Residential Roof types – Which works best for you?
When you are sitting in your home watching a good movie, you hopefully aren’t thinking about what is above your ceiling. And that is a good thing, because it means whatever is up there, it has been quietly doing its job protecting you from wind, sun and weather. But, if your roof is getting old, if it has been damaged, or if you are building a new house, you are likely seriously considering roofing options.
You might be thinking about different colors, styles and designs, but there is much more to consider. The type of roofing you choose will have certain characteristics that impact not only how it handles various outside weather conditions, but actually changes things inside your home. For example, the amount of heat penetration affects your electric bill. So, the roof you choose should be done with care and good information.
We offer this list of residential roof options with some strengths or disadvantages to help you decide beyond just what will look good, but which also will bring benefits to your pocketbook, house and family-life
There are many important unseen parts that are needed to build a good roof, but we won’t address those in this article. Today we will just focus on the outside visible part called the shingle. Shingles are overlapping individual items attached in various ways to the wood of the roof and that form the waterproof barrier protecting your home. Shingles come in many shapes and materials each with different performance characteristics. We will consider six types of shingles in our list today.
asphalt is the main component, but it is then reinforced, typically with fiberglass, and covered with small mineral granules for durability and color
The standard design is called a “3-tab” which gives a flat look with rows and diagonal patterns. A newer design called a “dimensional shingle” gives a multi-layered look, eliminates the diagonal patterns, has a longer life and is stronger.
high winds and large hail can damage them, temperature extremes can cause damage, cannot withstand high heat well
steel, copper, zinc or aluminum with various paint options for color and design. The metal can be formed into a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from large sheet panels, to small over-lapping rows, to vertical strips which give a wide variety of looks to match the house design.
longer life-span than asphalt or wood, lightest weight, reflects sunlight keeping inside temperatures lower reducing energy use, can tolerate high heat, fireproof
noisy during precipitation, but this can be reduced with additional underlaid material, large hail can dent the surface, low insulating ability
clay or concrete formed in many design shapes with pigment or stain infused to provide color options
very long-lasting, withstands high heat and long-term sun exposure, low maintenance cost, long-lasting, fireproof, insulates from heat & cold and so reduces energy usage
expensive to install, the weight is heavy, repairs are more difficult, the clay type is relatively brittle
naturally occurring stone cut to size and shape
very long-lasting, withstands high heat and long-term sun exposure, not damaged by fire, wind, hail or snow, natural appearance
expensive to install, pegs used to secure them can break, very heavy weight, fewer installation companies available
manufactured from various polymers, rubber or plastic
made to look like tile, slate or wood, low maintenance, long-lasting, many brands have high fire-resistance, aesthetics of other type shingles with a lower cost
smaller number of installation companies, less insulating qualities than the types they mimic, variation of quality between brands
natural wood that is machine-cut to size and shape, typically from cedar, spruce, cypress or pine
rustic appearance, eco-friendly, spot repairs are possible without too much difficulty
susceptible to fire and banned by building codes in some areas, susceptible to rot in wet regions, cannot sustain long high-heat and sun exposure
You can see that there are performance differences between the shingle types and there are also significant cost differences we weren’t able to address. The region of the country in which you live and your weather may quickly eliminate some of the options, but we hope this information helps you make a better-informed decision.
We recommend that you seek out a reputable local roofing company and get their opinion on the best options for your specific situation along with pricing and installation costs. With the information in this article in your back pocket, we trust you’re now in a better position even to have conversations with potential roofing companies.
Extra Tip: Check out our article on how to select the best roofing contractor. We are heading into fall, but there is still plenty of good weather left to select your best roof type and get it installed.