Roofing

Asphalt shingles

These shingles are the most popular with roofers and homeowners, as they are durable and relatively inexpensive. Other benefits include the wide variety of colors and styles, ease of installation and suitability for a wide range of temperatures. Asphalt shingles also provide reliable waterproofing.

Asphalt shingle roofs should last about 20 years on average, depending on whether you live in an area with intense sunlight or temperature extremes, which can reduce life span. You can purchase asphalt shingle roofs with a 50-year life expectancy and roofs made of materials like concrete tile, metal shingles, slate or other natural materials can last many years longer.

Disadvantages of asphalt shingles include a shorter life than many heavier tiles, especially if they are walked on. Dark asphalt shingles are prone to fading and tend to exhibit inconsistencies in color. The black marks are caused by algae, which doesn’t survive well in direct sunlight. Homeowners can get rid discoloration by applying a sodium hypochlorite bleach solution and rinsing it off fresh water. Homeowners can also look for an algae-resistant shingle such as 3M’s Algae Block, which contains copper granules that can help prevent new growth.

Slate and tile roof shingles

Slate may be the answer if you are looking for a sophisticated roofing material for an upscale home. Advantages to slate include its natural appearance, fire resistance, invulnerability to rot, ease of maintenance and an expected life of 100 years. Slate is available in a variety of colors and styles.

Disadvantages of slate tiles include their weight and cost, and the high degree of expertise needed for installation. Slate tiles are easily broken underfoot, complicating gutter cleaning and rooftop maintenance.

Ceramic roofing tiles give a house character and are generally durable. Advances in the manufacturing process make the tiles resistant to fading. Ceramic tiles are fireproof, and quality tiles should last 50 to 70 years.

Disadvantages to ceramic roofing tiles include their unsuitability for climates with fluctuating weather. Ceramic tiles are prone to erosion under these conditions. While the tiles are durable, they are also fragile. High winds can damage them, as will walking on the tiles.

Metal roofing

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly viable, as metal shingles are low maintenance, lightweight and more environmentally friendly. However, installation can be tricky and requires a contractor with experience installing a metal roof.

As a metal roof starts to lose its shine, repainting is an option as long as the roof’s structural integrity is in good shape. It usually costs less to repaint a metal roof than to replace it.

Flat roof

Flat roofs can require a great deal of maintenance. As the homeowner, you are responsible for ensuring it stays watertight. The roof must be cleaned regularly to prevent leaves and debris from clogging the drain. Also, the sun will gradually cause the roof to degrade, as flat roofs located in environments where the temperature can go from hot to cold in a short period of time are more vulnerable to damage.

Flat roofs are typically less expensive to install than sloped roofs. They may provide a safer option, as there is less chance of falling off when you are on top of a flat roof. They are usually easy to access and can allow you to achieve a certain visual appearance.

Although some newer green-friendly solutions reduce heat absorption for flat roofs and offer greater leak-proof protection, often the coating doesn’t last a long time. A flat roof may need replacing within 15 years and the replacement cost can be high.