Roofing Buying Guide
Some home repairs, you can put off
indefinitely. A leaky roof is not one of them. Cracked, curled, or missing roof
shingles demand immediate attention. If you neglect them, they can lead to
severe water damage that can seriously drain your savings account.
At Consumer Reports, we test asphalt
shingles because that’s what most folks have on their homes. Our test results
show that not only does performance vary widely among brands, but also among
different product lines from a single manufacturer.
Water Will Find a Way In
Water marks on a ceiling, or worse,
dripping water, may have you worried that your whole roof is in tatters. But
just because there’s a leak doesn’t mean your roof will require a massive
amount of repairs. Sometimes stopping it is as simple as filling a crack with
caulk, replacing a few shingles, or installing some flashing—a membrane or
layer of metal that provides a mechanical barrier to redirect water at corners,
crevices, gaps, and other spots vulnerable to leaking.
Fallen tree limbs, hail, and even wind can
loosen or remove shingles. Damaged flashing is another common culprit. Even
rubberized boots around plumbing pipes, or with improperly installed satellite
dishes or solar panels can cause isolated leaks. To determine what kind of leak
you’ve got on your hands, first try to trace it to its origin.
Looking for Leaks
It’s easiest to find a leak when it’s
raining outside. Remember that water often accumulates at a spot that’s
different from where it’s entering—it generally runs down the length of a
rafter or stud and only drips once it reaches a low point.
Essential Tips On Choosing The Right
Roofing Installation Contractors
Your roof is the first and probably most
important defense against the elements, like hail storms. Roofing installation
projects also tend to be quite complicated and costly, choosing the right
contractor can help ease your mind while ensuring that every cent counts.
Getting the right roof installed by the
right roofing installation contractors will not only ensure that it holds up to
the elements for as long as possible, but also helps alleviate most of the
concerns homeowners have concerning the quality of work performed through the
provision of service guarantees, and manufacturer warranties.
When it comes to roofing installation, the
main rule of thumb is to always go with an experienced service provider. Hiring
a roofing company that has overseen the completion of numerous projects,
successfully, comes with a variety of advantages.
Before hiring a roofing contractor, be sure
to find out as much as you can about their reputation. Contact the roofer and
ask them to provide you with examples of their most recent work. This will give
you an idea of the type of projects they excel in.
A written agreement gives homeowners, and
contractor’s an official referral point in case of any disagreements on
essential project details crop up during or at the end of the project. These
contracts usually document important project details including pricing, quality
of materials to be used and project duration among others.
Roofing Calculator – Estimate your Roofing
What to Expect: In this guide we’ll cover
the following roofing options: asphalt shingles, wood shingles and shakes,
metal roofing, concrete, clay, and fiber-cement tiles, natural and faux slate,
and the new Tesla solar tiles that have so far proven to be more of vaporware
than a real product.
Types of Roofing Materials
These most common options cover more than
95 percent of residential roofs in the United States, so unless you’ve got
something unusual in mind like solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those –
or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed
More than 75 percent of all single-family
homes in the US are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly
shrinking thanks to the more energy-efficient and durable metal roofing.
There are two types of asphalt shingles:
Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass
mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide color
and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight
and resist tearing.
Organic asphalt shingles begin with paper,
often recycled, that is saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The
shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they
generally offer better stability in high winds. Although you can still see them
on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued
over the course of last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic
shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof and more
prone to excess moisture absorption.
Wood shingles and shakes
Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to
any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes
Roof Buying Guide: Choosing the Right
Expert advice about how to sort through the
various types of roofing to choose the best one for your home.
If you’re thinking about buying a new roof,
be prepared to pick from possibilities that range from the familiar to
materials you never knew existed. In this article, we’ll help you become more
acquainted with your options and the features you should consider when
comparing one to another. Then we’ll point you to more detailed information
about each roofing material.
Some roofing materials, such as slate, wood
shakes, and copper, have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. But a
considerable array of other roofing materials have joined them, from the
perennial favorite, asphalt-fiberglass, to newer products made from fiber
cement, concrete, and plastic composites. Most of these have been developed
over the past couple of decades with an eye toward greater durability, easier
installation, lower cost, sustainability, and other features homeowners want
What to Consider
It’s easy to fall into the pattern of just
replacing your existing material with a newer version of the same thing. Though
this often makes sense because you know that the existing material worked okay
until recently, you may be missing an opportunity to upgrade the look and
functionality of your home’s roof
Because your home’s roof is the primary
barrier between you and Mother Nature, it’s critical to choose a material that
will shelter your home reliably. It must shed rain and snow, hold up in wind,
and endure the sun for many years. Depending upon your climate and the shape
and orientation of your home’s roof, some materials will do this job better
The slope of your roof’s surface is a
consideration that may eliminate some some roofing possibilities, especially if
the slope is low. A roof’s slope is the number of inches it rises for every 12
inches of horizontal “run.” For example, a roof with a “4-in-12 slope” rises 4
inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run.
HOW TO CHOOSE A ROOF FOR YOUR HOME
From natural materials like slate and wood
to manmade products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers, there
are more types and styles of roofing to choose from today than ever before.
Pros and Cons
Some types of roofing may be better suited
for your house than others. Factors such as the slope of the roof and strength
of the framing could limit your choices.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular type
of roofing for homes, comprising over 80% of residential roofing market.
Materials: Made of either an organic paper
fiber mat (better for cold weather and wind resistance) or fiberglass (more
fire and moisture resistant) impregnated with asphalt and coated with mineral
Appearance: Available in traditional 3-tab
shingles or thicker laminated “architectural” shingles.
Eco-Friendly: Petroleum-based product
that’s not eco-friendly. Can be recycled, though often taken to landfills.
Durability: Not very durable.
Algae-resistant shingles are available in humid climates to prevent staining.
Weight: Moderate in weight.
Slope: Can be used on low to steeper-sloped
Fire & Wind: Good fire resistance, fair
Cost: Inexpensive to moderate.
metal roofing lasts longer and is more wind
Materials: May be composed of steel,
aluminum, copper, or zinc alloy. Steel roofs come with either a zinc coating or
painted finish. Copper roofs are installed unfinished and acquire a protective
green patina with age.
Appearance: Available in sheets or in
shingles that resemble other materials. Can be installed with the fasteners
hidden (standing seam) or exposed.
Eco-Friendly: May be made from recycled
materials and can be recycled when replaced. Absorb a third less heat than
Durability: Fairly to very durable,
depending on the material.
Slope: Available for low or steep sloped
Fire & Wind: Good resistance to both
fire and wind.
Cost: Moderate (steel) to expensive