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|
Oh. Why on earth I have not noticed your blog for a long time? Gladly, Google just landed me to your blog today. Thank you for helping us to pick the right new roof fitted to your house. I should have done reading your blog before. Just followed you on Twitter and Pinterest to see the suggested from your blog.
I really appreciate your chart on the life expectancy of different shingling materials. My husband and I are thinking our roof will need to be redone soon and this will help us decide what we want to replace it with! Now we just need to look for a local roofing company that can work with our needs to give us an amazing result!
Thanks for the tip to decide if we want to maintain our roof’s same quality or upgrade it. My husband and I want to have our home’s roof replaced soon. Your tips should make it easier to make decisions as we find a roofing contractor to work with.
Thanks for the tips on how to pick a new roof. I like your tip to determine your budget based on how long you have before you need new roofing. My husband and I are thinking about having a new roof constructed because our old one is starting to look bad and I think that budgeting it would help us figure out a timeline as well as what material we would want.
My wife and I have been thinking about doing a new roof construction on our house. I think that it is time since our roof is about 17 years old. The shingles are starting to deteriorate and I want to get it done before the roof starts to leak.
You’re wise to replace your roof before it leaks, which only adds to costs for repairs. Good luck & check to see if you can save money by doing this in the off season.
I think moisture protection is one of the best ways to prevent any damage caused to a roof. If I were to need a roofing service, I would locate the best one in my area that understands the importance of proper roof maintenance.
Before reading this, I did not know that slate roofs lasted so long. Do different material have different resale values also? My wife and I have been thinking about redoing our roof and the life of all the different materials is very helpful to us.
Michael, Realtors would know best what value home buyers give specialty roofs where you live as it’s really location specific.
Well optimized nice structured content. Well deserving post. Hope we anticipating more from you. Can you share checklist in PDF format?
Catherine, Wondering how you want to use the information? If I create an infographic will that be sufficient?
You make me so delight Tina. Yeah. infographic will be enough. Big thanks for your effort.
Thank you for suggesting that you need time to research the right contractor and material for your new roof. My roof is really needing to be replaced. I’ll have to look into finding the best roofing contractor in my area.
Hi Tina, thanks for providing us this life expectancy chart for roofing materials. This is actually what my husband and I were debating just a week ago. We’re planning for a home renovation and still undecided if we’ll be replacing our roof or just make a repair of its damaged portion based on its lifespan. More power!
Thank you for this article. When planning to have a roof replacement, there are many things to consider. Take time in decision making and do your research. It is also good to ask for ideas and recommendations from family and friends. Your roofer can also help and give advice in what would be best for your home.
Sarah, I also challenge homeowners to look at 2 different types of roofing materials … to break through thinking they have to replace what’s there.
Some useful tips & especially the life expectancy for roofing & siding materials. This should help anyone picking a new roof or siding materials.
Thanks for this great article on how to pick a new roof for your home. I really liked your suggestion to consider not only the cost of the roof but the maintenance and how often it will need to be replaced. Considering that a metal roof is more expensive than asphalt shingles but that metal lasts much longer, I will have to look around and see what is available.
I never knew that a metal roof can last up to fifty years after it is installed! My wife and I have been thinking of moving into an older house, and the roof that is on it right now doesn’t insulate heat very well. I will be sure to suggest to my wife that we get a metal roof so we won’t have to replace it for a very long time!
Mark, I love the look of metal roofs & find it sad that people tend to pick either the cheapest or … what everyone else on the street has. This makes it hard to create a new trend with a roof that’s more practical.
It was really helpful when you suggested adding to the things to be considered the amount I am willing to spend on the roof and just how long I have to save to get a new one. If that will be my basis, then I pretty much can spend on a sturdy roof, like the metal shingles. After all, I have been saving for a long time for the roofing replacement considering I noticed the sign of deterioration a long time ago.
Thanks for suggesting that we focus on function instead of look when choosing a new roof. The roof of my home will need to be replaced soon, so I’ve started looking for ideas and inspiration. I appreciate the reminder to research to function of different types of roofing and not just pick the one with the best aesthetic.
Good luck picking your roof which often comes down to the best contractor & what they recommend …
I really liked it when you suggested basing the type of new roof to be used for the amount of time I will need to save up money for the next replacement. If so, then I will have to spend a considerable amount on the roof since I am not really planning to have it replaced any time soon once it was changed now. After the roofing replacement, my next focus is the kitchen remodeling, so I cannot afford to make a mistake on the choice of materials.
Dina, You’re smart to think ahead to where you’ll spend your home improvement dollars over the next few years. Here’s an article, Home Components & How to Plan and Budget for Replacements, I wrote to help you learn how long things like a roof, siding, doors & windows will last before they need to be replaced.
Choosing a new roof is a really complex decision many homeowners may realize. From choosing the right shingles to roofing materials to the roofing company, you have a lot of decisions to make. You really need to make a careful and informed decision. It’s great you’ve shared these tips here. Great way of putting this article together by the way. I can tell it helped a lot of people here.
There was a big storm recently and our roof took some damage so I have been looking for a good place to get it fixed. I really appreciated how it talked about selecting 1 or 2 types of roofing and meet with local roofing contractors about it. This is a really great idea to make sure to get what I want and getting the work done right.
Max, What criteria have you decided to use for your new roof? I’m starting to research options in Florida given the frequency of hurricanes & it’s very interesting (article to follow)
I’m planning to have my roof done pretty soon by the end of this summer. Thanks for providing some great advice in this article. This will give me a good idea on what to look for in roof materials and contractors.
Good luck getting the roof done before the rainy season arrives …
I’ll have to remember these when the end of the summer comes this year. I like the idea of cleaning them at the end of the summer though. It’s probably very important to have them in good condition once fall rainstorms and winter snow comes.
Thanks for this. I had never considered the regular maintenance I want to put in. thanks for describing all of the types of roofing and how long they can last with that maintenance. i will have to talk with my family to figure out what we want to do.
Good luck making your decision Jay …
I like that you mentioned investing in a better roof than you had before and adding value to the home for when you sell It. That’s a great point that not many people consider. Thanks for the tip!
Yes Josh, it doesn’t always pay to have a house like every other one in the neighborhood … when it’s time to sell.
I appreciate you mentioning to determine your budget for a new roof or siding before getting it. My sister is remodeling her home’s exterior this spring. Thank you for the tips on picking new roofing.
Sutton, Of course you & most homeowners will need to get several estimates to learn what’s included (or not) and only then will you be able to determine your budget. With my handyman business I had numerous customers who would have us come out to repair their roof to delay replacing it. Once I saw the pattern I had to put my foot down & tell them we would not guarantee our repairs when it was obvious the roof was beyond it’s projected life.
I really like that you mentioned that you can get a large portion of the money back that you invest into the roof. My wife and I are in the process of remodeling our home and have been considering having work done on the roof as well. It’s definitely in need of some repair, so I’ll be sure to call a roofing contractor and see what the best course of action might be.
Do you plan to get the same type of roofing like asphalt? or are you researching other materials
I would like to thank you so much for all the information listed here on choosing a new roof. One thing that you taught me was that when you sell your home, it is always a good thing to replace your roof because then the new buyers do not have to worry about it. With that being said, it has been quite some time since we have taken a look at our roof and we do not want it to leak this winter. Thanks again for the reminder!
My granny has passed away recently and left us a small house in the countryside. I’ve been there a couple of times since then and I saw the roof there needs to be replaced. I liked your approach to determine 2 types of roofing and then schedule meeting with the contractors to choose the one that will suit the most. I will also have to rent a truck to transport it there as this is far from the city, and I am not sure that anybody would want to deliver it there.
Most homeowners should not attempt to install a new roof, so I recommend that you get estimates for materials, installation & both … to see what you really would save if you did install yourself.
Could not have said this better myself. This is a great article, and I appreciate you taking the time to write it. I have been in the roofing business for a long time, and have helped many customers with their roofing repairs, roof replacements, and new roofs. There are many things I try and educate homeowners on, and am going to reference this article.
Thanks Ollie and let me know if you’d like to contribute a few articles to my website.
We are in desperate need of a new roof, but since this is our first time looking for one we need help in knowing how to find it. I like how you mentioned that one thing we need to do is determine what the budget we can afford or need to save up for when it comes to this. This will be really great for us because then it will help narrow down the options of what shingles will work out well for us.
It’s good to know that when it comes to getting a new roof, that there are some ways to help us make sure that we get the right one. I am glad that you mentioned that one thing we need to do is to determine the budget we would like to be able spend it. This is something that we will have to look into more so that we will be able to get a great new roof.
I like how you talking about doing an evaluation of your roof before thinking of selling it. My aunt is looking into selling her house soon. However, I don’t think she has inspected her roof and she had a few shingles in her yard the other day. She might want to have a professional take a look.
Yes, this is a tough one & for sure, she needs to replace missing shingles. Be aware that if she gets a full inspection and she’s told she needs a new roof, then legally she has to disclose this which can get a bit tricky on the listing & in negotiations.
I like that you talked about figuring out the budget for the roof by finding out how long you have to save up for it. My husband and I want to get a new roof, but we’re not sure how much the construction will cost. We saved up for several years, so maybe we should use that to figure out how much our budget should be.
Thank you for all this great information about choosing the best roofing material for our home! I really like your point that we need a realistic expectation of price by researching, planning and save more than we think because a roofing project is costly sometimes. My husband really wants a gorgeous slate shingle roof, so we’ll keep your tips in mind as we research.
If you’re looking at slate, make sure to find a few other houses in your area & ask the homeowners how much they spend each year for maintenance as that could be the tie breaker for you.
It’s great to know what to look for in a new roof. I like how you pointed out that the material you choose should be based on function, not appearance. Metal doesn’t look particularly pretty, but it is sure functional!
Ridley, Thanks. I’m visiting my sister on the Maine seacoast and seeing a lot more metal roofs.
I had no idea that metal roofing had such a varied life expectancy. I’ve heard metal roofing can be good to have in a snowy climate, I’ll have to do more research though! I do like what you said about keeping in mind when you plan to sell the home you are getting new roofing for, thanks for the tips!
Wow, I had no idea that metal and slate roofing have such a long life expectancy! I also didn’t realize that you can recover such a large portion of the expense you put into new roofing when you sell your home. I’ve heard different types of metal roofing withstand water damage better, I’ll have to look more into it!
Thanks for the tip that color and style are not the most important things to research when picking a new roof. More specifically you said that paint is about protecting the wood your home is being built from. I think it’s a good idea to choose a roofer that has a professional website and has all of the proper insurance for their employees.
I didn’t realize that metal roofs could last up to fifty years. I can see how anyone looking for a roof that would last a long time would want to look at metal roofs. I would want to choose a material that would add value to my house as well as making it safer and more reliable. I will make sure to remember what you have said. Thank you.
Great as I think metal roofs are cool & always wonder why more people don’t use them. Of course I’m also excited by the new solar shingles announced by Tesla & hope to try them out once they’re proven, as I don’t want the hassle of an early adopter for such a big investment.
Roof Replacement Auckland
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.
You’re absolutely right & yet the big box stores offer 4, 6 or more choices which makes it harder for homeowners to pick the best solution for their project.
I agree that when looking for a new roof you would need to consider your budget first. I would imagine that considering how much you can spend would really help you figure out what kind of materials you can use. My roof is in need of replacement so when I go to hire a roofer I’ll have to consider my budget first.
Good luck Olivia. Make sure to get 3 estimates and test each one’s commitment to detail as that’s the best way to recognize quality work.
I like one of your first tips about evaluating your current roof to find out where it’s at. I’m hoping I can find a contractor that will offer a free consultation. I know that my roof is pretty old, I wouldn’t be surprised if it needs to be replaced.
Thanks for the nice article. I liked all the points. The roof is the most vital part of a house. So, you have to choose only the professionals that i believe. Professional roofers are experts in working safely and perfectly.
You’re certainly right that few homeowners have the skills for any type of roof work, although once in a while my handyman techs would tackle smaller roof problems.
My family’s roof is in need of repairs and replacing. I hadn’t considered calculating when we plan top move into what type of roofing to get. Thanks for the help and the list of roofing material expectancy.
Sarah, Good luck & don’t wait too long as roof leaks only add to the costs.
I think it is interesting that the roof has an expiration date. I also didn’t know that there were so many different styles of roofing materials. The only ones I have seen are the shingles and the tile roofing. I would think that just by looking at the life expectancy that people would go for slate roofing. You would essentially never have to worry about changing the roof at all. http://www.cooperroofing.biz/
Laila, Slate is beautiful but also very expensive and asphalt is the most popular because of it’s lower price point.
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I am amazed to read the good news which you talked about. I was surprising for me as i even didn’t think about it that vinyl siding will be even more beneficial for me at the time when i will plan to sell my home.
Yeah, considering both life expectancy and maintenance would be a wise move. Thankfully, there are a lot of materials that can provide your home with good protection. Still, choose wisely. Replacing a roof can be very inconvenient and time-consuming.