Your roof is the first layer of protection between you and the elements, as well as other more serious hazards like falling branches from trees. To your insurance company, the roof of your house is the most important part because it can lead to far greater damage once it has been breached. More than 90% of insurance claims for damage from hail or high winds involve a payout for the roof. When it comes to insurance a lot rides on the quality and condition of your roof which is a major contributing factor to the price of home insurance.
For this reason, it is extremely important to give consideration to the type of roof and the quality of materials you use when installing or replacing your roof. If you are in the process of deciding which type of roof to install on a new home, or what type of roof to replace your existing one with, you will benefit from understanding the different types of materials available in order to make an informed decision about which one will be the right choice for your home. Before building or replacing your roof, check with your home insurer to find out what impact the new roofing may have on your premium.
There are different types of shingles available in a variety of colors and styles. For example, you can choose plastic polymer shingles that resemble slate, simple asphalt shingles, or extra-thick architectural shingles. Shingles are the least expensive type of roofing materials but also have the shortest life spans and require more repairs and maintenance than other alternative methods.
During the manufacturing process, asphalt is infused into fiberglass material which is then covered with different colored granules. For a flat appearance, single-layer shingles are best while double-layer architectural shingles can give a more textured look.
Shingles are inexpensive, fire-resistant, lightweight, and economical to install. The variety of color options makes it easy to match to the existing color and architecture of the house and it can be installed over your existing roof.
The downside is that shingles age faster than most other types of roof materials and the color is a big factor. The darker the color the quicker it fades. They become brittle, are more likely to be blown off in high wind conditions, and are prone to attracting mildew and mold. If an underlay system is used, normally supplied by the manufacturer, the quality of the roof will be much better.
In seismic areas where roofing is at risk of being damaged by earthquakes, lightweight shingles are a preferred option over heavier roofing materials.
Clay and Concrete Tiles
Tiles are extremely durable and can last up to 50 years or more. One of the more expensive material options, they are generally made of clay or concrete. They are most popular for Mediterranean or Spanish-style homes, but some tiles that are designed to look like wood or slate can be suitable for any home style.
When installed with a sound underlayment roof tiles can last a lifetime. They are constructed from mined clay which is shaped, painted, or glazed, and then baked at high temperatures. Concrete tiles are made from pulverized rock and sand mixed together with concrete before being tinted and poured into molds.
Roof tiles are versatile and come in a wide range of styles and colors. They will not rot, burn, or attract mold and insects and provide an optimum solution for attic insulation. Clay tiles are an expensive option, but they are the only roofing material that will not fade, but instead become darker with age. Even concrete tiles will fade with time.
Tiles are heavy and will add extra weight to the structural supports of the home and the potential replacement costs could affect insurance rates. Concrete tiles are heavier and stronger than clay tiles which is an important advantage when it comes to withstanding adverse weather conditions like hail storms and heavy debris falling on the roof.
For those homeowners who love the look of wood but live in fire-prone areas, there are concrete tiles that have been designed to look like wood shake and are a good alternative to wood shingles.
Wood Shingles and Shake
Wood shingles and wood shake are made from rot-resistant wood and give a natural, warm look to a home. This is a medium-priced option and requires the most upkeep of all roofing materials. Unless treated it is not fire resistant, and they have a lifespan equivalent of shingles, in the 30-40 year range.
While wood shingles are processed by machines, wood shakes are hand-cut from chunks of redwood, pine, or cedar trees. Properly installed, wood shakes can provide excellent insulation and a beautiful timeless look to any property. Although most manufacturers of wood shakes impregnate the wood with fire retardant materials to meet fire and safety standards, the treatment will not remain effective for the entire life of the shingle.
They are expensive to purchase and install, can become warped over time, are susceptible to rot, and have little defense against fire. There will most certainly be an increased insurance premium to cover a wood shake roof so make sure that you check with your insurance company before committing to wood roofing materials. Some insurance companies will, in fact, view the entire house as being imperiled because of wood shake roofing.
Slate is the most expensive roofing material but is also the strongest and most durable with a life-span of a hundred years or more. Slate is only suitable for steep pitched roofs and is very heavy, so you will have to check with a builder or architect whether the foundations and walls of your home are strong enough to carry the weight.
Slate is cut to form from actual slices of slate stone. It is impervious to rot, insects, and fire, and has great impact resistance. It requires less maintenance than other roofing materials and is easier to repair. The natural color variations makes it less likely to fade and it only becomes more beautiful with age.
Slate is an expensive option and is very heavy which may require extra support. Slate will most definitely increase your insurance premium.
Because slate is usually attached mechanically, it has a higher wind-resistance and if winds get strong enough to blow them off, they fall to the ground faster because of their weight. Slate is highly popular for use on new, larger homes with architecturally designed structures that can withstand the weight.
With enough knowledge and a clear understanding of the benefits and implications of each type of roofing option, it will be easier to decide which option will be best for your home. If you are not sure which type of shingle you want to go with, feel free to contact us and we can help talk you through your decision making process.