Roofing Tips

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The pros and cons of tile roofing

The use of clay to make roofing tiles can be traced all the way back to the year 10,000 B.C. in China. The Middle East also adopted clay tiles shortly after and the tradition spread through Asia and Europe and eventually to the Americas where it is still popular today. Tile roofs are most popular in the Southwest since they hold up very well to high temperatures and UV rays but they look great with any Spanish-style architecture regardless of location and are durable in all climates. But every roofing material has it’s downsides as well. If you’re considering a tile roof for your home, here are some pros and cons you’ll want to weigh.


  • Longevity. Tile roofs can last 50 years or more. That’s more than twice as long as a standard asphalt shingle roof.
  • Style. Tile roofs have a distinctive look that is hard to replicate. There are synthetic roofing materials that imitate the look but it isn’t the same.
  • Durability. Tile is completely impervious to fire, rot, and insects which contributes to its longevity. Tiles won’t crack or curl in fluctuating temperatures over time like asphalt shingles will.
  • Versatility. Tile roofs can be made to look like wood shakes but without the fire hazard. They’re also created tile roof products that aren’t as heavy.


  • Weight. Tile roofs tend to be on the heavy side and some homes, especially older ones, can’t bear the weight of a tile roof.
  • Fragile. Tile roofs are very durable but have one weakness: impact damage. Tiles can crack quite easily if walked in or if struck by an object that falls on the roof.
  • Maintenance. The underlayment beneath the shingles will need to be replaced a time or two during the lifespan of the roof which means the tiles will need to be removed and then reinstalled.

Price. Tile roofs are considerably more expensive that a typical asphalt shingle roof.

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Roof options that are both stylish and durable

Asphalt shingles have dominated the roofing materials market for decades. They account for the vast majority of residential roofs for good reason. They’re a material that’s very easy to install and they’re a very inexpensive material. That makes for a very cost effective roofing material. Not only are they inexpensive but they’re quite durable. They can last around 15 years which is just a little longer than the average homeowner will live in any given home. One downside to asphalt shingles is that they’re not exactly stylish and they certainly won’t set your home apart from the rest when almost everyone on your block has them. Here are some other roofing materials you may want to consider for their style and durability.

Synthetic slate

Real slate roofs are the longest lasting roofs you can have. But they’re also the most expensive material and the heaviest. Many homes can’t bear the weight and many wallets can’t bear the cost. Synthetic slate, which is made from rubber, on the other hand, simulates the style of a slate roof but it’s lightweight and less expensive.

Metal roofing

Metal roofs are about three times as expensive as asphalt shingles but they last a lot longer and they’re more energy efficient so they can save you money in the long run. Metal roofs are more stylish than you’d assume because they can come in a variety of colors and styles and can complement the look of any home.


But wait, asphalt shingles aren’t supposed to be stylish. While it’s true that the standard three-tab shingles are a little bland, you can still have a stylish asphalt shingle roof by using architectural shingles. They’re made of the same materials but come in 2 or 3 layers which gives your roof a more textured look and they’re more durable. They cost more than the standard three-tab shingles but the extra durability and style may be worth it to you.

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Choosing a new roof. How to balance cost, aesthetics, and longevity

When it comes to replacing your roof, nothing is more difficult than selecting the material. There are so many to choose from such as your standard asphalt shingle, a more durable architectural shingle, clay or cement tiles, wood shingles or shakes, composite roofing materials, metal, or slate. Complicating the matter is that each one will give your home a dramatically different look and each one has various advantages and disadvantages relating to longevity, maintenance, and cost.

How are you to choose? It’s a matter of balancing three things: cost, aesthetics, and longevity.


Since cost is the first thing most homeowners look at when selecting a new roof. We’ll start there. Asphalt shingle roofs are the most popular because they’re the least expensive. But they don’t create the curb appeal than more premium materials can create and they typically last around 12-15 years. The most aesthetically pleasing materials and the most durable will cost more.


The most attractive materials are going to be natural materials like slate or wood. But these tend to be more expensive, and in the case of wood, more difficult to care for. Composite materials can simulate the look of natural materials at a lower cost, but the look won’t be quite the same.


Slate is the king of roofing materials when it comes to durability. A slate roof will outlive you for certain. A good metal roof can last 50 years or more and so can cement or clay tiles. The less expensive materials won’t last as long.

When choosing a material, ask yourself how long you plan to live in the home; 10 to 15 years might be all you need out of a roof. On the other hand, it may be worth it to you to invest in something more expensive that will last you a lot longer and create more curb appeal.

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Now that winter is here, you may have noticed icicles beginning to form along the edges of your roof. Though they’re nice to look at, they spell trouble for your home. They can cause a multitude of problems for your roof and your home. For starters, when water freezes in your rain gutters, melting snow can’t escape your roof. That means ice continues to build up on your roof. The ice can force its way beneath the shingles where it will eventually melt and trickle down into your attic space and home causing water damage. This will also drastically decrease the lifespan of your roof. Ice dams can also cause problems for your rain gutter system. If they become too weighed down with ice, they can pull loose from your home, or become bent causing them to not function properly. Ice dams can even cause damage to your home’s fascia, siding, and foundation as the melting ice drips down the side of your home.

Here’s some information about why ice dams form and how you can take care of them.

How ice dams form

Ice dams result from melting snow refreezing when they get to the rain gutters or the edge of the roof. Typically, when it gets warm enough for the snow to melt, the entire roof surface reaches a similar roof temperature and any melting snow makes its way down to the rain gutters where it goes down the downspout. But when snow is melting as the result of poor insulation in the attic space, the edges of the roof are still too cold so the melting snow simply refreezes before it can make its way off the roof.

A good way to tell this is the case with your house is if you notice that most of the other homes in your neighborhood still have snow on their roofs while you do not.

How to take care of ice dams

What you don’t want to do is climb up on your roof with a pick axe or other sharp instrument and start hacking away at the ice. For one, it’s dangerous to be on your roof when it’s icy. Second of all, trying to chip away at the ice is likely to damage your shingles. Using ice melt chemicals can also damage your roof. The best way to get rid of ice dams short term is to use hot water to melt them away. Of course, the only long-term solution that will take care of this problem is improving the insulation in the attic to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.

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Source: bostonglobe .com/lifestyle/real-estate/2015/11/08/the-ice-dam-cometh-are-you-ready/1qwQlu3VN0rJJIDnzp09uL/story.html
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Local roofers warn against fly-by-night contractors

Storm season is an opportunity from some less-than-reputable contractors to make a quick buck. Fly-by-night contractors know that homeowners are most vulnerable when they’re desperate and they’re never more desperate than after a major storm has caused damage to their home and local contractors are swamped with calls. But it’s during these times when homeowners should be the most diligent.

Be wary of unsolicited visits

After a major storm, local, reputable roofers don’t need to go door-to-door to drum up business. Their good reputation in the community will ensure that they’ve got plenty of work in the aftermath of a storm.

So if someone comes knocking and offers to do roofing work, that should be a red flag
right off the bat. In the off chance that your roof did sustain damage and a roofer
working on a nearby home happened to notice and knocked on your door, you can still play it safe by ensuring the roofer is local.

Always hire local

Local roofers always stress the importance of hiring local, not out of self-interest, but because out-of-state roofers don’t have the same pressure to do good work. A local
roofer’s success depends on a good reputation in the community while a storm chasing contractor will be two states over the day after your roof is repaired.

The worst case scenario is the roofer is just scamming you, taking your money and skipping town. A best case scenario is they know what they’re doing but they’re not
around to honor any warranty and their work probably won’t be up the same standard of a licensed, local roofer.

What to watch for

Look for out-of-state license plates or a lack of company markings on a vehicle to know
if a contractor is just a storm chaser. You can look up a roofing contractor on the
Better Business Bureau website to ensure that a roofer is local and has a good
reputation in the area.

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