Pros and Cons of Common Roof Types

A roof, which generally amounts for only 3% of the total house construction cost, is the first line of defense for you and your family, along with all your valuable possessions and interior decor. 😉

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A properly installed roofing system, combined with an effective insulating material (such as properly installed attic insulation), can help to retain the warmth inside your house thereby reducing the total amount of energy required to keep your house warm during the winter, while also keeping it cool in the summer.

As a responsible and smart homeowner you are probably are well aware of the important role the roof plays since it protects your home from all the major weather-related events, particularly rainfall and snowfall. Even a small roof leak could ultimately result in serious problems with dampness inside your house, so it is important to keep your roof in the best possible condition.

Even if you take care of your roof, you may find yourself in a situation where an entire roof needs to be replaced due to its age, especially if it’s an asphalt (composition) shingle roof. — Unlike it’s distant and better-looking cousin, metal, asphalt roofs are pretty much designed to have only a limited lifespan.

Three Most Common Roof Types:

Asphalt shingle roofs are ubiquitous in the US, but they are not necessarily the best choice for the environment, because asphalt shingles contain petrochemical products that are not easy to recycle at all. Therefore asphalt roofing shingles typically end up in our landfills.

Asphalt shingle roofs can still be attractive and provide a sort of traditional appearance for North America. In terms of longevity, asphalt shingles are a clear underdog compared to systems like slate, tiles, and metal roofing. According to New England Metal Roof, most asphalt shingle roofs will only last for about 12 to 17 years, and only if they have been fitted to the highest standard.

Clay Tiles can add a touch of Spain to your home, and they are usually very durable and likely to last for a long time. It is also possible to obtain tiles in a number of different color, to accent and match the style of your home.

Most roof tiles can be expected to last for about 50 years. However, clay are very heavy and like natural slates may require a proper reinforcement of your existing roof structure. Cost-wise clay tiles are comparable in price to cedar shakes and metal roofing.

standing seam metal roof

Metal roofs can be installed on most houses. They do require a professional installation if you want a long lasting roofing system.

Metal roofs come in a great number of colors and styles. Metal roofs can be very effective at insulating your home and reducing energy costs, while the cost of a metal roof itself will usually be similar to that of a clay tile or cedar shake roof.

Factors to Consider:

If you need to replace your roof, or if you are building a new home, you should consider both practical and aesthetic factors when choosing a new roofing system and style.

You will need to consider the durability of materials, how easy it will be for you to obtain them, and their cost including labor. You should try to find a material that will be suitable for your local climate, whether it is hot and dry, or cold and wet. You will also need to consider the roof frame on which you will be laying your new roof since the roof pitch of your roof frame and the amount of weight that it can support will determine the type of materials you will be able to use.

EPDM rubber, PVC, and TPO membranes can be ideal if your roof frame has a slope of three inches or less per foot, while materials such as asphalt shingles, tiles and slates are better if the roof slope is greater than 3/12.

Materials such as tiles and stone slate are notoriously heavy, and it is, therefore, important to get a professional to check that your roof frame will be strong enough to support the added weight of these materials. Metal roofing is one of the lightest options, weighing as much as 20 times less than slate or clay.

You should take some time to think about what material and style will look best on your home matching its age and style, while also integrating nicely with the rest of homes in your neighborhood. You may also want to take into account any standing guidelines and ordinances in your city/town pertaining to the choice of a roofing system in your area.

For instance, Miami Dade county requires that a roofing system is rated to withstand hurricane strength winds of up to 110mph.

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One comment

  1. I was thinking about getting clay roofing on my new home, but after reading your article I think I am going to go with metal! I had no idea that it was 20 times less heavy and insulated heat and air so well. Though it may cost more, I think it is an overall better investment.

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