If you’re looking into installing a roof, there are several options you need to consider:
- How much weight will be bearing down on your home? Will the roof require reinforcement with a special frame?
- Can you get it in colors or an aesthetic that works with your home?
- Does the material conflict with local fire codes?
- Is there any extra work to installing or maintaining the roof?
- How well does it handle the weather common to your area?
- What’s its cost, durability and warranty?
#1: Asphalt Shingling
Asphalt is cheap ($70-120/square), easy to install and can be improved with fiberglass or cellulose without affecting their look. While you can get them in many colors, asphalt shingles are poor insulators, known to last less than 25 years and of variable quality.
#2: Terra Cotta Tiles
Clay or concrete tiles give texture and class to a roof. The texturing on proper clay tiles can guide rainwater while also offering great durability. Concrete tiles are a greatly-cheaper option that’s fairly versatile. The weight of a tile roof means that it should be installed by a professional. While both materials are quite enduring (lasting 40-50 years) and nonflammable, concrete affords better energy efficiency.
Whether you’re looking into paneling or shingling, metal is an comes in a variety of metals from aluminum to zinc. Metal is relatively lightweight, enduring (40-75 years), recyclable and especially useful to anyone looking to harvest rainwater; it’s also on the pricier end of the housing spectrum, going for $600-$800/square.
Slate is a distinctive rocky material available in a variety of dark colors. Because it’s rock, slate lasts a very long time (some slate roofs have exceeded a century of service) and is fireproof. Beyond its initial cost (which can begin at $600/square), slate’s weight will also incur the costs of a reinforcing frame and a professional installation. Imported slate can also fluctuate in quality.
The most classic of roofing options; whether you prefer the uniform appearance of shingles or the more rustic aesthetic of shakes, wood offers many roofing options. If your area is known for being a tinder box, like most of California, make sure to invest in Class A fire-rated wood as its been treated with a flame retardant covering. The most common wooden roofing materials are cedar, redwood and pine. Note that not all areas allow for wooden roofs and they can succumb to mold, rot or splitting. Wood roofing is cheap at $100-150/square and can last a good 25-30 years if well-maintained.
Remember, there may be many different materials for you to invest into your home, but the best option is the one your personal research points toward. I mean, if your research indicates that cardboard is the best roof for your home, that’s certainly a cheap wooden material, but the reliability and durability are absurd.