For Pitched Roofs
Also known as composition shingles or composite shingles, asphalt shingles are the most common material used for a pitched roof. They are made from a mixture of asphalt tar, fiberglass, and a granular surface coating. They are easy to install, last a long time, and look good. Shingles are the least expensive option for a new pitched roof, but can get warranties up to 50 years!
Price: $ Average Lifespan: 30-50 years
Constructed from a high-strength colored concrete and fiberglass composite, these tiles have excellent durability and a stylish look. However, they are more difficult to install and tear-off, along with being more expensive than asphalt shingles and a lot heavier. It is not recommended to put a tile roof on a house that was not specifically built for that style of roof (there are lightweight tiles that can be used for this purpose though). Tiles can be curved, flat, Spanish-style, and just about everything in between.
Price: $$ Average Lifespan: 40-70 years
Picture Frame Roof Installation
Also known as a “comp out” or “comp in-lay,” picture framing is a specialty roofing technique used for tile roofs that are too fragile for solar panels to be installed on. This might be due to the materials used for the tiles (clay and other materials can be quite brittle), or because of the age of the tile roof. When this is the case, the tiles must be removed so a layer of asphalt shingles can be installed on the roof plane where the panels will go. The panels get installed on the shingles, and then the leftover tiles get reinstalled back around the panel array so it looks like it is still a tile roof. The end product maintains the aesthetics of the original roof, while making sure the panels are secured on a stable and waterproof substrate.
Price: $$ Average Lifespan: 30-50 years
Lift Tiles and Replace Underlayment
Underlayment is the waterproof membrane that is the last line of defense to prevent moisture from getting to the roof deck. Usually it lasts as long as the roof material itself, but on tile roofs it is common for the underlayment to deteriorate while the tiles themselves are still in good condition. Instead of replacing all of those expensive tiles, a roofer can just lift them up and replace the underlayment barrier underneath, and then just reinstall the old tiles back the way they were. This significantly increases the lifespan of a tile roof and can potentially allow the roof to perform well for another 30-40 years depending on the condition of the tiles.
Price: $ Average Lifespan: 30-40 years
Standing Seam Metal
Standing seam is a style of metal roofing that is extremely durable. The fasteners that attach the material to the roof are hidden in the seams of the material, so no amount of water or weathering can get to them and cause damage or rusting (which can be the case with other metal roofing panels). The metal used is most often a painted galvanized steel, which can come in many colors. This type of roof can also be constructed from aluminum, zinc, copper, and other metal alloys. It is an extremely durable and weatherproof option that will protect your home from the elements for decades.
Price: $$$ Average Lifespan: 50-80 years
For Flat Roofs
Also known as “torch-down” or “rolled comp”, modified bitumen is a common material used for flat roofs. It consists of a waterproof base sheet and a protective cap sheet. The cap sheet is heated with a torch as it is being applied to the base sheet, and the asphalt adhesive bonds the two layers together (hence the name ‘torch-down’). A modified bitumen roof is a cost effective solution for flat roofs and comes in many different colors for you to choose from.
Price: $ Average Lifespan: 10-25 years
Applied as a liquid coating that cures over a few days, leaving a durable, rubberized rooftop, roof coatings can be installed directly on top of many other flat roof materials, including torch-down and tar-and-gravel (with proper surface preparation). The white color reflects sunlight, which not only helps to protect the material from degradation but also keeps the roof cooler on warm, sunny days. The three main types of roof coatings are silicone, elastomeric rubber, and acrylic.
Price: $$ Average Lifespan: 15-25 years
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is a premium flat roof product that offers superior durability and performance. A TPO roofing system is constructed of a heavy-duty plastic membrane with a reinforcing scrim, and synthetic underlayment. The sheets of plastic are mechanically fastened to the roof and then hot-air welded together at the seams. TPO is one of the more expensive flat roof products on the market, but the increase in lifespan makes it the best option for a roof that you can rely on for many years.
Price: $$$ Average Lifespan: 20-30 years