Picking out a new roof for your home or having one built from scratch is not as straight forward as most homeowners think. This is mainly because of all the possible roof types, roofing materials to choose from, what’s needed to get everything installed and the overall cost of the project will leave the average homeowner with a lot of things to consider before making a final decision.
The condition of your existing roof will also play a big role in your decision making. Things like removing the materials on the roof, repairing the roof support structure and just about anything that needs to be done to your roof prior to getting the new roof installed will cost more money. You also need to consider the shape of your roof. For example, a roof with no chimneys, ventilation pipes or dormers can be a relatively simple job complete however, roofs with multiple chimneys, turrets, or skylights will be more of a challenge and will cost significantly more to complete.
Here are some of your roof material choices for new construction roofing:
Asphalt Shingle – Generally the least expensive and most commonly used roof material also requires minimum skill to install. Made with a fiberglass material that is coated with asphalt and has surface with sand-like granules. It has a life expectancy is 25 years or more. Take note that there are different configurations of this shingle that has a shorter life expectancy.
Wood – Was the go-to roof material for centuries. Nowadays it’s still a good option but due to fire codes its use is not permitted in all areas. Made of sawn or split cedar, redwood or southern pine. Life expectancy is 25 years or more similar to asphalt shingles however wood costs around twice as much.
Metal – Very durable roofing material (aluminum, steel, copper and on some occasions lead). Consisting of seamed roofs with vertical lengths of metal that are soldered together. Quite expensive and heavy.
Tile and Cement – Very durable but quite expensive and tend to be very heavy. Half cylinder tile roofing can be commonly found on Spanish colonial and mission styled roofs. Has a wavy effect which some cement and metal roofs try to imitate.
Slate – Of all the possible roofing materials, this material is among the most durable. However, slate is very expensive and is very heavy. The life expectancy of slate is so long that in most cases the roof outlasts the fasteners that hold the slate in place.
If you are remodeling, the existing roof and roof support structure will determine what roofing material you can use. Not every roof type can handle or use any roofing material because of factors like the weight or the slope of the roof. Some materials like slate and tile are very heavy and require that your house’s structure can support the weight and the total load. Always consult your roofing contractor about your options and what additional work would be needed to install the roof you want.
Once you have decided on the material you will then want to move on to “Flashing” which is a metal or plastic film that is applied in strips to the areas where different materials adjoin. Properly executed flashing is vital to keeping the structure watertight because leaks are more likely to happen where gaps form because of the different materials being used.
Be wary of roofing contractors that rely on using tar for joints. The tar is a lazy expedient that should not be used on a new roofing surface. The use of tar is acceptable in roofs where membranes are used.