Life and Styles of the Average Roof

Life and Styles of the Average Roof

We’ve had an unusually wet season this year here in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  With all the rain, it’s important to inspect the roof when shopping for homes.  Look for signs of wear and tear, curled shingles or stained interior ceilings. Never underestimate how much a roof can impact a sale in today’s FHA lending environment.

A Roof Can Make or Break a Sale 

If it’s not up to par, the roof can turn into a major sticking point of negotiation. On the other hand, a beautiful roof can give Buyers all the reason they need to make an offer. That’s precisely why you, as a potential Buyer, must become knowledgeable on this essential home feature.

All Roofs Are Not Created Equal

The material used for roofing can make an enormous impact on the look and style of a house. Let’s take a look at the various types of roof materials and the pros and cons of each.  Remember, the longevity of a roofing material is somewhat dependent on the climate, so estimates of lifespan are approximate and also depend on whether the material is properly installed.

Here are some of the more commonly used roofing materials here is Southern California that you should be able to identify.

Descriptions and Estimated Life Expectancies

Slate Roofs:

Slate Roofs are Pretty and pricey. This is one of the most beautiful roofing materials. It’s a beautiful blue-grey stone that lasts anywhere from 70 to 100 years or more. Slate is very expensive and the prospect of having to replace a slate roof will surely be something you, as a buyer will want to keep in mind when negotiating a price for the property. But since these roofs are known for their longevity, they’re often worth the investment because a roofing material with a shorter lifespan will have to be replaced many times (at increasing prices) in the period that a slate roof will hold up.

NOTE:  Artificial slate is also available, but it typically doesn’t have as long of a life span as real slate. However, it still lasts for a few decades or more.

Wood Shake or Shingle Roof:

Often referred to interchangeably, there are 2 types of wood roofing – shingles and shakes.  Wood Shake Roofs have a Natural look. These roofs are usually made with cedar and can last up to 30 or 40 years, depending on the climate. The difference between a shake and a shingle is that shakes are split from a block of wood giving them a more rustic appeal, whereas shingles are sawn from a block of wood and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance. Therefore a shake is thicker and more rustic looking than a shingle.  Due to fire risks, wood roofing has declined in popularity, but new shingles and shakes are now treated with fire retardant, making them a safer option. Wood roofs are also a great option for high wind areas and for roofs with a steep pitch.

Life and Styles of the Average Roof

Clay Tile Roof:

Clay Tile Roofs have a Long life span. You often see these roofs in Mission, Spanish Colonial, and Mediterranean style homes. Here in California. The tiles are made with clay or concrete, are fire resistant, and typically maintain their rich, warm, earth tones for a few decades or more.  Because of the relatively high cost of clay tiles, it has become common to substitute concrete for clay tile roofing.  Although concrete tiles don’t retain the same color or quality as clay tile roofing, the do present a viable cheaper and lighter alternative.  Clay tiles tend to be very heavy. Before investing in clay tiles, make sure that you reinforce your roof so that it can support the weight.

Asphalt Shingle Roof:

Asphalt Shingle Roofs are Functional, lightweight, durable and affordable. This is perhaps the most widely used and least expensive roofing material used mostly in older homes here in our area.  Asphalt shingles come in two varieties – fiberglass and organic mat-based. Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and topped with ceramic granules that shield the shingles from harmful UV rays. Because of the composition of the fiberglass mat, less asphalt is needed to give the shingles their durability and strength. The result is a lighter weight and thinner roofing material. Fiberglass shingles also have a higher fire rating than organic varieties and generally carry a longer warranty.

Organic mat-based shingles are made from a recycled layer of felt paper (asphalt-saturated for waterproofing) and coated with adhesive asphalt into which the ceramic granules are embedded. With 40 percent more asphalt than their fiberglass counterparts, the traditional organic mat-based shingles are heavier, thicker, and more costly. While organic shingles are considered more rugged and more flexible, they are also more absorbent and can warp over time.

Installed properly, asphalt shingles are no longer easy to identify.  Some are made to convincingly mimic the look of slate, cedar shakes, or even tile.  These roofs come in a variety of colors and shades.  You’ll commonly see brownish, greyish or reddish hues.  They typically last about 15 to 20 years, a shorter time than the other materials mentioned above.

Life and Styles of the Average Roof

Rare, but gaining in popularity are

Metal Roofs:

Life and Styles of the Average RoofThough the most common types of metal roofing are aluminum, steel, and copper, metal roofing is also available in looks that imitate slate, asphalt, and even clay tiles. Popular among homeowners for its energy efficiency, durability, and aesthetic appeal, metal roofing is also one of the most effective means of protecting your home from the elements. There is no material more capable of protecting a structure from wind, rain, hail, fire, insects, or rot than a metal roof. Metal Roofs come in a variety of forms, from corrugated metal with ridges to a roof that looks like it is made of shingles. Metal roofing will increase the resale value of your home. Across the country, homeowners who invest in metal roofing get an average ROI of average ROI of 85.9%.  Metal roofing can also lower your insurance rates because of its fire resistance, especially in California that is vulnerable to wildfires.

Protective coatings for metal roofing make use of reflective pigment technology, making your home more energy efficient and decreasing your monthly utility bills by up to 40%. Reflective pigment technology comes in the form of a simple coating that enables metal roofs to reflect heat in the summer, while providing superior insulation in the winter.

In addition to saving you money on your energy bill, metal roofing is a more eco-friendly option as it is made from 30-60% recycled material and can be installed over an existing roof, eliminating the out-of-pocket cost, as well as the environmental impact of taking off and disposing an old roof. Metal roofing provides long-term energy savings, while decreasing your overall environmental impact.

Some FHA Lender Guidelines to Keep in Mind

  • FHA will accept a maximum of 3 layers of roofing material. If more than two layers of roofing exist and re-roofing is required, all of the old roofing must be removed as part of the re-roofing.
  • The placement of composition shingles over wood shake shingles is not acceptable.

A licensed home inspector should be able to indicate to the condition of the roof during a routine inspection.  You will also have the option to request and inspection from a licensed roofing contractor, but expect to pay for that inspection yourself.

Mykel Martin

Hello I’m Mykel, the Agent behind At Home in the Inland Empire and the creator of most of the content on this website. I’d like to take a minute to Thank You for taking time to read this article. I truly appreciate the time you spend here. I look forward to your comments. Please feel free to share this article with someone you think might benefit from it.  If there is a topic you don’t find here that you’d like for me to address, feel free to Contact Me. I’m always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers.


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