Considering how important your roof is to the structural integrity of your home, it is a good idea to get up there and check on it on a regular basis. A good roof should keep out water and drafts, keep warmth in, stay on in a bad storm, and ideally, look good.
Even minor leaks can cause major damage if they go unnoticed. If a leak develops, it should be immediately patched, and plans made for a completely new roof. After all, where there's one worn out spot, chances are there'll soon be another. If your roof is nearing the end of its warranty, you might consider replacing it before a leak develops. This way you avoid any risk of damage to the frame, insulation, or any interior parts of your roof.
With so many roofing options, choosing the right one for your home can be difficult. Here are a few options available, and an explanation of their pros and cons.
Asphalt shingle is a readily available and relatively inexpensive roofing option, and consequently the most popular. There are two types of asphalt shingles, one made of glass fiber coated in asphalt, and the asphalt saturated, felted paper variety, also known as organic shingles. The organic variety tend to be heavier due to a higher asphalt content, making them useful in areas of strong winds. Both varieties have a top coating of ceramic granules which not only give them an attractive finish, but protects the asphalt from UV rays. Asphalt shingles are estimated to last about 15-20 years. The glass fiber variety tends to be cheaper. As for which is better, that really depends on your needs.
Ceramic tiles, those made of fired clay. Before asphalt shingles became widely available, ceramic tiles were very popular for sloped roofs, especially in Europe. One major advantage is they are fire-proof. Another is that the water collected off a ceramic roof is drinkable-ceramic does not leach petroleum toxins into the water like asphalt shingles do. They are also heavy, which can be a pro or con, depending on the structure of your home and the weather in your area. Heavy roofing material requires a strong frame and especially strong cross-beams, but it is more likely to stay in place during strong winds.
If they are high quality, ceramic tiles can last 50 to 70 years, so although they are more expensive than asphalt, they are often worth the investment. However, poorly made tiles with inconsistent enamel finishes can deteriorate far sooner, so if you are going to invest in ceramic tile, invest in the best.
Asphalt and ceramic shingle are just a couple of options for a new roof. More will be discussed in a follow-up article.