Know Your Roof Types
Know Your Roof Types
A roof can add character and style to a home and can be an important architectural element that shouldn't be overlooked.
Budget-conscious, busy home owners are looking for long-lasting yet stylish roofs. They want a roof that keeps the rain out and retains heat in the winter and cool air during summer. Here's a round-up of five common roof tiles, how to spot them, and the pros and cons and maintenance issues for each.
Slate: Stately Slab
How to Spot It: Black or gray, smooth texture.
Pro: Often associated with tony Boston estates, this classy rooftop can be used anywhere. It's usually considered the best type of roofing and very durable. It can easily last 100 years.
Con: Slate is brittle so it can break easily. It can be very pricey too -- even costing as much as the house.
Upkeep: Substantial framing is essential to bear the roof's heavy weight.
Metal: A Solid Ally
How to Spot It: Made from metal pieces and tiles, it's shiny, boasting bright colors with a uniform appearance.
Pro: Very durable, offering good upkeep in high winds and hail. Often chosen in green design because the roof can be made from recycled materials; metal reflects heat so it can trim energy costs too.
Con: The looks of metal rooftops aren't suitable for all residences. While they're pricey (ranging from $175 to $200 per 100 square feet), they can last 60 years. They can also be very loud when it rains or hails.
Upkeep: Minimal maintenance
Clay Tile: Tasteful, Traditional
How to Spot: Earthy tones, concave shape, and ceramic appearance.
Pro: This romantic rooftop, often associated with 1920s-era Mediterranean-style homes, is attractive and long-lasting. The tiles are made with clay or concrete and are fire resistant. They usually last a few decades or more.
Con: These roofs can be expensive, approximately the same price as metal. It's a heavy roof, too, so the house has to be able to bear the weight of the tiles.
Upkeep: You'll need to be able to match the fragile, vintage clay tiles with their fiberglass counterparts.
Asphalt Shingle: Standard, Surefire
How to Spot It: Grainy and thin, these roofs come in a variety of colors and shades, from black to greenish to reddish hues.
Pro: This rooftop (maximum $100 per 100 square feet) is seen on many U.S. homes. It's easily and quickly installed, comes in many colors and types, and is fire resistant. It's one of the least-expensive roofing materials.
Con: It needs to be replaced every 20 to 25 years, so it tends to have a shorter lifespan than many other roofs. Tiles are also prone to blow off in strong winds.
Upkeep: You'll need to replace missing tiles as necessary.
Wood: Shake or Shingle
How To Spot: There are two varieties: Shakes are thick and irregular; shingles are slim and thin. Both darken with age.
Pro: The roofs swell during rainfalls to keep water out. Depending on the climate, they can last up to 30-40 years.
Con: Painting ruins the wood roof's waterproofing. It's cost is similar to metal and clay tiles.
Upkeep: Have a specialized contractor install and replace tiles.