How To Choose The Right Roofing System For Your Home

So its time to replace your old existing roof.

Choosing the right roofing material is an important step in the decision making process. For most of us, our roof is an afterthought and we only begin to realize just how important it is once it nears the end of its life expectancy and needs to be replaced or repaired. Choosing the best type of roofing materials is not as simple as going to the hardware store, picking a color and pushing the go button. It’s also one of the biggest investments a homeowner can make.

There are a large variety of things to take into account when choosing the right roofing material,

from cost,  installation, life expectancy and maintenance to your individual needs and the architectural design of your roof. And, when you throw in all of the colors and textures and styles and materials available to you right now, the decision can quickly become pretty overwhelming. There is a large selection of roofing systems more than ever and choosing the right type for your roof is as important as what roofing company you will end contracting to install it. Educating yourself before your roof has a problem and knowing all of your options will help in making the best decision that is both practical and adds appeal your home.
Is that wood shake roof you have your eye on the right choice for your neighborhood? What about a metal roof? Will noise or insulation be an issue? What type of roof can withstand a hurricane or protect from fire? Which roofing material is the best return on investment? Read on to learn a little about the factors you should study and the options available to you.

Set a budget!

The roof is as important aesthetically as it is functionally, but it’s essential when choosing roofing materials to keep in mind how much it will cost and to avoid spending more on the roof than you’re financially comfortable with. A new roof can also increase the resale value of your home, but spending too much on an upgraded roof is not likely to increase the value of your home beyond what your neighborhood can bear. You’ll also have to anticipate how long you want to stay in your current home, which can be a factor in deciding how much you invest in the roofing project. If you don’t plan to stay more than five years, it may not make sense to invest a large sum on the roof. While you’ll have to fix or replace a leaking roof, choosing good, but not excessively expensive, materials will do the job of keeping your home dry. With that said, when comparing material costs, many homeowners will find that some of the more pricey products are actually less expensive than their cheaper counterparts long-term when considering life cycle costs.

Know your roof…

Before choosing a roofing material, you’ll need to know how much weight your roof can support. Tile and clay roofs weigh the most, followed by architectural shingles. Metal and asphalt shingle roofs may weigh the least. If you don’t know how much weight your roof can safely support, it’s a good idea to ask a professional

Know the climate:

Your roof takes a beating and the material that you choose should stand up for years to the worst that Mother Nature dishes out. Homes in hot climates fair best with concrete tile roofs or metal. Both of these materials are durable and architecturally attractive. A metal roof can be coated with materials that reflect the heat from the sun, keeping your attic cooler, which saves air conditioning costs. Metal roofs are wind-resistant and can withstand thunderstorms, heavy rain and even hailstorms. The color selection is broad and the finishes aren’t prone to fading in strong sunlight. Tile roofs are a classic in some parts of the Southeast, Southwest and Western states. If you don’t have any need to climb on your roof to service heating and cooling equipment, tile is a very good solution as it can last as many as 50 years and seldom needs any maintenance. Tile roofs can break or crack, however, if you need roof access for anything, it’s best to install a tile that lays flat on the roof rather than using the barrel shaped products. Tile comes in neutral colors, both solid and variegated.

In climates where snow loads can be high, choosing roofing products that have higher water resistance lowers the problems associated with moisture accumulation. Metal roofs in mountainous regions are a good choice because the snow can simply slide off the roof when snow builds. Wooden shake roofs are a poor choice in wet climates because the wood can rot unless it’s continually treated with waterproofing materials. Shake roofs are also not a good choice for mountainous regions where the risk of forest fires can be high. Concrete tiles are available that closely resemble shake shingles and may be the solution if that style would complement your home. Unless wind is a major factor, composition or architectural shingles are a durable choice for almost any climate. Warranties run from 15 to 20 years, on average, although higher quality architectural shingles last far longer. Walking on the roof won’t damage these kinds of roofing materials and should wind tear away any shingles, they can be matched and replaced without incurring a huge expense.


Be very conscious of the fact that what you decide in terms of materials can add style and curb appeal to your home, or leave you questioning how you could make such a big mistake. When you launch your search for roofing material, take a little time to look around at the neighborhood where you live and think about the styles that appeal to you and those that turn you off. Contrast and compare traditional materials with modern, study how the architecture of the home you’re roofing can determine the styles you should be seriously considering and talk to your neighbors about what they like or dislike about the roofs they own. It’s also important to check with your local building department for regulations and/or your home owners association for restrictions while searching for roofing materials. This may help whittle your decision down to a more manageable size and give you some guidelines to go by.

Saving Energy

As the sun heats your roof during the day the air in your attic is heated it rises and escapes through vents at the top of your roof while fresh air is drawn in through vents in the eaves

  • Properly ventilated roofs allow the roof to dry out faster
  • dry components last longer
  • entire roof lasts longer
  • reduces energy consumption by as much as 22%

Properly installed eave and ridge vents create a continuous pathway for heated air to exhaust through vents at the top of your roof while cool air is drawn in through the eave vents

With the cost of oil and natural gas and that big dollar amount on your electric bill every month, energy-efficient (or cool) roofing materials can help you cut costs for your pocketbook and do something beneficial for the environment. If energy efficiency is something you’re serious about, look for materials with the Energy Star logo or talk to your contractor about the newest products on the market. Depending on where you live and the style of your home, there are a variety of different eco friendly options to choose from including metal, recycled shingles, slate and foam sprayed roofs just to name a few. Green remodeling is known for high standards and quality craftsmanship and a green, energy-efficient roof is a great investment for many homeowners across the country.

Roofing Materials:

Asphalt Composition Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material used in the country today and they are also generally the least expensive. Standard asphalt shingles can last from 15-20 years and work for a variety of roof and architectural styles.

Asphalt architectural shingle:

An upgrade to standard composition shingles, architectural shingles are also known as laminated or dimensional shingles and they are made of two layers bonded together with an asphalt sealant and designed to last anywhere from 30-50 years. Architectural shingles are more durable than their cousin above and they also offer greater fire protection and resistance to wind.

Clay tile roofing:

Clay tile is considered a lifetime roof; in fact, it will often outlive the decking it’s built on (100 yrs. or more). Clay tile is more expensive than some of the other roofing materials available but its beauty and natural appearance often outweigh the cost for homeowners looking for an attractive roofing material to enhance their property.

Concrete Tile:

Concrete is an excellent choice for a long lifespan (30-40 years), low maintenance and durability. Normally a Class A Fire-Rated roofing system, concrete tile is durable enough to walk on, energy-efficient and a natural insulation to noise.

Metal roofs:

Fully recyclable, metal roofing materials come in steel, aluminum copper and alloy strips with steel holding the most popular spot with consumers. Fire-resistant, nearly maintenance-free and durable (50-75 years), metal generally lasts longer than many other materials on the market and can resemble shakes, clay tiles, shingles or even Victorian tiles.

Slate Roofs:

>More expensive than most other materials, slate is durable, has an incredibly long life-span depending on the quality of materials chosen (60 to 200 years) and enhances any structure.

Synthetic Slate:

(Rubber Composite) Lighter and less expensive than natural stone, synthetic slate is an option for consumers who love and covet the look of slate but for one reason or another cannot use the real thing. It’s also a look you can feel good about as composition (synthetic) slate is recycled and made from post-industrial synthetics.

Wood Shake:

This type of roofing material offers a high resistance to rot and if properly maintained and cared for, can last from 30 to 50 years or more. Wood shingles or shakes have a natural appearance and blend in with the environment which makes them a first-class choice for numerous architectural styles and locales.

So its time to replace your old existing roof.

Whether you’re purchasing a new roof or replacing an existing one, Far West Roofing, Inc. can walk you through the pros and cons of the materials and styles available to you and help you make a decision on the best fit for your home, your life and your pocketbook. Give us a call today at (801) 253-7799