When installing a new roof, the biggest decision you’re going to have to make, outside of choosing which roofing pro to hire, is what material to use. If you’re replacing an existing roof this will likely be an easier decision, as there’s a good chance you’ll go with the same material you’re replacing. The decision gets a bit more complicated if you’re building a new home. However, before jumping into the pros and cons of each material, let’s take a look at the two factors that will affect your budget independent of the material you choose.
Not surprisingly, the size of your roof plays a big role in determining the project cost. And if you’re going to be talking to a roofer, it helps to know some of their lingo – specifically, the term they use to measure the size of your roof. While many contractors base their estimates on square footage, roofing pros go by squares, where each square is 100 square feet. So if your roof is 2,000 square feet it will be 20 squares. The more squares, the more the project will cost (most of the time).
Quick question: will it cost more to replace a large roof with a simple layout or a small roof with a complex layout? When it comes to budgeting – the simpler the roof, the lower the cost. If your roof is steep, loaded with chimneys, and features many other elaborate architectural elements, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be spending more on your project. An additional factor that could come into play is the condition of your existing roof and decking (the base over which the roofing is applied). If the decking is damaged, any repairs or replacement costs will be added to your budget. While you can’t change the size and shape of your roof, unless it’s new construction, you can change the materials you use. The most popular choice is asphalt. Inexpensive, durable, and easy to install, asphalt shingles are available in a number of different colors and styles so you can be sure you’ll be able to find an option that complements your home.
Composite shingles are becoming an increasingly popular option, as they give you the look of more expensive materials such as slate, tile, and wood, without the expense that goes with it. However, you’ll have to open up the checkbook as composite shingles cost significantly more than asphalt shingles.
If you have a historic home or are looking for a more upscale look, you’ll want to consider going with wood shingles and shakes. (Quick tip: wood shingles are thinner than shakes and provide a smooth appearance, whereas shakes are rough split and highly textured.) Wood shingles are typically made of cedar and will last about 25 years.
If you’ve got the budget and want to give your home a truly upscale look, look no further than slate roofing. Fire-retardant, incredibly tough, and nearly maintenance-free, slate is one of the most durable roofing materials available, so much so that you can expect it to last your lifetime. And while slate looks fantastic, it is heavy, so it might not be a viable option for your home.
Metal roofing does it all. It’s durable, noncombustible, energy efficient, and available in a number of different styles. If there’s one downside to metal it’s that it’s you have so many options – aluminum, steel, and copper being the most common.
Last but not least, tile or concrete roofing is an option worth considering if you’re looking for an upscale look or have a Mission or Spanish Colonial style home. It looks great, is available in a number of different styles and colors, and is very durable. The downside is that it’s spendy and heavy, so it might not be the right choice for your home.
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