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How to Choose the Right Material for Your Roof

Jul 16th, 2020 // Roof Installation

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home. It keeps you safe from the elements, protects the bones and structure, and if done well, can help provide insulation, reducing energy costs. Considering the bottom of your home is protected by what’s on top, it’s important you choose the right materials for your roof. From repairs to replacements, here are a few things to consider before installation. 

Cost

You may be in love with the look of slate tile roofs, but did you know they are the most expensive material to use, coming in at around $6,000-$8,000 per square? That is a massive investment and one not everyone is willing or able to make. Before choosing the roof you want, do the research on cost. For example, concrete tiles are not natural slate, but they are similar in style and cost a bit less.

If you’re on a budget but need to update your roof, asphalt, metal, or concrete are cheaper than slate or natural tiles. It’s smart to figure out how much you are able to spend before choosing the material, this way, you won’t run into financial obstacles. Additionally, give yourself a little wiggle room in case you need to purchase extra materials due to unexpected damages or additional needs. (i.e. maybe you’d like to redo the roof on your shed or garage.)

Aesthetics  

There are many different types of roof styles—mansard, a-frame, flat, dormer, gables—and each style is unique in how it’s constructed. These constructions often determine what type of roofing materials can be used. Tile and slate are much heavier than asphalt or wood, which means the structure of your roof must be extremely strong to hold them. Homes with gables, high points, or multiple level roofs usually have weaker areas that make tile or slate not only difficult to install, but also sustain without damage. 

If your home was not built to withstand the weight of heavier roofing materials, you can find asphalt shingles that resemble the natural textures and colors slate and tile offer, but at a safe and sustainable weight. 

Climate

Have you ever noticed that terracotta tile is abundant in the southwest where temperatures can rise to the hundreds? That’s because clay tiles are cool by nature, helping keep homes safe from the scorching sun, and temperature in this climate never get too cold, which prevents the tiles from cracking. 

Midwest weather can be tricky—it’s humid and hot all summer but incredibly cold and unpredictable during the winter. Slate, asphalt, and wood are all durable options, depending on your budget. If you love the southwest look but live nowhere near the desert, you may be looking at spending more than a pretty penny to get the style you want with the security and durability you need with slate tiles. If you’re on a tighter budget, asphalt shingles are your best option. They are affordable and can sustain the intense summer sun as well as harsh winter conditions. Additionally, they’re lightweight so if you live somewhere where winter brings heavy snowfall, your roof won’t add significant weight to the foundation of your home. 

Sustainability 

Roofing materials are all designed to give you decades of wear, but some are built stronger than others. Here is a brief breakdown of what you can expect with the most common roofing materials: 

  • Asphalt shingles are reliable, cost effective, and durable, giving you anywhere from 20 to 50 years (depending on the type you purchase) without having to replace them—if you care for your roof properly and the weather is kind. 
  • Wood shingles can last for nearly 30 years, however, if you live in climates with heavy rain and snowfall, this may decrease. 
  • Metal is a strong, sturdy, and relatively expensive material for roofs, however, if taken care of and installed properly, it can last between 40 and 80 years. 
  • Depending on where you live, slate, concrete, or clay tiles have the highest life expectancy of around 100 years, but also the highest cost.

It can feel overwhelming to choose the right material for your home, climate, and budget. We’re here to help you navigate which material is best for your needs. Give us a call and we can get started on building you the roof you’ve always wanted.

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