7 Helpful Tips For Selecting the Right Roof

Picking material for a new roof may sound easy, but once you start looking at all the options, it quickly becomes obvious how confusing it can be.

Narrowing it down to one type of roofing, such as wood shakes or asphalt shingles, is only the first decision. You’ll find a wide range of options within each category.

Roofing selection isn’t just about looks. You need high-quality roofing material that can last in your climate.

Finding a professional roofer can help you get a roof that lasts, but having an idea of different roofing materials and how to choose one makes the process easier.

Check out these tips to help you narrow down the roofing material options.

1. Set Your Budget

Buying the cheapest roofing material possible sets you up for problems or a roof that doesn’t last. But most homeowners can’t afford the most expensive roofing material, either.

Setting your budget before you choose the material helps you narrow down the options.

Asphalt shingles typically cost the least, averaging between $70 and $120 per square of shingles. Wood shakes and shingles come in a little higher, usually around $100 to $150 per square.

But some materials jump up quickly, such as slate, which usually starts around $600 per square. 

Within each type of shingle material, you’ll find a wide range of options. They vary depending on the quality, extra features, or special designs or colors they may have on them.

With some materials, you’ll find a huge range of prices. Metal roofing gives you some modestly priced options around $100 per square, but you can also find some metal roofing in the $600 to $800 per square range.

That wide range of prices is why you need a solid budget before you start choosing material. You may fall in love with slate roof, but seeing the price tag may make you realize it’s not an option for your project.

2. Review the Existing Material

What type of material is on your roof now? Do you like the roofing, or do would you rather have anything else? Has it held up well?

Your existing roofing can help you eliminate materials that you don’t like. It can also help you pick a material that will hold up better this time.

Consider the appearance of the roofing material. Decide if it fits well with the home or if a different material might be a better match.

3. Consider the Architectural Style

Many shingle materials can fit with almost any architectural style. Asphalt roofing is a common option used on most styles of homes.

But some are better suited to certain styles. Clay or concrete tiles typically fit best on a Mission-style or Spanish-style home. Metal roofs may look out of place on older, more traditional homes.

Consider the overall look, style, and feel of your home when choosing roofing material. Pick an option that works with the other design elements and won’t look out of place.

4. Consider the Weather

If you live in an area with extreme weather, you need roofing material that can keep up with it. Frequent wind, thunderstorms, tornados, or hail can destroy roofing.

Asphalt and wood don’t hold up as well in windy or fire-prone areas, while slate and metal can handle both of those elements better. 

5. Factor in the New Roof Slope

The pitch of your roof affects how visible it is from the ground. It can also affect which type of roofing works best.

A steep roof often shows more of the roof because it’s more upright than other roofs. You may want to invest a little more into material that’s aesthetically pleasing when the roof is so visible.

Steep roofs shed water and snow better than lower-pitched roofs. Wood, slate, and tile are fine for those steeper surfaces. Metal may cause the water to run off the roof to quickly on a steep slope, which means you may need larger roof gutters.

On a low slope, metal and asphalt singles work better. They’re better able to shed the water to keep the roof clear to prevent pooling water or built-up snow, which can cause damage.

6. Consider the Structure

Some types of heavier roofing material need extra reinforcement to safely go on your home. Slate, concrete, and clay are examples of heavy materials. Your roof may need extra support to hold the heavy roofing material without sagging or collapsing.

If you’re not replacing another heavy material, consider the extra work involved. The structural work adds to the overall project scope and cost, so factor those into your plans.

7. Estimate Your Time in the House

You want any new roofing material to last, but the longevity is more important if you’re never planning to move. Having an idea of how much you plan to live in your home helps you balance your return on investment.

If you’ll only be there a few more years, you may not want to invest in high-end roofing. You won’t likely get the money back out of the sale of the house.

If you’re reroofing your forever home, you may want to invest a little more in the purchase. Buying a higher quality material means you shouldn’t have to reroof again for a long time. You may also want to splurge on a nicer roofing material, such as slate or high-end metal, to make the home look nicer since you plan to stay.

Basic asphalt or composite shingles usually last around 20 years. Wood can last 30 years. Slate, tile, and some types of metal can hold up for 50 plus years.

8. Check on Local Codes

Local building codes often dictate the type of roofing you can use on your home. Cities or other local municipalities can set stricter restrictions than the county or state. Call the building department in your community to check on restrictions before you purchase any roofing materials or finalized any plans with your roofer.

Choosing The Perfect Roofing Material

A new roof is a big investment in your home, so it’s a decision you want to make carefully. Comparing the materials and narrowing down the options helps you invest in an option you can enjoy for years.

If you’re ready for a new roof, contact us today for a free estimate.