Category Archives: Materials

Best Roofing Materials for Homes 2019: Roofing Material Costs, Pros & Cons

This comprehensive guide to roofing materials is all the research you need to evaluate the top choices for residential re-roofing and new construction projects in 2019.

Traditional PV solar panels on a new asphalt shingle roof

What to Expect: In this guide we’ll cover the following roofing options: asphalt shingles, wood shingles and shakes, metal roofing, concrete, clay, and fiber-cement tiles, natural and faux slate, and the new Tesla solar tiles that have so far proven to be more of vaporware than a real product.

For each residential roof type we cover the following topics:

  • An overview including how the roofing is made
  • Pros and cons including maintenance, repair, durability, options, home styles they work with and more
  • Cost for materials and installation
  • Choosing your roofing material/The “bottom line” summaries of each type
  • How to save money on a new roof

Types of Roofing Materials

These most common options cover more than 95 percent of residential roofs in the United States, so unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed here.

Asphalt shingles

More than 70 percent of all single-family homes in the US are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to more energy-efficient and durable metal roofing.

Asphalt (composition) shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options and do a good job protecting homes from the elements.

There are two types of asphalt shingles:

  • Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide color and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight and resist tearing.
  • Organic asphalt shingles begin with paper, often recycled, that is saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they generally offer better stability in high winds.Although you can still see them on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued over the course of last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof and more prone to excess moisture absorption.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

The reasons to choose asphalt shingles are:

  • Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
  • Look good on most any style home
  • Shingles are often the most affordable roofing option, especially in good/better ranges
  • The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
  • The cheapest 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market
  • Broad selection of colors and styles including affordable three-tab and architectural shingles that mimic shakes and slate
  • DIY asphalt shingle installation is possible for those with good skills, experience and equipment
  • No support beyond standard roof sheathing is required for shingles
  • 3-tab shingles are rated for 60-70 MPH wind uplift, while standard architectural shingles are rated for 110 MPH winds; high-wind shingles are rated for 130 MPH
  • High-impact shingles such as the ones manufactured by GAF should be used for heavily-wooded locations and areas where large hail is possible
  • Some shingle repairs are easy and cost-effective

A few words of caution about asphalt shingles:

  • The lifetime cost of shingles is higher than metal, tile or slate, because composition shingles must be replaced more frequently
  • Cheap asphalt shingles last as little as 10-12 years in hot, sunny climates
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack
  • A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingle lifespan by cupping or cracking them
  • While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options
  • After a second layer of shingles needs replacing, all layers must be torn off the roof, creating extra expense and a lot of potential landfill waste
  • Mold or algae can be a problem on shingles in shady areas, unless treated with anti-algae/anti-stain treatments
  • Organic/felt shingles are heavy; getting them to the roof in bundles can be a challenge
Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Wood shingles and shakes

Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes are available.

How are wood shingles and shakes different?

  • Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance.
  • Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so slightly more expensive than wood shingles.

Pros and Cons of Wood Shingles and Shakes

The advantages of wood shingles and shakes are:

  • Wood has natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
  • Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
  • Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
  • They can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan
  • Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles (but your home’s insulation levels are far more important than the R-value of the roofing)
  • Many shakes and shingles are made from salvaged trees – those that have fallen over from age or toppled by storm
  • Wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch or compost
  • They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow and cabin/cottage

Keep these disadvantages in mind when deciding on wood shingles and shakes:

  • Non-treated materials have a Class C fire rating, but wood can cedar shingles and shakes are also available as a more-costly treated option
  • Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first
  • Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
  • While DIY installation is possible if you have good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
  • Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood
  • While wood is quite durable, but repairs will be expensive if they are required

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Pros & Cons of CertainTeed Shingles – Costs – Unbiased CertainTeed Roofing Reviews

It is generally agreed that CertainTeed’s shingle quality is at or near the top of all fiberglass (fiberglass-reinforced mat that serves as a base for asphalt composition shingle) shingle brands.

Certainteed Grand Manor Shingles Roof in Colonial Slate

via Pro Home 1

CertainTeed’s large selection of available asphalt shingle products includes the most luxury roofing shingle lines of any brand, plus the mid-grade architectural or dimensional shingles, and the basic 3-tab or strip shingles.

CertainTeed’s Grand Manor and Presidential Shake products are prime examples of Premium roofing shingles that have enhanced depth and differentiated appearance.

CertainTeed’s Landmark PRO roofing shingles are an example of a traditional architectural shingle designed to appear fuller and more dimensional compared to the flattish-looking 3-tab shingle. Dimensional shingles are also thicker and heavier than the basic 3-tab strip shingles.

Did you know? CertainTeed is a heavyweight brand – literally. Its shingles contain more asphalt than most.

CertainTeed shingles, even the 3-tab strip shingles, weigh 200-plus pounds per square. Most weigh 250-480lbs per square. More weight means better durability (and impact resistance).

Other brands’ shingles weigh 160-280lbs per roofing square.

But what about the price? It’s not a secret that all, CertainTeed is the most expensive brand overall. It sometimes denies warranty claims, though that’s a common complaint about all shingle brands.

Are CertainTeed Shingles Your Best Shingle Option?

Anyone researching shingles will find a lot of praise for CertainTeed roofing, along with a few horror stories.

This in-depth review provides unbiased information to help you make a well-educated buying decision.

Information in this guide is based on the perspectives of roofing contractors who install a wide range of products from different asphalt shingle brands, home inspectors that regularly check CertainTeed shingle and other roofs for potential problems, and homeowners who have lived beneath these shingles for years.

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Galvalume vs. Galvanized Steel Roofing – What’s the Difference?

If you are one of the many homeowners looking to install a steel roof on your home, understanding the difference between galvanized steel vs. Galvalume is essential to getting the top performance you expect from your new metal roof.

Right off the bat:

In most residential steel roofing applications including near-coastal areas — beach homes located near the shore, and even homes located in the middle of heavy salt-spray — severe marine environments, Galvalume steel will be a better and more corrosion-resistant option than galvanized steel.

The one exception when Galvalume should not be used:

Galvalume steel should not be used on, in, or around concrete or mortar. Concrete and mortar are highly alkaline environments.

Did you know? Bare Galvalume steel and painted Galvalume sheets will suffer rapid corrosion when in contact with mortar and concrete.

Bare Galvanized steel and painted Galvanized perform better in this type of environment.

Now, because aluminum, one of the two metals in Galvalume coating, provides a barrier protection for steel, instead of galvanic or self-healing protection in galvanized steel, scratches and cut edges in Galvalume are less protected.

Galvalume steel is best for use in prefabricated metal wall panels and standing seam metal roof applications with concealed fasteners.

We would not recommend using Galvalume panels with exposed-fastener steel roofing systems such as corrugated or ribbed steel roofs.

Normally, Galvalume is offered in both bare and pre-coated (pre-painted) versions. Most residential-grade Galvalume metal roofing products – like galvanized steel – are coated with Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 paint finishes.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Galvalume has an excellent performance lifespan in bare exposures (unpainted panels) as well.  Both galvanized steel and Galvalume weigh 100 to 150 pounds per 100 square feet and contain about 35% recycled steel post-consumer content.

The cost of Galvalume and Galvalume Plus are about the same as that of galvanized steel.

A product called Galvalume Plus features an extra coating of acrylic. One advantage of Galvalume Plus is that it can be roll-formed dry, without vanishing oil. Thus, Galvalume Plus is very easy to form and install safely in the field, using portable roll-formers.

What is galvanized steel:

Galvanized steel was invented and developed for commercial use in the first half of the 19th Century, so it has nearly 200 years of proven track record. Carbon sheet steel is dipped in molten zinc. It’s more than a coating, however. A chemical bond occurs and produces the telltale “spangles,” the crystalline surface pattern found on galvanized steel.

Tip: Look for G-90 galvanized steel for residential applications not G-60

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