Trends in Roofing Materials

health benefits of poolsIs it unusual or frivolous to purchase a new roof for your home simply for aesthetic purposes rather than because your roof is aging, has deteriorated or is leaking?

Indeed, a leaking roof will send you scurrying to the internet or thumbing through the Yellow Pages to find the name of a good roofing contractor posthaste. You might be conflicted as to whether you need a new roof, a re-roof, or if you should consider a repair by a residential roofing contractor in Orange County to just fix the problem.

But, what if you are looking to replace your roof strictly to enhance the beauty of your home, i.e. merely for aesthetic reasons? Do you need a motive to justify the expense if your roof appears to be in relatively good shape, and, especially if you covet a costly roofing installation for expensive roofing materials such as slate, cedar shake or a metal roof, as opposed to the less-expensive, and perhaps more-practical, alternative of asphalt shingles? Well, even if you are fortunate enough to be unscathed from leaking or damage to your present roof, you might want to take into consideration the longevity of your roof and how many more years of life it has first.

A good practice is to be proactive with roof maintenance at all times. Your roof protects the most-valuable asset you have – your home. You should therefore check the integrity of your roof on a regular basis. A good time to do this is during regular gutter cleaning. Either you, or a handyman if you prefer, should do a thorough check of your rooftop periodically. The checklist would involve ensuring there are no shingles that are loose or damaged, or worse yet, are missing, thus inviting water damage to your home. It is a good time to check gutters and chimney flashing as well to ensure there are no open seams in the gutters and that the flashing is flush with the chimney so there are no gaps or openings for moisture to enter.

But, back to the roof … if you have regularly checked and maintained your roof, that roof might very well have given you many years of service already, and it may well be time to get a new one. If everything looks great up there, and a new roof is not an imminent purchase, are you aware of the actual age of your shingled roof, or whether it is a first re-roof? Hopefully, you have kept your original receipt and warranty information tucked away in a safe place, or in the alternative, the previous owner tendered the warranty info to you upon the sale of the house. Take into consideration the fact that experts agree a typical roof will last between 20-25 years. That depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one set of shingles. It also depends upon any weather-related damage, such as deterioration by the sun baking on the rooftop daily. Californians enjoy that beautiful sunshine, but your roof … maybe, not so much.

Maybe your current roof has already served its purpose based on the criteria above – now, so maybe you should consider getting that new roof you have your heart set on. There are many options if you are seeking to procure the protection to your home with a valuable new roof as well as provide a beautiful roof that will complement your home as well for many years to come.

Start by perusing the home remodeling sites on the internet for ideas, and when you are ready to make a purchase, contact a local residential roofing contractor in Orange County to assist you in making a final decision as well as to potentially do your roofing installation. This expert will be able to show you the various roofing materials available for your style of roof, either by utilizing photos of complete projects or by showing you the actual roofing materials to be used. It is important to note up front that not all roofing materials that you may like will suit your home’s structure or roof type.

A basic primer about residential roofing types

There are two basic styles of residential roofs. The terminology most commonly used is “low-slope” or “steep-slope” roofs. Low-slope roofs have a low pitch where steep-slope roof structures (which are the predominant style of most roofs today), have a more severe pitch, or steeper slope. First, you need to narrow down what materials work with your particular roof style since changing your roof style is really not a viable option. It is important, when considering a new roof for the aesthetic appeal, that you also factor in the cost, durability, and architectural style. In warm-weather states such as California, when purchasing a new roof, you really should think about getting a light-colored roof, and, if the lighter color roof color complements your bricks or vinyl siding, all the better. Unlike traditional asphalt shingles, a light-colored roof will help to reflect the heat away from the top of your home, thus providing a welcome respite from the radiation of the sun. This benefits you, the homeowner, as there is less chance for deterioration of that brand-new roof giving it much more longevity, thus long-term cost savings to you, plus it makes for a cooler home year round. Think of your energy savings … over time, those saving will help to justify the cost of getting a roof with pricier roofing materials.

As mentioned above, since steep-sloped structures, or more commonly referred to as a roof with a peak, are the number one roof style, there are a wider range of roofing materials available. A contractor who is skilled in roof construction will be able to advise the best roofing materials for the roofing project based on durability as well as aesthetic appeal. So let’s see what’s out there to consider for you to put the crowning glory on your home, shall we?

Some popular and durable roofing materials

Many homes in the beautiful state of California aim for a more natural or rustic look, and you needn’t comprise your home’s aesthetic appeal by settling for a boring roof. Those materials that reflect the sun and keep the naturalistic look you have strived for in your home and property are made of natural rock or cement, white-metal and cedar shake.


Slate is an age-old roofing material, long prized for its beauty and durability. Slate is considered indestructible and requires very little maintenance. But, beware … slate is very heavy and cannot be used on all rooftops. It is also the costliest of all roofing materials, and its application requires special skill and expertise. Many old homes, especially in the Northeast still have their original slate roofs.

Terra cotta

Consider selecting a terra cotta roof if you’ve admired the Mission-style roofs commonly found in the warm-weather states. Terra cotta roofs are light colored, have wonderful reflective capabilities and take longer to heat up, thus keeping your home and comfy with fantastic aesthetic appeal.

Concrete tiles

Like terra cotta, clay or concrete tiles will provide a durable roof, heat reduction and you may opt for a neutral color for cooling purposes, or consider some of the various colors and finishes available, many which are sure to complement your house. Beware, while concrete tiles are valued for their ability to reflect heat because they are heavy and the sun takes longer to penetrate through them so they stay cool longer, the heavy tiles will not work for all roof structures. A residential roofing contractor will be able to instruct you whether concrete tiles are an option for your home.


Metal roofs at one time were used mostly for low-slope roofs, but are becoming a popular option now for steep-slope roofs. They are durable, maintenance free and their price is mid-way between asphalt shingles and the more-expensive mediums. You might choose a metal roof in a light color for its awesome light-reflecting abilities or consider a metal roof which simulates wood shakes, shingles or tile. Metal roofs are an option for any roofing style.

Wood shingles or wood shakes

Besides slate, these types of roofing medium are the most aesthetically pleasing and are very popular in California because of their rustic and natural look. The shingles are handmade predominantly from trees such as cedar, redwood or pine. The shingles often have a fire-retardant product applied to them due to building code regulations and in some regions in this state, wood shingles or shake treatments are not permitted due to wild fires.

These are some of your options if you seek to provide aesthetic appeal to your home with a new roof. As always, a contractor who specializes in residential roofing and construction will be the go-to person to assist you in the decision of what is the best type of roof as well as the eventual installation.