When it's time to replace your roof, consider that some types of roofing may be better suited for your house than others.
Q: If there’s one positive from all this wet weather, it’s that I now know I need a new roof. Any insight on roof replacements?
A: It has been a wet fall in the Puget Sound area, proof enough that a great roof over your head is critical to protecting your home.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a new roof. What type of roofing is allowed by local building codes? What kind of material can I put on my roof with its slope? How long will it last? How will it look, and will it complement the style of the house? What kind of maintenance will be required? And finally, how much does it cost?
Some types of roofing may be better suited for your house than others. Steeper-pitched roofs are visually more prominent and make a greater impact on your home’s aesthetics. Choosing roofing materials that are visually attractive complements the rest of the home and increases its curb appeal. When it comes to low-sloped or flat roofs, there is a much smaller selection of roofing material types to choose from.
Here are the most popular types of roofing materials we use in the Puget Sound region.
Asphalt shingles. Approximately four out of every five residential homes have an asphalt shingle roof. Residential asphalt roofing shingles are now being manufactured to look like natural roofing materials such as tile, wood, cedar shakes and slate. The shingle products being made today are usually guaranteed for up to 50 years, making them an excellent value and the most popular type of roofing.
Cedar shakes. It is hard to beat the appearance of a natural wood roof. If you are re-roofing a traditional older house, cedar roofing is probably the historically appropriate choice. Cedar shakes come in different thicknesses, and can be treated for protection from fungal decay that will extend the life of cedar shake. One downfall of a cedar roof is that it is a high-maintenance material, where the wood needs to breathe, and so the roof must be kept clear of leaves, branches and debris. Cedar roofing typically is on a cost comparison with the higher-end premium asphalt shingles.
Standing seam metal. Metal roofing is one of the fastest-growing products in the residential roofing market and can be installed on very low sloped-style roofs. Longevity is one of the most prominent reasons homeowners select metal roofing. The metal panels come in different thicknesses, widths, styles and color choices. Metal roofing can reflect much of the solar radiation that is usually absorbed by asphalt roofing, which can result in lower energy costs. Also, if you are thinking of installing solar panels on your roof, standing seam metal works great. The solar panels will clip directly to the ribs, eliminating the need for roof penetrations. Metal-roofing costs are higher in comparison to cedar or asphalt roofing.
Composite roofing and metal tiles. These types of roofs can look like tile, slate or cedar shakes and can be environmentally friendly. Composite roofing materials are manufactured using rubber and plastics technology. These types typically will cost at least three times as much as asphalt shingles.
PVC or TPO thermoplastic membranes. PVC and TPO membranes are the most popular and cost-effective types of roofing material to install on flat or low-slope roofs and come in a variety of colors and thicknesses.
Roofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the one on your home. And even then, there is a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. The key is to find the right roofing contractor for your job.
Scott Morrison is the owner of Tekline Roofing and a member of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.