|Choosing the Right Roof
Keeping a roof over your family's heads is the single most important responsibility apart from keeping them fed. As a home owner, it is inevitable that at some point in your life that roof will need to be replaced. Fortunately, unless caught in a natural disaster, your roof will not need replacing often. Nevertheless, replacing a roof is a major undertaking with many options to keep in mind.
One of the first decisions you will need to make is which type of roofing material is going to be used. This decision takes some time and consideration and it is important to be aware of the different options available to you. With this in mind, I have provided some information about the different options available to you and some non aesthetic considerations you will want to acknowledge.
Types of roofing available:
Asphalt - This type of material is very versatile and is considered to be architecturally correct for almost any type of home across the country. Asphalt is one of the most common types of roofing material used and comes in a variety of colors.
Wood Shakes and Shingles - Wood shakes are generally made of cedar. Wood roofs are often seen on older homes and would probably not be considered practical for most modern homes. Wood is popular because it has an attractive rustic appearance and is a natural insulator.
Clay Tile - Clay tile is most prominent in Southwestern architecture. This style of roofing is generally found on homes that incorporate Spanish and Italian designs.
Slate - Slate roofing never really caught on in the West Coast. It is usually found on older building in the East Coast located close to the quarries from which it was mined. Modern builders tend to stay away from slate because it does not fit most contemporary architecture styles and it is unwieldy to work with. Renovators interested in retaining historical authenticity will generally use slate and some custom homes are still built with slate roofing.
Metal - Metal roofs are mainly used for utilitarian purposes such as protection from strong winds and excessive moisture. Metal roofs were popular on Victorian-era homes and some contemporary home designs.
Fiber Cement - This material is durable and available in a variety of textures and colors. The hardiness of fiber cement roofing makes it a good fit for homes situated close to an ocean or in hot, humid climates. Other roofing material tends to break down more quickly when exposed to the moisture, salt, wind, and heat present in such areas.
Features to consider:
Ease of Installation and Repair - Asphalt, wood, and metal roofing are easy to install, comparatively lightweight, and fairly easy to repair. Unlike asphalt and metal, wood roofing needs to be laid over open planks. Clay, slate, and fiber cement are all heavy, therefore requiring strong supports, and they are difficult to install and repair.
Longevity - A new asphalt roof should last anywhere between 12 and 25 years, depending upon climate conditions. This is also the approximate lifespan for cedar shingles as; however wood shakes are more durable and last anywhere from 25 to 75 years. A fiber cement roof should be expected to last 20 to 30 years, steel roofing will last 20 to 50 years, clay tiles will last about 50 years, and slate should last 50 to 100 years.
Cost - What effect will each of these options have on your checkbook? A roofing project is comprised of two cost elements, materials and installation. The heavier roofing materials (slate, fiber cement, etc…) are generally more expensive to purchase and install. Asphalt is generally the most affordable option with wood shanks or shingles following a distant second.