Trying to decide which material to choose for your roof replacement? It can be tricky, juggling short and long term expenses, maintenance, upkeep, repairs, and other factors. Make sure you keep these nine things in mind when you make decisions:
1) Do you have an aesthetic preference?
This often gets lost in the other considerations, but it’s extremely important. If you like the way shingles look, but have a bigger budget and want the advantages of other materials, you can get the look without sacrificing everything. If you like the way tile looks, but don’t have the budget for it, you can get that look without breaking the bank. So decide first and foremost which look you’re going for, so you can decide what you’d like. Shingles come in energy-efficient variants, and metal can imitate most roofing styles without much trouble.
2) How long do you want your roof to last?
Each material comes with its own life expectancy, so think about it carefully. Shingles average between 15 and 20 years before they start falling off and require roof replacement. Metal can last twice that or more before you start needing major work. A tile roof, on the other hand, may still be intact when they tear the building down in a few hundred years. That doesn’t mean tile’s inherently better, of course—you need to ask yourself how long you’d like the roof to last.
3) Do you need the roof replacement done quickly?
Different materials demand different work schedules. Under any circumstances, tile will take significantly longer to install than other roof replacements—under additional circumstances, where your home might need additional work to hold up the weight of tile, you’re looking at months potentially. Shingles take far less, especially if you’re simply adding them as a layer over your existing roof, which may or may not be viable depending on your current roof. Finally, you have metal roofing, which can be completed in a matter of days.
4) Are you interested in cutting energy costs?
If you want your roof to keep you cool when summer rolls around, you’ll need to invest more into roofing materials. The cheapest options, basic asphalt shingles or unpainted metal roofing, will heat up in no time under the sun. But reflective variations and coatings will make a huge difference when things get hot, cutting down your power bills. Tile is the most efficient, with basic tiles providing better insulation and heat reflection.
5) Would you like to go greener?
Unfortunately, asphalt shingles can be bad for the environment, if improperly discarded or recycled. To get friendlier shingles, you’ll need to invest more. Metal roofing and tile roofing both offer significant improvements in terms of green manufacturing. You can get reclaimed metal for your roof replacement, and tile has inherently green production in many cases.
6) How much capital are you working with?
Many home and business owners prioritize cost above other factors when choosing their roof replacement. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be limited to shingles alone, or a lower-end metal installation. If you have a limitless budget, you can install tile even if it means reinforcing the underlying building first.
7) Are you concerned about fire safety?
While shingles are slightly less flame-resistant, tile or metal roofing will resist fire indefinitely. You might eventually lose the underlying structure to fire damage, but you won’t have to worry about your roofing material.
8) Would you rather do more minor maintenance or occasional big maintenance?
There’s no such thing as a roof which doesn’t need maintenance, but you can at least decide what sort of maintenance you’re up for. Generally speaking, metal will be the easiest the keep clean and in good shape, but it will still require occasional attention. Tile won’t likely need frequent repairs or the like, but it can require extra attention to keep clean and tidy—and if something does break, it involves more labor to repair. Shingles, of course, require fairly regular upkeep, but it’s relatively easy to trade in a fresh shingle here or there.
9) How much does aesthetic damage bother you?
It’s not often a major concern, but worth considering nonetheless: Depending on your roofing material, you’ll see different types of aesthetic damage. For example, tile resists most types of impact without noticeable damage, at which point the tile will break (this is fairly rare). Shingles can be knocked loose with relative ease, even if they’re well-installed and maintained. Metal roofs will see purely aesthetic damage, as even moderate hail can result in dings and dents. It’s nothing that causes serious problems, but it may be unappealing.
These are nine ways to determine your options for a satisfactory roof replacement. Every material comes with pros and cons. You’ll have to decide what you value most and make a decision from there.