With this weather getting warmer and staying warm (fingers crossed) I am sure a lot of you are realizing or debating whether to put a new roof on your home. Could be from a recent hail storm that caused some damage, your roof is leaking due to it being old or just because you want a new roof. Whatever it may be, understanding roof materials is extremely important as there are so many options, styles and colors out there. Okay, color is pretty easy to decide on but roof materials can be pretty confusing if you don't understand it. Again, my suggestion will always be if you decide to do something, you should always ask your contractor that you are working with. But if you want to do some research, it won't hurt to go into it with a little bit of knowledge at least.
The most common material and type of roofing is asphalt shingles. These shingles are used for longevity. Although there are other roofing materials that will last longer than an asphalt shingle, but it will last a good 20 to 25 years. The major downfall to this material is that it doesn't offer the insulation that other materials offer. It is one of the more inexpensive ones costing $70 to $120 a square, and if you are looking for functionality and lifespan, than this may be the right kind.
Clay or concrete tiles are another long-lasting material. They are also energy efficient which is also a plus! Some cons to this material is that they can be expensive, pretty heavy and could use additional frame work due to the weight. This type of roof can typically last 40 to 50 years. But be careful, if you end of getting some damage to your clay or concrete tiles, be prepared to spend $300 to $500 a square.
Another common material is wood shingles and shake. These have a pretty similar life span to asphalt lasting 25 to 30 years. A major pro to this material is that it is natural and usually made from Cedar, Redwood or Southern Pine. Wood shingles can be a fire code in some areas and could be a concern in wet climates. They could mold, split or possibly rot which means replacing any of those damages shingles could cost around $100 to $150 a square.
These are some of the commonly used materials. I have noticed the most used material is an asphalt shingle. Yes, they don't last as long as the others but, you are looking at a little more of a sturdy and inexpensive material. But again, don't be afraid to ask some questions to your contractor, they will help you through the understanding of these materials and what would be your best option!