So it’s finally time to get a new roof—but how do you know what material is best for your home and your needs?

A new roof is an investment in time and money, but it’s also a major opportunity to upgrade the look, integrity, and functionality of your home. Choosing the right materials for your new roof can make all the difference in the value you get for your investment, so it’s important to know what questions to ask and factors to consider. This checklist will help you get started in choosing the best roofing materials for your needs.

1.       More than meets the eye: When considering roofing materials, the first thing to understand is that a roof is more than the surface layer of shingles or sheeting or slates. Underneath what you can see is something called an underlayment, which is an added protective layer. Consider whether your needs require you to upgrade the underlayment while you’re getting a new roof—for example, if you live in an area with a high level of rain and precipitation, taking extra steps in waterproofing the underlayment may be a wise investment.

2.       Weather matters: Environmental factors play a huge role in the wear and tear on a roof, and the type of roofing material that may be best for you. In addition to considering overall temperature, you will want to take into account whether there are drastic temperature changes, and of course, what type of precipitation, rain, snow, and ice accumulation, storms, and wind are typical for your area.

3.       Shape and architectural features: The shape and architectural features of your roof are also critical factors to consider in choosing the most ideal roofing materials. Is your roof flat? Does it have a slight slope, or a steep one? Are there lots of turrets, valleys, corners, or other architectural features that might require the material to be custom cut? Depending on the shape and features, it may make sense for you to choose a material that sheds water more quickly, or is easy to cut and configure to unique shapes.

4.       Long-range plans: When replacing your roof, you will also want to consider what your own long-range plans are for ownership of the home. Do you need to invest in the most state-of-the-art roof if you plan on selling in a year? Probably not. Another factor to consider is the amount of time and money you are willing to pay in ongoing maintenance. Some roofing materials require more care than others; think about how long you plan to be in the home, and how much you want to put into maintaining a roof, before choosing a material.

5.       Codes and requirements: Some communities have requirements for the types of roofing that can be installed, so it’s important to know that before choosing your material. Beyond that, however, you will want to make sure that your roofing material meets any municipal codes, including those for fire safety.

6.       Appearances: Finally, consider the look you want to achieve with your roof. There are a couple of factors to keep in mind here: the style of other roofs in the community, the overall architectural style of your home, and your personal preferences.

These questions are a great place to start when you’re ready to replace your roof, and a credentialed roofing professional can help you navigate your way through them to find the material that will work best for you!

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