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Roofing Shingles - Making The Right Choice For Your Home

Jun 12, 2008
If it's time to get a new roof, perhaps the biggest decision you make will be what type of roofing shingles you use. Don't think you are simply limited to what you already use, there are plenty of choices out there to give you the look and durability you want. Of course you also want to stay within your budget, and if you plan on installing it yourself, you need something relatively easy to work with as well. True there are other options besides shingles, but this clearly remains the most popular choice. So what kind should you get?

There are primarily three types of shingles to choose from. And each of them has pluses and minuses. All have different costs, lifespans and looks. The good news is that all are durable, and will probably last as long as you live in your home.

The most popular choice for homeowners remains asphalt shingles, and it's easy to see why. Consider that these are the least expensive ($15 to $25 per square), they are fire resistant, and come in many different styles and colors, and you'll quickly understand why if you drive down any neighborhood street, you'll find the majority of the homes are roofed in asphalt. As an added bonus, because they are lightweight and flexible, asphalt shingles are also the easiest to install. And durability is not a problem either, as these will last up to 30 years with proper care.

So what are the drawbacks? Well they can be damaged by high winds. So if you live in an area where hurricanes or tornadoes are common, this could be a problem. And unless specially treated, asphalt shingles can also be vulnerable to mold. And although they will last up to 30 years, that's not very long compared to other types of shingles.

Those are just a few of the reasons slate shingles are becoming more popular. Slate and stone are impossible to beat when it comes to durability. Chances are you'll never need another roof as these will last a century or more. Slate will also give your home a more natural look, and of course there is a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from. Use slate, and you can have a home that looks different from every other house in your neighborhood.

But slate also has some disadvantages. It is extremely heavy, which means not all homes can accommodate it. In many cases the rafters need to be reinforced just to prevent the roof from caving in. And putting on a slate roof is not a job for the do it yourselfer. It breaks easily and will need to be installed by a professional. And that's not to mention the cost. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $850 per 100 square feet.

Your third shingle option is wood or shake. These are made from different types of treated wood. Cedar is the most popular choice for wood shakes, but you can also find them in spruce and pine. Installation is relative easy and shake roofs look great. They will also last about 50 years if treated properly.

But shake roofs are not fireproof, and in addition to the inherant danger, it can also quickly inflate your insurance costs. You should probably check with your insurance company before installing a shake roof because you may be shocked at the difference in price. The upfront cost is also greater than asphalt, although not as high as slate. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $250 per 100 square feet. And be ready to do some maintenance or the wood can mold, splinter or rot.

Only you can decide what roofing shingles will be best for your home, so carefully measure the pluses and minuses of each of the options. Asphalt is always a popular choice because it looks good, it will last, and is relatively inexpensive. If money is not a problem, then slate may be just the roof you are looking for. But whatever you choose, we highly recommend using a professional to install it unless you really know what you're doing. Sure it may cost more up front, but think of the money you'll save by not having to call someone to repair and fix any problems that may pop up.
About the Author
To find out more about roofing material visit www.roofing-information.com, a well known website looking at not only shingles but different types materials that can be used such as metal roofing .
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