When you begin to choose your roofing system you'll need to consider several factors like the style, color, material, weight and cost. Here's some helpful information to get you started.
The roofing style of homes used to be chosen according the area in which the home was. The Northeastern areas normally used slate, the south used wood or metal shingles, we used wood shingles and shakes, and southwestern homes used tile. When asphalt shingles were introduced, most homes began using them. This material can look like the traditional styles yet cost less. An estimated 70% of new homes use some type of asphalt shingles. It is most commonly recommended that when you choose your roofing material, not only should it match the style of your home, but also that of the other homes in your neighborhood. Over time it has become popular to follow specific home styles - slate roofing on brick homes, wood, slate, or shake on wood exterior homes, and clay or concrete tile on stucco homes.
Color of the roofing is best determined by the style of your home and the color of the exterior you have chosen. Asphalt shingles can be found in most any color you choose, where slate and wood tend to only be found in their natural form and color. Another consideration when you choose the color that you should be aware of is the energy efficiency it may provide for you. For instance, if you were building in a warm climate, a lighter color would be beneficial to reflect sunlight and help keep the home cooler. In cooler climates, choosing a darker color will help absorb the heat from the sun.
Be sure to check with your local building codes before choosing your material. Some areas do have requirements on roofing material meeting a standard fire rating. Wood shingles and shakes are the most flammable material and are now required to be pressure treated with a fire retardant. There are restrictions in some areas that require specific material to be used. As an example, neighborhoods classified as historic areas may require wood shingles or shakes to preserve the historic look of the area.
Weight can easily be over-looked by many new builders. The weight should be considered before the roofing purchase. The roofing frame being built for your home will naturally only be able to hold so much weight. Asphalt shingles are approximately 250 pounds per 100 square feet, where as slate is about 2,000 pounds. Any weight over 600 pounds per 100 square feet will require strengthening of the standard roof frame.
Cost will be your number one variation on roofing materials. Asphalt shingles have the lowest cost range. They can be purchased from approximately $25 to $30 per 100 square feet. Slate on the other hand will increase considerable to around $500 per 100 square feet. The cost difference is huge, but you may want to consider the life span of the material before opting for the asphalt. They average 20 years, but slate may easily outlive one hundred years. Once the material has been chosen, be sure to choose an installer that will do the job properly. Even if you have to choose the more expensive roofer for his guarantee, remember that the material will do no good if it is not installed properly.