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Which roof is right for you?

Jeffrey Anderson | Improvement Center Columnist | July 21, 2014

Summertime can mean trips to the beach or enjoying fresh air and sunshine on your favorite golf course. But for homeowners, the season can be the ideal time for tackling maintenance projects that like it or not, have to be done. This can be especially true for any outside jobs that require good weather such as replacing your roofing. Fortunately, putting a new roof on your home may only need to be done once while you're living there, or depending on the age of the material, perhaps not at all before you move. But if you plan on being in the house for a long time, sooner or later it could be time for a roof replacement as very few materials installed up there last as long as the structure.

Considerations when choosing new roofing material

So what should you put up there when it's time for a new roof? Well, the easiest option is to simply replace it with what's already there. If the home has asphalt shingles and you like the look, there are many companies that manufacture the product and they're available in numerous colors. But what if you want to give your home a fresh appearance?

Changing the material can accomplish that, but keep in mind what your return on investment (ROI) might be on the new product. While you may have always wanted a natural slate roof, installing one in a neighborhood full of shingled or tiled homes may mean not getting much of your investment back when it comes time to sell. Two of the best methods for determining whether you'll get a decent ROI on your material choice are to drive around the neighborhood to see what's installed on other homes or consulting with a local realtor to find out what current buyers consider most desirable.

But there is another factor besides ROI that you may want to consider before making a decision on your new roof: what products might be best for your regional climate.

Roofing materials suggestions by region

The primary purpose of the roofing material on your home is to protect the structure and its contents from the elements. While every product on the market has the ability to do that, some may be better suited to handle the climate in your particular region. And while they all might protect your home, some may even be able to help lower your utility costs. Here are a few suggestions broken down by region:

  • Northeast - Perhaps no other region in the country receives severe weather on the magnitude of the northeast. Winter storms can bring snowfalls measured in feet and high winds that challenge just about any roofing material. For that reason shingles rated for high impact and strong winds can be a good idea. GAF's Timberline ArmorShield II can be a good choice for this region. The shingle are warranted for wind gusts up to 130 mph and designed to withstand impact far beyond what a standard asphalt shingle can handle. The company advertises that families might be able to qualify for up at a 30 percent discount on their homeowner's insurance by installing these shingles. CertainTeed's Landmark high impact shingles with their reinforced fiberglass base can also be a good selection when doing a roof replacement. If you want a different look for your home, metal roofing also works well in this region.
  • Southeast - In the southeast, roofing able to stand up to heavy moisture and high temperatures reign supreme. And because many people in this region run their air-conditioning much of the year, cool roofing products have become a popular choice for homes in this area. Cool roofing materials are designed to reflect much of the sun's heat away from the roof so the structure's interior doesn't get quite as hot. This can result in lower utility costs. Cool roofing technology is available in many types of roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, metal, and even synthetic slate like DaVinci Roofscapes' tiles with EcoBlend colors.
  • Northwest - Cedar shakes were the most popular roofing product in this region for many years due an abundance of trees, the lumber industries in the vicinity, and the material's ability to withstand all the rain the area receives every year. However, a growing consciousness of protecting the environment and the high maintenance required for wood has led to many homeowners going synthetic when it's time to replace their roofs. DaVinci Roofscapes also offers a polymer shake style in several colors that can be a great choice for roofs currently covered with wood. Companies such as Euroshield and EcoShake also offer synthetic shake products.
  • Southwest - Homes in the southwest region of the country have to withstand a wide range of climate conditions. Areas of Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico can get extremely hot during the summer months and strong storms with high winds can often occur. But these same states can also get quite cold during the winter and may even have snowfall. For this reason, metal shingles can be a good choice for this region. Many companies offer metal shingles rated to withstand winds up to 140 mph and some are available with cool roofing technology to help homes during the summer heat. Asphalt shingles in cool roof colors rated for high winds such as CertainTeed's Landmark Solaris can also be a good selection for homeowners in this area doing a roof replacement.

These are just a few recommendations for homeowners in these regions -- consult with a local roofing contractor for other suggestions that might be good choices for your area.

About the Author

Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I., and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time. He spends his time writing, remodeling his old farmhouse, and in animal rescue.