What is the best material for a roof?

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Whether you are considering repairing your roof or replacing your entire roof, there are a few things to consider before deciding which material to use. Ventilation is important when considering how a building keeps cool, the most common thing that comes to mind is air conditioning. But the first real line of defense against the heat is a building’s roof. And a hot day in the life of a good roof should include releasing — not storing and absorbing — the sun’s rays.

Here’s what you should consider first:

How heavy is this material and does it require special framing?
Does the material you want to use meet the fire codes in your local area?
Are there special installation and maintenance issues to consider before installing?
What’s the lifespan, warranty, and cost for this product?
How much will the roof quote cost me and are there hidden fees?

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing material used in the United States. They’re popular because they are economical and easy to install. Asphalt shingles can be reinforced with fiberglass or organic materials (cellulose) without changing the appearance of the shingle.

Pros: Asphalt is available in a variety of colors, is widely available and is inexpensive.

Cons: Asphalt has a shorter life span than other roofing materials, doesn’t provide the insulation other materials offer, and the quality varies.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles can be a beautiful way add texture and elegance to a roof. Genuine flat, ribbed or scalloped clay tiles are extremely durable but also very heavy, and must be installed by a professional. Clay and concrete tiles are not a DIY project. Concrete tiles are versatile and are less expensive than genuine clay, but also are super heavy.

Pros: Clay and concrete tiles are long-lasting and non-combustible, and concrete tiles are energy efficient as they can help keep your home insulated during winter months.

Cons: Clay and concrete tiles are expensive, heavy and usually require additional framing.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are resistant to extreme weather conditions and can be some of the most long lasting roofs. Metal roofing is available in two types, panels and shingles, metal roofs come in aluminum, copper, stainless steel and zinc.

Metal roofs are often sleek, lightweight, long-lasting and recyclable, and for someone who is interesting in rainwater harvesting are a good option.
Pros: Metal roofing is durable, lasts longer than asphalt or wood, and offers high solar reflectance.

Cons: Metal roofing is a more expensive option than asphalt roofing.

Slate

Slate is another beautiful more expensive option for a roof. A slate roof provides lots of beauty and a distinctive elegant appearance. Color options for slate include shades of black, green, grey, red and purple.

Pros: Slate is very durable, fire-resistant and a sustainable roof that can be recycled.

Cons: Slate is heavy, very expensive, and does require extra framing and professional installation. The quality can vary with imported slate.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles have been around for hundreds of years. Many people are drawn to the look of wood shingles and shakes and how they weather to an attractive shade of gray. Wood shakes are handmade and rougher-looking than wood shingles, which are usually cut by machine.

If you live in a fire-prone area, look for Class A fire-rated wood roofing products that include shingles treated with a fire-resistant coating.

Pros: Wood shingles can offer a natural rustic look. They are also natural products made from cedar, redwood and southern pine.

Cons: Fire codes in some areas prohibit use. Wood shingles can be a concern in wet climates, and can mold, split or rot. Not so practical for any home in this time and age.

No matter which material you decide to you, do all of your research first and pick the best option for you and your family. All of the above roofing materials have pros and cons. Not one is perfect.

 

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