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Different Types of Roofing: A Comparison

The roofing on your home is one of the most important things to get right, since a bad roof will cause many other problems in your home: water damage through leaking, lack of protection from the elements and many more. When deciding what type of roofing to get for your home, aesthetics and costs are both important factors to consider. In this comprehensive comparison list, we will go through the pros and cons of all the main types of roofing, and therefore help you to decide what choice is best for you.

1. Asphalt Roofing Shingle Asphalt roofing shingles are the most popular roofing type, since they are relatively light and easy to install. These shingles are made out of fiberglass that is placed between asphalt and ceramic granules. They come in two different types: laminated and three-tab asphalt shingles. Laminated shingles (also known under the names “architectural” or “dimensional” shingles) are layered and look similar to slate or wood shakes because of their thickness. Three-tab asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are made with just one layer. Therefore, they are flatter and thinner. The price for both types is similar, although laminated shingles tend to perform better. Overall, asphalt shingles are a good choice if you’re working on a budget and still want to have something that offers style. Among asphalt shingles many pros are their light weight and ease to install, and also their recyclability. They can also be used in low as well as steeper sloped roofs, and are fire and wind resistant. Some of asphalt shingles cons are that they are petroleum-based, which doesn’t make them very eco-friendly. Additionally, these shingles aren’t considered very durable, and will stain easily if you don’t get algae resistant shingles. The price will range between $2.75 and $7.50 per sq ft installed.

2. Slate Shingles Slate shingle roofing is one of the most long lasting types of roofing you can get. It has a natural look that many prefer, and it is also considered a popular choice for larger houses that have a roof surface larger than 3,000 square feet. Slate shingles are made from natural slate rock and are usually dark gray in color, with a slightly irregular appearance. Since slate is a natural material, it is completely Eco-friendly,one of slate’s many pros. Additionally, slate is very long lasting (usually will last a lifetime) and durable, and has good fire and wind resistance, requiring little maintenance. It is very heavy in weight (up to 1,500 lbs. per 100 square feet), so it may need reinforced frames to support the weight of the roof. This is one of slate’s cons, and another is that it can be used on steep sloped roofs only, which may limit its use. Additionally, slate may break when walked on, so roof and chimney repairs are extra difficult for this reason. It also requires specially trained workers to install. The price for slate ranges between $10.00 and $20.00 per square foot installed, which makes it one of the most expensive roofing options.

3. Fake Slate/Plastic Polymer Roofing Shingles Even though these slates are fake, they look like the real thing. Fake slate shingles are made of a composite material and weighs about the same as asphalt. The composite material consists of plastic/polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt, which makes fake slate a bit more slippery than real slate. These shingles are long lasting and require low maintenance, and many are also eco-friendly since they are created from recycled materials. Among fake slate’s other pros are their light to moderate weight and their suitability to be used on moderate to steep slopes. Additionally, fake slate shingles are good against fire and wind, and can also be walked on and are not as breakable as natural slate. Among fake slate’s cons, we have to include that it hasn’t been on the market for very long (only since 1993), so warranties can’t be taken completely at face value. Additionally, it isn’t well known yet how good the shingles’ color will hold up over time. Prices range between $5.50 and $9.50 per square foot installed, which make fake slate a much more affordable option than real slate roofing.

4. Metal Roofing Metal roofing comes in different materials, such as steel, copper, aluminum and alloy stripes, and each comes in various textures and shapes. So you’ll have many options with metal roofing. One thing to consider with copper, however, is that a greenish patina will develop over time. Some find this look good, some don’t. One of metal roofing’s big pros is that it lasts the longest of all roofing materials, even longer than slate. So metal roofs are generally a good choice if you’re planning to stay in your home for many years. Additionally, metal roofs are fairly easy to install and are very lightweight (about half the weight of asphalt). Metal roofs also don’t burn, and they keep your home cool since they reflect sun rays. If you get metal roofing that is made from recycled materials, then you’ll also be choosing a very Eco-friendly roofing type. Finally, metal roofing is fairly durable and can be used on low or steep sloped roofs, and has good resistance to wind. A con for metal roofing is that it can be noisy when it’s raining, and another is that steel strips sometimes dent easily. But if you get steel strips with textured surfaces, those dents can easily be hidden. Depending on what type of metal you use, the price can range from $2.70 (for steel) to $14.00 (for copper) per square foot installed.

5. Wood Shake Roofing Wood shake roofing is aesthetically very pleasing, but it does require a lot of maintenance. Usually, wood shakes are made of cedar, but they can also be made out of other types of rot-resistant wood, such as redwood. If you’re going for a very natural look, and for a material that changes appearance as it ages and weathers, then this roofing type may be the choice for you. One of wood roofing’s main pros is that it is entirely eco-friendly, since it’s made from natural materials. It also has a good wind resistance, and can be used on both moderate and steep sloped roofs. Wood roofing has some significant cons, however: it has a relatively short lifespan and needs maintenance on a regular basis. Its weight is moderate and not as light as other roofing materials, and it is not fire resistant. The only option to improve wood roofing’s fire resistance is to treat it with fire retardant. Some areas may not even allow you to use wood roofing, especially if those areas are prone to wildfires. The price for wood roofing is moderate, ranging between $5.50 and $9.00 per sqft installed.

6. Clay Tile Shingles These shingles are made from natural clay that has been fired in a kiln. Clay tiles can have a look similar to traditional Italian or Spanish tiles, but they can also be finished to resemble wood shakes or slate. Even though clay is made from natural materials, it does require a lot of heat and energy to create, so clay tiles aren’t completely Eco-friendly. A definite pro of clay tile shingles are their long-lasting durability and low maintenance. They are excellent against fire and can be used on moderate to steeper sloped roofs. Some cons of clay tile shingles are their heavy weight, making it necessary for reinforcements in your home’s frame to support all the weight. Additionally, clay tile shingles are not very wind resistant. And even though they don’t require a lot of maintenance, clay tiles can sometimes break because they are brittle. In general, clay tile roofing is a fairly expensive option, with prices ranging between $11.00 and $22.00 per square foot installed.

7. Concrete Tile Shingles Concrete tiles are popular because they can be made to resemble clay tiles and are less expensive than actual clay tiles. So if you’re going for a clay tile look, but can’t afford it, then concrete tiles may be a good option for you. Concrete tiles are made from a mixture of cement and sand, and since they are made from natural materials are considered eco-friendly. However, they do require a lot of energy to manufacture, which reduces their eco-friendliness somewhat. Concrete tile is durable and long lasting, and requires little maintenance, which are some of its main pros. Similarly to clay tiles, concrete tiles can be used on moderate to steep slopes and are great against fires. Among concrete tile’s cons we’ll find that it is very heavy in weight, and will require additional frame reinforcement. It also isn’t very resistant against winds. Prices will be below those of clay tile shingles, ranging between $11.00 and $17.00.

8. Tesla Solar Tiles Tesla is soon coming out with a new type of solar roofing: solar tiles that look similar to standard tiles. These tiles will be available in two different types: The first are Tesla solar tiles that are made from glass, which is placed over photo-voltaic (PV) substrate. These will then be wired to the Tesla Power-wall that will connect the roof with your home’s electrical system. As a second option, you can also get tiles that are non-solar, which cost less and look the same as the solar tiles. This way, you can have your roof appear in one uniform look, even if you’re not using solar tiles across the entire roof. One of the main pros of having tesla solar tiles is that they have the potential of producing 100% of your home’s energy needs, which will reduce your electricity bills to zero. You can also get tax credits (30%) for installing solar tiles, and get a lifetime warranty on the tiles against any breakage or defect. Finally, many find the tiles just simply quite stylish. One of the main cons of tesla solar tiles is that it will be hard to find installers who are experienced and knowledgeable with this type of roofing, since it is so new. It is also one of the most expensive roofing options (at least up front, because remember you’ll save on electricity bills in the long run), the price ranging between $22-$25 per sq ft. Sources: materials-homes/ roof/ roof/#shingle

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