Residential Roofing Options: the pros and cons

Roofs have come a long way with the options available to homeowners today. Below are the differences and pros and cons of the most popular options on the market. When researching roofing options in the northeast there is more to consider because of four season conditions including snow.

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Asphalt shingles ($3-$6 per square ft)
Asphalt (composition) shingles dominate the market because they offer a good value. There are many options in shape and color and are known to be reliable for protecting your home from the elements. More than 70 percent of all single-family homes in the U.S. are roofed with asphalt shingles.
Surprising to many that the cost of shingles amortized over the life of the house is higher than metal because composition shingles must be replaced more frequently. It is common that during your time in your home you will have to replace the roof at least one time, but if your home is your forever home the upfront cost of metal may be a more worthwhile investment.

• Large choice of colors and textures
• Good value for the user (based on the time we spend in our home and the cost of the roof)
• Available in various price and lifespan
• Less expensive asphalt shingles last as little as 10-12 years in hot and 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 so venting is essential. Some manufacturers do not warranty foam insulated roofs.

metal standing seam roof
Metal Roofs ($4-$8 per square ft)
For environmentally-conscious homeowners, a metal roof will often contain over 30% of post-consumer, recycled metal content, have a life span well over 40 years, and better yet, a metal roof is fully recyclable. In the northeast where winters can be harsh metal is superior preventing ice dams which is why you see more the farther north you go.

Many ask why metal roofs cost so much and one of the main reasons is the labor required for installation; it is a technically involved process requiring special skills, training, experience and equipment. Installation of a metal roof can take up to two to three times longer than installing a comparable asphalt shingles roof.

• Superior durability and longevity
• Choice of color, installation type (Standing seam or ribbed)
• No ice dams
• The initial cost and maintenance make it more challenging to find the right mechanic
• Must be mindful of snow management. Snow fall can be sudden and can damage landscaping and injure people.

wood shake shingle roof
Wood Shingles ($6-$9 per square ft)
Wood offers a natural dose of beauty to any roof and is environmentally friendly. Cedar, redwood and cypress shingles and shakes are available to match your home’s overall appearance. Wood is a natural resource that is often salvaged from trees that have fallen over from age or toppled by storms. And when its useful life is over wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch or compost. Wood roofs are required to have a fire rated treatment. About a decade ago, the treatment and lesser quality of the cedar available provided a poor lifespan.

• They are beautiful
• Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles
• They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow and cabin/cottage
• High cost
• It is important to understand what you are buying as all wood shingles are not the same
• Requires a specialist for install and maintenance


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