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Planning For Your New Roof Installation - Material, Color & Price

» Home Improvement


Published: 12/20/2012


Home ownership means having a roof over your head. The roof literally protects you and your family from the weather. Due to its expanse and its visibility, the type and color of roof you choose can enhance your home as well. A long-lasting asset, it needs regular maintenance and occasional replacement.

Planning For Replacement

Many people think about the roof only when it is leaking or when a storm has damaged some shingles. Eventually, you will need a new one. Since this is a large expense, many people aim for the lowest-priced solution, but planning for a new roof offers options. You can choose a new color or a new material, or even decide to make your home more 'green.' In addition, you can carefully consider the short-term and long-term costs of each option.

Color Options For Your Roof

Depending on what type of material you choose for your roof, you have a color palette available which usually includes shades of black, white, gray, brown, green, and red. You should pick a color that coordinates with your siding, but within each hue, you have varying shades to choose from, which impacts your energy usage. Lighter shades retain less heat than darker ones, while dark shades absorb more radiation from the sun.

Types Of Roofing Materials

For the steep-slope roofs on most homes, asphalt shingles are the most common material. About 70% of homes feature this material, which is usually reinforced with either fiberglass or organic materials such as wood. Available in many colors, asphalt shingles carry fire ratings of A, B, or C, with A being the highest. These durable shingles can be protected against high humidity with ceramic granules.

In some areas of the country, wood or shake shingles are popular. Handmade and more rustic looking, they give a natural look to a home. Unfortunately, they only carry a fire rating of C so your local fire codes may prohibit you from using them.

Metal roofs are an attractive, long-lasting alternative to asphalt shingles. Offered in many colors and designed to simulate other types of roofing, metal shingles have a lifespan double that of traditional shingles. Many brands carry an A fire rating and are extremely durable even in harsh weather. Although the initial cost of a metal roof exceeds that of asphalt shingles, the roof will be trouble-free for a long time. Also, the roof is energy efficient, so lower power bills can offset your expense.

Slate and tiled roofs offer a unique look to a home, but both materials are expensive. They are very heavy, so if you are considering replacing your asphalt shingle roof with one of slate or tile, make sure that your home can support the load.

Comparative Pricing

Roofing is priced by the square, an area equal to 10 ‘x 10'. A typical 2,000 square foot house with a gable roof may have a roof area of 1,500 square feet, which is equal to 15 squares. If your roof has dormers, skylights, multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines, numerous vents, or other features that make your home unique, you will need more roofing.

You can’t easily change the shape of your roof, but you can influence the cost according to which material you choose. As home repair expert Bob Vila points out, you have to balance the cost per square with other factors such as durability and length of service.

Asphalt: With prices starting at $50 a square for standard thickness varieties, an asphalt shingle roof will last 15 years or more. Thicker, laminated versions cost double and last 25 years or more.

Wood: Assuming wood shingles are permitted in your area, the price starts at $100 per square and the life expectancy is about 25 years.

Metal: Beauty and great performance has its price. Available in aluminum, steel, copper, and lead, metal roofs last for nearly 3 decades. Pricing starts at $250 a square, but it can easily be two or three times that, depending on your choice of material.

Slate, tile, and cement: These products can last for centuries, which amortizes the cost over a much greater period than most homeowners care about. Price per square starts around $800.

By carefully thinking about the look and performance you want and the money you want to spend, you can make a great roofing choice that will last for years.