If your old roof is starting to show the sings of excessive wear and tear like excessive moss and algae growth, cracked, chipped, or curled shingles, excessive loss of stone granules and bold spots, then it’s probably a good time to consider some replacement options before the old roof begins to leak, causing extensive damage to the rest of the house.
Flat and Sloped Roofs
There are two types of roofs that most homes have: low-slope or flat and slanted or pitched roofs. Some homes might have a combination of the two roofs, with a steeper roof protecting the main house or structure, while the low-slope or flat roof is protecting a garage, a porch, or a sunroom.
via DMB Construction
Yes, combination roofs are very common, but most homes with a sloped roof will either have asphalt shingles or cedar shakes, while most residential flat roofs will be covered with an EPDM rubber membrane, and sometimes a PVC or TPO membrane.
For steep roofs, the best roofing systems are often mid-range architectural shingles (in non-hail prone zones), metal shingles and stone coated steel tiles, and standing seam metal roofs.
Architectural fiberglass composition shingles are the most affordable residential re-roofing option with an expected lifespan of 15 to 25 years, while metal shingles, stone coated steel tiles, and standing seam metal roofs can last anywhere from 30 to 50+ years when installed by a well trained and experienced crew.
Most asphalt shingle roofs fail due to age and damage done by the sun’s UV rays, wind, hail, and snowstorms and ice dams.
Most metal roofs will last considerably longer than shingles, but when they do fail, it’s usually at a flashing point such as a leaky chimney or skylight, or the paint begins to peel, especially with the older non-Kynar 500 metal roofs that were finished with polyester paint.
While most mid-range asphalt shingle roofs can be installed for $4.00 to $8.00 per square foot, depending on the project and where you live, a metal roof like interlocking metal tiles or standing seam (a great option for penetration-free solar integrations) will often cost double the cost of asphalt or anywhere from $9.50 to $16.50 per square foot, depending on the type of metal roofing system, project difficulty, and where you live.
If you are looking for a value roofing system and are not easily swayed by attributes like roof longevity, material sustainability and home energy efficiency, then getting a midrange architectural asphalt shingle roofs form one of the reputable manufacturers like GAF, Owens Corning, CertainTeed, Atlas, IKO, Tamko, or Malarkey, will provide a viable roof protection for most homes.
For areas with high winds, there are value-priced options like GAF Timberline HDZ shingles rated for 130 MPH winds out of the box, even with the standard installation. This product compares closely with Owens Corning Duration shingles rated for 130 MPH winds with a 6-nail installation method for hurricane zones.
Tip: It’s highly recommended that you use at least three system components like starter shingles, roofing shingles, and ridge caps from the same manufacturer to get the manufacturer’s extended warranty coverage.
Premium metal roofs like metal shingles and standing seam are available in a wide variety of metals and alloys aluminum, coated steel, and zinc (the longest lasting option).
There are also some ultra-premium options like copper roofing, but those are mostly used as accents around bay windows and porches, not as complete roofs.
For aluminum and steel roofs, it’s recommended to opt for a Kynar 500 paint finish to achieve the best possible roof durability, longevity, and energy efficiency.
For stone-coated steel tiles, you have two options, G-90 galvanized steel and Galvalume (zinc and aluminum coating that is more corrosion resistant). Both options can deliver excellent durability and longevity and are highly recommended for hail-prone areas with frequent hailstorms that often damage conventional roofs like asphalt.
Stone coated steel tiles are one of the few roofing systems that are actually warrantied for Class 4 hail impact damage by the manufacturers. Most other roofing products are only certified for Hail impact but don’t have the actual warranty for you to count on, should the “unexpected” hailstorm destroy your shiny new roof.
Most metal roofs will be supplied by a specialty metal roofing contractor who is doing the installation. Contactors work with roofing suppliers and distributors who deliver metal coil for standing seam panels or metal shingles like Tamko Metal Works or steel tiles from one of the stone coated steel roofing manufacturers.
Tip: For best results, always have a specialist install a metal roof, not a regular asphalt shingle installer. The two systems are vastly different in terms of how they should be installed. As you may have guessed, a metal roof is a far more complex system to install, so it should only be installed by experienced craftsmen.
For flat roofs, the best replacement options are PVC membrane, TPO, and white colored EPDM rubber membrane for better energy efficiency. All these systems are single ply-membranes, which means they are relatively economical and easy to install (as opposed to multi-ply membranes like BUR), but their costs and expected lifespans are different.
For flat roofs, that have an old and leaky EPDM rubber membrane, most early leaks tend to develop due to failed seams. EPDM rubber is the least costly and most popular flat roof replacement option, but in places with freeze and thaw cycles, EPDM rubber membrane seams can often develop leaks over time due to pooling water that gets in between the seams during multiple freeze-thaw cycles.
If you live in a northern climate that experiences frigid temperatures, snow, and ice, then getting a PVC or TPO roofing membrane will deliver superior performance over the traditional EPDM rubber. Both PVC and TPO membrane roofs are hot air welded, so there are no glue and tape to worry about, as the hot air welding process will form a permanent bond between the seams.
Tip: It’s important that a PVC or TPO membrane is installed by an experienced installer who knows how to properly weld the seams, etc. PVC and TPO will cost roughly 30% to 50% more than EPDM rubber roofing due to the higher cost of materials and accessories (especially for the more premium PVC membrane options like IB roof) and more specialized installation (hot air welded seams), but they will last longer and deliver a better overall performance, especially in places with freeze and thaw cycles over the winter months.
While most EPDM rubber roofs will last between 5 and 15 years. TPO roofs can last between 15 and 25 years, while PVC roofs are designed to last upwards of 30 years.
Most PVC and TPO membranes come in white color designed for energy efficiency. EPDM rubber membrane can also be ordered in white color. Ask your installer for a CoolRoof rated roofing system when getting a new flat roof.
If you live in California, you will need to get a CRRC rated roof to comply with the stringent CA Title 24 requirements that apply to both steep or sloped and flat roofs.
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