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Popular in Home Improvement

Choose the Right Materials: Roofing

Top off your home with roofing that suits your style and fits your budget. Here's what's out there now.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Roofing 101: Composition

      Composition roofing, usually called asphalt shingles, is the most common roof used on houses. It's lowest in cost and easiest to install. Characteristics:

      -- Cellulose or fiberglass mats coated with asphalt and granules
      -- Many colors available; lighter colors reduce cooling costs
      -- Lightweight with flat profile
      -- The heavier the shingle, the longer it will last
      -- Algae-resistant granules available for warm, humid climates
      -- Cost: Starts at $50 per square (100 square feet), uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Laminated

      Laminated shingles are thicker and heavier than composition roofing. Multilayer panels produce three-dimensional profiles and shadow lines. Characteristics:

      -- Fiberglass mat instead of cellulose core
      -- Has a shake-like profile
      -- Greater fire and wind resistance than composition
      -- High-end products weigh up to 450 pounds per square
      -- High-end products last 40 to 50 years
      -- Cost: $60-$80 per square, uninstalled, more for premium or architectural product lines

    • Roofing 101: Wood

      Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, and southern pine. Some local codes prohibit wood because it's flammable. Characteristics:

      -- Wood's natural character blends with the landscape
      -- Shingles are flat and machine sawn on both sides
      -- Shakes are thick and may be hand split
      -- Requires a roof with at least 4:12 slope to shed water
      -- Lasts 15 to 25 years; apply preservative and fungicide every two to five years
      -- Cost: From $100 per square, uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Metal

      Metal shingles are long lasting, lightweight, and fire-resistant, but they conduct heat and can be noisy. Characteristics:

      -- Made of aluminum, steel, or copper
      -- Come in standing seam, corrugated, or faux-shake styles
      -- Can last 40 to 50 years; color coatings guaranteed against fading for 25 years
      -- Aluminum won't rust, but lower grades can dent
      -- Cost: Steel and aluminum, $100-$260 per square, uninstalled; copper, $250-$500 per square, uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Clay Tile

      Clay tile is a heavy, durable material that complements mission and Spanish-style architecture. Characteristics:

      -- Typically curved, but also available flat for English and French looks
      -- Hundreds of glaze colors available
      -- Molded from pulverized clay and water
      -- Can weigh 1,000+ pounds per square; usually requires reinforced roof framing
      -- Lasts 50 to 100 years; tiles can crack or chip
      -- Cost: $250-$500 or more per square, uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Slate

      Historic and older homes are often roofed with this natural quarried stone. Characteristics:

      -- Available in different colors and grades, depending on origin
      -- Considered virtually indestructible
      -- Requires specialized skills and expertise to install
      -- Can weigh 700 to 2,000 pounds per square; usually requires reinforced roof framing
      -- Lasts 100+ years; only maintenance is replacing broken tiles
      -- Cost: $300-$600 per square, uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Concrete Tile

      Concrete tiles imitate clay and slate in appearance and durability; can also look like wood shakes. Characteristics:

      -- Can be molded to interlock so they're easy to install
      -- Roof framing may need to be reinforced to handle the weight
      -- Lighter-weight types available
      -- Some products come with limited lifetime warranties transferable to new owners
      -- Only maintenance is checking for loose or cracked tiles
      -- Cost: $150-$250 per square, uninstalled for standard types; $350-$500 per square for lightweight types

    • Roofing 101: Rubber Composite

      Also known as synthetic slate, rubber composite shingles are molded from a blend of plastic and rubber bonded molecularly. Characteristics:

      -- Convincing texture, like slate, with color through the material
      -- Lightweight yet strong and flexible
      -- Limited supplier network
      -- Fifty-year limited warranties are typical
      -- Only maintenance is checking for damaged shingles
      -- Cost: $295-$400 per square, uninstalled

    • Roofing 101: Cost Comparison

      Labor and material costs vary by region. Here is a general guide.

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      Next Slideshow Roof Designs and Styles

      Roof Designs and Styles

      Although rarely the first thing you notice, a roof says much about a home's style. Take this tour of housetops to choose the best roof for your home.
      Begin Slideshow »

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