Your Guide to Residential Roofing (2021)

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Do you need a new roof for your existing or new construction home? You have many choices, so you should think carefully. The material you choose can significantly affect your roof’s insulation, water resistance, and lifespan.

This guide will cover all of the most common materials in more detail. You’ll see how they look, discover where they excel and learn some factors you should consider before you make your choice.

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Metal Roofing
  • Clay Tiles
  • Wood Shingles
  • Slate Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

Image provided free for use on Wikimedia

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials available. They are made from fiberglass or paper base layers that are then coated with asphalt and granules of ceramic. The ceramic shards provide these shingles with their distinct look.

Why choose asphalt shingles for your home?

  • Asphalt shingles are affordable: Asphalt shingles have one of the lowest costs-per-square foot. Even for the lower price, they are effective at weatherproofing and can last a long time.
  • They have a reasonable lifespan: These shingles can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years. Premium shingles with thicker bases and better materials may last significantly longer than entry-level shingles.
  • Asphalt shingles are highly customizable: Shingles can be painted any color. They can also be cut into custom shapes to give your roof the look you want.

Asphalt shingles can be an excellent solution for many homes, but they have some limits that should be considered. For instance, there are shingles with a much longer lifespan, and asphalt shingles can have problems gripping to roofs that are sharply inclined.

Metal Roofing

Image provided free for use on PXFuel

Metal roofing has a long history. It is still popular today, due to some interesting advantages. This roofing system is a common choice for people building rugged homes such as country homes, cabins, and hunting lodges.

Why choose metal roofing for your home?

  • Metal roofing is durable: Metal roofing systems can easily last for 70 years. Ones designed for durability can easily last over 100 years.
  • Metal roofing works with most roofing designs: Metal roofing can be installed on nearly any roof shape or slope. You can get metal roofs as overlapping panels or as shingles.
  • Metal roofs can be more efficient: Metal roofs can have both insulating and light-reflecting properties. Some types of metal roofing may lower your cooling bills.

Metal roofs have some limitations worth considering. For one, they are more expensive than most other types of roofing systems. Installing metal roofing can cost two to three times as much as installing an asphalt tile roof.

Clay Tiles

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Clay tile roofing has existed since the times of the ancient Greeks. These tiles are still used to add authenticity and classic styling to the Mediterranean and Spanish-inspired homes throughout the world. Even without modern frills, these tiles are highly effective. They are respected for their longevity, low maintenance, and other advantages.

Why choose tile roofing for your home?

  • Strong wind resistance: Layered clay tiles are heavy and strong. They can resist high winds more effectively than some other kinds of roofing systems.
  • Clay tiles don’t rot or host insects: Clay tiles are resistant to most natural forces that cause wear. They do not provide a food source to insects, and they do not rot. Additionally, they do not expand or contract in response to temperature extremes. With other roofing systems, extreme weather events may result in maintenance and repairs.
  • Clay tile has a Class-A fire rating: Clay tiles are generally non-combustible. They have a Class-A fire rating, marking them as one of the materials most resistant to fires.

As a more premium material, clay tile roofing can have some high costs. You may also have to modify the frame of your existing home if you want a clay roof. Clay tiles are some of the heaviest shingles available. Not all homes are designed to handle the weight.

Wood Shingles

Image by Fruehlingswiese of Pixabay

Wood shingles are produced from hardwoods, including cedar, cypress, or prine. These shingles are prized for their distinctive look and are known to have a lot of interesting advantages. Different types of wood may have different properties. The advantages below apply to cedar, one of the most popular types of wood roofing.

Why choose wood roofing for your home?

  • Cedar is naturally insulating: Cedar shingles have been found to provide up to twice the insulation as some asphalt shingles in some studies. They may help you control heating and cooling costs.
  • Cedar is effective against insects: Some natural roofing materials are prone to insect infestation. Cedar naturally repels many types of insects, including some that might use a roof for a colony.

Wood shingles have some limitations. They tend to be more expensive than many other roofs. They are also subject to shortages and may not be available at all times. They don’t have the fire resistance of other roofing materials like metal and clay.

Slate Shingles

Image by makamuki0 on Pixabay

Slate is another ancient roofing material that is still respected for its high-performance today. Slate shingles are not manufactured composites. They are cut directly from stone and chipped to fit the right size for shingles. There are a few reasons this material lives on.

Why choose slate roofing for your home?

  • Slate is highly resistant to inclement weather: Like clay tiles, slate tiles do not expand or contract in response to high heat or cold temperatures. They are also highly resistant to shock compared to other roofs. They can survive hail up to 4” in size.
  • Slate is one of the longest-lasting materials available: Slate roofs can survive from up to 125 years. Higher-quality hard slates may last as long as 200 years.

You should consider the limitations of slate before you install your new roof. This material can be expensive to install. It can be difficult to find roof repair companies that understand how to maintain slate properly.

Find the Right Roof for Your Residential Home

You have many choices for your residential roof. Asphalt, metal, clay tiles, wood shingles, and slate shingles all have advantages and disadvantages to consider. Remember that all roofing materials have both low-value and premium options. If you choose excellent shingles made of any material, your roof should serve you for a long time.

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