Home Experts: Local News
Raising the Roof
Story Updated: Jun 12, 2012
It’s time for a new roof and you say you want one that’s inexpensive, maintenance-free and lasts forever. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily. With so many roofing choices out there, the process can get complicated. But choosing wisely from the start will help you avoid the frustration of poor performing roofing products, as well as the need to re-roof in a few years.
Beyond performance, it’s smart to freshen up your exterior with a great looking roof, especially if you want to boost your home’s curb appeal or if you’re planning to sell your home. “Replacing that old shake roof is one of the best improvements you can make to increase your home’s value,” says Laura Halverson Dufour of Dynamic Properties. “Typically 40 percent of the curb appeal of a home comes from the roof.” Halverson adds that an old roof or a roof with issues will substantially hurt the seller's bottom line and increase the home’s time sitting on the market.
Don’t start shopping for shingles – yet
You know you need a new roof, but before you start shopping for shingles, stop and think: How long do you want your roof to last? Some roofing materials are designed to last 15, 20, 30 or 40 years. If you plan on staying in your home for a long time, you might want to pay extra for a 50-year, lifetime or specialty roof. But if your growing family or retirement plans have you upsizing or moving in the next few years, don't put on a roof you won't stay to see the benefits of.
For example, some asphalt shingles are inexpensive to buy, but they have half (or less) the life expectancy of other roofing materials. But higher-quality asphalt shingles can be a viable option if properly chosen and can last 30 to 40 years or more. The moral? Even the same product type can have a wide range of quality, so be sure you know what you’re getting before you buy.
The attraction of asphalt shingles is that they are affordable and lightweight — no additional engineering is needed to put them on your rooftop. Of all the roofing products available, they usually are the least expensive upfront, but proportionately less durable over time. Proponents, however, tout that asphalt roofs require little or no maintenance, so it goes on saving you money throughout the life of your roof. Also, asphalt roof shingles are easily repaired if damaged.
Michelle Holland, owner of Holland Roofing, recommends that homeowners look for SBS modified shingles, which means there is rubber in the asphalt. “It’s more flexible, installs better in the cold weather and has a higher wind warranty.” The 50-year SBS modified shingles, she says, combine the strength of "rubber" modified technology with an architectural, or designer look. “They’re prettier, fancier, thicker and heavier, which tends to mean that they’ll last longer.”
Malarkey Roofing Products produces a shingle called the Alaskan, constructed using SBS rubber in the asphalt for our rugged environment. In fact, these shingles attracted quite a bit of attention nationwide in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Dade County Florida rewrote building codes to help its citizens get roofing products that actually resisted high winds. For months, the only shingle allowed to be installed in that county was Malarkey’s Alaskan Shingle.