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10 Roofing Materials You Need to Know About for Your Home

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10 roofing materials for your home

Roofing material is usually measured in “squares” that are 10×10 squares. This gives one “square” of roofing material a coverage of 100 square feet in area.

The total cost is not just the cost of the materials. The true cost depends on labor costs, including removal of the old roof, and fixing any structural elements.

The slope and complexity of the roof will impact the overall cost of any roof replacement.

In 2015 the average cost for a simple shingle roof of a 1781 square foot roof was around $6300. This includes the average cost for labor and tearing off the old roof.

**Costs do not include cost of any vapor/moisture barrier required. Labor costs will vary by location.

Asphalt Shingles – Asphalt shingles are the most common form of roofing material. They are made of a felt or fiberglass base covered in asphalt and stone granules. Usually come in tiles of three shingles.

Pro: Asphalt is available in many different colors, is widely available, and is an inexpensive option

Con: Shorter lifespan than other materials, is has little insulating qualities, and the quality can vary widely by maker

Cost: $120-$140/Square

Lifespan: 15-20 Years

Ecological Impact: Medium

Preferred Slope: Low to Steep

Fire Resistance: Good

Wind Resistance: Fair

Hot Mop – Hot tar mopped onto the roofing surface, often with layers of felt to give a more durable surface. The result dries into a waterproof coating.

Pro: Relatively inexpensive option, moderate lifespan, good for roofs that have ridges and bumps.

Con: Unattractive, releases bad smelling pollutants when installed, may not be allowed by building codes or home owner association rules.

Cost: $250-450/Square

Lifespan: 15-25 years

Ecological Impact: High

Preferred Slope: Flat only

Fire Resistance: Good

Wind Resistance: Excellent

Clay and Concrete Tiles – Tiles made from clay or concrete. Clay is normally made in “S” shaped tiles that lay over each other and interlock. Common in Spanish style homes.

Pro: Long Lasting, Non-Combustible, concrete is energy efficient and insulating

Con: Expensive, Heavy, may require extra roofing support, requires professional installation

Cost: $400-$1000/Square

Lifespan: 40-50 Years

Ecological Impact: Moderate (high energy cost to make)

Preferred Slope: Moderate to steep

Fire Resistance: Excellent

Wind Resistance: Fair to Low

Metal roofing – Tin or Copper metal sheeting applied to the roof of the home.

Pro: durable, highly reflective of solar heat

Con: expensive, requires specially trained installers

Cost: $250 – $1300/Square

Lifespan: 40-75 years

Ecological Impact: Low

Preferred Slope: Low to Steep

Fire Resistance: Excellent

Wind Resistance: Good

Slate – Natural stone that is quarried and then cut into roofing tiles that vary in natural color

Pro: Very durable, Fire Resistance-resistant, recyclable

Con: Expensive, requires extra framing, professional installation only

Cost: $250-$600/Square

Lifespan: 50-100 Years

Ecological Impact: Low

Preferred Slope: Steep only

Fire Resistance: Excellent

Wind Resistance: Good

Wood shingles and shake – Wooden shingles made from old hardwood, shakes are more irregular than shingles for a more rustic look.

Pro: Rustic look, Natural product

Con: May not be allowed due to flammability, can mold/split/rot

Cost: $400-$900/Square

Lifespan: 20-40 Years

Ecological Impact: Low

Preferred Slope: Moderate to Steep

Fire Resistance: Poor

Wind Resistance: Good

Synthetics – Synthetic materials can be found that mimic the look of slate, wood, and other materials. These are often made from up to 95% recycled materials. Synthetics give you the look and style of a material at a slight price advantage, and with less weight.

Pro: Not as fragile as stone or clay, long lasting, lightweight

Con: Quality varies, not tested over time so long term viability unknown

Cost: $800-1000/Square

Lifespan: 50 years (Estimated by warranty length)

Ecological Impact: Moderate

Preferred Slope: Moderate to Steep

Fire Resistance: Good

Wind Resistance: Good

Ceramic – Clay type tiles that have been given additional coatings and then glazed, giving them more water resistance and color options.

Pro: Long lasting, durable, inflammable

Con: May require extra support due to the weight. Labor intensive installation.

Cost: $500-$1500/Square

Lifespan: 60-80 Years

Ecological Impact: Moderate

Preferred Slope: Moderate to Steep

Fire Resistance: Excellent

Wind Resistance: Good

Green Roof– Grass or small garden on the roof composed of growing medium and turf

Pro: Natural, Innovative, Cleaner Air

Con: Water use first year, regular maintenance

Cost: $10-$25/square foot, plus $1.50/square foot annual upkeep

Lifespan: As long as it is maintained properly

Ecological Impact: Low

Preferred Slope: Flat only

Fire Resistance: Excellent

Wind Resistance: Fair

Photovoltaic Shingles – Solar power panels in shingle sized elements. Normally placed only on part of a roof.

Pro: Creates electricity which reduces electric bill.

Cons: High initial investment, High Maintenance

Cost: Adds approx. $20,000 to normal roofing cost

Lifespan: Unknown, Warrantied for 20 years usually

Fire Resistance: Good

Wind Resistance: Good

Additional resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercially_available_roofing_material