From clay tiles to thatched roofs to composite shingles, “traditional” roofing has changed over the past several centuries. A few decades ago, driving through a neighborhood meant seeing home after home with 3-tab shingles. The material was inexpensive, could be made in different colors, and could be cut in a few different designs.

Today, asphalt shingle roofs – or more commonly referred to as composition shingle roofing – is the most used type of roofing material. With proper maintenance, higher grade composite roofing should last a decade longer than 3-tab and also have more variety of looks to choose from. When compared to other residential roofing material costs, composite or asphalt roofing is the least expensive.

Other Traditional Roofing

Although composite is widely used, there are plenty of other roofing materials that have stood the test of time. Clay tiles can be mass-produced and are popular in the Southern climates. Cedar shake roofs are a New England beach staple, and slate tile roofing can be found on older, more mature estates.

Even metal roofing was a staple for several decades on residential homes, barns, or other outbuildings. Throughout Portland, you can see many homes with roofs that are 70 or 80 years old. Although more commonly seen on industrial applications, metal roofing has seen a resurgence in residential use. Improved technology means metal roofing can be made to resemble several different materials.

It’s just one of the reasons aluminum roofing has seen a renewed interest with homeowners. As the price of real estate continues to climb, many Americans are choosing to stay put and make upgrades to their current home. Instead of downsizing, many empty-nesters are choosing to “Age in Place.”

This means making homes easier to live in as they grow older, including maintenance. This makes metal roofing a very attractive option. Made to last a century, aluminum roofing is fire resistant, repels insect or animal infestation, and is resistant to algae or moss growth. Worry-free roofing is an easy solution for those looking to enjoy their golden years.

But it also makes sense for younger people that are looking for their “forever” home. They want a roof that is one and done. They want to install a roof, have it installed right, and never have to worry about it again. Metal roofs cost more than composite, but the results last a lifetime.

Installation Differences

No matter what roofing material you choose from, proper installation is a must. The best designs, materials, or looks won’t mean a darn thing if the roof leaks after a heavy storm blows through. Unfortunately, you won’t know when that happens because roof leaks are often discovered after much of the damage has been done.

When considering a new roof installation, do your homework. First on the type of material you want to use then on who you will hire to do the job. Is the roofer experienced with different types of roofing? Are they familiar with the area (after all, it can get a little rainy in the Pacific Northwest)?

Most shingles – cedar shake, clay, architectural, or slate – are installed the same way. Start with decking, underlayment, and then work your way up the roof row by row. We don’t think it’s a stretch to say most (if not all) roofers are adept at installing architectural shingles. They’re common, easy to find, and cheaper than longer-lasting materials like aluminum.

Clay, cement, or slate roofing is a little trickier to work with. They can break if not handled properly and weigh much more than composite. This means additional engineering could be required if the existing roof is only rated for a certain amount of weight. Will the roofing contractor have that ability, or will they need to hire someone to do it?

There is little concern with aluminum roofing in that respect. The lightest roofing material on the market, aluminum weighs just over 40 pounds per 100 square feet of material. In a 3,000 square foot home, that difference starts to add up. When re-roofing a home or performing an overlay installation, the overall weight could be a huge issue.

The installation of aluminum shingles can be pretty tricky since the are not any glues or adhesives. Extra care is needed around the flashing around chimneys, vent pipes, valleys, and so forth. Unfortunately, many roofers don’t have the technical expertise to keep these areas of the roof watertight.

Other Differences

While the cost of installation is more expensive than composite shingles, there are a few factors you should consider before making a decision. Metal roofing lasts longer, is more energy-efficient, and actually saves on roofing costs in the long-term. Depending on your zip code, these savings can be huge.

Aluminum roofing reflects the heat of the sun, leading to energy savings of up to 30% and lowering cooling costs. Energy Star rated, you may even receive tax credits for using metal roofing in addition to energy savings. And while composite shingles give you a “Lifetime” warranty that only gives you full coverage for 10 years- aluminum roofing will give you full protection for as long as you own the home and can transfer to the next homeowner!

Even though we install metal roofing, we also understand it’s not the ideal solution for every situation. However, if you have made the decision to give your home a life-long facelift, contact Mountaintop Metal Roofing.

We are the premier metal roofing contractor in Washington and Oregon because that’s all we work with. Our crew has more than 20 years of experience with the material and stays up-to-date on installation processes and products to make sure our clients have the best possible service.

We perform roof tear-offs, overlays, and roofs for new installations. We work with PermaLock and Classic Metal Roofing products, which offer standing seam, aluminum shingles, and cedar shake profiles in a wide variety of colors. Looking to enjoy life instead of spending time on roof maintenance? Get in touch with Mountaintop Metal Roofing for a free quote today.