What Roofing Materials Do I Need?

shingle roof on brick home

Quality roofing materials

The roof of your home is more than just for a finishing touch with roof materials that match your home’s exterior. It protects your family and your belongings.  It keeps the walls standing upright. A roof has a lot of responsibility and with that in mind, as a homeowner, give it attention and care including the roof material types you choose to have installed when you get a new roof.

Once upon a time, asphalt shingles were the only option out there for the average home. Today, the roof materials list is extensive these days and choosing the right one from all the roof materials that are available can be confusing. In our piece today, we will answer questions about roof materials, home values and how they are affected by the various roof materials.

How long is the roof good for?

When you’re trying to determine how long your HVAC system, refrigerator, oven, or roof will last, think about their expected lifespan when they were new. For example, when the refrigerator was new, what was the expected lifespan? Probably 10 years, maybe 20 years.

It is the same with roof materials. The manufacturers of asphalt shingle will quote a 30-year lifespan, but in reality, that roof will probably need to be replaced closer to the 20-year mark. A wood shake roof material would have close to 30 years and fiber cement shingles have a life span of 25 years.

Several things can affect the lifespan of roof materials, like the climate and the weather. Hailstorms, high winds, hurricanes, ice, and snow can take a toll on any of the roof materials, some more than others. Then there are the UV rays that roof materials are exposed to year-round.

What is the most durable type of roof?

There are several types of roof materials available today. Choosing the one that best suits your home is important in consideration of the overall look, the durability, withing city and HOA regulations, and more.

Of all the roof materials, the most durable type is natural slate tiles, but the weight is a lot and many home structures aren’t designed to handle it. The most common choice in roofing, over 75% of American homes have this roofing material, is asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles, often referred to as composite roofing, dominate the market because of affordability. They also offer attractive options while protecting the occupants and belongings from the elements. There are 2 types of asphalt shingles: fiberglass and organic.

Metal is one of the roof materials that has re-surged over the past few years due to the eco-friendly nature, the durability, and the new styles the manufacturers have introduced.  

Other roof materials available today are:

Roof tiles

Roof tiles have been around since ancient times and have been modernized with materials that are newer and stronger that still look fantastic. Three versions of this product are:

  • Traditional clay – reinforced for durability and strength
  • Concrete tiles – a lightweight blend and easy to work with
  • Fiber cement tiles – a clay and wood blended to the concrete that is lightweight and strong

Composite and Natural or Vinyl Slate Tiles

Tile roof materials have topped European structures for centuries old. Composite or vinyl slate tile has a life expectancy of 40 to 60 years. Both genuine and synthetic slate offer choices that will match the architecture of any home. For durability, natural slate is the best choice and for low cost and attractiveness, synthetic slate tiles are the way to go.

Flat roof

A flat roof isn’t flat, there is a small slope to any of them for drainage.  A roofing contractor that specializes in a flat roof can review the various roof materials available for a flat roof and which would be the best choice for your home.

Wood shakes and shingles

For natural beauty, wood shakes and shingles are the answer. They come in cedar, cypress, redwood, and pressure-treated pine today that are machine cut, leaving cleaner edges, smooth surface, and a uniform appearance.

What is the best material for a roof?

In overall general, asphalt shingles are the best material for roofs. They are lightweight making them easy to install which makes them inexpensive. Specialty roof materials like metal, slate, or tile can cost up to 10 times more than asphalt, but they each have a longer lifespan than asphalt shingles.

What are the materials used for roofing?

Installing a roof isn’t just laying down the shingle or other roof materials and fastening them down.  There is a process and depending on which roof materials you choose will have a different process and materials needed.  We base the following roofing materials checklist on installing asphalt shingles.

  • Felt underlayment
  • Asphalt shingles
  • The drip edges
  • Hook blades
  • Roofing nails
  • Sealant
  • Waterproof underlayment
  • Staples
  • Flashing for valleys, vents, etc.
tile roofing system

What is the most energy-efficient roofing material?

As we’ve discussed, asphalt shingles are the most common of all roof materials for residential properties. Unfortunately, they are not energy-efficient. Metal roof materials have the highest number of products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label, but they do get hot in the summer, yet they are highly reflective.

Tile roof materials are an energy-efficient choice that is durable and because they are pre-treated, they maximize heat reflectivity. However, aftermarket maintenance requires the application of reflective coatings to keep that reflectivity. Then there is the flat roof that can become a green roof with a rooftop garden. The initial designing and installation are expensive and a big undertaking, but with a great result.

Regardless of which of the roof materials you choose to go with, nothing can make your roof more energy-efficient than insulation.  We recommend checking with your roofing contractor on the best insulation for your home and how much you need. Too much of a good thing, even insulation, could have not so good outcomes. For our roofing materials, call us today at (719) 368-7654!