Expert tips for choosing the right type of roof

When it’s time to upgrade your home’s most critical zone of protection from the elements, check out our tips for choosing the right roof.
If you’ve never concerned yourself with buying a new roof, you’re probably going to be surprised at the sheer variety of options now available. Flat or low-slope roofs, for example, may consist of tar-and-gravel, metal, rubber, or PVC membrane. Asphalt shingles remain the most common choice for pitched roofs, though slate, ceramic tiles, cedar shakes, or even recycled rubber are available. Here’s how to wade into that decision process.

Expert tips for choosing the right type of roof

Time for some neighbourly chats

First of all, look around your neighbourhood. What sort of roof do similar homes generally have? Talk to homeowners, especially those with unique or attractive configurations. They may have good or bad things to say about their choice.

Roof shape will influence options

As you weigh alternatives and prices, consider the expense caused by your roof’s shape. Having numerous dormers and valleys means extra labour, as does any need to replace actual roof structure. Projected weight, too, is an important factor. You’ll need to talk to an experienced contractor to know if your particular home can hold the added weight of, say, slate tiles.

Style is important

Style is also worth assessing. Nowadays, many roofing companies will be able to show you a computer image of what your place will look like with various surfaces. Believe it or not, colour matters beyond just the look. If your area tends to be cool, a dark roof will absorb the sun’s energy and raise the temperature inside. If you get hot summers, consider something more reflective. Either way, roofing materials have come a long way with respect to saving energy, so spending extra might well be justified over the long haul. And check your jurisdiction to see whether the government offers cash rebates or tax incentives for installing more energy efficient material.

How long will it be your roof?

A major concern is how long the new roof is expected to last. Are you anticipating a long run in this house, or are you likely to move away in the next few years? Standard shakes and shingles normally last about 25 years, while some tiles can endure for 50 or more. You might get a realtor’s advice on how much of the cost of premium roofing can be recouped in any future sale.

Checking out contractors

Once you’ve zeroed in on several options, find out which contractors install them and make a point of visiting some of their handiwork and talking to the homeowners. Take special note of the flashing, the metal that’s visible at roof edges and the intersection of planes. Any sloppy work would be most evident there. Since failed flashing is a prime cause of roof failure, take the time to find a contractor whose work is impeccable. The rest is up to you.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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