Your roof not only affects the appearance of your home, but it also has a major impact on the energy efficiency of your house. It also doubles as your main source of water protection. There are numerous roofing materials to choose from including slate, metal, asphalt and synthetic, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The roofing of your home is a very important decision, so there are a number of factors you want to consider before making a selection:

  • You need to consider if the material you want will work for your house in terms of weight. Heavier materials may require special framing
  • Make sure that the material you want meets the local fire codes
  • Consider the weather you experience throughout the year. Can your roof handle it all?
  • Are there any special installation or maintenance issues to think of?
  • Research the cost, warranty and lifespan of the material you want
  • It is best to go with a product that has been utilized in the market for at least ten years, to ensure reliability
  • Remember that there are many colors and styles offered, so consider what best suits the home you are in

The Materials

The topmost layer of any roof is the weatherproofing material. This is the material that will be exposed to every possible element and it needs to be able to withstand all the seasons of your area. The most popular weatherproofing materials used will vary in pricing, installation costs and difficulty as well as longevity. It is therefore, advised to research the materials and choose what will work best for your home, budget and climate.

Wood Shingles

These are made from bolts of wood like cedar or pine and have been used for centuries. Many homeowners love the way that wood weathers and ages to a nice gray shade. Wood has a life expectancy of 30 years and is readily available. However, the fire codes in certain areas will prevent the use of wood shingles and some wetter climates are not ideal because of the potential for mold.

Asphalt Shingles

This is the most common residential roofing material consisting of a material known as bitumen embedded into a fiberglass mat. The mat is typically covered with man-made grit. Installation of this roofing is very quick so it ends up being a cheaper option for many. When properly maintained, the life expectancy can be 20 to 25 years and asphalt is also not well known for providing the same degree of insulation as other materials

Metal Roofing

These tend to stand up very well to most extreme weather conditions. Metal roofing is light-weight, durable and long lasting (lifespan averages between 45 and 70 years). Metal also offers high solar reflection and works great for rainwater harvesting. The major drawback to metal roofing is that it is very expensive.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

These tiles add texture to a roof as well as character and at the same time they are extremely durable. These are very common among Mediterranean, Mission and Spanish style housing. The tiles are energy efficient, can last up to 40 or 50 years but they do require professional installation. Additionally, these can be expensive and you will need to get additional framing because of the heavier weight to this material.


Slate has a very distinctive look and often beautiful appearance because of the range of colors available. Colonial, European and Chateau style homes often suit this roofing material best. Slate is fire resistant, can be recycled and has a long lifespan between 50 and 100 years. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive roofing material available and additional framing is required which adds to the costs. The quality of slate can vary, so be sure to go with reputable manufacturers and be wary of discounted pricing when comes to choosing slate.

Synthetic roofing

There are a number of options available when it comes to synthetic materials. New options give you the same look, texture and style off wood and slate but because they are synthetic, the materials are easier to maintain and are very durable. Rubber shingles is one of the more popular synthetic options. You want to make sure to look at other synthetic roofing installations in the area before installing. Check the quality and durability of those that have been standing for ten or more years to evaluate how well they last. These materials are not as expensive or fragile as others and can last for close to 50 years.

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