A Guide to Residential Roofing
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes time for a roof replacement. One roofing material lasts longer while another costs less initially. It's sometimes difficult to determine which one to use and which is best.
Our residential roofing guide gives you an overview of the various roof material types for your house, their life expectancy, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the average replacement and repair costs.
Below you'll find answers to the following questions:
What are the different types of roof material?
Which roof material type is best?
What are asphalt shingles?
What's the life expectancy of asphalt shingles, tiles and metal?
What are the pros and cons of a shingle roof, a tile roof and a metal roof?
What's a tile roof and a metal roof?
What's the average roof repair or replacement cost?
What's it cost to inspect a roof
What are the different types of residential roof materials?
Before modern technologies, natural materials such as grass and wood, were all we had to protect our homes. Although these natural roofs had an old-world charm, they were not without their disadvantages. Being natural, they were prone to burning, decay, mold, pests and infestations. They were also high maintenance.
Today, there are many roof material types available. Roof materials available today are resistant to fire and mold, are not attractive to birds and insects, are low maintenance, and can last for decades.
Here are the 5 most common types of residential roof materials available today, in order of popularity:
Asphalt shingles are the most popular roof material available today. Each 'shingle' is relatively small at roughly 12" tall and 36" wide and less than 1/4" thick. They are the most popular because they are the most affordable and the easiest to install and repair. Read more about asphalt shingles.
Metal roofing is most common in rural and mountain areas. At your local home improvement stores, metal roof panels come in either 24" or 36" widths. Common stock lengths are 8', 10' and 12'. When we install metal roofs, the metal is cut to order based upon the needs of the roof and homeowner. Those that choose metal panel roofs do so because they are somewhat easy to install, easily shed heavy snow and are low maintenance.
Clay tile roofs have been around for hundreds of years. Fired clay tiles have been dated to around 3,000 BCE. Roof tiles, whether made of clay or concrete, are formed into a variety of shapes. Each tile is hung from the framework of a roof. Because the tiles are made of clay or concrete, they are naturally resistant to fire. Due to their weight, we are resistant to high-winds. Learn more about tile roofs.
Slate is a natural, fine-grained rock composed of clay and volcanic ash. The standard roof slate tile vary in size from 6" x 10" to 14" x 24". Just like clay or concrete tile, each slate tile is hung from the roof framework with a nail. Because slate is a natural stone product, they are resistant to fire and environmentally friendly. We do not offer slate roofing.
Traditionally, wood shake was made from split logs then formed to the desired shape. Wood shake is thin, usually 3/8" to 3/4" thick and 3" to 8" wide. Both wood shake and wood shingle are wedge-shaped. The difference between wood 'shake' and wood 'shingles' is; wood shingles are tapered. Because wood shake is a natural product, it is highly flammable, prone to mold and moss growth, doesn't last long and is high maintenance. We do not offer wood shake.
So, which roof material type is best?
The best roof material depends upon a few factors. Even the so-called 'best' can have problems if it's installed incorrectly.
However, generally asphalt shingles are considered the 'best' for the following reasons:
- easy to install
- easy to repair
Don't care about cost?
If you don't care about cost, clay or concrete tiles are the longest-lasting. A tile roof can last hundreds of years, if properly installed. * Your roof needs a minimum 15º pitch.
Get a lot of snow?
You might prefer a metal roof if you live in a region that gets a lot of snow due to metal's ability to quickly shed a lot of heavy snow.
Money a concern?
If money is the primary factor, stick with an asphalt shingle roof as it's your least expensive option to install or repair.
What are asphalt roof shingles?
Asphalt roof shingles are a type of roof covering that uses asphalt for waterproofing. Each shingle is thin and rectangular, measuring 12" tall and 36" wide and less than 1/4" thick. The shingles overlap and seal to each other to cover a roof. Each shingle attaches to the roof deck with nails.
Read more about asphalt shingles.
What is the life expectancy of asphalt shingles?
The life expectancy of asphalt shingles vary. It depends upon the manufacturer and the installer, among other factors. However, your average asphalt shingle should last between 15 and 20 years. Higher-end asphalt shingles, such as Owens Corning's TruDefinition Duration asphalt shingles, should last closer to 50 years.
What are the disadvantages of asphalt shingles?
On their own, there aren't any disadvantages to asphalt shingles. However, by comparison to a properly installed concrete tile roof, asphalt shingles don't last as long. (Remember, a properly installed tile roof could last hundreds of years.) Also, assuming you have a concrete tile roof that lasts hundreds of years, asphalt shingles could cost more over that same time span.
What is a tile roof?
A tile roof is a roof made from natural, often local materials, such as clay or concrete. Each tile is fixed to the roof framework with nails. A tile roof is completed by starting at the bottom part of the roof then overlapping the next row of tiles over those. Tiles come in a small variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
What is the life expectancy of a tile roof?
A tile roof can last hundreds of years if properly installed. It is rumored that in St. Augustine, Florida, there is still a working clay tile roof that dates to the 17th century.
What are the disadvantages of a tile roof?
What is a metal roof?
A metal roof is composed of sheets of metal (sheet metal) which are typically 24" or 36" wide and vary in length from 8', 10' or 12'. Each piece of sheet metal overlaps the previous sheet by 2". Between the sheets is adhesive. Sheet metal screws with rubber washers are used where the sheets overlap to secure the sheets to the roof deck.
What is the life expectancy of a metal roof?
Depending upon the materials used, the life expectancy of a metal roof is between 40 and 70 years, if installed correctly and it is not damaged. If poor or thin materials are used, or the roof is damaged, the life expectancy is serious shorter.
What are the advantages of a metal roof?
What are the disadvantages of a metal roof?
What is the average roof replacement cost?
The cost to replace a roof depends upon a few factors, such as material used and square foot of the roof.
To replace asphalt shingles on a 2500 square foot roof with mid-grade asphalt shingles, expect to pay around $8500 ($3.40/sqft).
The same 2500 square foot roof with metal, expect around $22,000 ($8.89/sqft) to replace.
To replace tile on that 2500 square foot roof, expect around $27,000 ($11/sqft).
What is the average roof repair cost?
The cost to repair a roof depends upon the material, type, and damage caused. Because asphalt shingles are the most common, let's use that as the roof material and compare three types of damage:
- a 1" diameter hole caused by a patio umbrella: $300
- chimney flashing damage: $750
- large tree branch damage: $1,500-$3,000
How much does it cost to inspect a roof?
The cost for us to inspect a roof is $0!