Are you needing to replace your roof and trying to figure out what's the best roofing materials to use would be?
We have done a lot of the work for you by scouring some of the best blogs and YouTube videos about various types of roofing materials.
Here's what you can expect to learn in this comprehensive guide that we have created specifically for homeowners that are replacing or repairing their roof.
if you've been following the news you've probably recently heard about some of the innovations that have happened in roofing materials. Elon musk the owner and visionary of many large companies has a new Tesla solar tile that has then created specifically for homes to generate power back into the grid. Aside from that innovative product you were going to learn about traditional roofing materials like natural tiles, clay tiles, traditional asphalt shingles as well as wood shingles, and various shakes both metal and wood. Concrete tiles are some of the details you will learn about as well and proper installation that you can expect or should expect from your potential roofer.
we will then go into some detail specifically about the roofing type and topic in regards to installation of the roofing material. Pros and cons of each product and the potential lifespan and durability of that product. Another topic that we will discuss are specific styles of homes and the types of roofs that aesthetically fit in. One of the most important details is how to save money on your roof. Is it replacing this roof and it's not an insurance claim do you want to do your best to make sure if paying out-of-pocket you're getting the exact options colors and performance you want.
Let's talk about the materials...
What's the most common roofing material in the United States? If you guessed asphalt shingles you guess correctly nearly 95% of all roofs throughout the United States are covered with is asphalt with product so it makes sense that we covered this product first.
although a majority of the roofs in the United States are covered with asphalt shingles we have found that as roofs are getting replaced people are choosing to upgrade to a new or different product and that 95% number is quickly shrinking as roofs are getting replaced each year. It's estimated that you're in the next 10 years that number will be even closer to 70% of homes in the United States with only asphalt shingles because of the innovations in roofing materials specifically driven by energy consumption like the new Tesla solar shingles. Although these may take years before they completely cover the market. the asphalt shingles will continue to dominate the United States market for still many years to come because of its low-cost durability and it's easy of installation for roofing crews.
Let's talk about the two types of asphalt shingles that are most commonly used.
First the fiberglass shingles. This specific shingles starts with a fiberglass mesh. It's essentially a mat that has been completely covered and mixed with an asphalt mixture. You may have noticed on the top of most shingles small granules. These small granules are placed on top of the asphalt fiberglass shingle to reflect the sun's light back. The great part of fiberglass shingles are they are less than total weight and because of the fiberglass mesh they are tear-resistant and that is a huge plus. If you've ever handled shingles before you'll understand that they can be damage relatively easily by folding or tearing them. This fiberglass interweave helps retain its durability during high winds or unusual stress.
This second most commonly used shingle is what is called an organic asphalt shingle. This is one that typically has a paper base and is normally sold as a recycled product. How they create it is by saturating this paper-based product in an asphalt tar mix and covered again with the same reflective granules that are on the fiberglass shingle as well. Typically these asphalt shingles are heavier in total weight and they can be more difficult to work with than the fiberglass shingles. The historically have done well against high winds and have remained very durable throughout its many years of usage. Although the asphalt shingle is either being sold wholesale or being completely phased out in many different regions throughout the United States because of the more preferred durability of the fiberglass shingle. Also has previously mentioned the fiberglass shingle generally weighs less and puts less overall stress on your home structure. Another reason the organic asphalt shingle is less preferred is because over the years engineers and roofers have found that the organic shingle over time has a tendency to crack or dry out ultimately making it less waterproof and more prone to roof failure which means water in your home.
after all my research let me tell you what the bottom line is and why I would personally choose fiberglass asphalt shingles.
Did you know that fiberglass shingles are a good way to protect your home from fire?
that's right fiberglass the same stuff that's in your attic that insulates your home is fire resistant. essentially fiberglass will not burn and the only thing that will is the asphalt within the fiberglass itself period however by having a mixture of fiberglass and asphalt this makes it much more fire resistant and a better product that most insurance companies prefer that you install.
As mentioned earlier organic shingles are being phased out so that means less colors and less style typically. Fiberglass asphalt shingles look great on most any style of home.
Fiberglass shingles give your home a curb appeal before selling it. they look great on most homes and before you sell it it's essentially like giving your home a facelift. The three tab fiberglass shingle is a less expensive higher durability way to get your home sold quickly.
Are you the do-it-yourself type? If you are the fiberglass shingle just might be the best way to even save yourself more money by installing this product. It's relatively easy and if you have decent skills good experience and the proper equipment and friends installing a three tab fiberglass shingle might be the best way for you to save yourself money.
One of the big pluses that I found through my research was that beyond just installing your normal roof sheeting which is the four by eight sheets of wood that you see on the roof typically seven sixteenths half inch or even up to three quarter plywood or wafer board is used but beyond this it's a pretty standard installation.
If you've got wind I found that the three tab asphalt shingle can stand up to some pretty high winds. Typically a three tab shingle is rated for up to 70 mile an hour winds. It's specifically called a wind uplift while a standard shingle that's called an architectural shingle can be rated up to a hundred and ten miles an hour. Some of these products can be rated even as high as a hundred and thirty miles per hour.
GAF is the name of a company that produces what is called a high impact shingle or high impact shingles. These can be used for areas that are heavily wooded or areas where large hail could be possible just like here in San Antonio Texas.
Some repairs are easy and fiberglass asphalt shingles as mentioned before are easy for quick repairs and they're extremely cost-effective period in other words it won't take a huge hit out of your pocket for a small repair.
Okay next I want to address what I learned about some of the considerations and cautions you should have if considering a standard organic asphalt shingle.
I found throughout my research that the cost of the shingles over the lifetime is higher than some of the higher end products that you could purchase like tile, slate, or even metal. why is that question mark it's because of the half-life. Meaning you're gonna have to replace the cost of these organic shingles many more times than you would if you purchase a higher-end product like mentioned before. throughout my research it's become clear to me that the reason asphalt shingles have been used is because of the upfront cost being obviously much lower.
here's what I learned about asphalt shingles and replacement time places like here in San Antonio Texas you can expect to replace an organic asphalt shingle every 10 to 15 years under normal weather circumstances. We have a sunny environment and that UV ray quickly damages and dries out the organic shingles. Aside from that the crazy weather that we encounter and the damaging hail can take out the shingles in one storm.
Also because here in the San Antonio area we have temperature changes that can be rapid enough over a period of time that creates the wearing and breaking down of the organic asphalt shingle as well.
one of the other things I learned about roofing is that proper ventilation is very important. Although organic shingles are doing the best to reflect the light back with the granules that have been placed on top of the organic shingle. Heat is still trapped between the roof and your attic. This creates a convection effect and will essentially curl and bake the shingles if you haven't properly vented your roof. I noticed through my research several pictures that showed this cupping or a u-shape effect with roofs that had not been properly ventilated
when I looked into recycling centers that accepted asphalt shingles I found that not as many of them as I thought were actually getting recycled. So another reason that I personally believe that choosing an asphalt organic shingle would be wrong for me is because I like the idea of recycling and not adding more waste. What I found through my research was a lot of bloggers and roofers complaining that roofing materials like asphalt shingles were not being accepted regularly around the country at processing or recycling centers. That means some of these shingles are just getting dumped along the roadside. You may have experienced or seen some of this waste and adding to it is not something I'm interested in and that's why I'm asking for you to consider where you might recycle them and if it's even possible before replacing with an asphalt organic shingle.
As I mentioned before what I had found out about asphalt organic shingles is they are heavier and when replacing them you can put only one other layer on top of a roof. Putting another layer on top of a roof is a quick way for roofers to come in at a second layer of protection and another barrier but the added extra weight puts more stress on your overall structure of your home. Many municipalities are creating codes that won't even allow this to happen in the future.
if your roof has not been treated with a special algae or anti-algae anti-stain treatment then organic asphalt roofs have a tendency to get this tea stained or unsightly looking color in areas that have high shade. So if you're trying to sell your house and you haven't treated or cleaned your roof it definitely hurts the curb appeal.
depending on the installation if you're installing the organic asphalt roofing material or your roofer because of the weight getting them onto the roof can be a bit of a challenge unless you have pre-arranged a conveyor. Although conveyor systems from roofing material companies are available during peak times it can be very difficult to get a delivery and if you choose an installation with an organic asphalt shingle your roofer may charge you more because of the time and effort it takes to get the material on top of the roof.
Hopefully the research I've done has helped someone that is making a determination between a fiberglass shingle or an asphalt organic shingle make a better choice I can't overemphasize the recycling process and how it has not caught up to modern times yet. So choosing ultimately a fiberglass asphalt shingle would be my recommendation if you are going to be replacing specifically with that material.
Next I want to cover wood shingles the pros and cons of what I learned through my research.
First what are the two types of wood shingles available? Shingles and shakes
That's right there are specifically too types of wood products that are used most commonly here in the United States. What are the differences? Which use are cut out by a machine and have a much cleaner machine edge to them. They have a softer smoother surface and is definitely a uniformed product.
shakes couldn't be any more different. Woodshakes are our hand cut they definitely are the more rustic appeal and they're also a bit thicker than your typical wood shingle. These shingles are more expensive than your average wood shingle because of the rustic look it gives your home and the less manufactured more man-made touch they receive. They are typically cut from a block of wood which increases the overall price as well.
Here's what I learned about the advantages of wooden shingles and wooden shakes.
wouldn't shingles have a specific beauty that can only be attained through a natural product like wood. The wood's natural beauty has a wonderful range from a very rustic look to a very neat and clean architectural appeal. Typically the wood that wood shingles are made from is a redwood or cedar type wood. Both of these woods contain oils and then that make them resistant to moisture and less appealing to insects of all kinds.
One of the surprising things I found out about which shingles and shakes are that they can actually last five to ten years longer than your typical asphalt shingle. which as I mentioned before over the overall lifespan these shingles will be less expensive because of less of a need to replace them.
I'm a big fan of recycling so it's good to know that a lot of these wood shakes and wood shingles are created from salvaged trees. Ones that have fallen over from old age or even potentially damaged by storms of course regular harvesting is made to produce the shingles however the best part about it is after the usage of these shingles because it is wood it can be chopped into chips creating the mulch or compost for a garden. 100% guilt-free roofing.
Some of the different styles are available are cape cod, a bungalow and the cabin slash cottage work. Also they have what is called a tutor or Victorian style wooden shingle. I've looked all over the internet and found some great examples of these types of wooden shakes and shingles.
I did find a few disadvantages through my research with the materials and I would like to share some of those disadvantages with you. consider California and all the problems it's had with wildfires there are areas that have prohibited certain wooden shakes or shingles without the fire rating of a class a fire because of the natural area in which they're located is prone to large fire damage.
also if you've chosen a wooden shake shingle that is untreated there is going to be some regular maintenance specifically cleaning them to make them perform and look their best. The performance comes into play because if the shingles are dirty they are not allowed to breathe properly and will degrade the length in time the material can be used.
one other disadvantage with wooden shingles is if you're a do-it-yourselfer this is not typically a project you want to take on yourself. Installation can be problematic if you've never installed a wood or shake shingleand improper installation can lead to quick water damage.
if you've never heard of tannins it is a color that is within the red oak and cedar wood. One other disadvantages that these colors can be released out of the wood into your roof causing a discoloration.
Although I really enjoy the look and versatility of wood and shake shingles replacing and repairs can be cost prohibitive if needed. Again if you're not a do-it-yourselfer or even if you are these can be much more difficult for an installation and having the right person install them is going to be key to keeping your home dry from the outside elements.
here's what I learned about metal roofing. I personally enjoy metal roofing the look the feel and the appeal comes from its long-lasting durability and architectural appeal. Aside from that just like wood metal is 100% recycled because of its higher cost and longer durability. Your roof might have been a car and your car might have been a roof. Unlike organic asphalt shingles because of the high value of metal recycling has been placed on a priority. So when replacing a roof or getting a roof installed you can almost expect this has been another product before or it definitely will be another product in another lifetime. Speaking of lifetime what I love about metal roofs is he has so many options as far as colors that you can really make look very valuable and give your home an extra boost when it comes to the sale.
Typically metal roofs can be made of a few different products like lightweight aluminum or a heavy gauge or light gauge steel mixed with zinc. Zinc helps your roof be rust resistant and can help your roof last up to 50 to even a hundred years we've all seen copper metal roofs that are beautiful but these are called specialty roofs. Throughout my research I was able to find that these types of roofs are highly costly to replace and extremely effective. Overall because of the long life of the roof as I mentioned earlier choosing a higher end product does make a big difference and the cost averages actually probably much lower depending on what your plans are for your home in other words some people choose to replace with an organic asphalt or fiberglass asphalt roof because they know they may only be living there for the next 10 to 15 years or the home itself is not accustomed to home period typically you see these copper metal roofs very uniquely designed homes or institutional buildings like court houses or major landmarks of significant importance.
The options with metal roofs are significant because you can choose different gauges of metal period what does that mean? It's simply means different levels of thickness of metal. Typically the thicker gauge metal is going to give you a longer half life even if the roof has been damaged. to boil it all down it just means you have more protection as a water barrier to the interior period installation with metal roofing doesn't require anything other than your standard 4x8 decking wafer board or plywood.
one of the things I really like about metal roofing is it's lack of waste. Many people think contractors now have the ability to purchase long spools of metal and custom cut your roof right on-site. That's gonna mean less waste and less overall cost.
A good roofer can come in and do a installation that custom fit your house like a tailored fit suit. Creating an almost frog-like water tight barrier.
The highly reflective nature of metal is good for keeping your home cool and hot climates. The other advantage is it helps shed rain and snow again because of its highly reflective slick surface. If you live in an area with lots of snow and have had to ever get on your roof from the winter time to remove some of the snow because of the way you understand exactly what I have learned through my research. In some areas of the Northwest or even the Midwest high density snow during the wintertime can put stress that your home might not be able to carry. Metal roofing is a natural slide much like the ones that were designed when their children those slides that get really hot on a sunny day. This advantage is certainly good for places like Colorado or even Texas because of the baking hot sun period with proper ventilation your home consisting and ambient temperature and will keep your dry and damaged free.
Throughout my research I did find a few things that could be potential disadvantages with metal roofing. During 2016 in San Antonio a large hailstorm came through the area and created many dimpled and dented roofs. The ones that were the most unsightly typically were metal roofs. They looked like unsightly cellulite. If you could catch it in the right light you could see a lot of damage and during that major storm many insurance companies try to call it a cosmetic damage. Why is that important? What I found out is if you don't have an insurance company that specifically underwrites metal roofing that by then claiming it is cosmetic damage instead of actual physical damage then potentially they might not have to replace your roof. So prior to choosing to put metal on your roof make sure you have the conversation with your insurance company and proper coverage so in the likely event that San Antonio has damaging storms that your roof would be replaced with very few questions.
One of my favorite roofing styles to research was the tile roofing material because of the obvious appeal it has and it's well known in the San Antonio area as a staple roofing product that just says San Antonio Texas. It's almost synonymous with the name and the location of Texas. I think it's because of the earthy clay baked in look and the almost Adobe looking feel that matches our culture in the area.
I found out that there are some clay tile roofs that have lasted for well over a hundred years period of course these are in areas that have been lucky enough to not have to suffer hail damage. There have been some innovations on traditional clay tile roofing by adding other products into the mixture like a lightweight concrete and even a fiber material that acts very much like the fiberglass asphalt shingle giving it more durability and strength.
I learned that you can expect at least 50 years of this roof easily. Again the only thing I add to that would be with the exception of a monster hailstorm these will last a very long time. And some cases hail damage did destroy these roofs not because of the innovations that have happened in roofing but because traditional clay tiles have a difficult time with standing instant temperature drops. In the case of 2016 the clay tiles that were damaged the most experienced quick changes in temperature. The day most of the damage was done the temperature was extremely hot and then dropped significantly making the clay tiles very brittle. One advantage of clay tiles is the ventilation that is built right in to the tile. Much like the Adobe style roofing or Adobe style homes the thickness of the Adobe clay is what gives it its breathability.
because of its durability and rich aesthetics this has been one of the reasons this tile has been chosen time and again to represent class and elegance. I love the fact that it's completely recycled and it looks really great and gives a contemporary home on Mediterranean look that is very impressive from the curb. Potential home owners know exactly and upscale home when they see this style of roofing.
After doing a lot of research I did find a few things that could be potential disadvantages to tile roofing The first and most evident thing was cost. Tile roofing is typically much more expensive per square foot than an asphalt organic shingle or a fiberglass asphalt shingle. Also this is definitely not a do-it-yourself style roof because of the installation process involved.
Architecturally your home needs to be rated for the weight that this roof is. The weight of the roof could preclude a newer home that's not designed for a tile roof to be used.
Overall I have to say it's still one of my favorite style roofs because of some of the innovations that have been made and roofing materials as I mentioned the lighter weight concrete clay-style tiles reinforced with fiberglass can be extremely durable and used for many years.
Next it is some research on slate roofing. I did a lot of research trying to figure out what are the advantages and disadvantages of slate roofing. slate roofing can be seen on extremely high and buildings and it is truly a lifetime roof. Throughout my research I found many churches and high-end municipalities that chose this as a style. East coast predominantly is where I found a lot more of this slate-style roofing being used. Similar style buildings that use copper like institutions or high-end specialty homes are where I found slate roofing to be used. again it's important to note that genuine slate is really the lifetime roof. There are different types of slate there are composite slate which is essentially a plastic slate roof this is a very good roof because it is a roof that can be recycled easily. What I read about should additional or natural slate roofing products is it has a low impact from a manufacturing standpoint because it is a natural product found in nature already. As someone that is concerned about leading less of an impact behind this is something that is a huge advantage if you have the money up front to install it.
this is what would be considered a true green roof period because of its cradle the grave ability to be less impactful on the environment on the front end and on the back end.
One of the drawbacks that I found about this particular roofing material was the fact that it is one of the heaviest roofing products that is on the market. 100 square feet which is a 10 foot by 10 foot area could weigh a 1500 pounds so a home or a framing support is going to have to be extremely strong and even bulked up or made for the performance of these stylish shingles beforehand.
The other thing to consider is this is not a do-it-yourselfer project. Slate is very finicky when it comes to installation and it likes roofers that know what they're doing.
When it comes to finding the right roofer for a slate roofing installation giving due diligence and finding and expert in this product is only advice I can stress more than anything.
Finally I got to do some research on the Tesla solar tiles. As someone that loves technology first of all I had to say that doing this research was really fun for me. The Tesla solar tile is something that will be quickly impacting the market especially in the San Antonio area. we already have many roofs that have solar panels on top of roofs but the integration of a shingle and a solar panel just made sense and Elon musk once again has disrupted the market by creating a product that pays for itself over time. What I love about it is it has a purpose and it doesn't look like these traditional ugly eyes or solar panels it's built and baked right into the cake it's stylish and has four major styles that you can choose from. Tesla solar tiles are made from glass. The cool thing is the wire right in to the power wall that was designed by Tesla as well.
Because the tiles are made of glass they're 100% eco-friendly when it comes to the future and recycling. Glass is much easier to recycle than asphalt shingles even now.
The exciting thing about the potential for these roofs are its ability to be self-sustaining and producing its own power up to 100% or even more by passing electricity back into the grid depending on where you live. Here in San Antonio the sun's a blessing and a curse but in this particular case it can be a blessing and reduce your electric bill to zero or even in some cases you could get paid back for the electricity used by your friends and neighbors
okay but what are the disadvantages that I learned about when it comes to the Tesla solar tiles? frankly it's the cost of fun up to $38 a square foot depending on the style you choose this is extremely expensive on the front end but considering you potentially could reduce your electric bill to zero or even make money back on it it has to make sense to you on the front end. Also, a potential drawback could be not hiring the right contractor for the installation. Because it's a specialty installation and a new product finding the right contractor that is certified to install these is difficult right now but will become less difficult in the near future as Tesla is ramping up and deploying its game-changing shingle.
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