There are a variety of different types of roofing materials that can be used to protect the roof a home. Some materials are better suited for certain climates over others, such as clay tiles perform and last a lot longer in hot, dry climates than cold, icy climates. The lifespan for some of these materials is longer than others. The longer the material will last typically the more expensive the roofing material will cost to purchase and install. In most cases, the natural roofing materials will last longer and cost more to buy and install. Here is a list of some of the typical roofing materials you will come across installed on properties you consider buying:Composition shingles – Composition shingles are used on homes all over the country and are one of the most popular roofing materials because of their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. The most common types of composite shingles used today are made from asphalt and fiberglass and have an average lifespan of 15 to 30 years; however, prices and lifespans vary depending on the grade of shingle.
Additionally, they are low-maintenance, easy to repair, and typically offer Class A fire protection. On the downside, composite shingles can blow off during high winds and can be damaged from ice. Also, they do not offer as much insulation as some other materials and are the least eco-friendly of all shingles (especially those made with asphalt).
Recycled synthetic composite shingles – synthetic varieties made with a combination of recycled materials, such as plastic, rubber, fiberglass and wood. Many resemble slate, clay, or cedar shakes and can last as long as 50 years with little upkeep. Synthetic shingles are tolerant of foot traffic, are relatively easy to install, and lightweight.
Also, depending on the style and installation, some can cost nearly as much as premium materials like slate and clay.
Wood shingles and shakes – Wood shingles and shakes are generally made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine. Cedar is the most expensive of the available wood materials, but it is often preferred for its rot and decay resistance. Wood shingles offer some energy benefits as they insulate the attic, and the small openings under the rows allow air to circulate.
One of the disadvantages of wood shingles is many have no fire rating or only a class C, so it’s important to check with your local building codes before choosing this roofing material. That said, there are a few companies providing wood shingles that meet national fire safety standards as they are pressure treated with a fire retardant.
Another negative aspect of a wood roof is it requires a high level of maintenance to keep mold, rot, and insects at bay. When properly maintained quality wood shingles can last 30 to 50 years; however, this can be much shorter if the roof is neglected.
Metal roofing -Metal roofing is able to withstand extreme weather, which makes them well suited to hurricane zones and areas with heavy snow (snow slides off instead of piling up and denting or collapsing the roof). Also, they are fire retardant, need little to no maintenance, and are extremely energy efficient as the metal reflects the sun’s rays and reduces the amount of heat absorbed into the attic. Modern metal roofs come in all styles and colors and some even resemble other materials, such as wood shakes, clay, and shingles.
Similar to wood, metal roofs are more complex to install than composite shingles and require a skilled contractor, but the price of a metal roof is its main drawback. Generally, they cost at least two or three times more than basic composite shingles, and the price can go up even more if you choose copper or specially coated steel. However, with lifespans of 50 to 100 years, they can easily outlast other roof materials and end up saving you money over time.
Slate roofing – Slate is a roofing material that can be laid out in various different patterns. Like metal, it is exceptionally durable and can easily last 50 to 100 years as it is nearly impervious to fire, rot, insects, and demands very little maintenance. Although the colors of slate are limited to what’s found in nature, it comes in a range of greens, grays, and browns.
The major cons of slate are its high price (more than nearly any other material) and its weight (often extra roofing support is necessary). Also, it can break when walked on (makes maintenance a challenge) and it is less suitable for hot climates as the dark color absorbs heat.
Clay and concrete tiles – Clay and concrete are also durable roof materials that have great fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects. Clay tiles are usually lighter in color (ideal for hot weather) and are commonly seen on southwestern, Spanish, and Italian style homes. Alternatively, concrete tiles come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and are often designed to mimic other materials.
Clay and concrete tiles have many of the same advantages of slate, including low maintenance, a distinctive look, and a 50+ year lifespan. However, also like slate, they are delicate and can break when walked on, are heavy (need extra support), and are very expensive.
Flat Roofs- applied to flat or semi-flat residential roofs that have good access and proper drainage. It can be done in asphalt roll, tar & gravel, or rubber membrane, These materials are less expensive than other roofing materials and hold up fairly well when properly applied.