What's Your Roof Type?

Industry Observer with Spectrum Communications

For something designed to loom over your head, how often does your roof actually cross your mind? There’s no shame in being honest; unless you’re a roofing contractor, it’s unlikely your roof has ever drawn your undivided attention—at least until it springs a leak or collapses entirely. This is a common blind spot for residential and commercial property owners.

If you don’t believe me, google “Metrodome.”


It’s understandable how granular details about roofing materials, upkeep, and repair fall through the cracks. Even roofing systems with the shortest lifespans, like wood shake installations, can last up to three decades with proper care. If someone told you something vitally important, and then requested that you remember it at some point within the next 30 years, it would be a challenge, to say the least.

To provide a little more insight about the structural and functional differences among popular roof types, we’ve teamed with a highly reputable Denver roofing company to help you discover what your ideal roof is:


Asphalt Shingle

Far and away the most common roofing material, asphalt shingles are cost-effective, durable, and provide reliable protection against severe weather. Based on your home’s location and how often it’s exposed to extreme sunlight and temperatures, asphalt roofs can last up to 20 years. Roofs constructed from dark asphalt shingles can depreciate and discolor sooner than that, however, if exposed to prolonged extreme weather.

Slate Shingle

Slate roofs are some of the most durable systems, sporting fire-resistant material that is easily maintained, while remaining impervious to rot. These roofs can even last up to 100 years, but that excellent durability comes at a higher cost. Slate shingles are considerably heavier and require a high level of expertise to install. If you plan on sparing no expense, though, slate shingle roofs offer the most value for your investment.

Ceramic Tile

This roofing material certainly gives slate shingles a run for their money in terms of longevity, as it’s capable of lasting up to 75 years. At the same time, though, these tiles are much more fragile than other materials and prone to erosion. This makes ceramic tile an inadvisable choice if you live in a place that experiences a lot of high winds and precipitation.

Metal Shingles

Metal roofs combine the best of roofing technology with an eco-friendly, lightweight design. Metal roofing systems are low-maintenance, very energy efficient, and can last up to 50 years. By the same token, they also require a great deal of expertise to install and can lose their luster much sooner. Luckily, in keeping with their cost-effective nature, one can restore a metal roof’s shine with a simple repainting, as opposed to a full replacement.

Wood Shakes

Certainly, the most environmentally friendly of the roof types profiled, wood shake roofs are constructed from naturally renewable materials that are less likely to contaminate the water that runs off it. The downside is wood shake roofs are not well-suited for homes exposed to heavy precipitation as wood is more prone to water damage, splintering, and rotting. They also have a comparatively low average lifespan of three decades, but there are few home improvements that serve as a brighter badge of honor for your inner eco-warrior.

There’s a wealth of information out there about the various pros and cons of each roof type, be it through personal referral or online searches. However, there are also a large number of unique factors, benefits, and complications that come with installing a new roof solely based on your location, climate, and even your home’s structural integrity. If you’re looking to revamp your roof, it’s wise to seek the help of a professional roofing contractor in order to determine your roof type.


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Kevin McKenzie

Helping Realtors with Expert Content
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