What type of roofing should you install?
Which type of roof is best? When considering what type of roof to install, you need to weigh how it looks against your budge, together with longevity. Roofing materials come in varying forms, grades and corresponding prices. You will need to consider the full product range available and make a choice based on your budget and needs. If this is a do it yourself (DIY) roof job, then this may sway your choice given the difficulty in fitting certain roof types… here are some ideas below:
Asphalt / composite shingles
This is the most popular by far – asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass, sandwiched between asphalt and ceramic granules. It is very relatively light and easy to install, so a good choice if you’re looking for style at a budget price. Composite shingles can last 15-30 years or more but can be vulnerable to high winds. Asphalt roofing comes in two types… (1) Laminated shingles, also known as ‘architectural’ or ‘dimensional’ shingles – these are layered and their thickness and depth make them look more like slate or wood shakes. (2) Three-tab asphalt shingles are made in a single layer and are similarly priced. They’re flatter and thinner than laminated shingles and didn’t perform as well in past tests. Prices for laminated shingles have been falling, so definitely good if on a budget.
Longevity predictions for composite/asphalt shingles vary wildly because the quality varies immensely. Premium composite shingles usually come with high-end warranties up to 50 years, but that does not mean that your roof will last that long.
Lifespan: 15 to 50 years.
Synthetic Slate Roofing
This composite material looks like the real thing, even when close-up. It weighs about the same as asphalt, so there’s no need to beef up the roof structure. Made of a variety of compositions, including plastic/polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt, fake slate is more slippery than real slate (If you live in an icy climate, consider installing snow guards as well). Some fake slate may crack under impact or may fade. It is still fairly costly, but not nearly as much as real slate.
If you decide that you are going to go ahead with a synthetic slate roof on your property, be sure to check on the fire rating for each brand that you consider, as synthetic tiles are obviously not going to be as fire proof as real slate.
The lifespan of this product is questionable, because it might prove to be extremely durable. The problem is that it has not been on the market for very long, so there is uncertainty around how long it will last in practical application. It very well may prove to be true that synthetic slate is a durable material, but only time will tell.
Metal roofing comes in aluminium, copper, steel, and alloy strips, as well as in various shapes and textures. Copper is especially expensive if you are on a budget. Over time, copper acquires a greenish hue that some people like. Metal roofing is very easy to install and it’s ultra-lightweight – about half the weight of asphalt. Metal roofing won’t burn or fade, but can be noisy when it is raining. The steel strips can dent easily but their textured surface hides minor damage quite well. Metal roofing effectively reflects the sun’s rays during the day, so it keeps your home cooler in summer—a benefit in hotter climates
How to make It last longer: Regularly walk your standing seam metal roof to check for fastener and sealant failures. Check for distressed, bent, or migrating panels.
Lifespan: 30 to 50 years.
Clay (Spanish) Tile Roof
Why: Because they last a very long time!
How to make It last longer: Tile roofing’s potential issue is not decay (like shingles, wood etc) or the slow sloughing off of grains (like composite). These terracotta tiles normally crack over time. Saying that, they are relatively easy to replace, so keep an eye on them over time to avoid any internal water damage. Avoid walking on your tile roof as much as possible. When efflorescence develops, buff off with a clean, dry towel. Coat with a clear alkyd primer.
Lifespan: 100 years.
Why: Slate is so durable it makes all other roofing materials look a bit naff! And it lasts the longest out of all your roofing options. Slate is real stone, laid down thick on the roof. It is heavy, so adequate truss strength is required to hold it up.
How to make It last longer: If you see any broken slate tile, replace them straight away. Make sure that all flashings are correctly installed and in good working order. If your copper flashing has turned black, it is time to replace it.
Lifespan: 100+ years.