When picking a new roof, color and style are not the most important things to research. Just like paint, it's not about being pretty. Paint is about protecting the wood your home is built from and roofs are about keeping your home dry and comfortable.
More than pretty hats that sit on top of house, roofs direct water to the edge of the roof and hold conditioned air (warm or cool) inside your home. Just like a lid that fits inside it's matching pot, the roof is supported by the house framing, connecting with your home's exterior walls that form the vertical sides of your home's envelope.
The Life Expectancy of Your Home's Envelope
To learn more about roofing systems, read Roofs, Storms & Protecting Your Home …
Picking the right roof for your home is challenging. In new construction, builders limit choices to one or 2 manufacturers that their local building supply company carries. This benefits everyone as builders, roofing contractors and suppliers leverage their collective experience. With a limited product set, it's easier to coordinate roof and siding colors and roofing contractors already know which underlayment and fasteners to use when installing a particular manufacturers roofing product.
My handyman business gets most roofing and siding materials from Harvey Building Products (www.harveybp.com). When Harvey doesn't have a good match, we go to Home Depot, i.e. for colors like robin egg blue, popular 20 years ago. Harvey carries 2 lines of vinyl siding, several fiber cement choices plus wood and stone siding giving homeowners many choices.
While most people know when they'll replace their cars, few homeowners have a good understanding of these home features and when they need to be replaced. Given the number of roofing choices, picking your new roof and finding a reliable roofing contractor is more challenging. That's why you need time to research, plan and likely save for a new roof or siding because these are fairly costly remodeling projects. While Harvey now offers metal roofing, they only have the standing seam design which many homeowners don't like. Remember you should make your decision on function, not look, so this is where you go online and find great options at a website like American Metal Roofs, including the metal shingles shown above.
Once you've narrowed your selection down to 1 or 2 types of roofing, it's time to meet with local roofing contractors. You want to find a contractor with experience roofing your style of home and the type of material you've picked, as you're paying for their expertise in managing the project along with labor and materials.
The good news when replacing your roof and/or siding is (based on Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs Value survey), you will recover a large portion of this investment when you sell your home. Siding replacement projects (vinyl and fiber cement) typically get 75% or more of your initial investment on resale while a new roof is projected to garner anywhere from 60 to 85%.
Tips to Guide Your Search for a New Roof
- Evaluate your current roof and estimate when the roof/siding needs to be replaced.
- Project when you plan to sell your home as the type and condition of your roof and siding will affect the sale.
- Decide on the replacement strategy you want to use, i.e. maintain same quality or upgrade your home investing in a better solution for personal comfort and resale.
- Determine your budget for a new roof or siding based on how many years you have to save up before getting that new roof and/or siding.
To make a valid comparison, you have to include the cost of maintenance (materials and labor) and cost if one material will need to be replaced during the lifetime of another product. For example, installing asphalt shingles with a 25 year lifetime, will need to be replaced 2 to 3 times versus a metal roof. Wood clapboard siding may last 100 years but only if it's painted regularly, so you need to add in the cost of painting every 5 to 8 years.
- Now it's time to be honest as to how good a job you're doing maintaining your home? and make sure you'll be making time to protect this investment, or go for a low/no maintenance product.
- DO NOT limit your choices based on the look of one product over another. There have been so many advances that you can now get roofing and siding that looks like wood clapboard or shingles, or a slate roof in a wide range of colors.
|Life Expectancy for Roofing Materials|
|Asphalt shingles – 3 tab||15 to 20 yrs|
|Asphalt shingles – architectural||25 to 40 yrs|
|Lifetime dimensional shingles||Warranties differ by manufacturer|
|Wood shakes & shingles||15 to 30 yrs, higher with proper maintenance|
|Tile||50 yrs, depending on tile quality & weather|
|Metal, standing seam roof||20 to 50+ yrs depending on quality of metal & installation|
|Slate||50 to 100 yrs|
|Life Expectancy for Siding Materials|
|Aluminum siding||20 to 50 yrs|
|Wood clapboard or shakes||10 to 100 yrs, depending on material & maintenance|
|Vinyl siding||50 yrs|
|Fiber cement (planks or shakes)||50 yrs per manufacturers warranty|
|Steel siding||50 to lifetime|