In the Northeast, we typically see three types of roofing materials used for residential homes: asphalt shingles, which are the most common due to their reasonable price and longevity; cedar shingles and shakes; and metal. Each material has its own unique benefits and style. Ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to decide which features and design are most appealing.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material across the United States. They are suitable for all climates, affordable, reliable, and available in many styles and colors. Asphalt shingles are a great choice for almost any home. With proper installation and maintenance, a high-quality asphalt shingle roof can last 15-30 years.
Asphalt shingles come in three main types: 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles, and luxury or premium shingles. All three types are installed in sheets and made from similar materials, but they have some important differences you should be aware of when choosing which will go on your roof.
3-tab shingles are the most basic example of asphalt shingles available. We often see 3-tab shingles on older homes or new “economy” homes, these are the lowest priced shingles you can buy and therefore may be the best choice for homeowners on a budget. Drawbacks to this type of shingle include limited aesthetic options; fewer color choices; a shorter lifespan of 10-20 years; and blow-off, a situation where shingles are blown off your roof in high winds or rough weather. However, 3-tab shingles have been losing ground in recent years as the popularity of architectural shingles and other roofing materials has increased.
By far the most popular option, architectural shingles accounted for nearly 75% of all asphalt shingle sales in 2010 and have now nearly cornered the market. Architectural or dimensional shingles are extremely durable, have a multi-dimensional appearance and texture, and can last 30 years of longer. These shingles are made of two or more layers, which increases durability and longevity, and in turn leads to longer warranties of up to 50 years or lifetime guarantees. They also come in the widest variety of colors and styles. These shingles do come with a steeper price tag – homeowners should expect to pay about 20% more for the benefits of architectural shingles versus traditional 3-tab.
Luxury or premium shingles offer maximum durability and protection and are designed to replicate the look of natural cedar and slate roofs at a fraction of the cost. Real cedar shakes or slate shingles are beautiful, but they are extremely expensive and the installation process is extensive. Luxury asphalt shingles, such as GAF Slateline, are a great alternative for your period home and can offer substantial savings over the real thing. They also come with the same 50+ year warranty and added durability over architectural shingles.
CEDAR SHINGLES OR SHAKES
Cedar shingles or shakes are a quintessentially New England roofing material and have been used here for hundreds of years. The natural silvery-gray look they take on as they age is a favorite for coastal and historical homes. Cedar is an extremely durable, long-lasting wood, and generally lasts at least 10 years longer than traditional asphalt. It also stands up well to strong winds and extreme weather. Cedar roofs also provide natural home insulation, up to twice that of asphalt shingles. Cedar shingles come in white, yellow, and red wood and can be stained to your desired color. These shingles are installed one piece at a time, which allows for many patterns and styles. They are also eco-friendly and biodegradable, and each tree harvested to make these shingles is replaced with a new sapling.
Compared to other roofing materials, cedar shingles or shakes are more expensive to purchase and to install, and pricing tends to fluctuate quite a bit. As a natural product, they also require some additional maintenance to prevent moss, mold, and mildew growth. However, cedar, especially in New England, is a beautiful long-term investment for your home.
Metal roofing is quickly becoming a popular, economical choice for roofing throughout the United States. Once relegated to industrial buildings, the versatility of metal roofing in terms of materials, shapes, and colors have made this a popular choice for new homeowners. Metal roofing comes in two styles, panels and shingles, and can be made of aluminum, copper, zinc, or stainless steel. Metal roofing, especially when it's made from copper, is often used as accents to asphalt or wood, such as to accent bay windows or entryways. It is resistant to extreme weather, recyclable, and lightweight. Metal roofing can last between 40 and 75 years. Metal roofing typically costs three times the amount of asphalt shingles, but does offer additional longevity and environmental benefits.
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Our new roof was installed quickly and efficiently and the quality of the clean up was better than anticipated. We would recommend Lifetime Roofing to any of our neighbors!” - Carol Ilzarbe
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