10 Roofing Materials You Should Consider For Your Next Roof

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10 Roofing Materials You Should Consider For Your Next Roof

There’s no such thing as an indestructible roof.

You can’t go against time and expect to win. But even if most things do become old and grey, there’s a twist to all of this.

You can slow down the aging process.

With the right exterior materials, a solid underlayment and proper installation, you’ll be well-protected against the forces of nature and even better, you’ll be able to save more on costs.

Here’s what you can expect from this article:

  • How to choose the best roofing material
  • Understand the pros & cons and cost behind each material
  • Find the roofing material that works best for your location
  • You won’t have to read another ‘roofing material’ article

First things first…

A Quick List of The Roofing Materials We’ll Cover:

  1. 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles
  2. Metal
  3. Membrane Roofing
  4. Green Roof
  5. Wood Shingles
  6. Slate Shingles
  7. Clay Tiles
  8. Concrete Tiles
  9. Stone-Coated Steel
  10. Solar Tiles

1. Asphalt Shingles

Cost: Ranges between $0.80 to $5.50 per sq. ft or $80 to $550 per sq.

Life Span: 15 to 50 years

3-Tab are the most common and basic asphalt shingles you’ll see, thanks to its cheap cost and easy installation.

There also various types such as Dimensional, Architectural, and Luxury. 3-Tab roofing though is widely popular because they distinctly define homeowners looking for economical options to save on costs.

Asphalt shingles are flexible enough to carry the weight of snow, have Class 3- 4 impact resistance, and it’s also fireproof and waterproof.

They’re also easy to install and roof contractors are more than well-versed in handling & installing asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles though have a short life span. Among all asphalt roof types, 3-Tab carries the shortest. Dimensional roofing lasts between 30 to 50 years. Higher-grade asphalt shingles like architectural or luxury asphalt roofing can go as high as 40 years.

PROS:

  • Easy installation
  • Class 3 – 4 impact resistance (depends on the type of asphalt)
  • Highly affordable
  • Decent wind resistance
  • Versatile and flexible with most roof structures
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a variety of colors and thicknesses

CONS:

  • Short life span
  • Vulnerable to temperature fluctuations
  • Susceptible to mold and mildew

Is Asphalt the Right Choice for You?

  1. Budget is your highest priority -If you’re leaning towards saving the most on your initial roofing investment, 3-Tab suits you.
  2. You don’t mind spending on roof replacement costs every 20 – 25 years -Due to their short life span, asphalt types of roofing wear down relatively easily.
  3. You’re looking for balance -Higher grade asphalt shingles offer a balance of price, visual appeal, and performance

2. Metal Shingles

Cost: Ranges between $2.80 to $3.85 per sq. ft or $280 to $385 per square

Life Span: 75 to 100 years

Metal roofs are ideal for the Southeast and Northwest regions. It’s also the most energy-efficient. With their innate ability to reflect sunlight, great insulation is a bonus to your living conditions.

That means lower cooling costs and more savings, especially during the warmer months.

A metal roof is easy to install and even lighter (0.9 to 1 lb per square foot) compared to asphalt types. Your roofing structure can easily carry the load of metal shingles.

Having a metal roof will also have high resistance against strong winds, hail/snow, fire, and rot. The downside to metal roofing though is that hail can dent steel roofs over time.

A metal roof though is noisier than most in the event of heavy rain. It’s possible; however, to install insulation beneath the layers to reduce the noise and vibrations caused.

Fortunately, steel isn’t the only material used in metal roofing. You’ll find plenty of metal roof materials used such as aluminum, copper, zinc, tin, and even corten steel type shingles.

PROS:

  • Very lightweight
  • Energy-efficient
  • Extremely durable
  • High resistance to fire, wind, hail, and mold
  • Longer lifespan than most
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Noise-related issues
  • Hail can dent some metal types

Is Metal the Right Choice for You?

  1. You want to save more on maintenance & replacement costs – Metal roofing is highly durable and resistant to various elements.
  2. Your roof’s structure can’t handle heavy loads – Metal shingles only weigh in at about 100 to 150 lbs per square foot.
  3. You want to save on energy costs – Metal roofs need less air conditioning thanks to its great insulation.

3. Membrane Roofing

Cost: Ranges between $3 to $4 per sq. ft or $300 to $400 per sq.

Life Span: 20 to 35 years

Membrane roofing materials are ideal for low slope buildings like work sheds, garages, shops, pot sheds, barns, and other functional type structures.

Membrane roofing is ideal for very low-pitch roofs. Membrane roofs use Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer(EPDM) or Thermoplastic Polyolefin(TPO). Between the two, there are major differences worth mentioning.

TPO provides better insulation in warmer climates and is less prone to water leaks. Roof repair costs are generally harder and slightly more expensive than EPDM.

EPDM provides better home insulation in colder climates, so it can handle hail storms pretty well. Repair costs are also easier to install and homeowners mentioned EPDM generally lasts longer than TPO.

Unfortunately, EPDM isn’t as durable as TPO in regard to water leaks. Although, both TPO and EPDM can be installed as fully-adhered systems for maximum durability to reduce water leaks.

Overall, membrane roofs are effective, price-friendly options to go for. Your only concern should be your geographic location.

PROS:

Good durability

Energy-efficient

Price-friendly

Ideal for commercial buildings

CONS:

UV ray protection isn’t that great

Installation can be difficult if the roofs have chimneys, pipes or HVAC systems

Compared to other roofing systems, Membrane roofs are more prone to leaks

Is Membrane the Right Choice for You?

  1. You’re looking for a price-friendly installation – Both EPDM and TPO are great, energy-efficient materials to use and don’t come at a high cost.
  2. You have a low roof – Membrane is an even more effective option than using Rolled roofing. The biggest difference between the two is Membrane as a slightly pricier option.

4. Green Roof

Cost: Ranges between $10 to $20 per sq. ft or $1000 to $2000 per sq.

Life Span: 30 to 50 years

Green roofing provides outstanding savings in the long run.

The stormwater management of a Green roof is incredible. Since plants are natural water absorbents, combined with the filter system installed, your chances of having water leaks or flooding are very low.

Its thermal insulation allows you to save up to 75% of air conditioning costs. On warmer temperatures, green roofs only heat up as high as 77 degrees.

Your maintenance costs will also decrease over time, thanks to the protective barrier green roofs provide for your roof. Most conventional roofs are susceptible to UV damage and decay. For green roofs, it’s the opposite.

Green roofing installation costs though are undoubtedly higher.

Be that as it may, the extra protection you receive from sunlight exposure, rain, and snow improves the sustainability of your roof overall, reducing maintenance costs in the long run.

Installing a green roof; however, is not for just any homeowner. The right roof pitch matters greatly. The slope should be between 0 to 20 degrees. As a result, urban areas and buildings would benefit the most and are ideally suited to a green roof installation.

PROS:

Improves the sustainability of your roof

Reduced maintenance costs

Great energy-savings

Great stormwater management

Good noise reduction

CONS:

Expensive installation costs

Increases the weight load of your roof

Is Green the Right Choice for You?

  1. You have a low slope roof – To qualify for green roofing installation, a slope between 0 to 20 degrees is required
  2. You’re looking for reduced costs long-term – Your initial investment is going to cost you but guaranteed you’ll pay less for maintenance costs and prolong your roof’s longevity.

5. Wood Shingles

Cost: Ranges between $5 to $8 per sq. ft or $500 to $800 per square

Life Span: 15 to 50 years

Wood shingles are an eco-friendly option just like green roofs.

They provide a decent amount of resistance and overall performance, but they’re also easily susceptible to rotting, fire, and insect infestations like wasp nests. That means higher maintenance costs.

On the plus side, apart from their rustic appeal, wood shingles are lightweight materials that provide fairly easy installation, high impact & wind resistance, and great energy savings during summer and winter.

Frequent temperature fluctuations can affect the look and aging of wood shingles. Over time, the light color diminishes and becomes overlapped with a darker hue.

Some prefer this type of look, while others may find it unappealing at all. Personally, I prefer a rustic, darker look than a lighter tone.

Overall, wood shingles will appeal most to homeowners looking for an eco-friendly or biodegradable option. Wood shakes are also another type of wood roofing material that’s more durable but higher in price.

PROS:

  • Eco-friendly
  • High impact & wind resistance
  • Energy-savings during summer and winter
  • Lightweight
  • Various style options
  • Decent life span

CONS:

  • Low fire resistance
  • Susceptible to insect infestation and rotting
  • High maintenance costs
  • Vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

Is Wood the Right Choice for You?

  1. You’re a big advocate of Eco-friendly – Wood shingles are eco-friendly, biodegradable materials you can easily recycle, providing decent resale value.
  2. You prefer the unique, rustic look of wood shingles – If you feel drawn to rustic looks, wood shingles provide a unique visual appeal to your home.

6. Slate Shingles

Cost: Ranges between $8 to $14 per sq. ft or $800 to $1,400 per sq

How long does it last: 60 to 150 years

Slate roofing is uncontested in durability and longevity. Higher grade roofing materials can go as high as 40 or 50 years; however, having a slate tile roof can easily last you 100 years.

If you don’t plan on selling your house, investing in a slate roof will last you 2 to 3 family generations.

Maintenance cost-wise, slate roofing doesn’t pose any problems against mold, fire, rain, or temperature fluctuations. Since slate shingles are also waterproof, leak occurrences shouldn’t be a problem either.

This is what makes a slate roof so attractive despite its high price. You’ll practically be worry-free of expensive replacement and repair costs, even in the long run.

If you need to sell your home, slate shingles also offer a great resale value.

A word of caution: A slate tile is one of the most heavyweight roofing options, weighing between 8 to 10 lbs per square foot. A weak roofing system might not be able to handle the weight, so make sure to ask a professional and have your roofing system checked.

PROS:

Longest life span

Natural beauty

Very durable

Great resale value

Hassle-free maintenance

CONS:

Expensive

Heavyweight frame

Can be difficult to install

Is Slate the Right Choice for You?

  1. You have a strong roofing system – If you have a weak roof, installing a slate roofing material would only cause extended damage and could even lead to collapsing the roofing top.
  2. You want the best roofing material with excellent longevity – Homeowners looking for a type of roofing that guarantees a long life span will find slate to be more than satisfactory.

7. Clay Tiles

Cost: Ranges between $10 to $18 per sq. ft or $1,000 to $1,800 per sq.

Life Span: Over 100 years

Clay tiles are a common roofing material you see in most modern houses today. Aside from their distinct visual appeal, clay tiles provide a high life span equivalent to slate.

Clay tiles are perfect for regions with warmer climates. This is due to their Grade A fire-resistant properties. In addition, it can also withstand hail up to 2 inches in size and winds up to 200 mph.

More importantly, clay tiles provide great insulation and are also eco-friendly. Clay tiles are designed with air pockets that help insulate temperature better.

If you aren’t careful, walking on a clay tile roof can easily puncture and cause a crack. It’s essential that your roofer is experienced in handling clay tiles before proceeding with the installation.

Take note as well that clay tiles pack a heavyweight load. Per square, clay tiles can weigh in between 780 to 1780 lbs. You’re looking at a 20,000 to 30,000 lb roof above your head, so be sure the framing of your home can support this weight too.

PROS:

High impact resistance

Can withstand winds up to 200mph

Grade A fire-resistant

High durability

Long life span

Worry-free maintenance

Stylish

Provides great insulation

CONS:

Heavyweight frame

Can be difficult to install

Suited only for warmer climates

Expensive

Is Clay the Right Choice for You?

  1. You’re willing to spend 2x the price of how much shingles cost – Tiles generally cost more; however, the overall life-cycle cost for tiles is far cheaper than what you pay for shingles.
  2. Longevity is your top priority – Seeing as how clay type roofings last you more than 100 years, clay tiles are the best option suited to your preference.
  3. You live in a tropical region or warmer climate – Clay tiles can easily crack because of freezing temperatures, making it ideal for warmer climates.

8. Concrete Tiles

Cost: Ranges between $3 to $5 per sq. ft or $300 to $500 per sq.

Life Span: 50 to 100 years

Concrete tiles provide even higher durability than clay tiles. In fact, I’d say it’s even stronger than a slate type of roofing.

As a plus, concrete types of roofing are more affordable than clay tiles. Both concrete and clay tiles have similar properties in regards to fire and wind resistance.

Concrete tiles; however, are more susceptible to mold and mildew growth because of their high water rate absorption.

This is also one factor that contributes to its heavyweight frame. In exchange for the highest durability and strength, it’s also the heaviest material to use.

Although, this carries an advantage that concrete tiles have over most tile materials. Particularly, their ability to withstand both warm and cold climates without the risk of having cracks or damage.

Should you decide to install concrete tiles, take note that home maintenance costs are higher because of its higher susceptibility to mold growth.

I’d also recommend installing a second layer of flashing or special sealant for improved protection against water leaks. Concrete tiles use asphalt felt as its sealant, which in some cases, aren’t as effective.

PROS:

Highest durability & strength

Affordable

Can be installed in both warm and cold climates

Grade A fire resistance

Can withstand winds up to 180 mph

Long life span

Not vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

CONS:

Heaviest

Slightly higher maintenance costs

Needs an extra layer of flashing for improved protection against water leaks

Is Concrete the Right Choice for You?

  1. Your roofing frame can withstand heavy loads – Concrete weighs between 9.5 to 12 lbs per square foot. The added water weight due to its high water rate absorbency puts stress on your roof and home.
  2. You don’t live in heavy wind and rain regions – Although concrete is extremely durable, its porous nature makes it more susceptible to moisture and areas with heavy rain. Moisture increases mold formation, which means higher maintenance costs.

9. Stone-coated steel

Cost: Ranges between $1.85 to $4 per sq. ft or $185 to $400 per sq.

Life Span: 40 to 70 years

If you found roofing tiles to be too expensive or your home unable to carry the heavyweight frame of roof tiles, an alternative pick is stone-coated steel.

Stone-coated steel mimics the appearance of shingles or wood shakes and provides the strength & durability of metal roofing.

Unlike roofing tiles, stone-coated steel is lightweight (as little as 1.5 lbs per square foot) and easy to install, making it one of the more flexible roofing options to go for.

Stone-coated steel also has great weathering and wind resistance, which contributes to its maintenance-free performance and reduced repair costs.

What makes stone-coated steel different from metal roofing? Two elements: rust-prevention coating and a thick layer of stone that adheres to the surface.

It carries all the advantages of metal roofs like energy efficiency and the lightweight frame, including improved durability and resistance against heavy rain and temperature fluctuations.

PROS:

Easy installation

Lightweight

Energy-efficient

High durability

Low maintenance costs

Great weathering resistance

Comes in various styles

Great resale value

CONS:

Noise from rain and hail

Initial cost is still relatively expensive compared to shingles

Is Stone-Coated the Right Choice for You?

  1. Tiles are too expensive for your budget – Stone-coated steel is a great alternative for homeowners who want the benefits of tiles, but can’t afford it. Even better, stone-coated steel is also lightweight making it easier to install than tiles

10. Solar Tiles

Cost: Ranges between $21 to $25 per sq. ft or $2,100 to $2,500 per sq.

Life Span: 20 to 30 years (depends on manufacturer)

Last but not least, solar tiles are ideal picks for homeowners looking to save the most on energy costs. Solar roof tiles are also different from solar panels, although they have similar functionality.

Using solar roofing materials will give your home a sleek appearance, easily blending in and adding an aesthetic appeal to your roof.

With regards to longevity, solar roofing materials vary for every manufacturer. Tesla ensures a 30-year life span and warranty while other brands like RGS Energy will last at least 24 years.

Compared to shingle or tile types of roofing, the biggest advantage of solar tiles is reducing electricity costs. Keep in mind though that installing solar roofing materials on your home takes a considerable amount of time.

It can easily take up to a week to complete the installation process and unlike solar panels, you can’t adjust solar tiles to absorb sunlight from different angles.

Before you decide to use solar tiles as the roofing material of your choice, make sure you consult a professional if your roof pitch and angle will suit the installation.

PROS:

Save the most on electricity costs

Sleek appearance

Decent longevity

Cost-effective for roof replacements

CONS:

Installation takes time and can be difficult

Slightly expensive

New to the market; less proven benefits

Is Solar the Right Choice for You?

  1. You’re looking for a roof with extensive money savings – You’re looking at 50% of savings on electricity at the very least.
  2. You’re in need of a roof replacement – Roof replacements are costly on its own. Solar roofing will give you higher energy savings allowing you to save more on your second investment.

Final Thoughts

With a wide range of roofing materials to choose from, it’s important to remember that your roof pitch, slope, and geographic location are all essential elements to consider before making a final purchase decision.

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home that provide shelter and safety for many years to come. Combined with a great warranty, the life of your roof will be determined by which material you are using.

In effect, why not be extra safe rather than risk poor installation and protection, right?

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