Roofing 101: Factors to Consider When Choosing a Roof for Your Home

tin roof

With the variety of roofing options available to you to choose from these days, it can get confusing as to what kind of roof to settle on. If you are replacing a roof on an old house or structure, consider the factors that have been important in the lifespan of your old roof. What bothered you the most, and what gave you the most advantage? These are the best questions you can use to guide your purchasing decisions.

If you are, however, building a new home for your family, this may be a trickier way to decide because you may be erecting a house in a completely different location. You can gather all the previous experiences of your family members in their own previous homes, but this can only take you so far.

To make your life a bit easier, here are the top factors you can consider when choosing a new roof for your home:

  1. Your budget

Roofing can cost quite a significant fortune. It is hard to scrimp on this because it is the number one shelter you have, together with your four walls, from all the outside elements. You want it to be durable, and metal can be one of the most durable options. Apart from that, metal roofs can now easily be designed to match a specific aesthetic. You can check out a metal roofing guide to see different types of metal roofing that are best for your home so that you may be able to better decide.

It still has its drawbacks, however – one of them being that this is also one of the most costly options. You should check to see if this is something you can afford, and if its disadvantages, including the price, are offset by its benefits to you.

  1. Longevity of material

This really depends on how long you plan to live in your home. There are more affordable options such as asphalt or wood shingles, which last about 20-30 years. If this is around the time you plan to live in your home, then going with those traditional materials are totally fine.

Metal roofing is usually used for commercial spaces anyway. It has gained popularity in residential construction because of its durability – it is projected to last about 50-100 years. Slate roofing, on the other hand, can last you more than a hundred years. However, if you don’t really foresee living in the same structure for that long, you may wish to go with much cheaper options.

  1. Repair and maintenance frequency and costs

If you are prioritizing aesthetics, then the wood option may be the best for you. However, it is also the hardest to maintain. Tile roofing is probably the best option if you want the least amount of maintenance and repairs for the duration of your residence.

  1. Noise pollution

Metal roofs are probably the noisiest, even if they are one of the most durable. All other options – asphalt, tile, wood, and slate – provide better insulation from rainfall or other types of hale.

These tips can be a guide for how to choose your new roof, and provide a more streamlined way of making your decision. There are so many other details such as the insulation it provides from extreme heat or cold, and other energy-saving and sustainability factors. You may want to consider these as well before making your decision.

FAQs for Choosing a Roof for Your Home

Q: Is terminology for roofing different?

A: If you’re going to hire roofers, you should learn a thing or two about the terms they use. For example, they don’t use “square feet,” but square. The square is the central unit of measurement, and one square is 100 square feet in area, which is the typical 10ft by 10ft square. A roof for a two-story house will have around 1,500 square feet of roofing, which is 15 squares, give or take.

Q: How much will you pay for a new roof?

A: Several aspects are affecting the price of a new roof. The material is the most significant consideration, but the condition of the current roof also matters if you’re remodeling. The roof’s shape also counts for the costs, with a gable roof as the most affordable to change. A house with intersecting rooflines, several chimneys, skylights, turrets, and various elements will have higher costs for roofing.

Q: What’s to know about materials?

A: You cannot just go ahead and use any material you want for the roof. You will need a particular material for a flat roof with a low slope, and a different kind for a steep pitch. Tile and slate make heavy materials, and not all houses have the structure to take that load.

Q: When is asphalt an excellent choice for your roof?

A: Asphalt is the most common option for roofing, as it’s easy to install and affordable. It’s made with fiberglass medium and comes as standard single-thick and thick, laminated option. Laminated shingles look great, but aren’t as durable as the standard type. The laminated shingles are twice as much as the standard models, so you should think about what matters most: price or looks.

Q: Do people still use wood for roofing?

A: Wood has been used for roofing for centuries, and it still makes a reliable choice. However, in some areas, fire codes won’t allow you to use wood for roofing. Redwood, cedar, southern pine are common woods for roofing. Wood roofs last for 25 years or so, but they’re twice as expensive as asphalt models.

Q: Can you use metal for roofing?

A: Steel, aluminum, copper, lead, and copper-and-asphalt are long-lasting and pricey roofing materials. Copper/asphalt and lead models come installed as shingles, but you may also find metal made for seamed roofs, where vertical lengths are joined with solder. They’re quite expensive, so make sure you have a thick wallet if you’re going with metal roofing.

Q: Are tile and cement also options for roofing?

A: Mission style and Spanish Colonial typically have half cylinders of tile roofing. Cement will look similar to tile’s waves. Both materials are heavy, long-lasting, and quite expensive.

Q: Why people choose slate roofs?

A: Slate is also a long-lasting roofing material, and comes in a great variety. Some come from Pennsylvania, quarries in Vermont, and the best will last even longer than the fasteners holding it. Hundred-year-old slate may be recycled and reinstalled, continuing for another century. Prices begin at $800 a square, which makes it realty expensive. It’s a heavy material too, so don’t forget to consider the structure of your house also if you want to install slate roofing.

Q: Does appearance matter a lot for roofing?

A: If you’re looking for a specific design, simple looks for the roofing make the most common choice. Many people make sure that the roof’s appearance relates to the rest of the house and the surroundings as well.

Corrugated steel for a hip roof will make the right choice for a standard Federation era house, whereas a flat roof made from terracotta tiles goes better with a Mediterranean style.

Q: Is the color of the roof also important?

A: You may use the roof’s color for hiding or highlighting some details of the roof. You will use dark colors for concealment, whereas light colors will highlight aspects.

A light-colored roof will give the illusion that the house is significant, and a darkly colored roof will create the opposed illusion. People living in rural regions may select roof colors that match the landscape.

Whatever the final decision, keep in mind that dark colors soak in the sun’s heat, whereas light colors reflect it.

Q: Why go with black/dark colored roofs?

A: Dark-colored roofing materials will take in the heat, making the attic and the top of your house warmer than light-colored material. The type of material also matters, so make sure you consider both the color and the type of material when selecting.

Q: What are the benefits of light-colored roofs?

A: Light-colored roofing materials are the most popular option for warm weather climates, such as Southwestern America. Most roofs in Greece, North Africa, or in Mediterranean regions are painted in white. Once again, it’s not only the color of the roofing that matters but also the type of material used.

Q: Do you have to consider the weather and local building regulations too?

A: You cannot just go ahead and install whatever the roof you want. It would help if you made an informed decision, with much consideration of the local council’s recommendation about the weather. Some regulations and guidance about roofing could also be available in your neighborhood.

If you live in an area with high risk for bushfire or cyclone, the roof should include specific features (leaf guards for gutters, for example) for keeping everyone safe.

Remember that some restrictions on materials and even colors could be available in your area as well. Some councils may be very strict about the colors you may choose for roofing, as an attempt to give a pleasant and welcoming feel to the neighborhood.

Q: Why does the roof pitch matter?

A: Multiple factors affect the selection of your roofing, and the roof’s pitch is another one you cannot skip. Should you live in an alpine area or one with intense rainfall, the roof’s pitch has to be steeper, so that the snow and the rain would slide off. Roof pitch will also matter for the durability of the roof in case of strong winds. It’s never a bad idea to have a chat with your neighbors to see which roofs they have. It will narrow your options by a lot, easing out the selection process.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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