Whether you are considering building your new home from the ground up or considering a new roof for your current home, you will introduced to a large number of options worth considering for their specific advantages.
There is asphalt, wood, concrete and clay tiles as well a the stylish terracotta and attractive stone options. Style and appearance are, of course, very important factors for your consideration, but they must be considered along with other important factors like cost of materials and installation, material weight , installation specifics.
This article here will illustrate some of the most important things to know about roofing options and the considerations that come as part of the package.
Before we begin discussing the various materials, how about a brief introduction to terminology? Roofers don’t operate in square feet, like a flooring company would , rather they measure in ‘squares’ — a ‘square’ is 100 square feet, or 10’ft. X 10 ft. The roof on your average two-story 2,000 square ft. home, with a gable, will need about 1,500 square feet of roofing, or 15 ‘squares’.
There will be several factors that determine the final cost of the roofing project, failure to consider each one could lead to a half finished job or worse. One of the most important considerations, if you are adding a new roof to an existing home, is the cost of stripping away old materials and adding support to the structure, if necessary for improved support.
Another factor that determines the price is the shape of the roof. A simple gable roof with running planes and no breaks — breaks could be a chimney, skylight, dormers or vent pipes— constitutes a ‘simple’ job. A roof with multiple sections, skylights, turrets and other features will be significantly harder to roof and may run the price tag up a figure or two.
Not any material can be used on any roof. A flat roof or one with a very gradual incline may be conducive to certain material types that a steeper roof would not support. Then there is the weight of the materials selected, slate and tile materials are quite heavy, if the structure can’t support the weight, a lighter roofing material must be selected or the structure reinforced — at an additional cost.
Following are some of the most popular roofing options along with copious information on prices, weights and other pertinent information.
Asphalt Shingles — Probably the most common type of roofing material. First off, asphalt roofing is fairly easy to install, even for the rookie handyman, and the materials are slightly less than cheap. The material is made of fiberglass into which asphalt has been heavily applied, it is also given a granulated texture. Prices for asphalt roofing options begin at $50 for a ‘square’ — but, depending on the quality of roofing material, type of roof and installation company chosen, the price can be much more than this. Also an asphalt roof might be up for repairs in as little as 10 -15 years, for lower quality options.
Wood — The oldest and maybe the most reliable roofing option is wood; it is still a first choice, although, fire codes in some areas forbid the use of wooden roofing materials. Usually wood shingles are made of southern pine, redwood or cedar. Wooden roofing has a life expectancy of 25 years; that’s’ almost double that of asphalt shingles and can cost about twice as much.
Metal — Lead, copper, aluminium and copper asphalt blends are all durable roofing options— as durable as they are pricy. Lead and copper roofing is usually laid out a shingles, but other varieties are manufactured as seamed roofs laid out in sheets and soldered together. Metal roofing options will set you back about $250 per square, for starters; there are metal roofs that can cost three times that much. A quality metal roof can last as much as 50 to 60 years, with regular maintenance and repairs.
Tile and Cement — Spanish colonial styles often feature the half cylinder tiles on their roofing which give the nice wavy ‘motif’, many metal, tile and cement options imitate this look. All of these are considerably more expensive than $250 a square, are notoriously heavy and can last longer than 100 years, depending on the quality of materials.
Slate — Perhaps the most durable roofing material on the market is slate. Not every type of slate will proffer the same quality, but the top of the line grade slate roofings will easily outlast the fasteners used to secure the roof in place. ‘Hundred-year-old’ is often salvaged from deteriorating mansions as it will easily last another century— or more?
What it offers in durability it charges heavily for; slate roofing can begin at $850 a square and, did I mention it’s heavy — VERY HEAVY!
Choosing the Roof for You
If choosing a new roof for an existing house, the current structure will only allow for certain roofing material. If you have your heart set on an option that is nothing like your current roof, you will need to factor in the price of adjusting the structure, as well as the colors, durability, weight and texture of the alternative. Looking at houses similar to your own is the best way to make an appropriate selection.
Flashing — No matter the choice of roofing material, you will probably need at least some ‘flashing’ done. No. Not that type of flashing — Flashing is the metal work or plastic film that is applied to the spots where dissimilar portions of the roofing meet each other. This is the mark of professional roofing work and is essential for keeping the structure watertight.
The coursing should always be parallel to the edges of the roof and present not irregularities to the eye, even staggered coursing must follow direction, no matter which material you use. If you notice a contractor using tar on the joints , you can bet your leaky roof this is a sloppy craftsman. Unless a specific membrane is used, something only done on certain roof types — in snowy areas a snow shield or ice shield may be applied—, tar is a very lazy way of waterproofing the building.