When putting on a new roof, you have a few decisions to make. First, you must choose a style and color that best suit your home's architectural style.
Also, you must consider cost, durability, fire resistance, ease of maintenance and manufacturer's warranty.
Take a look at some of the different types of roofing: asphalt shingles are used on more than 80 percent of American homes. There are two main types: organic base and fiberglass base. The organic kinds have a base of felt made from wood and paper. They cost about $40 to $50 per square (a square is 100 square foot of roofing) for standard-grade shingles and $50 to $80 per square for premium grade. They are attractive, available, durable and easy to install.
Fiberglass base shingles are as economical and as easy to use as organic base but they can last five to 10 years longer because they don't absorb water, so they resist warping and cracking better.
Wood roofing, although time consuming to install, is naturally beautiful and can give your home a rugged outdoor look. There are two types: shingles and shakes. Shingles are usually sawed and have a smooth, finished appearance. Shakes are usually split first and then sawed to a taper on their backs. Because they are split, the face has a rough texture. Wood roofing costs about $60 to $100 per square. Flammability is a big worry. Fire retardants can help reduce, but do not eliminate, this danger.
Untreated wooden shingles are prohibited in certain areas, so check your local building codes.
Tile roofing made from clay and concrete is used on many Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes. It's relatively inexpensive at about $50 to $90 per square, but it's heavy. Your roof framing must be strong enough to support its weight, and shipping costs from a distant manufacturer can make it prohibitively expensive.
Slate is fireproof, attractive and extremely long lasting but, at $275 to $370 per square, expensive. It also requires strong framing.
Relatively flat roofs that slope less than 2 inches of rise per 12 inches of run can have drainage problems. Aluminum or steel panels at $50 to $200 per square, asphalt roll roofing ($25 to $35), and tar and gravel ($35 to $45) produce the extra waterproofing needed.
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