A composition roof, a relatively simple construction made using overlapping squares of asphalt shingles, is one of the most commonly used styles on homes today, and can be seen all across the country. The versatility of this type of roof makes it appropriate for virtually any type of construction, from a home prized for well-preserved, historic construction, to a contemporary building requiring a simple roofing solution. The procedure used to install this type of roof is straightforward and typically simple in nature, which helps to keep the cost of installation down. In addition, a composition roof is versatile in color, widely manufactured, and exceptionally easy to repair in case of damage. In fact, the asphalt used to construct the roof is fire-resistant, providing the building and the neighborhood with an added layer of protection.
However, the asphalt shingles and other materials that go into construction are not meant to be permanent, and do not have as long of a lifespan as some of the other choices on the market today. Although this type of roof is typically popular in urban areas, particularly in the Northeast part of the United States, it requires regular maintenance, and shingles must be replaced within 15 to 30 years of installation. Asphalt shingles are easily damaged during the hot summers, and mildew, moss, wind, and water damage all play a part in deterioration of the materials over time.
A popular alternative to the use of asphalt shingles is a roof that’s created out of wood shingles, also commonly called shakes. These are popular roofing alternatives on historic buildings, ranch, bungalow, and cottage homes, particularly those located in the desert or near the ocean, where the ability to stand up to the elements is important. Over time, the wood weathers to a soft gray color, providing the home with a touch of class and distinction.
Wood shingles are relatively easy to repair, but come with higher installation costs than their asphalt counterparts. They typically can only be installed or repaired by a professional roofer, making them a bit more costly and more high-maintenance, but they typically last 30 to 50 years before needing to be replaced. Because they are made of wood, they will need to be treated in order to make them fire-resistant, and are prone to splitting and rotting over time. Many people consider a roof with wood-shingles to be a better long-term investment, however, particularly if the home is located in an area where extreme weather is a normal part of the climate.
A final choice is to have metal shingles installed over an existing roof, making it easier to deal with an old roof that is no longer functional on its own, but costly and time-consuming to remove. Metal shingles are among the most durable of roofing materials, although many find them to be the least attractive. With a lifespan of about 50 years, they’re a perfect investment for the homeowner who looks at getting a new roof as, ideally, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Before ultimately making your final choice, there are a number of factors to take into consideration, including the cost of the installation, the frequency of which the roof will need to be maintained or replaced, as well as the age and value of your home. Considering what’s best for you today, as well as for the value of your home in the long-term, will steer you in the right direction.