Your roof is obviously one of the most important parts of your home. Needing to have your roof replaced is also expensive, so you’ll definitely want to know how long you can expect a new roof to last. At Charleston Roofs + Windows, one of the most common questions we get asked by clients is what type of roofing material is best.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t an answer to this question as it can vary depending on your personal preferences, the look you want, and how much you’re willing to spend. All types of roofing materials have their own positive and negative aspects, which makes it important that you carefully consider your choice. To make this easier, here is an overview of all of the different roofing material options and the pros and cons of each.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material, and there are a number of reasons why. Price is one major factor since asphalt shingles cost less than many other roofing materials.

There are several different types of asphalt shingles with the two most common being three-tab shingles and dimensional or architectural shingles. Dimensional shingles are usually more durable than three-tab shingles and thus are also a bit more expensive. Most dimensional shingles come with anywhere from a 30- to 50-year manufacturer’s warranty whereas three-tab shingles can have anywhere from a 20- to 30-year warranty.

However, this warranty can be deceiving as it only covers the cost of replacement shingles if they have a defect caused by the manufacturing process. This means that the warranty won’t cover shingles that are damaged as a result of normal wear and tear or the weather. Three-tab shingles typically have a maximum lifespan somewhere between 12 to 15 years in ideal conditions, but they may only last for under 10 years if frequently exposed to high heat, humidity, and precipitation. Architectural shingles generally have a bit longer lifespan at somewhere around 18 to 25 years.

One main issue with asphalt shingles is that they are susceptible to damage from storms and high winds. Large hail can damage the shingles and make them start to allow water to seep into the roof deck and potentially into the attic. High winds can also easily rip off asphalt shingles, which is why they are not a great choice for areas like Charleston that experience frequent hurricanes. If you do choose to go with asphalt shingles, dimensional shingles are generally the better option since they are rated to withstand winds up to 120 miles per hour whereas three-tab shingles are only rated in winds up to 60 miles per hour.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is more commonly used on commercial and industrial buildings, but it is also growing in popularity for homes. Metal roofing is typically more expensive than asphalt shingles to both purchase and install. However, it also has a longer lifespan and is less susceptible to issues with mold and algae growth that can plague both wood and asphalt shingles. Metal roofing usually comes with a warranty between 30 and 50 years, but metal roofs can often last for much longer than this.

Most metal roofing panels are made of galvanized metal to ensure that they won’t rust. Galvanizing the metal makes it conduct much less heat, which can help to prevent heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer. As with asphalt shingles, metal roofing is available in a wide selection of colors to allow you to achieve whatever look you want.

The biggest issue with metal roofing is that it can easily be damaged by things like hail, tree branches falling on the roof, or even walking on the metal sheets incorrectly. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may be possible to patch any holes, or it could be necessary to replace some or all of the sheets.

Clay and Slate Roof Tiles

Clay and slate roof tiles are by far the most expensive type of roofing material, but also the longest lasting. Clay roof tiles will typically last for around 100 years while slate roofs can last for anywhere between 50 and 200 years depending on how hard the slate used to make them is. Both types of tiles are somewhat susceptible to mold and algae growth but usually not as much so as asphalt or wood shingles. They are also far easier to treat and clean to prevent mold from becoming a problem as they can be simply sprayed off with a pressure washer.

Clay and slate roof tiles are much heavier than other roofing materials, which means you may need to first add extra support to your roof before installing them. On the other hand, this added weight means they are less prone to damage from wind and the elements. A clay or slate roof is also quite striking and adds an extra element of beauty to the home.

In terms of overall quality and style, no other roofing material can compete with clay or slate tiles. That being said, the high price of the tiles is the reason that many people opt for a different option.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

In the not-too-distant past, almost all homes in the United States had wood shingles as it was basically the only option available. Wood shingles are still used in some parts of the country, but they generally aren’t a good choice for many areas because of their climates. The primary appeal of wood shingles is the price as they tend to be quite a bit cheaper than any other type of roofing material.

Some people also prefer the more natural look of wood shingles or shakes. Wood is also a poor heat conductor unlike some other roofing materials, which means it can reduce heat gain and heat loss to help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

The issue with wood shingles is that they require much more maintenance than most other roofing materials. Wood shingles are especially susceptible to problems with mold and algae growth and rotting, which is why they are usually not the best option for wetter or more humid climates. To prevent these issues from becoming a problem and ruining the roof, the shingles will need to be regularly treated and sealed. With proper care and maintenance, wood shingles can potentially last for up to 25 years. However, in areas like Charleston, it is more likely that the shingles will only last for 15 years or so before they begin to rot.

Wood shingles are also never recommended for any areas that are prone to wildfires. As you can imagine, having a wood roof greatly increases the chances of your home being destroyed in a fire since even a small spark can quickly set the entire roof ablaze.

Charleston’s Roofing Experts

If you need to have your roof replaced, the team at Charleston Roofs + Windows can take you through your various options and help you decide which roofing material is best for your home. Our professional roofers work with all types of roofing materials, and we can ensure that your new roof is installed correctly so that it will last for years to come. We can also inspect your roof for any damage and help you determine when repairs or roof replacement are necessary. Give us a call today to learn more about your roofing options and to see what makes us Charleston’s best roofing company.

Charleston Roof & Windows Team

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