Choosing the right materials and contractors are among the most important decisions when it comes to roofing renovations or upgrades. However, with several types of roofing to consider, the process can be a little overwhelming. Since your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, the material needs to be durable, but you’ll also likely want it to complement your home’s aesthetics. Energy efficiency and longevity are other factors to consider. To help you better understand the differences, costs, advantages, and disadvantages of each, here are 11 types of roofing to consider.
There are several types of roofing available to choose from. The materials you work with depend on your overall goals, aesthetics, and initial investment. To help you weigh your options, consider the following 11 roofing types.
1. Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material used in residential homes. They’re affordable, versatile, and work well in all environmental conditions. Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of styles and colors, making them an easy option to match your home’s current aesthetics or upgrade the overall look of your property.
This roofing material is one of the most affordable, but it has a shorter lifespan (about 20 years) than other materials. Asphalt is also more susceptible to temperature fluctuations, resulting in peeling, cracking, or missing shingles.
2. Metal Roofing
Another increasingly popular type of roofing being used in residential homes is metal. Although it sounds industrial, metal roofing can be constructed to look like tile, shake, and even slate roofing. When properly installed, metal roofing can last up to 60 years. The overall durability is matched with strong energy efficiency and fire resistance, which can benefit homes in at-risk areas. All-in-all, there are both pros and cons of metal roofing.
Although the initial cost can be slightly higher than other roofing materials, there are several long-term benefits. While minimal maintenance is required, metal roofing may be more susceptible to dents from hail and can make quite a bit of noise during storms.
3. Clay Tiles
Clay tiles are extremely popular options for homes in the southwest, where the climate is hot and dry. They have a distinctive appearance with reddish-brown hues and are great at refracting heat and improving a home’s energy efficiency. The tiles are also fire-resistant and low maintenance but shouldn’t be walked on. Since clay tiles are a bit heavier, your home may also need extra support to bear the weight. However, once installed, clay tiles greatly withstand damage from strong winds and even earthquakes.
4. Concrete Tiles
It may surprise you, but concrete is another type of roofing you can choose. It has many similarities to the structure of clay tiles, except concrete is a bit more versatile in appearance. The sand0mix used to create each tile can be altered to get a specific hue for your aesthetics. The installation and advantages are very similar to clay tiles, but the cost is significantly less. However, although concrete tiles aren’t as heavy as clay tiles, they will still require a reinforced roof structure for safety and longevity.
5. Wood Shingles/Shakes
Wood roofing is another option that’s increasing in popularity. It creates a natural, rustic appearance that complements several different architectural styles. When left unstained, wood shingles start light brown in color and tend to silver over time. They can last up to 50 years, but if you have a wood roof in a dry climate, you need to take the proper precautions against fires. This includes treating your roof regularly. In wet climates, the lifespan may not last as long due to rotting or water damage. Wood shingles/shakes need regular maintenance but are an extremely environmentally friendly option as they’re completely biodegradable.
6. Slate Shingles
One of the more upscale roofing options is slate shingles. This can cost up to seven times more than traditional asphalt, but slate shingle roofs can last well into 100 years when properly installed. Plus, the appearance of slate roofing is extremely elegant as it has a smooth, natural stone appearance. It’s also fire-resistant and offers exceptional protection to your home. However, slate is a heavy material, so you will need to ensure that your home has the right structural stability to support it.
7. Rubber Slate Roofing
Alternatively, you could opt for rubber slate roofing, which is often made from EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). This type of roofing material is fairly easy to install and requires very little maintenance, but the aesthetics might not be up to the standards of traditional materials. However, rubber slate is a great choice if you have a flat or low-slope roof.
8. Solar Tiles
Solar panels are another great option for roofing, especially if you live in a sunny environment. They allow you to blend energy efficiency with high-performing functionality in order to generate renewable energy. This, in turn, can result in long-term cost savings on energy bills and a drastic increase in overall property value. However, it’s important that you find someone who understands how to properly install solar panels, as a poor installation job can lead to extremely costly repairs down the line. Solar tiles also come with a higher initial installation cost but may be worth it, depending on your location.
9. Green Roofing
An interesting new trend that’s happening around the country is green roofing. Green roofing involves the installation of vegetation (i.e., grasses or wildflowers) on the roof’s surface. This helps support pollinators and offers some natural benefits to your home as well.
Green roofs offer excellent natural insulation, reduce the heat in urban areas, and help to promote all-around environmental sustainability. However, due to the nature of green roofs, they can be fairly difficult to install and require ongoing maintenance. In fact, you’ll need to garden or landscape your roof regularly to avoid overgrowth. Since there is often added weight in soil and grass, your home will also need added structural support for safety reasons.
10. Synthetic Roofing Materials
Synthetic roofing materials are one of the newest types of roofing available to install. They include things such as composite shingles or faux slate, which mimic the look of natural materials. Several types of synthetic roofing materials offer extremely high durability while keeping overall costs low. Plus, the materials are lightweight, making installation easier and maintenance stress-free. Lifespan can vary depending on the type of material you choose and the installation process, so it’s important to understand your options before making a decision. Unfortunately, synthetic roofing isn’t as environmentally friendly as other options.
11. Built-Up Roofing (BUR) or Membrane Roofing
Built-up roofing (BUR) and membrane roofing are common options for flat roofs. Built-up roofing is constructed of asphalt, tar, adhesive, and sometimes even felt or fiberglass. The various layers are stacked on top of one another and sealed with an aggregate to create a durable, weather-resistant surface. The installation can be a little tough and BUR shouldn’t be used on sloped roofs, but they are a great option for industrial buildings or modern, flat-roofed residential homes.
Membrane roofing is made from single-ply roofing membranes like EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), TPO (thermoplastic olefin), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). They’re lightweight, work well with flat roofs, and carry the same advantages and disadvantages as BUR.
The Importance of Finding a Good Roofing Contractor
Selecting the right roofing material is only half the battle; finding a skilled and reputable roofing contractor is equally important. The right contractors will help ensure you avoid bad roofing jobs and are left with a beautiful roofing installation that lasts for years. They understand how to properly install the roofing material to maximize its lifespan and performance without charging you for unnecessary costs. Before getting started, always talk to a roofing contractor for an estimate and weigh your options. Look for contractors with a proven track record, proper licensing and insurance, and positive customer reviews. Request multiple quotes, compare warranties, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about the installation process.
When you’re ready to get started on your new roof selection and installation, contact First Star Exteriors. We believe there’s a perfect balance between hands-on, personable treatment, quality of work, and speed of delivery. The contractors at First Star Exteriors always take the time to understand your needs and communicate effectively from the first quote to the last nail placed. To learn more about our roofing options or to get a quote from us today within 48 hours, contact us at (479) 267-4800 or fill out our contact form here.