Who knew you could make roofing entertaining??!!!

Over the Top: Our Sly-est Advice on Roofing Materials

Roofer at Work True Green Roofing

Picking the right roof for your home is serious business. Not only is a new roof a big investment, it will play an important role in how well your house functions. Far from a supporting cast member, your roof is a main player in the energy efficiency, comfort, and resale value of your home. Though there are sure to be some varying opinions as to Sylvester Stallone’s pertinence to the home improvement industry, there are some pretty blatant parallels you can draw between his body of work and various roofing materials on the market today.

Rambo and Rocky: Two Roofing Heavyweights
When it comes to roofing materials, the two toughest on the market have to be slate and tile. Each can literally last a lifetime, and their insulate properties make them very energy efficient, too. Tile roofing looks as good on a home as Mr. Balboa does in the ring, and with a life expectancy of 70 years or more, there’s no doubt that a tile roof will go the distance and leave its opponents in the dust. Much like tile’s tougher, darker counterpart, slate roofing can easily be the Rambo of roofing materials. Some slate roofs installed a century ago are still functioning well and protecting the homes underneath them like their lives depended on it. This kind of quality doesn’t come cheap, however. Due to their tremendous weight, both slate and tile roof installation often requires adding supplemental structural support; add that to the high cost of materials, and you’re looking at a decent chunk of change. Another notable drawback to tile and slate roofing is that each is quite brittle; when walking on a slate or tile roof, even the best intentioned homeowner might accidentally become a Demolition Man.

Metal Shingles and Panels: Roofing’s Cliffhanger
Light, strong, and agile, metal roofing is becoming more popular in new construction and roof replacements for good reason. Less expensive than tile or slate, but nearly as tough, many metal roofs carry a lofty warranty (some are covered for 40 years, or even more!) and will require little maintenance over their lifetimes. Unfortunately, as Sly’s Cliffhanger character so succinctly put it while burning $100 bills to stay warm, it costs a fortune to heat this place. Metal roofing is, by itself, a terrible insulator. However, because it is so lightweight and maneuverable, it is often possible to install metal roofing directly on top of existing roofing materials; this allows you to get the superior protection of a metal roof without sacrificing the insulation you already have. If installing a metal roof on a new home or completely replacing an existing roof with a metal one, make sure to install adequate insulation if you want to keep your house from feeling like high camp during cold winter months.

Stop or My Mom Will Shoot: A Few Words on Asphalt Shingles
Much like Sly’s 1992 PG-13 crossover to comedy, asphalt shingles are appropriate for homes of nearly all ages. Unlike the film, however, most people have seen asphalt shingles. As the most popular roofing material in the country, asphalt is a fairly good insulator, does a decent job protecting the materials underneath it, and is by far the most affordable option on the market. Unfortunately, with asphalt and Stallone films, alike, there seems to be a rather large range of quality. Though some shingles can last for decades without skipping a beat, the performance of sub-par shingles can be Judge Dreddful. There are also reports of warranties for flimsier shingles being as easily infiltrated as the products they are attached to. If you choose asphalt for your roof (and once again, most homeowners do), make sure you talk to your roofer about what he or she has seen work well in your area, and take that advice seriously.

When the Weather Draws First Blood
No matter what kind of roofing material you choose, it’s very important to call a professional as soon as you notice something is awry. Leaks can do a lot of damage before they become noticeable, and by the time you can easily spot water marks or dripping water, there’s a good chance that there is already more harm done than you think. Getting an annual roof inspection is highly recommended; it is a good way to prevent unnecessary repairs, and save you some Cash (minus the Tango) in the long run.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.