Jerome Graber, a 25 year resident of Auburn, IN, with decades of experience in the construction industry. I started this blog to educate homeowners on how to protect their most valuable asset and protect their wallets from construction scams! Check out my business here.

Which Roof is Right for Me? – Part two

Welcome back to the third article in our series about replacing the roof on your home!

In our first article we talked about how to tell whether or not you needed a new roof. In our second article, we discussed the pros and cons of tearing your old roof off before installing a new one. This time, we’re going to discuss the different kinds of roofing options available to you, and the benefits of each.

The first, and by far the most common, option available to you is the asphalt shingle roof. This is the roof you see on the majority of homes in the country. Asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass matt with asphalt worked into it, then with a colored granule top coat. These come in either flat tab shingles or raised panel architectural shingles, although these days the “upgraded” architectural shingle is pretty much the standard.

Benefits of asphalt shingles are:

1.       Economics. Asphalt shingles are typically the most economical option. The product itself is the least expensive of the options, and because it is the most commonly used,  the labor costs are lower than the other options as well

2.       Ease of installation. Asphalt shingles are the quickest and easiest to install of any of the roofing products available. The other options are considered specialties, and you may sometimes have a challenge finding a qualified contractor to install some of them. But every roofer is experienced with asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles will also get your project done as quickly as possible

3.       Universal acceptance. There are some neighborhoods with exacting building guidelines that will not allow some of the specialty roofs. But asphalt shingles are accepted everywhere

4.       Waste factor. Especially with modern houses with multiple rooflines and valleys, asphalt shingles will generate the least amount of waste roofing product, further reducing your material cost relative to some of the other options

5.       Moderate to good durability. Asphalt shingles typically come with 30-40 year manufacturer’s warranties, and while not as durable as the other options we will look at, still a very good product. (Keep in mind that these warranty lifespans are only under ideal conditions. Most roofs do not last this long in real life)

For many people, perhaps most, asphalt shingles are the best option for their home. But what are some of the other options available to you?

Standing seam metal roofing is a 12-16” steel panel that runs vertical to the eave of your roof, in one piece all the way to the peak. It has s single seam where it is fastened to the roof, and the new piece clips into it. Unlike barn metal siding, all the screws are completely hidden on standing seam metal.

Benefits of standing seam metal roofing are:

1.       Distinctive appearance. When you drive by a house with standing seam metal roofing you can’t help but notice it! If you want to do something to really make your house stand out, this might be a good choice for you

2.       Saving on your utilities. Especially if you choose a lighter color, metal roofing can help save on your cooling bill in the summer by reflecting more of the sun’s heat than asphalt shingles will do.

3.       Tax savings. Some metal roofs qualify for energy efficiency tax credits. If you are considering this option, be sure to ask your contractor about this potential savings.

4.       Good to very good durability. A metal roof typically comes with a 40 year warranty, but has the added benefit of being even more resistant to hail damage than a shingled roof. In addition, as a metal roof fades in color, unlike a shingled roof it can be repainted to make it look like new again for a fraction of the cost of replacement

Standing seam metal roofs are the most common upgraded roof option from shingles. Bear in mind that this option typically costs between 80-100% more than a shingled roof, so be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.

But what if you want to go with the best new roof money can buy? If you want to put on a roof you can all but guarantee you will never have to worry about again, you can install a stone coated metal shingle. This roofing material looks like a standard shingle, so it is accepted just about anywhere. But, just as the name implies, it is shingle made of steel and coated with stone. This makes it the most durable roofing product on the market.

Benefits of stone coated metal roofing are:

1.       With the look of a high end asphalt shingle, it is accepted virtually anywhere, regardless of neighborhood code restrictions

2.       Like standing seam metal, there is often utility savings and tax credits available

3.       Very highest durability. Stone coated steel shingles will hold up to virtually anything mother nature throws your way. Hail, extreme wind, even fire, is typically not a problem for this roofing product to endure

Be forewarned, this product is very much your “price doesn’t matter” option. If you want the very best money can buy and want your grandchildren to inherit a worry free roof, this is the option for you. But the initial cost can easily run 5-6 times the cost of a standard asphalt roof.

And of course there are varieties within these three categories, as well as some very unique roofing options like genuine slate or tile roofs. But these are your three main roofing options available in the market today.

So which do I recommend? It really depends on your situation. Like most contractors, the majority of roofs I install are asphalt shingles, and this is definitely not a bad or sub-par option. But if you have a home that you plan to keep in the family long term, it is definitely worth looking into one of the upgrade options as well.

No matter what you choose, the most important factor is making sure you hire a qualified contractor to install your new roof. Especially if you pick a standing seam or stone coated metal shingle, make sure the contractor you select has the experience and expertise to install the product you have selected.

Next time, we will start our series on how to pick a qualified contractor and negotiate a fair contract.

In the meantime, if you want to check out my company website, click here.

All links to third party products are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement. Ask your contractor for recommendations for products.

Selecting a Contractor for Your Project: Soliciting Bids

Which Roof is Right for Me? – Part one