Asphalt shingles are the most common choice for roofing materials, but they are not your only option. If the time has come to reroof your house, it is worth the time to take a look at your other options. While more expensive, many alternative roofing choices last longer, look more attractive and may even raise the value of your home.
Slate tiles are one of the oldest methods of roofing a building that is still an option for you. Slate is one of the longest lasting materials, with some types of tile lasting over a century. The color and longevity depends primarily on where the slate was mined, so you may have to sacrifice a few years of life if you want a specific color. However, with even the shortest lifespans outstripping asphalt shingles by decades, you can still be sure that your investment is a good one.
In addition to cost, you might be blocked from going this route because of the weight of the tiles. Modern homes are built to handle the weight of two, sometimes three, layers of asphalt shingles. Slate tiles are far heavier and over the course of several decades the extra weight can do serious damage to your home's infrastructure. Before you put any real effort into putting a slate roof on your home, discuss the possibility with a contractor. They will do a walk-through and determine whether or not you would need to add additional roof supports to make this work. Unfortunately, the cost of these extra supports usually overrides the benefits of slate tile, so only keep on this path if it is something that you really want to do.
Composite is being used in more and more building materials, and roofing is no exception. While early vinyl products were prone to discoloration and cracking when exposed to years of sunlight, this issue has been resolved through the use of additives to the mix. Now, it is an inexpensive building material that lasts a long time, requires little maintenance, and can mimic the look of pretty much any other material.
If you live in an area that regularly gets bad weather, you might want to give this material some serious consideration. Not only are these tiles inexpensive to replace if you lose a few in a storm, they are also more resistant to weather damage than most other materials. While your neighbors are busy trying to get their roofs fixed before another storm comes along and water leaks into their homes, you will be simply replacing a couple tiles and curling up in front of your fireplace.
If you are looking to give back to the environment, then you should look into purchasing tiles made from recycled materials. The most common choice is made from recycled tires, but other materials are available too. While there is still some environmental cost to these materials, it is less than the cut trees for wood shake, the tar for asphalt shingles, or the non-renewable resource that is slate stone.
Because there is so much variance in the type and quality of recycled roofing tiles, it is vitally important to research the company you are planning on working with. Many are new, but there are plenty of options that have been around for a decade or more. This means that their products have been on rooftops long enough to prove that they will last at least as long as their more traditional counterparts.
Sometimes, it is best just to stick with the basics. However, you don't really know if this will be the case unless you check out all your available options. In many cases, an alternative residential roofing material will bring great benefits to your home that far outweigh the cost of the materials.