People often don't realize how big a difference their roof makes to their house's curb appeal. The roof takes up a good percentage of a home's façade. Style is only one consideration for roofing choices, though. Cost, materials and installation requirements also affect how home owners choose their roofing shingles.
Asphalt shingles remain one of the most popular roofing materials. They are easy to install and a budget option. They come in about a dozen colors, both solid and blended. The standard three-tab variety can be upgraded to an architectural tile that even mimics the look of wooden shakers or slate. Regular asphalt shingles are typically the most budget option, but architectural shingles run just a little more. They last up to 50 years, though, while standard varieties come with a 30-year guarantee, according to This Old House.
Clay tiles are typically curved and terra cotta in color. They're what you see on Mediterranean and mission-style homes. However, they can come in a variety of colors and even flat. Clay tiles are a lot heavier than asphalt—up to 1,000 pounds a square. For that reason, they necessitate reinforced roof framing. The cost typically runs more per square than asphalt, but they last up to 100 years.
Wood roofing comes in either shingles or shakes. Wood shingles are machine-sawed, making them flat. Wood shakes are split from logs, giving them a more rustic appearance. Wooden shingles or shakes should be treated with a fire retardant as well as a fungicide. They should also be installed only on sloped roofs to keep water from building up. They last up to 25 years with the proper care. The cost is usually in the middle between asphalt and clay.
Concrete tiles are a less common roofing material, though they are very durable. They are constructed to imitate clay, slate or even wooden shakes. They interlock, making them easy to install. Concrete tiles are heavier than asphalt, requiring frame reinforcement. However, lightweight varieties are an option. The heavier varieties cost about the same as wood, while the lightweight varieties are more in line with clay costs.
Almost no roofing material is more durable than slate. Most slate is quarried in either Vermont or Pennsylvania, though the stone can come from other states as well. Slate is nearly indestructible—it lasts 100 years or more—the material typically outlasts the fasteners. Its longevity makes recycling old slate very popular, meaning it's also a green solution. Slate is the heaviest of all the materials, weighing between 700 to 2,000 pounds for a 10-foot square, which necessitates reinforced roof framing. Slate comes in several colors and shades, and it's the roofing material of choice for older and historic homes.
Selecting a material for your roof is an important choice. Cost is a consideration, of course. However, durability and aesthetics are significant factors as well. Talk to your contractors (like Jeff Blaisdell LLC) about the best option for your home.