Roofing Material Comparison Guide 2019

If you need a new roof, it’s not something you can put off. Your roof is responsible for protecting your home from the weather. If it’s not doing its job, your home could be susceptible to expensive water damage. Prevent that by replacing your old, worn or damaged roof as soon as possible.

Signs you need a roof replacement

If you suspect you might need a roof replacement, do not wait too long! The longer you wait, the worse the damage will be and the more expensive the repairs. Here are some tell-tale signs you need a new roof:

You’ve noticed a leak.

If you’ve noticed water stains on your ceiling or walls, it could mean your roof is leaking. It could also mean you have leaking plumbing, but first let’s check on the roof. Climb up into the attic with a flashlight. If you see stains or streaks on the roof board, trusses or moldy insulation, it means your roof is leaking and needs to be repaired or replaced.

The shingles are peeling, curling or missing. 

Your asphalt shingles should be laying flat along the surface of your roof. Over time, sun and weather exposure will cause your shingles to curl and peel. They will become brittle and can break and blow away in the wind. If your shingles are cracked, coming apart or curling, it’s likely at the end of its life. Have your roof replaced now before you spring a leak.

The flashing is damaged.

You should have metal flashing around your vents, chimney and sometimes, in the valleys of your roofing system. If your flashing is coming apart, cracked or damaged, it means it’s no longer protecting those critical areas of the roof. Upgrade the flashing, pay for repairs or consider a full roof replacement.

Your wood roofing is rotting.

In the case of wood shakes or shingles, check for signs of rotting. You’ll notice these areas if they are a different colour, have missing shingles/shakes in places or are growing an intense amount of moss or algae. Get up on the roof and push a screwdriver into the wood. If it’s soft, it might need to be replaced.

You’ve never replaced the roof.

If you’ve owned your home for decades and have never replaced the roof, it might be time. A good roof can last 20 to 25 years, if it was installed properly. If it’s been longer than that and your roof is showing obvious signs of damage, it’s time to have it replaced.

Read more signs you need a new roof.


Roofing Options: Pros, Cons and Costs

There are many different types of roofing materials on the market. In this roofing material comparison, we will look at the most common roofing materials: asphalt, metal, wood, tile and rubber roofing. When evaluating each roofing material, we’ll look over the good, the bad and the cost of each type.

Asphalt Roofing

The Good

Asphalt roofing is the most popular and the most affordable roofing option. Asphalt shingles of the past did not stand up well, but new technology and manufacturing processes have made modern asphalt shingles durable and long-lasting.

With proper installation, high quality asphalt shingle can last 15 to 25 years before needing to be replaced. Most roofing companies will offer a warranty on the asphalt shingles and sometimes the warranty is transferable from home owner to home owner.

Asphalt also comes in a range of colours, tones and shingle styles. Choosing different shingle styles will have an affect on how the roof looks. The three main styles of asphalt shingles are 3-tab shingles, dimensional shingles and luxury shingles, the go up in price in that order. Learn how to select the right type of asphalt shingles. 

The Bad

Asphalt shingles absorb the sun’s heat. This can make your attic very hot, so they’re not the best option for optimal energy efficiency. Sun exposure can also cause the shingles to curl, peel and detach from the roof. You’ll see this on the south facing parts of the roof sooner, because they are more exposed to the sun. If you’ve noticed your asphalt roof curling or deteriorating, it’s time for a roof replacement.

The Cost

Depending on the quality and type of asphalt shingles you choose, expect to pay between $3.00 to $7.00 per square foot, including installation.

Metal Roofing

The Good

Metal roofing has become increasingly popular over recent years. This durable roofing option has the longest lifespan compared to other roofing materials. In most cases, it can be the last roof a homeowner will ever have to buy, with a lifespan of 50 years or more. They are resistant to all weather, the sun’s UV, pests and rot.

Metal roofs are also maintenance free and completely resistant to moisture. Instead of absorbing the sun like other roofing types, they reflect it. This makes them one of the most energy efficient roofing materials, especially in the summer when you’re trying to keep the house cool. For more information, read these metal roofing FAQs.

The Bad

The downside of metal roofing? It is expensive. Depending on the roofing products you choose, you can spend up to triple the price compared to asphalt roofing. You won’t have to worry about roof repair or replacement costs, possibly in your lifetime, so it is worth the cost for some homeowners. If you can afford it, this care-free, maintenance-free roofing option is one of the best choices.

The Cost

Depending on the brand and type of metal roofing you choose; it can cost between $5.00 and $13.00 per square foot including installation.

Wood Roofing

The Good

Wood roofing is generally made from cedar. This is because cedar is naturally resistant to insects and rot compared to other wood species. Wood roofing is available in two different styles: shakes and shingles. Shingles are machine-cut and give your roof a more uniform, smooth look. Wood shakes are hand-cut, so they have a more natural and rustic appearance.

Roofing materials made of wood are the most environmentally friendly roofing option. Wood is a renewable resource and they are also recyclable. Wood is also a natural insulator, which makes wood roofing a good choice if you’re interested in improving energy efficiency. They can also last up to 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt shingles.

The Bad

Wood roofing is expensive, with wood shakes being more expensive than wood shingles. They also require a bit of maintenance to keep them looking good. While they perform okay in dry climates, they can be susceptible to moss and algae growth in humid, rainy climates. You’ll have to clean your roof regularly to keep growth from happening and to allow the shingles to breath. You can opt for special wood treated shakes and shingles, so ask your roofing contractor what your options are.

Wood shakes and shingles are also more hazardous if you live in a wildfire zone, as they don’t have fire resistance. They are durable, but repairs are expensive if they’re required.

The Cost

Depending on whether you’ve chosen wood shakes or wood shingles, a cedar roof can cost you between $5.50 to $9.00 including installation.

Tile Roofing

The Good

Tile has been used as a roofing material since the ancient times. A tile roof will give a home a look of sophistication, elegance and class. There are four main types of tile roofing used on residential homes: traditional clay tiles, slate tiles, concrete tiles and fiber cement tiles. All types are typically glazed or finished with a waterproof coating.

Tile roofing will give you home an upscale look. They come in a range of colours, textures and styles, giving you more options to choose from to class up your curb appeal. If you’re trying to achieve a Mediterranean or European look for you home, tile roofing is a great choice.

All four main types of tile roofing offer strength, durability and longevity. When properly installed, your tile roof can last 50 years or more. It is resistant to rot, insects and fire. If you choose a light-coloured tile, it will help reflect the sun off your room and increase energy efficiency. Tiles are also recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice.

The Bad

Tile roofing is the most expensive roofing material option, priced higher than asphalt, metal and wood roofing. It also requires specific skills to install, and installation is more time consuming, which drives up the price of installation. Because tile is so heavy, your roof might need extra framing support. If this is the case, you’ll have to factor in the labour cost for that job too.

Tile can also break when it is walked on. This means you or any contractor working on your roof to do repairs to the tiles, vents or chimney, must be extra careful. Broken tiles are heavy and if they go unnoticed, they can damage your gutter system. Read more about choosing tile roofing for your home.

The Cost

The cost of tile roofing depends on the type of tile you choose. Slate tiles can range between $9.00 to $22.00 per square foot installed. For clay or concrete tiles, the cost estimate is $11.00 to $22.00 per square foot including installation. Fiber cement roof tiles cost around $10.00 per square foot.

Rubber Roofing

The Good

Rubber roofing in shingle-form is relatively new to the market, but a new and innovative choice for residential roofing materials. Sheet rubber roofing has been great option for flat or low-sloped roofs. Rubber shingles is a more attractive option for peaked roofs.

This roofing material is waterproof, so it will do a good job or protecting your home from rain and snow. It is also resistant to insect, rot and some are fire retardant. Typically, a rubber roof can last 30 years or more before needing to be replaced or repaired.

Rubber roofing can be made of 100% recycled materials and can be recycled again afterwards. Rubber reflects heat, which will make your home cooler in the summer. It also acts as a good insulator, which will help you keep that heat in during the winter. All-in-all, rubber roofing is an environmentally-friendly roofing option.

Rubber roofing is available in a range of colours and styles. You can have it mimic the look of a traditional shingled roof or install rubber roofing in sheets. The rubber sheets are typically used for flat or low-sloping roofs, since the sheets can cover a large area and do not need gravity to work like pitched roofing systems. Rubber weighs less than wood or tile roofing, making labour and installation costs less.

The Bad

Rubber roofing needs to be installed by an experienced, skilled roofing contractor that specializes in this type of roofing material. Because it is a niche market, fewer roofing companies offer this roofing choice. You might have to find a company that specializes in low-pitched or flat roofs, and because it is a specialized material, it might cost more to install than traditional roofing materials.

If not installed and sealed properly, rubber roofing can leak around chimneys and vents on the roof. They might require resealing from time to time. Rubber roofing can also be damaged by falling debris and foot traffic, but repairs are easy and affordable. Make sure the roofers you hire have experience installing this type of roofing. Proper installation is key to preventing leaks and issues down the road.

The Cost

The cost of your rubber roofing will depend on the size of your roof and the type of rubber roofing you choose. Expect to pay between $4.00 to $5.50 per square foot including installation.


What about roof repair?

In some cases, you can get away with having the roof repaired instead of paying for a full replacement. If you’ve noticed that you just have a damaged spot, but the rest of the roof is in good shape, it could be a candidate for repair. Here are things to consider when determining if you need roof repair or replacement:

– the amount of damage
– if there is a leak
– the age of your roof
– if you want to sell or stay in the home
– whether you can install roofing over the existing roofing
– if there is other damage to the roofing system including the gutters, soffit and fascia

Roof repairs are less expensive than a roof replacement, obviously, but they might just be a short-term solution. A new roof is a big expense, but it’s a good investment as it will protect your home and last for decades. If you’re not sure how extensive your roof damage is, contact a roofing contractor in your city to inspect your roof and make a suggestion.

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