Choosing your home’s new roof

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Passive House Retreat, ZeroEnergy Design ZeroEnergy Design Modern Houses Wood Wood effect
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We all know that roofs are quite important, but how many of us are aware of the different types of materials and finishes that are available in roof format? And yes, while a roof can also bestow some extra style on a property, its main aim should be to keep its residents safe – and, possibly, boost that home’s asking price.

Let’s break down some of the trendiest roofing materials for houses and help you pick one that’s right for your budget, taste and design. 

1. What to ask yourself

• How long should this roof last?

• Will it hold up against natural disasters like wildfires or snowstorms?

• Is the roof too heavy for the existing roof framing?

• Does it have enough slope?

• Is this type of roof accepted by local building codes? 

• Does the roof complement the rest of the house?

• Are the materials eco-friendly and recyclable? 

• What’s the cost? 

2. Roofing terminology

For those not in the know, Roofers usually talk in squares and not square feet. One square equals 100 square feet in area, the equivalent of a 10-foot by 10-foot square. For a typical two-storey house that measures 2,000 square feet in size with a gable roof, about 1,500 square feet of roofing area (or approximately 15 squares) should be adequate.  

3. Costs of a new roof

Some factors that can significantly hike up your new roof prices are:

• Price of materials

• Your existing roof’s condition (if old materials need to be stripped away, that means extra costs)

• Your roof’s shape (a gable roof with few or no breaks in its planes, like vent pipes or dormers, is a straightforward job) 

• Designs and features like multiple chimneys, skylights, etc. 

4. Roofing materials: Tile

Tile roofs are still breakable, yet both concrete and clay tile roofs are known as very durable, with an average estimated lifespan of 50 years for the former and 100 years for the latter. 

The great thing about tile is that it can be moderately priced and very expensive, so it pays to shop around before you buy. In terms of functionality, tile roofs can be installed on homes that are both moderately- and severely sloped. 

5. Roofing materials: Metal

Metal roofs can be constructed from numerous materials, each with their own durability. While steel and copper roofs are considered sturdier options, aluminum and zinc also shouldn’t be overlooked.  

But keep in mind that while copper roofs can be installed on either low- or steeply sloped homes, they still remain one of the costlier choices. 

6. Roofing materials: Wood shingles and shakes

Cedar, southern pine, and redwood are some of the trendiest options for wood shingles and shakes. Although gorgeous in appearance, wood remains less durable than other roof types and also requires routine maintenance. 

With an average lifespan of 30 – 40 years, wood remains moderately expensive compared to tile- or metal roofs. And remember that while wood roofs can be treated to make them more flame retardant, they are more effective at protecting against wind damage than fire. 

7. Roofing materials: Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are made from fiberglass, asphalt, and paper fibers. These types of roofs last roughly 20 years, making them one of the least durable options on the market. Luckily, asphalt shingles also remain one of the most cost-friendly alternatives. 

Choose asphalt for any home with a low- to somewhat steeper slope, and remember that this option is better at enduring fire than wind damage.  

8. Installing your new roof

Aside from considering all the different materials and costs, also think about when you’re planning on selling your house and which roof designs can help hike up that selling price. 

In addition, always ask about warranties and installation coverage when scoping out potential roofing contractors. And remember to ask if your protection is transferable should you decide to sell your house. 

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