Choosing Roofing Shingles in Texas
Many Texas homeowners would like to choose a roof that’s not too expensive, requires no maintenance and lasts a lifetime. What they are finding is most roofing shingles are replaced, or at least repaired, every ten to twelve years in southeast Texas due to the intense heat and lengthy sun-drenched summers.
By carefully choosing re-roofing material, you can reduce the cost of replacing your roof as well as increase the life of your Houston and Austin TX roof. What you will find is that in the long run, you’ll use less building material, fill up less space in the landfill with old discarded materials and have a great roof that will last for years or even a lifetime with some of the available options.
Lighter colored surface or a material selections won’t absorb heat from the sun light the darker colors so this alone will significantly reduce the cooling needs of the home or building. When your attic stays cooler, your cooling bills are reduced. We will post more on “Cool Roofing” shingles in a future blog.
Popular Roofing Materials
Below is a quick overview of some of the most popular types of roofing. Remember that cost alone does not determine quality of the roofing shingle and not all of these products will meet the specific needs of your home or building. By carefully selecting the material that is best suited for your location, a style you like, ensuring it is installed properly by a professional roofing company and by performing occasional modest maintenance, your roof can function properly for 20 to 50 years or even longer!
Composition Roofing Shingles
Asphalt and composition roof shingles are the most common choice for a clean look at an affordable price. Some of the higher quality versions which are made from asphalt or fiberglass shingles offer a more durable option, we’ll discuss this more in depth later.
Bob Vila reveals that Composite Shingles come in a large variety of types, brands and colors. The options are versatile, adapt easily to different applications, are relatively easy to install and in some applications can even be nailed in place over an existing roof. This type of shingle is low-maintenance and can be walked across without damaging the material. Most brands also offer Class A fire protection and can even be recycled.
The negative side of composition shingles is that they don’t have the lifespan of other roofing materials like tile or metal, they don’t offer the dimensional look of tile or wood shakes, and there is the possibility of them blowing off in high winds. At Texas Home Exteriors, we use GAF Roofing Shingles with the GAF roofing warranty.
Wood Shake Shingles
Wikipedia – “wood shingles are thin, tapered pieces of wood primarily used to cover roofs and walls of buildings to protect them from the weather”. Wood shake shingles offer a natural look with a lot of character. Because of variations like color, width, thickness or cut of the wood, no two shake roofs will ever be the same. Wood offers some energy benefits too as it helps in insulation of the attic as it allows the house to breathe by allowing the air to circulate through the small openings under the felt rows on which wooden shingles are laid.
The drawback to a wood shake roof is that it demands proper maintenance and repair or it will not last as long as other roofing products. Keep in mind that mold, rot, and insects can be a problem with this type of roofing as well. The life cycle cost of a shake roof may be high, and old shakes cannot be recycled.
Another drawback is that installing wood shakes is more complicated and costly than roofing with composite shingles and the quality of finished roof depends on the experience of the contractor as well as the caliber of shakes used. The Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy writes in their post about wood shake roofing that the best shakes come from heartwood of large old cedar trees which can be difficult to find anymore thus adding to the cost of this option. Note that some contractors maintain that shakes made from the outer wood of smaller cedars which are the usual source today are less uniform and more subject to twisting and warping causing them not to last as long.
Roofing tile is a good choice for homes with Southwestern, Italian, Spanish Mission, Terracotta designs or even for homes with a modern, clean look.
Tile lasts a long time with an expected lifespan greater than the material on which the roofing rests. Tile will not rot or burn and it cannot be harmed by insects. It requires little maintenance and comes in a variety of colors, types, styles and brands.
The biggest drawback to tile by far is its weight. Depending on the material used to make it, tile can be very heavy, so heavy that extra roof support may be required. Originally made from clay, new tiles are being made from lighter materials and lightweight metal tiles can be installed over existing roofs. However, keep in mind that with some new materials color is added only on the surface of the tile which can fade over time.
Also be aware that some types of tile are fragile, so walking on them can and will often break them thus making it more difficult to accomplish maintenance like painting or cleaning rain gutters and fireplaces. Initial installation can be complicated and tile can cost more than other roofing materials but it does have a very nice look.
Slate Roofing Shingles like Davinci are actual shingle-like slivers of rock commonly can be seen on more upscale homes. Although slate is by far a more expensive choice, it offers a very natural look and can be laid out in a variety of patterns.
The benefits of slate are identical to those of tile with a very long lifespan, good fire protection, low maintenance and an invulnerability to rot and insects. This type of roofing comes in a good selection of sizes and colors, although colors are limited to those found in nature.
Like tile, slate can be very heavy and sometimes will require expensive extra support. It is also very breakable, enough that walking on it is difficult for a non-professional and complicates tasks such as rooftop maintenance, gutter cleaning and painting but again is a very lovely looking option.
Concrete Roofing Tiles
Concrete is a roofing material now commonly used. Concrete Tile Roof Shingles, simulated wood shakes, lighter-weight tiles and concrete panels are being manufactured from a variety of fiber-reinforced cement products. Some are coated with plastics, enamels or thin metals with some even containing recycled materials. Although the products themselves are not yet recyclable, they are a good choice for durability and resource efficiency.
The advantages of concrete roofing vary from product to product, but generally they all have a long lifespan, require low maintenance, offer good fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects.
Concrete mixed with cellulose can mimic the appearance of wood shakes while improving on the durability and fire protection that real wood affords. It can approximate the look of clay tile or slate while mitigating the structural problems caused by the weight of the real material.
Concrete is more expensive than some roofing materials and early types of concrete roofing experienced problems with the material curling, breaking and changing color. Technology has improved, however and these problems have mostly been overcome. Style and color choices are expanding and by mixing the cement with additives, manufacturers are producing lighter and lighter products.
Metal Roofing is increasing in popularity and once again back in style. In the late 1700s, zinc, copper and lead were the most popular materials used for roofing and the application of choice for such famous historic buildings as the Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello both with metal roofs.
Standing-Seam Steel Roofing is the most popular residential metal roofing on the market today (the term standing-seam describes the upturned edge of one metal panel that connects it to adjacent sections, creating distinctive vertical lines and a trendy historical look).
Stone-Coated Metal Roofing Shingles are pressure formed with an aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel with an acrylic bonded stone chip finish. The stone coating resists fading and UV penetration and is a beautiful roofing choice. We have used both Decra and Metro Stone Coated Metal Roofing on roofs in the Houston and Austin Texas metro areas.
Metal roofs can also be made to resemble wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles and Victorian metal tiles. Aluminum or coated steel is formed into individual shingles, tiles or into modular panels four feet long that mimic a row of shingles or tiles and look very nice.
Metal roofs are durable, fire-retardant and almost maintenance-free. They are also energy-efficient reflecting heat and blocking its transfer into the attic. Research by the Florida Solar Energy Center in 1985 showed that metal adsorbed 34 percent less heat than asphalt shingles (believe it or not) and homeowners switching to metal roofing reported saving up to 20 percent on their energy bills. Be sure not to make common metal roofing mistakes by choosing a qualified roofing contractor for your metal roof installation.
Although a lengthy post, there is certainly a lot more detail yet that could be shared about roofing choices, but I hope you have a better understanding of the choices as it is my intention to provide information to help homeowners and those interested in roofing and shingle trends and available roofing options across the U.S.
If your home resides in the Texas coastal wind zone, click on the link for more in depth roofing installation requirements and stay tuned soon for a post on Cool Roofing Shingles and FREE Solar Ventilation!
“For A Home That’s Superior, Call Texas Home Exteriors!” Call or Text 281.919.6999 Today for FREE Roofing Estimate with NO Pressure and Texas EZ Pay 1% Financing. Thank you for reading our choosing roofing shingles for your home blog post.
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