When it comes time to choosing a new roof, some key considerations are the type of material, style, color and of course, cost. There are many different types of roofing materials available including many green products that have been ENERGY STAR® rated and feature recycled content.
Here is a list of the most popular roofing materials so you can choose the right roof for your new home:
Wood shingles and shakes: Wood shingles and shakes can be purchased in cedar (most expensive), redwood, southern pine and other woods. Wood shingles are cut by machine, while wood shakes are handmade and have a rougher look. Since most wood shingles and shakes only have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all, be sure to check your local building codes before deciding on this type of roofing. You can purchase Class A wood shingles with fire-resistant treatment for an additional cost. It's a natural product, but very high maintenance because they tend to rot, split and mold.
A great alternative to wood shingles and shakes are recycled synthetic shingles, which are made from plastic or rubber, mixed with recycled wood and are shaped to mimic wood shakes. They are lightweight, UV-resistant, fire-resistant and long lasting. Some are comparable in lifespan to 50-year asphalt shingles.
Clay & Concrete Tiles: Clay tiles are non-combustible, highly efficient and extremely durable. Clay roofing tiles can come in lighter colors, which adhere to the cool roof standards and can reflect well over 50% of the sun's solar energy. Concrete roofing tiles offer elegant, enduring aesthetics for your home's design and added value. Concrete tiles are very versatile and provide greater protection to the homeowner. These flexible tiles come in so many different hues, shapes, textures and styles that they don't even look like tiles at all. Mission "S", shake and slate are just some of the varieties of tile.
Slate: Slate has a beautiful and distinctive appearance. Although very heavy, a slate roof is non-leaching and will last for hundreds of years. It is easy to repair and recycle. Because slate is often a dark color it isn't recommended for high-heat locations.
Metal (steel, aluminum and copper): Metal roofs are some of the coolest roofs around, both in temperature and style for new homes. Metal roofs are available in copper, aluminum, and stainless steel and often have a high percentage of recycled content. They offer high insulation, solar reflectance and durability, often lasting twice as long as wood or asphalt. Metal shingles typically simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles, slate and tile. Aside from its longevity, metal shingles are much lighter than most materials and very resistant to adverse weather.
Fiber Cement: Fiber-cement composite tiles are composed of concrete, clay, and wood fiber. This mixture is both durable and fireproof and often shaped to look like shakes. Fiber-cement tiles are not as heavy as regular concrete tiles so they don't need extra-heavy roof structures. Fiber cement is available in a variety of textures and colors and is very durable, but is not recommended for very cold climates because of their tendency to crack.
Asphalt shingles: Over 75% of American roofs have asphalt shingles due to low cost, ease of installation and resiliency. Unfortunately, asphalt shingles have a low insulative value and shorter lifespan than many other roofing materials available today. They are also made from petroleum products and are not usually recyclable because of the layer of fiberglass added to the shingles. Standard asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors, longevity options and price points and are always going to be your cheapest (but not always practical) option for your roof.