Asphalt composition shingles
These are your entry-level roof coverings – unfussy and inexpensive.
Available most everywhere, they’re probably the most recognizable kind of roof covering, because they often come as standard on new houses to keep the build and sale price low, and you frequently have to actively dislike them with a passion to make them worth the expense and hassle of replacing entirely.
Wood shakes or shingles
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll pay handsomely for wood shingles, but they’ll give an unusual, classic look to your roof. They’re perhaps surprisingly durable in most weather conditions. Fire danger areas though – nnnnnot so great. With the whole…made of wood…thing.
For the longest time, metal roofs existed in two extremes – urban farm housing, and commercial buildings. Then they caught on in high-end, architecturally-designed homes, giving them a certain gunmetal chic.
But metal roofs have come on a lot in the last decade, in style, accessibility and popularity. Fireproof, durable and now stylish too, they’re a viable option for your home. What they’re not however is either easy or cheap. They need specialty contractors to put them on, and the chances are, they’ll need specialty contractors to repair them too.
That said, they can be laid over existing roofs – think of them as a bike helmet for your house, if you like. And with relatively few weak points, the likelihood of having to repair them with any frequency is much smaller than with some other roof-coverings. Metal roofs come in a range of types, including raised-seam panels. Oh, and no, before you think it – you’re no more likely to be struck by lightning if you have a metal roof.
Slate is some seriously high-end roofing with a price-tag to match. And guaranteed, while you have it, it will look entirely awesome. With slate though, it’s a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other – there are downsides to take into account. Slate is like buttered ice to stand on, especially if it happens to be wet. It’s also uber-heavy compared to some other roof coverings.
Heaviness and slipperiness – it’s an interesting combination when it comes to something in which to cover your roof. What it means is that while slate looks beautiful on your roof, if and when you get damage to a slate roof, it’s more difficult to repair than most others.
When you love the look of slate, but don’t want to slip, fall and die while repairing it, Composition Slate might be made with your name on it. Looks like slate, but synthetic, it’s made from up to 95% recycled materials.
So – eco-slate, if you like. Extra bonus? It’s much lighter, less susceptible to damage in the first place and – with the whole ‘not feeling like buttered ice’ thing, easier to repair if and when you do get damage.
Clay or ceramic tile
Hello, the surface of the sun! Or more specifically, hello, Southern California and Florida, you gorgeous hot people with your gorgeous hot houses. Spanish-style red tile roofs are the signature style of houses in these states, and there’s something historic and glorious about that.
But this far into the 21st century, clay and ceramic tiles are more and more often being replaced by metal or composite materials that look like Spanish tile, but are less likely to crack, don’t put as much weight or stress on the roof, but still retain the fire retardant grooviness of the original
The Spanish-style tile is known as a half-barrel style, for the logical reason that it’s basically a cylinder (or barrel) cut in half lengthwise. Is it a shame that Florida and SoCal are gradually ditching real Spanish tile? Sure, but on the other hand, the Hot Zones have rarely been sentimental about their history.
Unlike New Orleans or Boston, they’re places that have always seen fit to tear down and rebuild for the needs of today, rather than preserving the vibe of days gone by.
For information on fibreglass shingles check out redriverroofing.com’s guide.