The roof of a home offers protection from the elements and keeps your family members and possessions safe. To be up to this challenge, a roof must be made from strong, durable materials. There are six popular materials that withstand wear and tear and make for great roofs.
Asphalt Shingles. Drive down most streets in the U.S., and you’ll see that the majority of homes are capped in asphalt shingles. This roofing material is popular because it is affordable, easy to install, and easy to coordinate with most any architectural style. Standard 3-tab shingles are becoming less popular as more homeowners opt for the more textured, overlapped look of architectural shingles. The downside of asphalt shingles is that they only last for about 20-30 years and provide minimal insulation.
Clay Tiles. Clay tiles are popular in coastal areas, and they complement Spanish and Mediterranean-style homes well. Their heavy weight makes them very wind-resistant, and they’re also impervious to the salt in coastal air. Many homeowners favor them because they’re made from natural materials. Clay tiles are difficult to install and can be pricey, but they will last about 50 years when properly maintained.
Concrete Tiles. Similar to clay tiles, concrete tiles are a heavy, durable roofing option suitable for hurricane and storm-prone regions. They come in a wide array of textures and can even be made to look like wooden shakes. Concrete tiles are better suited for colder areas than are clay tiles because they are less likely to shrink and crack. They tend to last about 50 years, but they’re even heavier than clay tiles, so they’re only an option on homes that are very structurally sound and built to support their weight.
Metal Roofing. Metal roofing is known as a very eco-friendly option since it is typically made from recycled materials and can be recycled again at the end of its lifespan. Metal reflects the sunlight, lowering cooling bills in the summer. Both aluminum and steel roofs are popular, and they come in an array of colors and patterns. Most are coated in rust or corrosion-resistant products to prevent damage. Metal roofing can last up to 75 years and is very low-maintenance.
Cedar Shakes. Cedar shakes are popular among those who wish to create rustic-looking homes. Cedar is a unique wood in that it is naturally unappealing to insects, resistant to rot, and resistant to warping. These qualities make it a rather durable material, though it is not recommended in overly wet climates since it can develop algae. Cedar roofing is also prohibited in some areas where fires are a major concern. However, it is an excellent insulator, comes at an affordable price, and lasts 25-30 years on average.
Slate. Slate roofing offers the ultimate in durability, with some slate roofs lasting 100 years or more. It is made from natural slabs of stone that are cut into thin wedges. Slate is fire-resistant, extremely durable in even the toughest of weather conditions, and is a sustainable choice since it’s entirely natural. Its downfalls are that it is quite expensive and heavy. Extra framing must sometimes be added to a home in order for it to support a slate roof. Slate comes in a range of natural colors, from black to purple.
The right roofing material for your home depends on your budget, the climate in your area, and the look you are trying to achieve. Options like slate and clay tend to cost more, but they last longer, whereas asphalt and cedar are less expensive but will have to be replaced much sooner.