Asphalt Composition Shingles
Composition shingles are used on the majority of homes in the United States and is the most economical roofing solution. These shingles are made of a base (organic or fiberglass) that is saturated with asphalt and coated with minerals on one side to resist weathering. The fiberglass shingles are more flexible and stronger than organic shingles.
Shingles come in a wide variety of colors. Composition roofs can be overlaid with a new roof if the initial roof is a single layer and in good condition. The life expectancy of composition shingles depends on the rating (e.g., quality) and ranges from 20 to 50 years. Most manufacturers will cover a composition roof under warranty, but only if it has been installed by a certified roofer as the most common problems and maintenance issues occur when the installation did not include adequate ventilation and/or flashing.
Metal roofs are very lightweight, weighing about one quarter as much as tile roofs and nearly half as much as asphalt shingles. Metal roofing is generally more expensive than asphalt roofing, but cheaper than tile or slate roofing. It has a long life and can even lower heating and cooling costs because it reflects heat from the sun. If properly installed a metal roof will usually last as long as the house with manufacturer warranties often lasting 50 years.
Slate roofs are beautiful, last for generations, shed ice and snow, and are very expensive. Because of its cost and weight, which requires a beefier roof structure to support, slate is not often used these days. There are slate lookalike roofing materials fabricated from recycled rubber and plastic. At only about one-third the weight and cost of slate, these shingles can be installed using standard tools and techniques.
From the street, the discerning eye might be able to tell the difference between engineered and the real McCoy, but most of us would be very house-proud with one of these roofs on our homes. Plus, these shingles are guaranteed to last for as long as 50 years.