

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Asphalt shingles are a standard residential roofing material, as they’re very affordable and durable and work well on just about any style of home. However, asphalt shingles are not your only choice when it comes to residential roof repairs and a new roof installation! Investing in an upgraded roofing material adds drama and style to your home and can mean a more durable roof as well. However, there are many reasons to consider traditional asphalt shingles over other roofing materials, including their lower cost and ease of installation.

Asphalt shingles are affordable and easy to install. Metal roofing is a bit costly but fire-resistant and lasts for 50 years or more. Slate roofs offer lots of charm and visual appeal while clay tiles are a perfect fit for Mediterranean style homes.

Since there are more choices than ever for residential roofing materials, it’s good for a homeowner to research each of these options carefully before calling a residential roofing company. A roofing contractor can assist in choosing the best residential roofing materials for a home but knowing some pros and cons of each option will ensure you make the best choice for your house.

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How Do I Choose Roofing Materials?

If your house needs a new roof, consider a few tips on how to choose roofing materials. Be sure to discuss your options as well as your budget with your residential roofing contractor, as he or she can also note the best option for your house depending on its style, the current roof’s overall condition, and your area’s general weather conditions.

  • Consider the longevity of a roofing material along with its initial installation costs. Asphalt shingles are typically very affordable but might need replacing in 15 or 20 years. A metal roof, on the other hand, is more expensive but can last 50 years or more. Since you’ll replace a metal roof far less often, it can be most cost-effective overall for homeowners expecting to own their home for the next several decades.
  • A homeowner might be able to put a new roof over the existing one, if the home can support the weight of several layers of roofing. This new roofing layer is often cheaper than a full roof tear-off and installation. However, some roofing materials are weightier than others so that they limit how often you can add that new layer.
  • Certain roofing materials, such as a metal roof or clay tiles, might require the services of a specialty roofing contractor. Consider any added costs for hiring a specialty roofer if you choose something other than standard asphalt tiles.
  • Consider how your area’s weather conditions affect roofing materials. Some types of shingles might dry out under harsh sunlight and low-quality asphalt shingles are sometimes more likely to fly away in high winds and strong storms. In tropical or desert areas, you might consider a metal roof for added durability against the weather, or invest in high-wind shingles.
  • If you’re eco-conscious, note how your chosen roofing material is manufactured and if it’s recyclable. Wood shingles might be made from salvaged wood scrap, and metal roofs are easy to recycle.
  • Don’t overlook your home’s style when choosing a residential roofing material. Slate roofs complement a brick home whereas metal offers an updated, modern style. Wood tiles create a natural, rustic look that works well with traditional or craftsman style homes.
  • If you might put your home on the real estate market in the distant future, consider how a roofing material affects its overall resale value. A more durable roofing material might still be in excellent shape when you’re ready to sell your home, whereas cheaper roofing materials might wear out and need replacing by the time you’re ready to sell your house!

What Type of Roofing Lasts the Longest?

Your home’s roof is a costly investment that you want to last as long as possible! While your area’s weather conditions and the quality of your chosen roofing materials affect its durability, note some lifetime averages for various materials so you can choose the best option for your home.

  • Slate has a lifespan of 150 years or even longer. While this makes slate one of the most durable roofing materials available, consider that you might be investing in a roof that has a longer lifespan than you! Slate is an excellent option for homes that are expected to pass from one generation to another; for many homeowners, however, slate might be an overly expensive option with a longer lifespan than necessary.
  • Clay and concrete tiles have a lifespan of roughly 100 years. This also makes them an excellent option for homes you expect to keep in the family, and clay especially works well for Mediterranean style homes.
  • Metal roofs might last 50 years or longer. Metal is also very durable against storms, lightning strikes, and high winds, making it an excellent choice for homes in the tropics and other such areas. For many homeowners, a metal roof might be the first and only roof they need to install on their home.
  • With proper care and maintenance, wood shingles can last 30 years or more.
  • Most asphalt shingles are expected to last from 10 to 20 years. Some newer brands of asphalt shingles offer a longer lifespan but these brands are also typically more costly than others.
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The Pros and Cons of a Metal Roof

Metal roofs are gaining in popularity with many homeowners for a variety of reasons. If you’re considering a metal roof for your home, note some pros and cons of this material so you know if this is the right decision for your house.

  • Today’s metal roofs come in a wider variety of styles than ever before. You can choose from a number of paint colors to complement your home’s exterior walls, and some metal sheets also have a granular coating that creates the look of asphalt or wood shingles.
  • Metal roofs reflect solar heat, allowing for a cooler environment in the home during hot summer months.
  • Most metal roofs have a class A fire rating, making them an excellent option in areas prone to lightning strikes, brushfires, and other such risks.
  • The surface of metal sheds snow and ice easily, reducing the risk of ice dams on a roof and eliminating the weight of thick snow and ice.
  • Metal is lightweight so it’s often used for roofing layers or for older homes with structural damage and other weaknesses.
  • Long sheets of metal are less likely to blow away in a storm or during a hurricane than many other roofing materials.
  • Metal roofs are often one of the more expensive options for a residential house.
  • While the majority of residential metal roofs withstand hail, fallen tree branches, and other such everyday objects, metal panels can dent if hit with an extremely heavy object. The cost of replacing a metal panel is more expensive than replacing a few damaged asphalt shingles, so keep that consideration in mind if your area is prone to overly heavy hail and other such debris.
  • Not all roofers are experiences or skilled in installing metal roofs. While you might find an affordable metal roofer for its initial installation, consider any potential added costs for repairs or replacement of your metal roof over the years.
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The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are still very popular with homeowners, no doubt because they’re so affordable and easy to install! There are some additional benefits to asphalt tiles and a few disadvantages as well; note a few of those pros and cons here so you know if traditional shingles are the right choice for your home.

  • Cheap shingles are an excellent way to make your home more presentable and desirable before you put it on the real estate market! Homebuyers are often more attracted to homes with new roofs, even if the budget-friendly shingles you choose have a limited lifespan.
  • While it’s best to have a professional roofing contractor install a new roof, most homeowners can replace a few missing shingles on their own without having to pay a contractor.
  • Shingles are an attractive option that fits virtually any home style, from traditional and craftsman houses to ultra-modern designs.
  • While low-quality asphalt shingles might be at risk for blowing away in a storm, today’s shingle brands offer more wind resistance than ever before; high-wind shingles resist winds up to 130 miles per hour, making them an excellent choice for tropical areas.
  • While shingles are generally strong and durable, note that rapid weather changes or extremes in temperature can cause asphalt shingles to crack and split.
  • Asphalt shingles are recyclable but not all recycling centers accept discarded shingles, making them a less eco-friendly option than other roofing materials.

Related Questions

What color shingles are the most energy efficient?

Cool roofs or those painted a color lighter than traditional black or dark gray shingles reflect light away from the home, keeping it cooler in summertime.

Are metal roofs noisy?

Don’t confuse a residential metal roof with a metal roof on a shed or barn! The best residential roofing materials are installed over thick roofing paper that helps absorb sound. Your home’s attic or crawlspace also absorbs sound waves before they reach the lower levels.

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