If your roof’s in need of a facelift, you have a bundle of reroofing options. Here’s a quick rundown on four of the most popular materials.
Asphalt shingles last 15 to 30 years depending on core composition and weight). They’re also relatively inexpensive and easy for the do-it-yourselfer to install (as long as your roof’s not too steep.) And they come in tons of colors and styles, simulating cedar shakes and other materials. For better fire resistance, look for a fiberglass core.
Wood shakes and shingles cost more than asphalt, but have a rich, traditional look and weather to a nice gray if you don’t stain or finish them. Alignment and prep to allow for air circulation mean they’re more work than asphalt, but still manageable. Shingles are smaller, thinner and lighter than shakes, and they’re sawn both sides, while shakes are split one side (hand-split sometimes). Shingles last 15 to 30 years, and more expensive shakes last up to 50 years. (Cedar shakes cut from the heartwood of first-growth timber lasted longer, but are rare today.) Less expensive wood fiber designs simulate cedar shakes, but are easier to align and install, since they come in 4-foot lengths.
Today, the old-style tin roof is usually galvanized steel or aluminium, and some designs simulate slate, shakes and tile. The standard style is corrugated or flat with a raised seam. Basic material costs are similar to asphalt, but unless you’re using corrugated, you should have professional installation. Metal roofs last up to 50 years.
Clay and concrete tiles are durable, attractive, and usually priced comparably with cedar shakes. (Clay costs a little more and is heavier.) Most new roofs built to code should be able to support the material no problem, but have a professional check it out for you.