Choosing the Right Roofing Material

Every homeowner wishes for a roof that is cheap, never requires repair and will last forever. However, the average roof must be replaced or repaired about every 10 years. It is important to choose roofing materials carefully to get the most life out of a roof, lessen the amount of waste in landfills and use fewer natural resources. For example, the color of a roof impacts how hot or cold the attic and the rest of the home will be, which affects cooling and heating bills. Choosing the right material may yield a result that lasts for more than 30 years. There are many roofing materials available. Cost does not always determine the level of quality for many of the popular materials. The following paragraphs outline the positive and negative features of the most popular types of roofing.

Composition Shingles
These are a good selection for buyers who want an affordable roof that looks clean. There are also high-quality versions available that are constructed from fiberglass or asphalt, which are more durable. Composition shingles come in many brands, colors and types. The major advantages they hold include the following:

•Adjust well to different applications
•Can be nailed over an existing roof
•Easy to install
•Low maintenance
•Some brands may feature Class A fire protection.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider:

•May blow off in strong winds
•Material is prone to scarring while hot
•Does not have the same aesthetic dimensional appeal as tile or shakes

Clay Tile
This tile is a good choice for Spanish, Southwestern or Italian styles of homes. Some of the biggest advantages they offer include the following:

•Durable
•Long lifespan
•Will not burn or rot
•Resistant to insect damage
•Low maintenance

There are several disadvantages of clay tile. One of the biggest is its weight. This means that additional roof support is often required to hold the tile. The following are also disadvantages:

•Color fades over time
•Difficult to perform roof maintenance that requires walking on fragile tiles
•Difficult to install
•Expensive

Wood Shakes
This natural look is unique because shakes can be different widths, colors, thicknesses or cuts. The main advantages include the following:

•Helps insulate an attic
•Allows home to breath

Since they are wood, there are also several risks and disadvantages to consider. The following are the most important considerations:

•Many are unrated by fire safety codes
•Many manufacturers use spray or wipe fire retardants
•Difficult to install
•Lifespan maintenance cost may be high
•Old shakes cannot be recycled
•Prone to insect infestations

Concrete Tile
Some of these tiles are coated with other materials. Plastics, thin metals, enamels and various recycled materials are some examples. The following are advantages of concrete tiles:

•Long lifespan
•Low maintenance
•Good fire resistance
•Resistant to insects and rot
•Durable

The following are disadvantages of concrete tiles:

•More expensive than similar materials
•May be prone to breaking, curling or changing color

Slate
This material is often seen on upscale homes. While it may be expensive, it offers a natural look. The following are some advantages of slate:

•Long lifespan
•Good fire protection
•Resistant to insects and rot
•Low maintenance
•Wide selection of sizes and natural colors

The following are disadvantages of slate:

•Can be heavy enough to require extra support
•Breakable enough to making walking on it not recommended

Metal Roofs
These roofs were popular in the 1700s, and they are making a comeback today. One advantage people like about them is that they can be designed to look like other types of roofing. The following are the main advantages:

•Durable
•Energy efficient
•Fire resistant
•Very low maintenance
•Made from up to 65 percent recycled material
•Some types can be installed over an existing roof

The following are disadvantages:

•Difficult to install
•Expensive
•May not be as efficient as other roofing materials

Hot Mop
This is installed on flat roofs. It is not very attractive, so most people cover it with decorative stones. It can only be installed on roofs with proper drainage devices intact. While it is inexpensive, it poses several health risks because of dangerous substances in its material composition.

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