There are so many different roofing materials available today that it can be overwhelming for a consumer to try and choose one for their home. This article will provide an overview of some of the most common types of roofing materials and help you decide which one is the best fit for your building.
Asphalt shingles can be seen in just about any suburban neighborhood, as they are the most popular roofing material in use today. They are so well loved due to their affordability, durability, and near infinite customization options. A modest investment in asphalt shingles can get you a roof that will last for 20 or 30 years, giving you a good value for the money. It comes in two basic styles- three tab, which is the more common variety, and architectural shingles which are almost twice as thick as the three tab shingle and provide a more substantial feel and architectural look to a home.
Wood shingles have been hugely popular throughout history, and even now are prized for their striking beauty. However, they seem to be gradually falling out of style due to their relative expense and increasingly strict housing codes that call for inflammable materials on roofs to stop the spread of fire. This is an understandable concern, but it’s hard for some homeowners to give up the pleasing aesthetic of natural wood shingles! Western Red Cedar, Eastern White Cedar, and Alaskan Yellow Cedar are all popular choices of wood for these shingles, though despite their names they all age to a beautiful silver gray color once installed. Wood shingles need to breathe and have air circulation all around them to discourage the growth of mold and rotting, so they need to be installed over top of a substrate. A properly installed wood roof that has been well maintained should last between 30 and 50 years, though there is a fair amount of maintenance that needs to be done.
One way to get the look of wood without all the maintenance and fire hazard is to use engineered wood shingles. There are many different products on the market that have been designed to mimic the look of wood shingles, each with their own unique set of pros and cons.
Slate has long been a higher end roofing material in the Northeastern states. It was commonly used for luxurious homes and municipal buildings, but now is becoming more widely available to people of all budgets. Even if you can’t afford the real thing, there are plenty of convincing replicas on the market that closely mirror the look of real slate, and it’s not like anyone’s going to be getting up on your roof to check it out! Slate is very effective at shedding ice and snow and looks stunning on the right house. However, it is also very heavy and may require you to install additional roof support just to hold up the sheer weight of it. The synthetic slate look versions are nearly three times lighter and less expensive than the real thing, though, and are guaranteed to last for up to 50 years.