Whether your home is a brand-new build or a 100-year-old Tudor, the roof is one of the most important structural elements. Your roof protects your home and everything inside. Damage to the roof can cause damage to the walls, siding, insulation, and foundation. Residential roofing is a major source of insulation keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you want to keep this vital structure doing its job, it must be installed correctly, taken care of regularly, and replaced when necessary.
Components of Residential Roofs
Drive through any neighborhood in America and you’ll see a variety of residential roofing. They appear to be a simple covering on top of wood planks, but the components of residential roofing are much more complex.
- Shingles – Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used residential roofing products in the market. There are also clay, tile, concrete, metal, and wood shingles available depending on your geographic area and personal preference.
- Underlayment – Underneath the shingles is a water-resistant layer known as the underlayment.
- Proper Attic Ventilation – Vents are required to provide adequate ventilation from the attic. Proper attic ventilation systems allow a continuous flow of outside air through the attic.
Residential Roof Design and Styles
The type or style that you have affects the aesthetic of your home and the value of the property. Typically, the design matches the style of the home, neighborhood, and area you live. Across the United States, there are dozens of designs and styles.
- Gable – A basic triangular-pitched home with standard lines you see in most neighborhoods. They are used nationwide in all climates.
- Hip – Hip roofs have slopes on four sides, rather than just two (like a gable style). This makes them ideal for snowy regions.
- Jerkinhead – Similar to a gable, with four sloped sides – but two sides are clipped, or shorter. This provides more attic space and better wind resistance.
- Mansard – This is a French-style roof with four double sloped sides that meet to form a low-pitched roof in the middle.
- Gambrel – Commonly known as a barn-style, a gambrel roof has a lower slope that is almost vertical and a gentler upper slope, giving the classic barn look.
- Saltbox– A saltbox roof is a colonial, or cape-style with a flat roof with a slight slope on one side while the other side appears more like a “lean-to” structure.
- Butterfly – This is a dramatic V-shaped roof that has two raised wings that meet in a valley.
- Bonnet – A bonnet is like a reverse Mansard. They have a double slope, but the upper slope has less of a pitch on a bonnet roof. They are more common in the southern region of the United States.
- Sawtooth – This is a more complicated design where multiple slopes are set at the same angle so that it holds the appearance of a serrated blade.
- Pyramid – Pyramid roofs are shaped like a pyramid, commonly used in hurricane or windstorm-prone areas, since they are extremely wind resistant.
- Dome – A dome roof is an inverted bowl shape that is both striking and memorable in residential design.
- Skillion – This is basically a sophisticated lean-to design with a single-angled sloped side.
- Curved – A very contemporary design, curved roofing systems feature an arch that can range from a low slope to a rounded peak
Common Types of Material Used for Residential Roofs
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much variety and innovation in materials, colors, styles, and patterns. Whether you’re shopping for a brand-new build or a replacement for your current residential roofing system, it’s important to decide what’s best for your home and your wallet.
Shingle and Panel Roofing Products
- Asphalt Shingles – This is the most common residential roofing material. Shingles are affordable, easy to install, and can be repaired without replacing the entire roof.
- Slate Shingles – Natural slate shingles are made from slivers of real rock and stone and are available in a wide range of patterns. Slate is impervious to moisture, insects, fire, and weather and can last for over 100 years.
- Metal – Metal roofing has recently spiked in popularity due to its durability, longevity, and eco-friendly styles that are nearly indistinguishable from other materials.
- Clay Tiles – Clay tiles are reinforced for strength and durability and have a natural thermal resistance which makes them a strong contender for eco-friendly building material.
- Concrete Tiles – Concrete tiles are manufactured with a special lightweight blend that maintains the strength of concrete but keeping them easy to work with. They can last for over 50 years and are very low-maintenance.
- Wood Shingles and Shakes – You can find wood shingles or shakes in cedar, redwood, cypress, and pressure-treated pine. They each add a naturally beautiful touch to any residential roofing system. Wood actually lasts longer than asphalt shingles, but they are high maintenance and can be a fire hazard.
Synthetic Roofing Products
- Rolled Roofing – This is typically used for low-slope or outbuildings like shops and sheds. It is a thin material that is a fast, convenient, and inexpensive way to cover a building where appearances aren’t important. It only lasts about 10 years, which is why it’s often not used on large-scale structures.
- Built-Up Roofing (BUR) – Built-up roofing, or BUR, uses a combination of bitumen and fabric to create layers of membrane referred to as plies. You can apply as many layers, or plies, as you need based on budget and preference. It is installed in self-adhering sheets and it is one of the oldest systems still in use today because it is both cost-effective and durable.
- Membrane Roofing – Membrane is similar to rolled roofing. There are several different types of membrane roofing including Neoprene, EPDM, PVC, etc. EPDM is the best membrane available, often referred to as “rubber roofing”
10 Signs Your Roof Needs Urgent Repair
Spotting these signs can save you a great deal of money by catching the problems early. Damaged residential roofing can lead to interior and structural damage in the home. Keeping it in good repair will extend its life and protect your home.
- Sagging – A sagging roof is usually a sign of age or a problem in the rafters. Either way, this is a critical symptom that should be remedied immediately.
- Missing or Loose Shingles – Missing or loose shingles are often the result of wind, rain, or hail. If you get them repaired before they compromise the integrity of the entire roof, it can be a relatively easy fix.
- Higher Energy Bills – Because your roof is your biggest source of installation, your HVAC system will work overtime if it isn’t sealed properly. If you notice a huge spike in energy use, it’s worth having your roof checked out.
- Shingle Granules in Gutters – Granules in the gutters are an easy way to spot residential roofing issues early. As shingles age, they’ll start to shed and it will be time to call a professional contractor.
- Curled or Cracking Shingles – When shingles near the end of their lifespan, they often begin to crack or curl. A few deformed shingles can be replaced, many problems may indicate a full roof replacement.
- Internal Water Damage – Any water damage including mold or mildew on the internal walls in your home often begins at the roof. If you spot internal water damage, it’s time for an inspection.
- Daylight Shining Through the Roof – Your roof should provide a tight seal on your home. If you can see daylight shining through, there is definitely a problem that should be looked at.
- Discoloration – Dark stains on the roof surface are likely a sign of aging shingles that should be replaced. Dark patches may also signal moss or algae which can contribute significantly to damage if they aren’t cleaned off.
- Damage Around Roof Fixtures – The areas around roof fixtures, like pipes, chimneys, and vents are often susceptible to damage. When caught early, these minor issues can usually be repaired before further damage is done.
- Storm Damage – Anytime you experience a strong storm in your area, it’s a good idea to have the roof inspected for damage, punctures, and lifting.
When To Replace a Roof?
No one wants to prematurely invest in a new roof. So how do you tell when it’s time to start fresh and when a patch job will do? Here’s how to tell if it’s time for a full roof replacement.
- It is Old – Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 15-30 years. Metal and slate last significantly longer, but if your residential roofing is older than 20 years, it’s probably time for a full replacement rather than spending money on repairs.
- Growing Mold and Mildew – This occurs over time and if it isn’t taken care of, it can require a complete replacement. If you’ve tried power washing your roof, and the mold and mildew remain, it’s time to start fresh.
- Rotting Roof – A rotting roof is not only unsightly but also unsafe. The rot in a roof can quickly spread to other areas of the structure.
- Outdated Style – Sometimes you just want to update your home with a structure that is more modern, contemporary, or aesthetically pleasing. You may want to upgrade your asphalt shingles for metal or slate or make a color change. All of these require a new roof replacement.
Benefits of Installing a New Residential Roof
New residential roofing can do much more for your home than keep out the rain. Many homeowners don’t realize the additional benefits that come with new residential roofing.
- Enhanced Energy Efficiency – As soon as your new residential roofing is installed, you can expect your heating and cooling bills to drop. The increased insulation provides relief to your HVAC system keeping your temperature comfortable and your energy bills low.
- Improves Your Curb Appeal – Water spots, buckling, cracks, and missing shingles give off the appearance that your entire home is in disrepair. A new roof gives a polished and finished look to your home.
- Higher Resale Value – Every home sale requires a thorough assessment of the roof. If there is any roof damage, you’ll either have to lower your price or repair it on your own before the sale goes through. On the other hand, if you can advertise a new roof – your home may sell for even more than estimated.
- Excellent Warranty Coverage – Today’s residential roofing materials carry significant warranty benefits and extended coverage that you don’t have on an existing roof. This protects you for up to 50 years from unexpected damage or repairs.
- Ensures Long Term Safety – Old roofs present some serious safety hazards. Not only are they a liability to the entire structure, but mold or mildew on the roof can seep into the home and be harmful to your health.
- Improved Feeling of Stability – There is real peace of mind that comes with having a roof over your head that is safe and reliable. Good roofs often go unnoticed, but bad ones can wreak havoc.
Residential Roof Repair and Installation Cost
The roof is typically one of the most expensive components of residential construction. The cost of a roof repair or installation is made up of several factors including materials, labor, accessories, location, accessibility, etc.
- Roof Repair Estimate – Typically, a roof repair may cost anywhere between $200 and $4000. If your roof repair gets to be more than 50% of the cost of replacement, it’s time to consider a new roof installation.
- Residential Roof Installation – The average range for roof replacement costs is between $7,000 and $15,000. Some materials can be double or even triple that amount depending on the size of your roof and your geographic location.
Why Should You Hire a Professional Residential Contractor?
Unless you have the necessary experience, safety equipment, industry knowledge, and required licensing – you should not be replacing or repairing your own roof. Most homeowners who attempt a DIY repair actually cause more harm than good. We often see the use of improper materials or injured homeowners making small problems much worse.
- Residential contractors have the expertise to handle every aspect of the job. They are prepared for the unexpected and know how to handle any problem that may arise.
- Contractors will often find issues you may not have known existed and save you significant time, money, and headaches.
- Hiring a professional residential contractor will ensure that you’re getting excellent work utilizing the latest techniques and the highest quality materials that you won’t find at the hardware store.
- A professional contractor always makes safety a top priority to protect your home and their employees.
- Most roofing projects require necessary permits and adherence to building codes and city ordinances. A professional roofing company will obtain these permits for you and ensure the repair or installation meets current requirements.
- A certified contractor can often provide basic maintenance advice and help homeowners to see signs of potential problems, saving money in the long term.
- Typically, a full, professional, roof replacement is completed within one or two days. If you attempt this job on your own, you could spend a full week or longer on your roof.
What To Consider While Installing a New Roof?
Getting your new roof is like a facelift for your entire home. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help make your project run smoothly.
- Timeframe – Asphalt shingles are the quickest installation at usually one to two days for larger roofs. Slate takes the longest to install at about a week. While you can stay in your home during installation, the noise can be a disruption. So, it’s important to get a clear estimate from your roofing contractor and plan accordingly.
- Roofing Company Busy Season – The busy season for contractors is in the summer months. If you suspect you may need a new roof, get an inspection as early as you can to get on the schedule. Otherwise, you may be waiting months for a new roof.
- Roof Inspection – We recommend having a professional contractor perform an inspection once a year on your roof. This service is complimentary and will help determine any potential, imminent, or immediate problems.
- Choosing The Right New Roof – There are several materials you can choose when installing new residential roofing. Discuss your options with a professional contractor to consider the cost, durability, material weight, and installation requirements of your new roof.
- Peeling Off or Layering On – Some materials require you to remove the old roof while others you can layer on top of an existing roof. To comply with the building code, you are not allowed to have more than two shingle layers on your roof. However, whether to peel off or layer on is a decision that should be made with the help of a professional in the area.
FAQs About Residential Roof