Choosing the right roofing material is one of the most critical decisions you may make when constructing or renovating your home. The roof is the first line of defense against water leaks and heat loss, while also playing an important role in the visual appeal of a home.
Given the role roofing plays in insulation, choosing the right type of shingles is also a key factor in the monthly expenses that the homeowner will face. Heating and cooling costs can both be controlled by installing a high-quality, energy efficient roof, as long as the roofing is installed correctly by a skilled roof repair contractor.
There are a lot of options on the market when it comes to shingles and other roofing products. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused when it comes time to select the material for a roof. This guide was designed to provide a brief introduction to some of the most common types of roofing, to indicate when a given option might be preferable, and to suggest some high quality local providers of superior roofing products.
Asphalt shingles are the ubiquitous shingles seen on the vast majority of homes. Their advantages include:
- Low cost
- Large color selection
- Flexible construction which makes them easy to install – especially on complex roofs
Essentially, they are one of the most useful roofing materials around, because they are strong, available to match almost any color scheme, and easy to install.
Quality Providers include: Certainteed, GAF
Metal roofs provide an interesting alternative to shingles. While perhaps not as traditional in appearance, the color selection available in steel and aluminum metal roofing is wide enough to enable anyone to find something that would complement their home. The large, corrugated panels that are often used in metal roofs are also no longer the only option. Metal is now used by several companies to produce roofing products that look much more like a traditional shake or shingle.
Metallic materials reflect light energy away from the home, helping to keep it cool in the summer. The long-life of these products and their energy efficiency make them an environmentally friendly option.
Quality Providers Include: Carlisle Syntec Systems, CertainTeed, Sentrigard, Fabral
Wooden Shingles and Shakes
Wood provides a beautiful character to a roof that has yet to be matched by many manufactured products. However, the color selection available in wood is limited to what is produced in the natural world, especially in comparison to synthetic alternatives. This provides a somewhat narrower spectrum for selection than what is seen in the metallic or asphalt shingles.
The difference between a shingle and a shake has to do with how the wood is cut relative to the grain. Shingles are cut, allowing the character of the wood grain to add to their appearance, and are manufactured to be consistent and even. Shakes are split instead, which means that their shape and texture is not as clean as what is typically seen in shingles.
Quality Providers include: Anbrook Industries
Slate is a highly desirable roofing material if you plan on being in your home for a lifetime. For people who plan on moving frequently, the cost and labor of installing slate may prove somewhat of a deterrent. For someone who is ready to commit to staying in their home long-term, slate may be one of the best options. It will typically outlast wood and asphalt products by a measure of decades, not years. The look of slate is considered quite elegant, and slate roofs are a hallmark of many high-end homes.
There are other hard materials that share some similarities with slate. Some roofing products are made of either concrete or clay instead. These products are not quite as durable as slate, but they do still have a considerably lifespan.
Providers include: DaVinci Roofscapes, GAF
Many of the “slate” shingles you see on the market are actually a synthetic imitation. Synthetic shingles don’t have all of the characteristics of the materials they are designed to imitate. However, synthetic shingles have several positive characteristics to recommend them on their own merits.
- Made from recycled materials
- Not vulnerable to rot
- Durable against weather
- Long lasting
The nature of synthetic shingles also makes it possible for manufacturers to make them in a wide variety of colors. Manufacturers can form them to look like the roofing material you like best, other than synthetic. For example, there are options which are designed to look exactly like cedar shakes, while others look like slate tiles.
Providers Include: EcoStar, DaVinci Roofscapes, CertainTeed
What to Look for in Shingles
When shopping for a new roofing product keep the following tips in mind:
- Look for a durable product with a long-lasting guaranteed lifespan
- Check to see what type of warranty is offered on the roofing product
- Ask about color availability to find something that matches either the existing home or planned color scheme
- Consult with a professional regarding weather conditions in the environment where the home is located, and discuss the best shingle options for protection from that weather
- Find out how energy efficient the roofing product is
Keeping these primary points in mind should help anyone find a high quality product. Beyond these basics, the decision largely becomes about cost and aesthetics. While it can be difficult to visualize a new roof on a home, looking at pictures that utilize the product is a good way to understand what kind of look a home will have once the product is installed.
Professional Roofing Expertise
Effective roofing is part art, part science, and part craft. Roof repair contractors are the most qualified people to offer advice on what type of shingles to install on a given home. This is because professional roofers work with a wide variety of materials and have experience with how given products work when installed in certain situations. They lack the bias of a retailer and instead can offer their clients straightforward advice on what products might work best on their homes. To discuss a new roof for your home, reach out to the roof repair contractors at Beyond Exteriors today.