7 Tips for Choosing What Type of Roofing Material to Use

A home or business owner who is in the process of replacing the roof on their house or building or even having a new construction needs to know what sort of roofing material is best for the structure. A roofing contractor can help with this, but there are still things a layperson should know when it comes to the best roof to place on their building. Here are seven of them.

1. The Climate

The climate and the weather are two of the first things a builder or homeowner should think of when they’re contemplating roofing materials. One material may be just right for a climate that’s hot and dry while another is good for a climate that’s cool and wet. Whether the area is subject to violent storms such as hurricanes, lots of snow and ice in the winter or even wildfires should also be taken into consideration.

2. The Slope of the Roof

The pitch of roofs can range from over 45 degrees to basically flat. Flat roofs might be preferable in climates that get little precipitation, but in humid climates, a slope directs rain and snow off the roof. The material of choice for pitched roofs is asphalt, but if a roof has a low pitch, a different material that resists leaks can be installed by the roof contractor.

3. Maintenance Needs

Some roof materials cost more or take more effort to maintain. A homeowner needs to determine how much money and how much time they’re willing to devote to the upkeep of their roof.

4. The Weight of the Material

Different roofing materials have different weights, and some types of material, such as roof tiles made out of clay, are very heavy. Because of this, they need reinforcements in the underlying structures such as jambs and trusses

5. The Material’s Energy Efficiency

Some materials are more energy efficient than others, which is important if the home is in a climate with extremes of temperature. Energy-efficient materials bounce heat off of the roof and keep a home or building comfortable during the hottest days of summer.

6. Cost

As with their energy efficiency, weight, and maintenance needs, the cost of roofing materials has a wide range. Basic asphalt shingles, for example, cost as little as $4.25 per square foot, while copper tiles can cost close to $40.00 per square foot. In between these costs are the costs of such materials as cedar shakes or shingles, tiles made of concrete, clay or zinc, corrugated metal, slate or zinc. Cost often corresponds to how long the material should last before it needs to be replaced. Plain asphalt shingles should last about 20 years, but copper tile can last over a century.

7. History

There are places where local building codes demand that a home or building’s roof be made of certain materials such as cedar shakes or slate tiles. Sometimes the material doesn’t just need to be made of the material, but the tile or shingle needs to be fashioned a certain way to make it as historically accurate as possible. These buildings are usually in historic parts of town where the houses need to have a certain look.