A roof design incorporates both engineering and aesthetics, and the choices you make depend on the weather you expect to encounter regularly. If you live in an area that experiences frequent rains, you should consider a higher-pitched roof that will shed water more easily.
As to the type of roofing material you will use, there are many choices. Price is of course, an important factor; however, long-term durability, maintenance, and cost of ownership should also be considered.
Asphalt shingles, better known as 3-tab or architectural, are popular in many parts of the country. They are readily available, perform well in most climates, and are affordable. Recent innovations have introduced different patterns, designs, and colors to the mix, which have made asphalt shingles more competitive.
However, asphalt shingles do not hold up well in extreme heat. They tend to lose the mineral surface that protects the base materials of the shingle, which leads to early deterioration. As they age, the edges will start to curl and the color will fade. Another concern is that asphalt is porous and can promote algae and mold growth.
Many manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their shingles, but the average lifespan for an asphalt roof is 15-25 years. At the end of their useful life, they cannot be recycled and must be discarded in a landfill. The mineral particles on the surface help reflect the heat from the Sun, but due to its base material, asphalt will transfer heat to your home, which can lead to increased cooling costs in the summer.
Metal roofing has been used for decades and is regarded as a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution to protect your home from the elements. Metal is not as susceptible to mold, fungus and rot as other roofing materials, and most roofers are familiar with the installation process. Unlike asphalt, metal is an excellent reflective surface and will help keep your home cool in the summer.
Metal roofing is available in panels or sheets, as well as tiles. The advantage of using panels is that you can avoid seams, since they can be produced in long lengths that extend from the roof edge to the ridge. There are multiple color options and they are produced in designs similar to wood shakes and slate.
However, metal roofing is expensive to purchase and install. If you ever need to replace a panel, it will be difficult to match the color, and if the panels are long, the process can be expensive. Also, certain types of metal roofing will expand and contract, causing the fasteners to wear out and require replacement before the roof does.
Wood shingles, or shakes, are unique in the roofing industry, and the homes they cover stand out due to their natural beauty and rustic appeal. They are eco-friendly and sustainable, but there are maintenance issues to consider if you are in an area that gets a lot of rain and heat.
Wood will expand when wet, and as it dries, it can crack, especially under extremely hot conditions. Wood shingles must be kept clean to avoid mold and fungus growth. Rot can also develop. Insect infestation can be an issue unless the shingles are properly treated. Since wood is normally flammable, some areas of the country won’t allow their use, even if they carry a fire rating.
For those wanting a Mediterranean style, terracotta, clay, and concrete barrel tiles provide instant satisfaction. They have a reputation for long-lasting durability, are fire-resistant, and can be recycled. One of the benefits of clay and concrete as a roofing material is that the heat they absorb during the day is released back to the atmosphere in the evening, instead of passing to the attic below. This helps prolong the life of the wood structure and reduce cooling costs in the summer.
Clay and concrete are extremely heavy and will require additional support if the roof was not originally engineered for the extra weight. Asphalt shingles weigh between 150 and 320 pounds per 100 square feet. Clay roof tiles will weigh between 700 and 1,100 pounds per 100 square feet.
In addition to the added cost of supporting the roof, installation costs will be at least twice that of ordinary shingles, as specialists will be needed for the project. Maintenance will also have to be done by the same specialists, driving up the cost of ownership.
Slate makes a beautiful roof and has been found on homes in North Wales, dating back 700 years. It is a natural product, and the average lifespan of a properly maintained slate roof can be 50-100 years. It will function well in every climate, including heavy snow, and is virtually fireproof. Due to its weight, slate is an excellent option in areas that experience high winds.
However, slate, like clay and concrete, is a heavy roofing product that requires additional support for the roof, and the use of roofing contractors who have previously installed slate. Though slate does not require a lot of maintenance, specialists must perform it, making it costly. Slate is expensive to purchase and transport, and if it needs to be replaced, finding a match can prove difficult.
Best: Composite Roofing Tiles
Synthetic composite roof tiles are an eco-friendly option made by combining recycled materials such as hemp fibers and waste plastics. Re-using these materials reduces the trash sent to landfills and promotes green living.
Another benefit is their ability to perfectly mimic the appearance of slate, wood shakes, and terracotta while remaining unaffected by heavy rain, snow, or heat. Composite roofing tiles are virtually maintenance-free.
They have an average lifespan of up to 50 years, so a synthetic composite tile roof may be the only roof you ever need. They are lightweight, won’t break under the weight of installers, and do not require special equipment or fasteners to install. They cannot rot and are available in multiple colors.
Brava Is the Leader in Synthetic Composite Roof Tiles
are the superior choice for state-of-the-art realism in the design of Old World Slate, Cedar Shake, and Spanish Barrel Tiles. Our roof tiles have a Class 4 impact rating and are available in both a Class C and a Class A fire rating. Since our tiles do not absorb moisture, they are far less susceptible to mold and fungus growth in rainy climates:
- Our tiles are lightweight and require no additional roof support.
- Most professional roofing companies can install them.
- Our products are maintenance-free.
- We back our roofing products with a 50-year limited warranty.
- Brava tiles are available in almost any color.
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