It’s no secret to homeowners, realtors, builders and prospective home buyers that the roof of a house is arguably its most important feature. Replacing your roof goes beyond just adding home value and curb appeal, it’s a project that gives your home protection against weather of all shapes, severity and sizes.
For homeowners looking to replace their roof, the questions and uncertainties of a replacement project can be daunting. What company do I contract? What’s the overall cost? How long will it take? Before choosing a company or crafting a budget, it’s important to identify which type of shingle or roofing solution you want to go with.
Welcome to our breakdown of the pros, cons and detailed features of the most commonly-used roofing options available for your home.
The Pros of Asphalt Shingles:
The Cons of Asphalt Shingles:
Types of Asphalt Shingles:
Maintenance of Asphalt Shingles:
Maintenance of asphalt shingles can be a bit of a crapshoot. How often you may have to maintain them can depend on how severe the weather can get where you live. While there should be minimal maintenance of asphalt shingles, you’ll need to keep an eye on the flashing. If flashing on asphalt shingles comes loose or is compromised, water can seep through and cause potential damage. In time, algae and moss can potentially grow on asphalt shingles, so the possibility of having to replace some can exist down the road.
Wood shingles (also known as “shake roofing”, depending on what option you choose) carry a vast amount of unique curb appeal vs. other options, giving homes a unique rustic look. Wood shingles go beyond their attractive appearance and offer a variety of functional amenities as well. A question homeowners should be asking themselves as they prepare to replace their roof is “Are wood shingles worth the additional cost vs. asphalt?”.
The Pros of Wood Shingles:
The Cons of Wood Shingles:
What’s the difference between wood shingles vs. shakes?
This is a question that pops up often in regards to the two options for wood roofs. The cut of the wood, the thickness and the overall appearance of a shake sets it apart from a typical shingle. A wood shake is identified by its thick butt end and almost “natural” cut, sometimes featuring a rough exterior. The overall appearance of shakes is often more “textured” than shingles. Due to the thickness (and extra protection) of a shake, they are more expensive than typical wood shingles. However, most manufactures have included compounds to reduce the growth.
Types of Wood Shakes and Shingles:
Of all the roofing options homeowners have to choose from, slate is as durable as you can get. A well-built slate roof can last upwards of two centuries, meaning no matter how well you take of yourself, you’ll never outlast your roof. Nor will you ever have to undergo another roofing project. As you could imagine with such a durable option, price plays a big part in a decision to install a slate roof.
The Pros of Slate Roofing:
The Cons of Slate Roofing:
Maintenance of slate roofs:
Another value to a slate roof is the minimal upkeep and maintenance. Slate stands as the most “set-it-and-forget-it” option for homeowners in terms of roof upkeep. While slate roofs can be fragile and potentially crack under the weight of a fallen branch, its overall durability from the elements is its strength.
Types of Slate Roofs:
We’re sure that you’ve seen an increasingly-growing amount of metal roofs around your neighborhood as they are becoming more and more prominent. Yet another durable option, metal roofs typically last about as long as you own your house (IE: 30 years) and usually come with a warranty of 30-50 years. While not as costly as slate, metal roofs are on the higher side of price as far as materials and labor go. Once again, you’re paying for longevity and max protection.
The Pros of Metal Roofing:
The Cons of Metal Roofing:
Maintenance of metal roofs:
The upkeep of a metal roof is relatively minimal, but there is maintenance that should be conducted. General cleaning of the roof (which is easier said than done) is required to keep leaves, branches and other debris clear so it doesn’t cause any corrosion of the material. While scratches and gouges should be minimal on a metal roof, keep an eye out for any disruption to the exterior that could cause corrosion and rot.
Types of Metal Roofs:
SYNTHETIC ROOFING PRODUCTS:
Yet another popular roofing choice (and by now, you’re realizing there are many!) is a composite or synthetic option. For instance, both wood shake and shingle options come in composite. Synthetic wood options are comprised of a non-recycled polymer that give composite roofs a durability and strength that goes beyond traditional wood options. The same goes for synthetic slate options, which are created and fashioned to look just like natural slate roofing tiles.
Pros of Synthetic:
Slate synthetic material weighs substantially less than its natural slate counterpart. That lightness makes this option available for almost any home. Synthetic slate also greatly reduces any collection of mold and algae. For wood synthetic options, installation is easier because there is no need for coatings (fire retardant, anti-algae, etc.), saving on overall labor costs.
Cons of Synthetic:
Synthetic technology is still relatively new, coming to prominence in the early 90’s. The jury is still out on the overall long-term effects of using a composite option, specifically if there is any color fading over time.
EPDM is a solution mostly for “no-slope” or “low-slope” roofs (IE: flat). Combining ethylene and propylene, EPDM creates a very durable synthetic rubber roofing solution. EPDM is rolled on in large sheets and is either attached, ballasted or adhered with liquid adhesives or tape.
Pros of EPDM:
While not the most attractive option for a roof, EPDM can be applied directly over plywood, making this option a quick and cost-effective solution to your roofing needs. EPDM is predominantly used in commercial roofing and provides a strong watertight seal for flat roofs that prevents against harsh weather. For almost any flat roof project, EPDM provides good energy efficiency and overall durability.
Cons of EPDM:
Most EPDM roofs last upwards of 20 years, which is on the low side compared to other more expensive options. While EPDM provides durability and weather resistance, it pales in comparison to the longevity of composite, synthetic, metal and slate options.