What are 5 things you need to keep in mind when choosing roofing materials?
There are a variety of factors to consider when selecting the material for your roof. The roofing that you select determines the aesthetic and can significantly alter the overall look of your home. Further, a roof needs to be long-lasting and offer the durability that is suitable and aligned to the geography in which you live, and the climate that your home will experience. When selecting your roof, you must remember that it is the roof that keeps you and your family safe, insulated and protected from harsh weather elements, far more than the other aspects of the home construction. This simply emphasizes why you need to be thoughtful when choosing your roofing system.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a roof, and in the least, ask these questions to any roofing supplier or contractor that you choose to work with:
- How long will the roof last?
- Will the roof hold up during natural disasters such as hurricanes, frequent rains, and wildfires?
- Can the roof be supported by the existing roof framing?
- Does the roof have enough slope?
- Will the look of the roof aesthetically complement the style of the house?
- Are roofing materials environmentally friendly and recyclable?
- What local building codes do you need to be aware of?
- How much will it cost?
More specifically, in addition to seeking answers to the above questions, you should be sure to think through the following:
- Cost – Your budget should be a primary factor in selecting the material to be used for your roof unless you are replacing a roof through insurance coverage. The cost of your roofing project will consist of both the materials as well as the labor to remove your previous roof and install the new one. Sometimes, you may also face additional expenses if any repairs need to be made prior to the installation of the new roof. Homeowners have different preferences concerning the roofing material for their homes and selecting easily available and cost-effective materials that are of sound quality but within your budget, is highly advisable. This will save you additional costs in the future, especially as it pertains to maintenance. The material chosen should not be too expensive because it might end up pulling away from your total renovation budget, meaning you might not be able to get something else that you really want.
- Roof design – The design of your roof will determine the roofing system that you use. Ideally, the roofing matches the exterior design of your house for the best look. Most modern houses have a flat roofing system. More traditional buildings make do with sloped roofs. The roofing system that you choose will add value to your home when selected carefully, but perhaps even more important should protect you from harsh climatic elements. Tied to these severe weather conditions, and especially for homes that are in geographies subject to high winds from hurricanes and tornadoes, you should ensure that the roof has a properly functioning drainage system inclusive of a gutter and downspout system.
- Durability – The flexibility and longevity of your roofing system are dependent on the durability of roofing materials used. Whether you choose a flat or sloped roofing system, you need to ensure that the materials that you select are durable. The durability of flat roofs can be improved through the use of a two-layered membrane, which should be of appropriate thickness and be properly installed. The amount of thickness and durability are not always linked, so be sure to educate yourself on the best options for your home.
- Geography and climate – The area where you live is a significant factor to consider when selecting your roofing system. Your roof needs to withstand weather elements such as rainfall, strong winds, extreme heat, and sunshine. If you live in the north, you may also be subject to snow and frost. If you live in a rainy region, for instance, consider having a sloped system, which will reduce the pooling of water. This is a major structural issue in roof construction. Flat roofing systems are more suitable in climates that experience hot and dry weather. The pooling of water sometimes referred to as ponding, is when large volumes of water form on uneven or poorly drained roofs. This can cause rotting as well as leaks, and thus weaken the structure over time. If you live in a hurricane zone, it is best to also consult with your insurance company, as there may be guidelines that you need to consider with your roof, to ensure proper coverage.
- Reflective ability – This is the ability of the roof to reflect heat back. The combination of a roof’s ability to reflect heat as well as dissipate absorbed heat plays a vital role when selecting your roofing systems. You especially need to consider reflective coating and the kinds of materials it can be applied to if you are building a home or replacing a roof in a climate that experiences exceptionally hot weather, especially if that hot weather is frequent.
The Pros and Cons of Various Types of Roofing
Certain roofing types may be better suited for your home than others. Factors such as the slope of the roof and strength of the framing can limit your choices, as can the geography in where you live. In areas prone to hurricanes, such as in southern Florida, homeowners should look for a product with good wind resistance. In addition, steps can be taken during the installation of many types of roofing to improve their resistance to the wind.
Below is a rundown on the different types of roofing available.
- Asphalt shingles – Asphalt shingles are the most popular design for roofing, representing over 80% of homes in the United States. The material is made of either a natural (organic) paper fiber mat or fiberglass (more moisture and fire resistant) permeated with asphalt and covered with mineral granules.
- Metal – Metal roofing is generally more expensive than asphalt, but it can last longer and is more wind resistant. Your metal roof may be made from steel, aluminum, zinc alloy, or copper.
- Plastic polymer – Plastic polymer roofs are durable, made from synthetic roofing that takes on the look of wood, slate, or shakes. These roofs are long-lasting and virtually maintenance free.
- Clay tile – Clay tile roofing is very popular in southern and tropical climates and is common because of the Italian or Spanish look that it creates. The natural clay is fired in a kiln, and while it can be long-lasting, these tiles are subject to cracking if they are brittle.
- Concrete tile – Concrete tiles are less expensive than clay tiles. Though they are heavy and homeowners need to ensure their home can properly take the weight from these tiles, they are fire resistant and long-lasting. These tiles are made from natural materials and are thus environmentally friendly, and can be created to look like clay tiles, wood shakes, or slate.
- Slate – Slate is one of the original roofing materials and is very popular along the northeast coast of the United States. Slate is expensive, and unfortunately brittle, but it can be very durable as well, and is resistant to both wind and fire.
- Wooden shingles and shakes – Wooden shingles and shakes are constructed from cedar or redwood in most situations and are rot-resistant. These environmentally friendly materials provide a natural look, and over time, weathers to a silvery gray.
Preparing for your roofing project
Getting a brand-new roof is very exciting. In a matter of days, your home can be completely transformed, offering a modern and updated look that you will be able to enjoy for years to come. But once your roofing contractor and crew arrive, your house will become a work zone. Work zones pose unexpected hazards and as such, there are several safety precautions and preparations that you should take to ensure you are ready.
Leverage these 8 tips to help make your roof replacement project will go as smoothly as possible.
- Prepare your children and pets. Make sure your children are aware of the project to come and know that there will be several loud noises throughout the day, that they should not be concerned with. Also, make sure that they understand that the work zone is off limits. If your pets are prone to anxiety, it is wise to check with your veterinarian and seek medications or remedies that can help your pet manage the stress of the noise from the project. Your pet may also bark frequently at the noises and the presence of strangers frequenting your home, so try to keep your pet’s visibility to the work area a bit limited.
- Relocate your vehicles. Consider asking a neighbor if you can park in their driveway for a couple of days, or seek on-street parking that will not create issues for traffic. Your contractor will need easy access to tools, so keeping your vehicles out of the way will make it easier for your crew to access their tools and supplies. Further, your driveway offers an ideal place for the crew to store your roofing materials for easy access.
- Remove wall decorations. If you have anything on your walls, especially those made with glass or that might be more precious in nature, it is best to take them down for the duration of the project. The roofing tools can cause vibrations, and you may even experience some loud thuds here and there. Those actions can be just enough to knock your artwork right off the walls.
- Prepare your attic. If you use your attic as a storage place, you may want to cover any items that are up there with plastic sheeting. The consistent pounding of hammers and other roofing equipment can stir up dust and debris that can cause potential damage to the items in your attic space.
- Clear the work zone. In addition to moving your vehicles, be sure to relocate anything that could get in the way or workers and thus hinder the progress of your project. This may mean moving outdoor plants, patio tables and chairs, and your grill,
- Cut branches. If you have trees or branches that come into contact with your roof, either prune these items in advance or hire a crew that can come in to safely trim your branches, prior to the start of the project.
- Inform your neighbors. Be courteous and let your neighbors know of your pending project. This is especially important during the summer time when neighbors in your area may be planning for large events to take place at their home. The last thing you or your neighbors want is a loud roofing project underway when an outdoor wedding or graduation party is underway at the house next door.
- Taking the appropriate efforts to prepare for your project will make the coming days much easier for you, and will be much appreciated by your contractor. Prepare yourself also that the project can take longer than planned, especially in the event of inclement weather. Give yourself a bit of a contingency plan by adding extra days in your mind, beyond the contractor’s expected completion date. This will help ensure that you are not disappointed in the event the crew is slowed down due to excessive rain or other unforeseeable events.
If your roof has been damaged because of an accident or act or nature and you need help getting your home insurance company to cover you as you attempt to repair and rebuild, reach out to Bulldog Adjusters. We take the hassle out of negotiating with insurance companies and will help you get the largest possible settlement for your repair needs! After your roof gets damaged, you need rapid repair! Let us help you get your home insurance company to cover you!
I like how you mentioned that modern houses have flat roofs and traditional buildings have sloped roofs. My wife and I are trying to decide what kind of roof we should get for our modern house and we didn’t know what roof looks good with certain types of houses. I’ll be sure to let her know that flat roofs are better looking with modern houses.
Thanks for the tip to prepare our attic when getting a roof replacement. My husband and I need to have our home’s roof replaced. Your article helped me feel prepared to work with a roofing service!