THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS FOR NEW ROOFS
BY CHERYL ALEXANDER
If you’re in the market for a new roof, too few options will not be a problem. New technologies and innovations now make it possible to have just about any look you desire, no matter where you live.
When choosing roofing materials, consider the following questions:
How heavy is this material?
Does it require special framing?
Does it come in a variety of colors and styles that complement your home?
Does it meet the fire codes in your area?
Are there any installation and maintenance issues?
Does it perform well in your climate?
What is the cost, life span, and warranty?
The answers to these questions, along with the following information, will help you determine the best choice for your home.
Pros: Asphalt comes in a variety of colors, is widely available, and is one of the least expensive materials. Cons: Typically has a shorter life span than other roofing materials, doesn’t provide the insulation other materials offer, and the quality varies. House Styles: Work with many architectural styles, especially traditional styles. Cost and Life Span: From $70 to $120 a square and, if maintained properly, shingles will last 20 to 25 years. (In roofing terms, a square refers to 100 square feet of roof or a roll designed to cover 100 square feet of roof.)
CLAY AND CONCRETE TILES
Pros: Long-lasting and non-combustible. They are great options for hot climates where salt air and high winds are present. Cons: They are expensive, heavy, and usually require additional framing. House Styles: Work well with Mediterranean, Mission, and Spanish- style homes. Cost and Life Span: Runs $200 to $800 and clay $500 to $1,000 per square installed. Life expectancy is 50 to 100 years.
Pros: Durable, lasts longer than asphalt or wood, and offers high solar reflectance. Cons: Relatively expensive, and installation may be an issue with some companies. House Styles: Looks great on bungalows, cabins, contemporary and cottage-style homes. Cost and Life Span: Starts around $100 to $300 a square, but some styles can cost $600 to $800 a square. Metal roofing can last 40 to 75 years.
Pros: Durable, fire-resistant, and a sustainable roof material that can be recycled. Cons: Expensive, heavy, and requires extra framing and professional installation. The quality can vary with imported slate. House Styles: Work well on homes with Colonial, European, Tudor, and French chateau architecture. Cost and Life Span: Starts at about $600 a square and up. Slate can last more than 50 years and sometimes 100 years or more.
WOOD SHINGLES AND SHAKE
Pros: Wood shingles offer a rustic look and are a natural product usually made from cedar, redwood, or southern pine. Cons: Fire codes in some areas prohibit their use. Wood shingles can be a concern in wet climates and can mold, split, or rot. House Styles: Rustic aesthetic pairs well with bungalow, Cape Cod, cottage, Craftsman, and Tudor-style homes. Cost and Life Span: Shingles — about $4.50 to $9 per square foot, installed. Shakes — around $6.50 to $11 per square foot, installed. In dry climates, a wood shingle or shake roof can last 60 years. In damp conditions, maybe 20 years
SYNTHETIC ROOFING PRODUCTS
Pros: Often they are not as fragile, heavy, or expensive as natural products. Cons: Some products can absorb water, and the quality varies. Newer products aren’t as time-tested as traditional materials. House Styles: Work well with different architectural styles. Cost and Life Span: Starts at about $300 a square and are usually warrantied for up to 50 years.
A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system installed on top of a flat or slightly sloped roof. Green roofs are also known as vegetative or eco-roofs. Pros: A living roof offers improved air quality, less pollution, better insulation (reducing heating and cooling costs), water conservation, and wildlife habitat. Cons: Expensive to install. Reinforcing the roof of an existing home can necessitate expensive structural changes. Improper installation, inadequate drainage, or roots penetrating the protective membrane can cause leaks. House Styles: Work with many different architectural styles. Cost and Life Span: Depending on intensive, extensive, or semi-intensive, costs range from $10 to $50 per square foot. The average lifespan when properly maintained is 40+ years.