Kay Easton | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011
Cost, material, climate and brands: these factors form the foundation of what you should consider before buying a new roof. Ask these three questions, in order to secure a dependable roof over your head:
1. How much can I reasonably spend for my roof?
Find the price point that gives you quality, utility, and a roof that doesn't send you to the poor house. You should also factor maintenance and longevity into your equation--not just expense.
The list of roofing material is long: asphalt and asphalt shingles; metal or slate; wood and wood shake; cement, rubber, fiberglass, copper, aluminum, composition, synthetic slate, tile, shingles and bamboo.
Each option has a different cost. Asphalt shingles, for example, are the most popular and least expensive roofing option, averaging about $60 per square, according to CalFinder Nationwide Remodelers, a site "developed by homeowners for homeowners." A slate roof can cost $900 per square, because it requires a trained stonemason for proper installation. Fortunately, there are plenty of price points, for a variety of materials and styles, between the extremes of asphalt and slate.
2. What's the best roofing option for the climate in my area?
Choose a roof for your environment. There's a reason tile roofs are often the preferred choice in warmer climates: the curved tiles promote better circulation. Asphalt shingles rated for high wind are best for coastal regions. They are also popular in cold climates, although they can be damaged by ice and snow buildup. Metal roofs, which are inexpensive to buy and install, are becoming more popular in heavy snow areas, although they can be damaged by hail. Choosing the right roofing material for your climate can save on maintenance and early replacement. Roofing contractors in your area should be able to tell you about the best options. Filling out the form on this page can help you find local roofing contractors.
3. What are some top roofing brands?
CertainTeed, GAF Materials Corporation and Owens Corning are three top roofing brands. They are also Energy Star partners.
- CertainTeed: In business for more than 100 years, this company has traditional, designer, premium designer and luxury shingle lines. Their newest product is the EnerGen Photovoltaic Solar Roofing System, which features thin film laminates that "seamlessly integrate with traditional asphalt roofing shingles."
- GAF Materials Corporation: In business for 125 years, this company is "the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing products," according to their website. Their Timberlane Advanced Protection shingle is the number one seller in North America.
- Owens Corning: A relative newcomer in this crowd with only 75 years in business, this company has an extensive collection of roof shingles in various grades and color options.
If re-roofing is in your future, asking these three questions can put you on the right path to making an informed choice. The CertainTeed Homebuyer's Guide to Reroofing is also an excellent resource.