Your Guide To Choosing The Right Residential Roofing
Let’s Take A Deep Dive Into All Things Residential Roofing So You Can Make The Right Choice On Your Roof.
FREE CONTACTLESS ROOF INSPECTIONS
Get A Free Estimate
Residential Roofing Overview
Any homeowner thinking about buying a new roof should be willing to do the research needed to find the right one based on their location, budget and age of the structure. Today, there are various types of roofing materials to choose from, some are new, and others have been around for decades.
This guide will help acquaint you with all the residential roofing options available and the features you ought to consider when choosing one material over the other. In addition, we’ll go into further detail about each type of roofing material.
Roofing materials like wood shakes, slate, and copper have been around for centuries. However, over the years, other roofing materials have joined them, from asphalt fiberglass to newer products such as plastic composites, concrete and fiber.
Many of the roofing materials we’ll discuss in this article have been developed in the past few decades, mainly to manufacture more durable, lower-cost, and sustainable roofing solutions.
It is also worth mentioning that each material has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The key is understanding what every option offers and choosing one for your home.
What To Consider When Choosing Residential Roofing Material?
The easiest thing for most homeowners is to replace the existing roofing material with its latest version. However, while this may make sense in most instances because you know the material works, you may also miss out on upgrading to a higher quality or better-looking material.
Now before you choose to use any other material, there are a few things you might want to consider:
Weather Seal Feature
The roofing materials you end up choosing should be capable of handling the weather where you live. Since a home’s roof acts as a primary barrier between your home and the elements, the material in question should offer excellent protection. It should be capable of quickly shedding snow and rain while holding up to strong winds and the hot sun for years. It must also be noted that depending on the climate of where you live, the shape of the roof, and the home’s orientation, some materials will do a better job than others.
The slope is one of the most essential features of your home’s roof, and it is worth considering when trying to shortlist the best possible roofing materials. This should especially be a consideration if you have a low-slope roof. The slope is how much in terms of inches it rises for every 12 inches horizontally. For instance, if a home has a 4-in-12 slope,” it rises 4 inches for every 12 inches horizontally.
The other way in which it is expressed is in its pitch, which uses a fraction. This is based on the rise of the roof, aka its height and width, also called its span. The pitch rises over the span. So, if your home is 38 feet wide with a 1-foot overhang gable roof, the span is 40 feet long. This means that from the eaves to the peak, it will rise 10 feet.
A 4-in-12 roof or one that’s steeper will often be acceptable for use with materials like tiles, shingles and slate. Though low or flat roofs will need to be topped with seamless materials like sprayed polyurethane foam, tar and gravel, more about this later in the article. Suffice it to say you need to use a material that does not leak when water pools on its surface.
Since the roof is easily visible from the street, its appearance plays a role in your home’s curb appeal. That’s where the choice of material matters the most for many people. Characteristics like the texture, color and material should be compatible with the home’s finish and style.
However, it should remain true to the home’s design. For instance, you don’t want to put Spanish tiles on what is a colonial-style house or even put wooden shingles on a Spanish design house or perhaps drape metal roofing on a 60’s style ranch. The point is to choose a material that will be consistent with the design style of the home in question.
We aren’t implying that you shouldn’t use anything but the original material that’s already on your roof. Many new roofing products are designed to mimic the look of the original roof. Take fiber cement shingles, for instance, that appear to be like slate or wood. Also, there are metal tiles that are designed to look like wood and tile too. It is worth mentioning that some materials are much better at imitating other materials. That’s why you want to ensure you know what the product will look like when mounted on your roof. This is where a photograph may not tell the whole story.
The shade of color may be a concern for some people. However, a lighter color material will generally reflect more heat than a darker one. If you live in a place that can get pretty hot during summer, consider roofing material with a light color. Conversely, darker tones are a better choice if you live in a place that freezes over and the additional heat is necessary to save energy.
What you end up paying for a new roof will vary, from relatively low cost to unreasonably expensive. The reason why so many homeowners in North America opt for asphalt-fiberglass shingles is that they are the most cost-effective, both in terms of purchase and installation.
When it comes to materials only, asphalt shingles are almost half the price of clay tiles per square and four times cheaper than steel roofs. However, copper roofs are by far the most expensive of them all. Then when you factor in labor charges, those are roughly the same regardless of the material. Though the height, steepness and complexity of the roof can directly affect labor costs.
If you intend to continue living in the home for several more years, you will want to be aware that material will always be a durability factor. Low-priced materials, like composition roofing, will only be half the price of more expensive products. However, you also want to remember that more expensive products last longer, sometimes twice as long, if not more. That means you save money in the long term.
If the pricier products last twice as long, that means you will save at least 75% in the long term, mainly because installing a roof can be expensive and can cause disruption to your life. Furthermore, the price of materials will almost certainly rise in the next few years and with-it labor costs. So, if you intend to live for the next seven years, invest in pricier roofing materials.
We also ask that homeowners check the warranty and understand the coverage they are being offered. In fact, the proverbial devil is in the details, especially applicable when it comes to anything that could void its warranty.
When choosing a roofing material, the weight will always be a concern, especially if you have an old structure. Also, most roofing frames are designed to hold up to a certain weight. If you choose a material, which when combined with the substructure, exceeds the capacity of what the frame can bear, then you have a problem. However, this can be addressed before installing the new roof by beefing up the frame.
Beefing up the frame will be time-consuming, adding to the hassle of installing a new roof. Plus, it increases the costs and can get pretty messy. It would be best if you also remembered that slate, tile and masonry materials tend to be heavy; some can be as heavy as 1000 lbs per square, so you will always want to read the specifications and compare that with the specifications of what your roof can bear.
The weight of the materials will also affect installing the new roof. Lightweight materials are generally easier to load and handle during the installation process. Lightweight materials like asphalt shingles and composites can be installed directly over your existing roof.
Fire resistance of the roofing material sold, including the sheathing underneath it, is rated by UL or Underwriter’s Laboratories. The ratings are easy to understand as they start with Class A ratings and have up to a Class C rating. However, some materials don’t qualify for a rating, such as untreated wood shingles.
Class A is the ideal rating and indicates that the material is best and most effective when exposed to a fire. Class B roofing isn’t going to catch fire when the blaze is moderate. Class C can handle minor exposure to a flame. However, unrated materials are not recommended for use, especially in environments of potential fire hazards.
Common Residential Roofing Materials
Below is a quick look at some of the most common residential roofing materials. However, it is essential to remember that all roofing materials have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. However, professional installation by an experienced team can significantly affect how long these roofs last.
One reason why so many people choose asphalt shingles is that they are relatively less expensive per square. Unless you want to invest in materials that preserve the home’s architectural style or history, asphalt shingles will offer you the best value.
However, not all asphalt shingles are made equal. There is a wide range of qualities, which are distinguished by appearance, longevity and price. The best of these are architectural singles or laminated shingles, as they are called. These are thicker and textured, thus doing a better job of imitating slate or wood. Even though these are often labelled as 40-year roofs, they will only last reliably for 20 years in most cases.
The average weight of asphalt shingles is between 230 to 430 lbs. per square. Again, this will depend on the manufacturer and type of shingle. Ideally, you will want to buy the highest quality ones.
- Cost: Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials available.
- Availability: Asphalt shingles are widely available and can be found at most home improvement stores.
- Easy installation: Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install and can be done by a skilled DIYer or a professional contractor.
- Weather resistance: Asphalt shingles are resistant to wind, hail, and other types of weather damage.
- Customization: Asphalt shingles come in various colors and styles, allowing you to customize the look of the roof to match your home’s design.
- Durability: Asphalt shingles have a comparatively shorter lifespan than other roofing materials. They can last up to 20 years or more with proper maintenance, but they may need to be replaced sooner if they are not properly cared for.
- Maintenance: Asphalt shingles require regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspection for damage.
- Environmental concerns: Asphalt shingles are made from petroleum products and may not be as environmentally friendly as other roofing materials such as metal.
- Aesthetics: Asphalt shingles may not appeal to everyone aesthetically. Some people find them ugly!
Wooden Shingles And Shakes
Many prefer to buy and install wood shingles or their thicker counterparts, called wood shakes because they look like natural wood. Also, many professionals find it easier to install; they are lightweight so most frames can support them, and they can last for up to 25 years if well taken care of. There are instances where wood shakes have lasted 50 years.
The downside to wooden shingles and shakes is that they must be treated using a fire retardant. This is especially important in fire-prone areas, or they may need to be allowed. The price of these can be anywhere from $300 to $500 per square. It should be said that higher quality ones are more expensive.
- Natural beauty: Wooden shingles have a natural, attractive appearance that can add character and charm to your home.
- Insulation: Wooden shingles offer good insulation, essentially helping reduce energy costs consequently improving the comfort of your home.
- Customization: Wooden shingles come in various colors and styles, allowing you to customize the look of your roof to match your home’s design.
- Environmentally friendly: Wooden shingles are made from natural materials and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
- Cost: Wooden shingles can be more expensive to install than other types of roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
- Maintenance: Wooden shingles require regular maintenance, including cleaning, painting, and staining to protect them from the elements.
- Durability: Wooden shingles have a shorter lifespan than other roofing materials. They can last up to 30 years or more with proper maintenance. However, they may need to be replaced sooner if not adequately cared for.
- Weather resistance: Wooden shingles are prone to damage from water and can rot or warp if not adequately sealed. They are also more susceptible to fire than other types of roofing materials.
- Weight: Wooden shingles are heavy and may require additional structural support to be installed in your home.
Slate And Various Alternatives
Anyone who loves the classic slate look knows that this comes with weight and added expense but there are several alternatives worth checking out. The new slate-like options are not made from slate but instead various other materials like fiber cement and plastic composites.
The other, arguably more expensive alternative is natural slate, but one with a waterproof backer. These are Class A fire rated, and thus also resistant to mildew, insects and rot. In terms of cost, these tend to vary from $250 to over $500 per square, which depends on the brand and quality of the material. Our advice is to choose the highest quality material because it helps save money in the long term.
- Durability: Slate is a durable roofing material that can last up to 100 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Natural beauty: Slate has a natural, attractive appearance that can add character and charm to your home.
- Weather resistance: Slate is resistant to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, making it a good choice for homes in areas with extreme climates.
- Low maintenance: Slate requires very little maintenance. It doesn’t rot, warp, or crack, and it doesn’t require painting.
- Environmentally friendly: Slate is a natural material and can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.
- Cost: Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials available, and it isn’t easy to find skilled installers that can do a good job.
- Weight: Slate is heavy and may require additional structural support to be installed on your home. Though the alternatives available are lighter.
- Fragility: Slate can be brittle and may break or chip if subjected to heavy loads or impact.
Repair: Slate can be difficult to repair if it is damaged.
- Installation: Slate can be difficult to install and requires skilled labor.
Clay And Concrete Tiles
Clay and concrete tiles are often referred to as Spanish tiles, mainly because of their popularity in the region and are commonly used in Mediterranean-style homes. Even though clay tiles can break and are heavy, weighing an average of 900 lbs. to 1k lbs. per square, concrete tiles, on the other hand, are lighter and less fragile.
Concrete tiles are also available in shake and flat styles. Like clay tiles, these will last for an average of 50 years or even more if taken care of properly. Plus, these tiles are Class A rated, meaning they are insect, mildew and rot resistant. The average cost for these tiles varies from $400 to $750 per square.
- Durability: Concrete tiles are durable and can last up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Low maintenance: Concrete tiles require very little maintenance. They do not rot, warp, or crack; and don’t require painting.
- Weather resistance: Concrete tiles are resistant to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage. They can also withstand extreme temperatures, making them a good choice for homes in areas with extreme climates.
- Environmentally friendly: Concrete tiles are made from natural materials and are often recycled at the end of their lifespan.
- Customization: Concrete tiles come in various colors and styles, allowing you to customize the look to match your home’s design.
- Cost: Concrete tiles can be more expensive to install than other types of roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
- Weight: Concrete tiles are heavy and may require additional structural support to be installed on your home.
- Expansion and contraction: Concrete tiles can crack if they are subjected to rapid temperature fluctuations or if the underlying structure expands or contracts.
- Repair: Concrete tiles can be challenging to repair if they are damaged.
Residential metal roofs are made from aluminum, steel, and some are made from copper. Metal roofing is often sold as large panels, or you can buy them in smaller singles-like sections, which appear as shakes, slate or tile.
One of the best features of metal roofing for a home is that it is rot, insect, mildew and fire-resistant. This is all without it being especially treated. Also, metal roofs are easily recyclable and thus eco-friendly.
Metal roofs, when installed correctly, make it easier to shed snow and water. They are known to last for over 50 years, with relatively less maintenance. Also, metal roofs, depending on what metal you choose, are lightweight, weighing around 50-200 pounds per square. However, its weight will depend on the deck underneath it, and it will also have a Class A fire rating.
The biggest drawback to metal roofing is that it can be dented. Plus, homeowners will discover that the roof can be noisy when there is hail or heavy rain. It can also get extremely hot during the summer. Despite these drawbacks, metal roofs offer excellent value for money in the long term.
- Durability: Metal roofs are known for their long lifespan. They can last up to 50 years or more, depending on the type of metal and the installation.
- Low maintenance: Metal roofs require very little maintenance. They won’t rot, warp, or crack and don’t require painting.
- Weather resistance: Metal roofs are resistant to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage. They can also withstand extreme temperatures, making them a good choice for homes in areas with extreme climates.
- Environmentally friendly: Metal roofing materials are often recycled and can be recycled again at the end of their lifespan.
- Cost: Metal roofs can be more expensive to install than roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
- Noise: Metal roofs can be noisy, especially during rain or hailstorms.
- Denting: Metal roofs can dent if hit by heavy objects, such as hail or falling branches.
- Expansion and contraction: Metal expands and contracts as it heats up and cools down, which can cause problems with the roof’s fasteners. This can be mitigated by using proper installation techniques.
- Lightning: Metal roofs can attract lightning, although this is not common.
Rubber roofing, also known as a rubber roof membrane or rubber roofing system, is a type of roofing material made from synthetic rubber or recycled rubber. It is often used on flat or low-sloped roofs, such as those found on residential homes with flat or shallow-pitched roofs.
Rubber roofing is known for its durability, flexibility, and resistance to weather-related damage. It is also UV resistant and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. It is a low-maintenance option that does not require painting or sealing.
There are two main types of rubber roofing systems:
Rubber membranes: Rubber membranes are sheets of rubber applied to the roof in a single layer. They are often used on flat or low-sloped roofs available in various thicknesses and color options.
Rubber shingles: Rubber shingles are made from recycled rubber and are installed on the roof, similar to asphalt shingles. They are available in various colors and styles and can be used to replicate the appearance of wood, slate, or other roofing materials.
While rubber roofing may be more expensive upfront compared to other roofing materials, it can offer long-term cost savings owing to its low maintenance requirements.
- Durability: Rubber roofing is durable and can last up to 30 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Low maintenance: Rubber roofing requires very little maintenance. It doesn’t rot, warp, or crack, and it doesn’t require painting or sealing.
- Weather resistance: Rubber roofing is resistant to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, making it a good choice for homes in areas with extreme climates.
- Environmental benefits: Rubber roofing is often made from recycled materials which means they can be recycled again at the end of their lifespan.
- Flexibility: Rubber roofing is flexible, which can help it withstand movement and expansion of the underlying structure.
- Cost: Rubber roofing can be more expensive to install than other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
- Weight: Rubber roofing is heavy and may require additional structural support to be installed on your home.
- Appearance: Rubber roofing may have a different aesthetic appeal than other roofing materials, such as wood or slate.
- Repairs: Rubber roofing can be difficult to repair if it is damaged.
- Compatibility: Rubber roofing may not be compatible with certain roofing accessories, such as skylights or solar panels.
Corrugated roofing is made from metal, fiberglass, or plastic that is formed into waves or ridges. It is often used on commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings and some residential homes. Corrugated roofing is known for its durability, strength, and affordability. The roofing is easy to install and can be cut to fit any size or shape. It is resistant to weather-related damage, such as wind and hail, while being capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.
There are several types of corrugated roofing materials available, including:
Metal: Metal corrugated roofing is made from steel, aluminum, or other types of metal. It is a durable and long-lasting option resistant to weather-related damage and fire.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass corrugated roofing is made from fiberglass coated with weather-resistant resin. It is a lightweight, affordable option resistant to UV radiation and weather-related damage.
Plastic: Plastic corrugated roofing is made from a plastic sheet fashioned into waves or ridges. It is a lightweight, affordable option resistant to weather-related damage and UV radiation.
Overall, corrugated roofing is a durable, strong, and affordable roofing material that is suitable for a wide range of buildings. It is easy to install, resistant to weather-related damage, and can withstand extreme temperatures.
- Cost: Corrugated roofing is an affordable material that is generally less expensive than other roofing materials, such as slate or metal.
- Durability: Corrugated roofing is durable and can last up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Strength: Corrugated roofing is strong and can withstand heavy loads, making it suitable for commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings.
- Weather resistance: Corrugated roofing is resistant to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, making it a good choice for homes in areas with extreme climates.
- Customization: Corrugated roofing comes in various colors and styles, allowing you to customize the look of your roof to match your home’s design.
- Noise: Corrugated roofing can be noisy, especially during rain or hail storms.
- Aesthetics: Corrugated roofing may have a different aesthetic appeal than other roofing materials, such as wood or slate. Most homeowners may not like the way corrugated roofs make their homes look.
- Expansion and contraction: Corrugated roofing may expand and contract as it heats up and cools down, which can cause problems with the roof’s fasteners. This can be mitigated by using proper installation techniques.
- Repairs: Corrugated roofing can be difficult to repair if it is damaged.
- Weight: Corrugated roofing is heavy and may require additional structural support to be installed on your home.
Know When Your Existing Roof Needs To Be Replaced
A roof’s lifespan can vary depending on the material used, the slope and orientation, and the local climate. In general, the following lifespans are common for different types of roofing materials:
- Asphalt shingles: 20-30 years
- Clay or concrete tiles: 50-100 years
- Metal panels: 40-70 years
- Wood shakes or shingles: 30-50 years
It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and the actual lifespan of your roof may be shorter or longer depending on various other factors, such as maintenance. If your roof is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by a professional to determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. Additionally, suppose you notice any signs of damage or deterioration, such as missing or damaged shingles, leaks, or water damage. In that case, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your roof and home.
In this section, we’ll review the five common signs that your roof needs to be replaced.
The most obvious sign that your home’s roof needs to be replaced is if it starts leaking. Fortunately, if you can catch the problem early, fixing it is relatively simple and costs less. Though the underlying problem can sometimes be serious, the best way to solve it would be to replace the entire roof.
As a homeowner, it is worth understanding that if you have a significant leak, not addressing it in time can lead to structural damage. Structural damage can be costly to address as it progressively worsens.
Your Roof Is Over 20 Years Old
The majority of experts will recommend that you replace the roof of your home every 30 years at most, with 20 years being ideal. Though this is a general rule of thumb, much of it will depend on the condition of your roof.
If you became the owner of the home in question a few years ago, you probably don’t have to worry about replacing the roof just yet. However, it wouldn’t hurt to get the roof professionally inspected. If there are signs that things are falling apart, then order a roof replacement right away before things get any worse.
A Sudden Spike In Energy Bills
One of the reasons why a homeowner would be inclined to replace their roof is to save on energy costs. If you have an old and often drafty roof (during the winter), then that would cause your energy bills to spike because the home’s heating or HVAC system has to work extra hard to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. The same goes for your cooling bills if you live in a hot part of the world.
A new roof installation makes the home more comfortable inside and helps you keep cool during the summer. The same goes for keeping the house warm in winter. However, the only way you can be sure that your roof can help reduce your current energy bills is to have a professional inspect it.
You Are About To Sell The Home
Anyone planning to sell their home will want to consider getting a new roof before putting their home on the market. Shoddy roofs are a negative selling point, and many buyers try to steer clear of such homes because they don’t want to put the time or the money into repairing the roof. Those that do agree to buy will make you a lowball offer.
Stats from Home 365 show that a brand-new roof adds an 85% ROI, which makes it perfect from a resale standpoint. However, what factors into this is how good the roof looks after completion. Nobody will want to buy a home with a mismatched roof.
Repairs Cost More Than Roof Replacement
Generally, home roof repairs should cost less than a complete roof replacement. However, if your roof is in shambles, the estimated cost to repair it could be more than replacing it. In that case, a replacement is your best bet for obvious reasons.
There comes a time in your roof’s lifecycle when simply a few patches aren’t good enough. Sure, the occasional repair is acceptable, but when you need extensive repair to fix things, it can get prohibitively expensive. If you need to repair the roof multiple times a year, the total cost may not be worth it. You are better off replacing the roof.
Most professional home roof repair companies will tell you that a replacement is much better than spending money on frequent repairs.
While we strongly advise that people take care of their roofs to avoid costly replacements, later, there is always that point where you need to bite the bullet and replace the roof. Think of it as roof replacement is an investment in your home; it adds value and helps to prevent costly repairs and inconveniences that may surface at a bad time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What types of roofing materials are available for residential roofs?
A. Some common roofing materials for residential roofs include asphalt shingles, clay or concrete tiles, metal panels, and wood shakes or shingles.
Q. How long do different types of roofing materials last?
A. The lifespan of roofing material can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the material, the roof’s slope and orientation, and the local climate. Generally, asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 20-30 years, clay or concrete tiles can last 50-100 years, metal panels can last 40-70 years, and wood shakes or shingles have a lifespan of 30-50 years.
Q. How do I know if my roof needs to be repaired or replaced?
A. Signs that your roof may need to be repaired or replaced include but may not be limited to:
- Missing or damaged shingles or tiles
- Leaks or water damage inside the home
- Sagging or uneven areas on the roof
- Excessive granules in the gutter (indicating the shingles are deteriorating)
Q. Can I repair my roof, or do I need to hire a professional?
A. Hiring a professional roofing contractor for any repairs or replacements is generally recommended, as roofing work can be dangerous and requires specialized training and equipment. However, minor repairs such as replacing a few damaged shingles or sealing a small leak may be possible for an experienced homeowner to tackle.
Q. How much does it cost to repair or replace a residential roof?
A. The cost of repairing or replacing a residential roof can vary significantly depending on factors such as the size of the roof, the type of material used, and the extent of the damage. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars for a small repair to several thousand dollars for a full roof replacement. However, get a few quotes before deciding on budgeting for a roof replacement if it’s not urgent.
We Service The Entire Denver Metro Area And Beyond
Maxx Roof LLC serves the Denver metro area and the surrounding areas. Some of the cities we serve are Denver, Lakewood, Castle Rock, Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Littleton, Englewood, Centennial, Parker, Thornton, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Morrison, Brighton, Commerce City, Watkins, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Edgewater & beyond.
If your home or commercial property is located anywhere throughout the greater Denver metro area, give us a call for a free inspection & estimate. When you choose to work with Maxx Roof LLC, your are choosing to work with a roofing contractor you can count on, every step of the way.