When it comes to roofs, your experience with maintenance and repairs will depend on what type of roofing material you have. Some roofing materials require very little maintenance, while others require a lot and are more vulnerable to damage.
Tile, Cedar, and composition are three popular roofing options, each with unique qualities. Whether you’re choosing a material for your new roof or learning more about maintaining the roof you have, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of these common roofing materials.
Tile roofs are a classic, distinctive style of roofing popular in the South and Southwest. No wonder! Tile roofs resist damage from scorching heat and sunlight, making them a great choice for these areas. Roofing tiles can be made of clay, concrete, or a sand-cast material, but they all function in the same way.
- Unique curb appeal – Tile roofs create an attractive look for adobo and other Southwestern-style homes.
- Built to last – Generally, a tile roof will last for years and years. Some claim to last 50 years, but you can find homes with tiles that are older.
- Fireproof – Unlike untreated wood roofs, tile roofs are fireproof. They also naturally resist mildew, algae, and insects.
Pro Tip: Concrete tiles can be styled to mimic the look of cedar. This means you can enjoy a cedar roof appearance without the high maintenance!
- Heavyweight – Tiles are heavy. So heavy, in fact, that your roof will need enforcement to support the weight!
- High cost – It should be no surprise that heavy roofing materials — and roof reinforcements — come at a high cost financially.
- Fragile – Walking on a tile roof can cause cracks, breaks, and other damage. Any work that needs to be done on or around the roof should be performed by a skilled professional to avoid damage.
- Maintenance – While the tiles themselves require very little maintenance, the underlayment beneath them needs to be replaced every 8 to 20 years. This involves removing the tiles from the roof and repositioning them atop the new underlayment.
Cedar roofs are simply gorgeous. Cedar is a renewable resource that is locally sourced in the Pacific Northwest. Many homeowners are drawn to cedar roofing for its aesthetic appeal, but unfortunately, it can fall into disrepair without the proper maintenance.
- Exceptional beauty – It’s hard to beat the appearance of a cedar wood roof. Cedar has a natural beauty which ages well too.
- Durability – Cedar roofs are long-lasting, resistant to insects, and generally good with storms.
- Energy efficient – Cedar provides a natural insulation, which helps to keep home heating and cooling costs low.
- Eco-friendly – As mentioned, cedar is a renewable resource. It’s common for Cedar harvesters to replace every tree used with another.
- High cost – A cedar roof is a significant investment. Cedar shingles are more expensive to purchase and install compared to other roofing materials. The longevity of cedar, provided it’s properly maintained, can often provide a high return on investment.
- High maintenance – Cedar requires diligent maintenance. In addition to annual inspections and cleanings, cedar roofs need regular moss, mold, and mildew removal and prevention treatments.
- Can be flammable – Some building codes prohibit the use of cedar roofing materials due to their flammability. However, cedar shingles can be treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.
We see a lot of composition roofs in the Vancouver, Washington area. In fact, they are found on more than 75 percent of homes!
Composition roofs are built with shingles made from composite materials like asphalt. There are three main types of composite shingles:
- 3-Tab – The most basic, inexpensive, and least durable option. They get their name from the shingle having three tabs. Basically, 3-tab shingles are a low-cost alternative to more decorative and traditional materials.
- Presidential – A more luxurious type of shingle with the look of cedar but the performance of composition roofing. Many homeowners enjoy the look of a hand-split wood shake roof without sacrificing durability.
- Architectural – Also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, architectural shingles are high-quality, durable, and stylish. Made from a heavy fiberglass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules, they give the roof dimension and protection.
- Low upfront cost – Composition shingles are the most affordable roofing material in the short term (average lifespan is 12 to 17 years).
- Variety of styles – Choose from 3-tab, presidential, and architectural shingles with a range of colors and features.
- Relatively easy installation – Compared to other roofing materials, composition shingles are easy to install for any knowledgeable roofing contractor.
- Vulnerable to bad weather – Composition shingles can be dislodged during storms by strong winds. They can also crack or break from any strong impact such as hail stones or fallen tree branches.
- Vulnerable to heat – Asphalt shingles are not resistant to extreme heat, which may result in cracks and color loss. Also, extreme fluctuations in temperature can lead to expansion and contraction damages.
- Shorter lifespan – If you are planning on staying in your home for more than 20 years, a composition roof may not be the best investment.
- Not environmentally sustainable – Asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product. The manufacturing process is not environmentally friendly, and the shingles often end up in landfills.
Keep Your Roof In Top Shape No Matter The Material
No matter what material your roof is made from, it’s your responsibility to keep it well-maintained. Northwest Roof Maintenance can help!
We offer inspections, cleanings, coatings, moss removals, repairs, and more for homeowners in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington areas. Contact us for a free estimate and for all the answers to your roofing material questions.