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How to Choose the Best Roofing Material for Your Home

There are many kinds of roofing materials available. A new roof adds curb appeal and value to your home.

Many homeowners pay very little attention to the roof of their home; it is just something that sits on top of the house and is there to keep the snow and rain out and to provide protection against the heat and cold. That is until there is a problem or the roof needs to be replaced.

If you are replacing an old roof or adding a roof to a newly built home or addition, there are many things to consider. Roofs can be made of, among other things, asphalt / fiberglass asphalt shingles, tile, wood shakes, concrete and clay. The choice you make will depend on your budget, but also on the style of your home and the climate in your area.

Asphalt Shingles

Perhaps the most popular of all roofing materials, asphalt shingles are made of asphalt saturated felt that is coated with a layer of asphalt weatherproofing on the top and bottom. The top surface is covered with mineral granules that act as a shield against the elements. Asphalt shingles have a somewhat smooth texture that makes them appropriate for any style home, but are also available in styles with a more rustic look that simulate wood shakes. Asphalt shingles are inexpensive and easy to install and repair, but have a fairly short life span and are not environmentally friendly.

Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles are asphalt shingles with an inorganic fiberglass mat base instead of felt like regular asphalt shingles. Fiberglass shingles are extremely durable and resistant to rot and fire. Like asphalt shingles, they are available in many colors and styles, easy to install and fairly inexpensive.

Tile Roofing

Whether they are made of traditional clay or concrete, tile roofing will last for the life of a house and need little or no maintenance. Both concrete and clay tiles are extremely durable, fireproof and come in many colors and styles, although those made of clay are far more costly. Tile roofing is available in several colors and styles including half round, sculptured, shingles and flat interlocking. Tiles are easy to maintain but installation is difficult and must be done by a professional. Because it is very heavy, tile roofing is most commonly used for new buildings that have been built  in accordance with specific weight and structural requirements.

Slate

Slate roofs are very durable and will usually last the life of the house. However, slate cannot withstand heavy weight and can crack, so ice and snow should never be allowed to build up for long periods of time. Slate is attractive but requires a lot of maintenance, is very expensive and requires professional, specialized installation.

Wood Shakes

Cedar shingles or "shakes" are applied to the roof in their natural state, which is a soft reddish brown and are allowed to weather to a light gray color. Shakes are expensive, and should be professionally installed. Wood shingles have a poor fire rating unless they are treated, tend to rot and split and are high maintenance. However, shakes are long lasting if they are well maintained, are easy to repair or replace and do have some insulation value.

A roof not only keeps out the elements and makes life more comfortable, it also adds curb appeal to any home. So, no matter what your budget is, what style home you have or what kind of climate you live in, there is roofing to meet your needs.

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