The first consideration must be the architectural style of your home. The pitch or angle of the roof might suggest a particular type of roofing material. The style of your home will also suggest some materials and argue against others. For example, cedar shakes would look out of place on a southern colonial home.
The most commonly used roof material is asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles can work on the roof of many home styles. They are often chosen because they are less expensive and they are considered the most cost-effective option.
Cedar Shakes are a good option if you are trying to create a “rustic” look. Like asphalt shingles, cedar shakes can be expected to last up to 30 years. They are made from wood blocks and usually are not of uniform size or thickness. They are usually pressure-treated to make them fire resistant. They can be stained or painted to change their appearance.
Concrete tile roofing has become increasingly popular in recent years. The concrete tiles can look like slate, shake or terra cotta tiles. The concrete is much more durable and can be effectively used to create a well-ventilated roofing system that will help to prevent loss of interior conditioned air.
Several types of metal roofing materials are also available. Metal costs more than asphalt shingles or cedar shakes, but will last a lifetime with relatively little maintenance. They will also reduce air conditioning costs if properly insulated and installed. Tin is still used in many areas of the country. Copper offers a wonderful antique appearance, but probably is unaffordable for most people today.
A number of new metal roofing materials are now available that will last a lifetime, provide the insulating value of a metal roof, but look like other materials. These roofing materials are shaped into panels, baked to various colors, and backed with insulating fiberglass or foam in some cases. Some of these materials are made from recycled materials, making them more environmentally friendly. Painted aluminum and steel roofing are often made from recycled drink cans.
To choose the right roofing material for your home, first consider the architectural style and the type of roofing “look” that is right for the house. Then evaluate the natural materials and the metal simulations. You should be able to find a roofing material that matches the style of your home, fits your budget and provides better insulation for your home. This will make the home more attractive, more comfortable and more energy-efficient.