by Rachel Lyon, The House Designers' Contributing Writer
It’s the most essential part of any structure, but not many people dream about what kind of roof they want to shelter them from the elements when they think about building the perfect house. Just like with every other decision that goes into building, selecting what will hang above your head means considering a number of important variables. Here are some things you should think about as you search for your roofing.
Although it usually isn’t at the top of the list, when it comes to something as visually central as your roof, you should probably narrow your options based on aesthetic first. Why? Imagine having a gorgeous little colonial along the shore, and topping it off with adobe tiles. Not only will this type of roofing not stand up to a wet coastal climate, but it clashes with the rest of the house. Remember that form and function have traditionally always gone together—there’s a reason there are all sorts of houses across the world. If you want to show off an eclectic style, you have to make sure that your chosen roofing material is suited to your surroundings.
You have to pay attention to a number of monetary factors when deciding how best to build your house. Not only do the materials matter, but the cost of installation also has to be carefully considered. The type of roof and ease of shingling or tiling will both affect how long it takes your builder to complete the task, and how much to bill you in turn. Patriot shingles from CertainTeed® are an economical choice that are easy to install and don’t sacrifice looks in the process. Available in a number of palettes to suit any house and with detailed installation instructions in English and Spanish, these shingles aim to please and make getting started as simple as possible. And with a 30-year, limited transferable warranty, this choice will save money for years to come.
Longevity of the Material
Not all roofing is made of the same stuff. Some shingles will last for the foreseeable future, but one look at old architecture will tell you that some kinds can last hundreds of years. Why not maximize your investment with the most durable material you can get? Always make sure you buy something with a warranty that you think is to your benefit—having to re-shingle every few years is a waste of time and energy and is not worth compromising on for a cheap product.
You must also take your environment into consideration to maximize your investment. If you live in a high-wind area, make sure your roof can withstand it. If hail damage is common in your area, look into products that can weather the storm. Boral Roofing offers a variety of attractive, environmentally-conscious clay and concrete tiles that are meant to last for a lifetime, including impact resistant tiles. If you live in a hail region, this can even save you money on your insurance.
There are new technologies available now that there didn't used to be, and the market for sustainable and green products means that you don’t have to settle for limited options anymore. Check out DaVinci Roofscapes if you’re looking for an eco-friendly solution to your roofing needs. With synthetic slates and shakes made to match any home using VariBlend® technology, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing style for sustainability.
DaVinci Roofscapes is a great choice for more than just style, though. There are also EcoBlend™ colors, which are ENERGY STAR® approved and work to reduce your heating and cooling costs. Every single product they make is an environmentally conscious option that doesn’t require the destruction of harvesting trees or quarrying stone, costs less to ship, and is fully recyclable, so you don’t contribute to landfills. Better yet, they come with a Lifetime Limited Material Warranty and require less maintenance than traditional materials, so you don’t have to worry about durability, either.
Finally, finding the perfect roof requires that you’re aware of a number of factors that can limit your options. You need to discuss roofing with your builder from the beginning to make sure that your house can support the weight of your vision. Most buildings aren’t designed to support a heavy roof anymore, and structural modifications will be necessary if you have your heart set on a traditional look with heavyweight materials.
There are a variety of lighter alternatives, though. Any house will be able to support Patriot shingles as well as the slates and shakes from DaVinci Roofscapes, and Boral® has lightweight clay and concrete tiles available. You should also be aware of the porosity of the material and your climate in order to maximize the life of the roof, as well as any sort of special concerns that need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Do you live in an area with a high risk of wildfires or earthquakes? Discuss with your builder to determine the right roof for your individual needs in order to make the safest, most informed decision.