It may seem like the only choice in roofing is asphalt or composite shingles, but there are actually a number of choices when it comes to choosing your roof material. REALTOR magazine recently wrote an article about this, giving the pros and cons of 8 different options.
- Asphalt or Composite Shingles. This is obviously the most common choice of roofing material. I have sold more than 50 properties, and I believe all of them had asphalt or composite shingles. The main reasons are that these shingles meld with almost any style of house and nearly every contractor can install them. Plus it is affordable compared to all the other options, with the lower end 3-tab shingles lasting 15-20 years.
- Clay Tiles and Concrete. These work well with Spanish and Mediterranean style homes, which of course are not very common in Wisconsin. Part of the reason they are found more often in warm weather climates is that clay heats up slowly so it can have a moderating effect on hot temperatures. This option of clay tiles or concrete is long lasting, even up to 100 years! But of course it is more expensive for both materials and installation.
- Metal. Another long-lasting (50-100 years), but expensive choice. Aside from the price, the downside is that metal roofs can be noisy when it rains. But it can look modern and chic, and you have many aesthetic choices as it can be manufactured in various shapes, colors, thickness & textures. Also they weather nicely.
- Synthetic. This is one of the newer options, and can be durable, light-weight and fire resistant. If you go this route, you probably want to go with high-quality – and of course that can be pricey. Not sure about the durability of synthetic material, since they haven’t been around too long.
- Slate. Durable (50+ years) and aesthetic, slate is a good choice for a high-end home. It is an expensive material, and the installation process is time-consuming (and therefore, expensive).
- Planted “Green” Materials. This has become a more popular choice among commercial property, but is certainly an option for residential homes. Works best with flat roofs. Also after all the plants and dirt are in place, it can be quite heavy. So it is not a legitimate option for many houses.
- Wood Shakes and Shingles. This material has a great aesthetic quality, and can last up to 50 years. But it is wood – so it can be a fire hazard. They can be treated to withstand fire, but even with that, some building codes will not allow it.
- Solar Shingles. This is likely to be a material that will see growing popularity. Obviously there the benefit of energy with solar shingles that you don’t get from other materials. So the expense of solar shingles can be rationalized with the anticipation of lower utility bills. Yet, there are not many affordable options currently on the market. Dow Chemical Co will soon release the PowerHouse Solar Shingle, which can be incorporated into home roofing systems along with standard asphalt shingles. This will be a more affordable option compared to solar panels, and easier to install.
Source: “What’s on the Roof? The Materials Matter,” REALTOR, March 2010, p.17