For something designed to loom over your head, how often does your roof actually cross your mind? There’s no shame in being honest. Unless you’re a roofing contractor, it’s likely your roof doesn’t draw your undivided attention until it springs a leak or collapses entirely. This is a common blind spot for many property owners — of both wealthy and modest means; if you don’t believe me, simply Google “Metrodome.”
It’s understandable how granular details about roofing materials, upkeep, and repair fall through the cracks, so to speak. Even roofing systems with the shortest lifespans, like wood shake installations, can last up to three decades with proper care. If someone told you something vitally important and then requested that you remember it in a timely fashion within the next 30 years, it would be a daunting task.
To help ease that burden and provide a little more insight about the structural and functional differences among popular roof types, we’ve teamed with professional roofing contractors to help you discover what your ideal roof type is:
Shingle: Far-and-away the most common roofing material, asphalt shingles
are comparatively cost-effective, relatively durable, and provide consistent
protection against severe temperatures and weather. Based on your home’s
location and how often it’s exposed to extreme sunlight and temperatures,
asphalt roofs can last up to 20 years. Roofs constructed from dark asphalt
shingles can depreciate and discolor sooner than that, however, if exposed to
prolonged extreme weather.
· Slate Shingle: Slate roofs are some of the most durable systems, sporting fire-resistant material that is easily maintained while still being impervious to rot. These roofs can even last for an entire century, but all of that durable functionality comes at a higher cost. Slate shingles are considerably heavier and require a high level of expertise to install. If you plan on sparing no expense, though, slate shingle roofs offer the most value for your investment.
· Ceramic Tile: This roofing material certainly gives slate shingles a run for their money in terms of longevity, as it’s capable of lasting up to 75 years. At the same time, though, these tiles are much more fragile than other materials and prone to erosion, which makes them an inadvisable choice if you live in a place that experiences a lot of high winds and precipitation.
· Metal Shingles: Metal roofs combine the best of roofing technology with an eco-friendly, lightweight design. Metal roofing systems are low-maintenance, very energy efficient, and can last up to 50 years, but they also require a great deal of expertise to install and can lose their luster much sooner. Luckily, in keeping with their cost-effective nature, one can restore a metal roof’s shine with a simple repainting as opposed to a full replacement.
· Wood Shakes: Certainly the most environmentally friendly of the roof types profiled, wood shake roofs are constructed from naturally renewable materials that are less likely to contaminate the water that runs off it. The downside is wood shake roofs are not well-suited for homes exposed to heavy precipitation as wood is more prone to water damage, splintering, and rotting. They also have a low lifespan of roughly three decades, but there are few home improvements that serve as a brighter badge of honor for your inner eco-warrior.
There’s a wealth of information out there about the various pros and cons of each roof type — be it through personal referral or online searches. However, there are also a large number of unique factors, benefits, and complications that come with installing a new roof solely based on your location, climate, and even your home’s structural integrity. If you’re looking to revamp your roof, it’s wise to seek the help of a professional roofing contractor in order to determine your roof type.