In addition to security and safety, a well-constructed roof could easily transform or enhance the look of your home. Asphalt shingles are a great value to homeowners looking for an inexpensive roofing option, but their widespread use could deter those seeking a more distinctive option. Clay and slate are durable materials, but they can be heavier and more expensive than other shingles. While wood shakes and shingles aren’t as expensive as slate and clay, they can be dangerous in areas that are at extreme risk of fire. In response to these types of issues, roofing manufacturers have started using nontraditional roofing materials to provide homeowners with alternatives to traditional roofing options without sacrificing style and design.

Architectural Roofing Shingles

By mimicking the look of other roofing materials, architectural roofing shingles deliver distinctive and dramatic roofs to homeowners seeking affordable roofing options. Also known as laminate and dimensional shingles, this material provides homeowners living in fire zones with the look of wood shakes or shingles while still complying with city fire codes, and homeowners who have always dreamed of a slate or clay roof can replicate the look without paying an arm and a leg. Since architectural roofing shingles are made from materials that are lighter than slate and clay, roofing frames will not have to be reinforced before installing the roof.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs typically conjure up thoughts of commercial and industrial buildings. However, recent changes in how metal panels and shingles are designed have placed metal roofing in the forefront of homeowners’ minds. The metal roofs of today offer a variety of choices for homeowners looking to set their house apart from others. Metal roofs are available in vertical panels—a style that’s commonly found on commercial and industrial buildings—as well as shingles that closely mimic the look of slate, wood, and clay tiles.

Synthetic Slate Roofing Shingles

One of the lightest shingles on the market, synthetic slate roofing shingles are composed of blended and recycled rubber and plastic. Shingles are available in different colors and textures, providing homeowners with a number of options to match the color and style of their home. These shingles can be more expensive than architectural roofing shingles, but they’re a great option for eco-friendly buyers.

Solar Shingles

Innovations in solar technology have led to the creation of lightweight solar shingles as an alternative to bulkier solar panels. Solar shingles can easily be applied to any roofing style, but they blend best on darker roofs since the panels are typically darker in color. Solar shingles are costly, and experts recommend that homeowners take into consideration several factors first, including the pitch of the roof and the amount of sun the roof receives daily. Homeowners should also familiarize themselves with local and federal tax laws for tax credits, rebates, and savings.

Green Roofs

In some areas, homeowners are using organic materials to protect their roofs. Green roofs combine soil, compost, and plants into a living ecosystem that helps lower heating and cooling bills by providing insulation for the house. While plants can absorb some storm water, green roofs work best on a sloped roof, as it aids in eliminating pooling water.

Cool Roofs

Cool roofs reduce heat absorption by reflecting sunlight that conventional roofs cannot. By absorbing less heat, homes can stay cooler in the summer—allowing homeowners to decrease their air conditioning usage. Check out our blog to see if a cool roof will work for your home.

As time marches on, the roofing industry will certainly continue to innovate and introduce new materials. While traditional roofing materials remain popular, newer roofing choices allow homeowners with expensive taste to have their dream look without the cost.

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Sources: Better Homes and Gardens; CertainTeed; EBSCOhost: Planning for New Roofing & Siding—Choosing Roofing & Siding; GAF; San Francisco Chronicle; This Old House.

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