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Top roof types and covering materials to add value to your home

This article dwells on the top roof types and coverage materials to consider for your house. We dug deep to find the answers to popular questions about the best and the worst roofing options, their average prices, advantages, and drawbacks. This guide will help you select the right roof type and material from the point of structural issues, appearance, affordability, longevity, and water-resistant properties. Dive into this detailed round-up to make a well-informed decision about the roofing option for your home.

Top roof types and covering materials to add value to your home

Table of contents

1. Different types of roofs available on the US market

1.1. Flat or low-slope roof

1.2. Gable roof

1.3. Jerkinhead or half-hipped roof

1.4. Hip roof

1.5. Mansard roof

1.6. Skillion roof 

1.7. Gambrel roof

2. What are the best types of roof replacement covering materials to consider for your house?

2.1. Metal roofing

2.2. Green plant roofing

2.3. Slate roofing

2.4. Asphalt shingle roofing

2.5. Rubber roofing

2.6. Clay roofing 

2.7. Wood roofing

3. Leave your roof installation to licensed professionals

Roofing is a vital element that ensures the home's structural integrity and affects its curb appeal. While designing a building, one should select a roof type matching its style and a region's weather pattern. Another thing to consider is the covering material that should meet efficiency and durability requirements. 

Delve into the available roof shapes and slopes as well as covering and shingle options to ensure your new roof perfectly complements the home's exterior. Understanding the basic roof materials and types, their characteristics, and drawbacks will help you conclude on the option that features excellent performance qualities.

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Different types of roofs available on the US market

We made up a list of seven traditional roofing types found in various US regions. Plunge into our guide to pick the best option from an aesthetic and performance perspective.

Flat or low-slope roof

Though flat roofs tend to be 100% flat, they have a slight slope that ensures water run-off. They are installed on strip malls and industrial buildings but can also be seen in contemporary residential buildings. 

Pros. Low-slope roofs provide extra housing space for a garden or a patio. They allow enough room for installing cooling and heating units. On top of that, flat roofs contribute to households' energy independence as one can easily install solar panels on them. 

Cost. Compared to other roof types, flat ones are relatively cheap to build and install. The average cost per square varies from $400 to $1150. Despite the low initial spending, the price can get higher in the long run because of the additional repair- and maintenance-related costs.

Cons. Flat roofs are not best to install in cold climates as they're vulnerable to leaks and ice dams.

Gable roof

Gable is the most widespread roofing style seen in American homes. It has two sloping sides that meet at the highest point, forming the triangle spot. You can easily tell a Dutch gable roof by the signature triangular end wall. 

Pros. Gable roofs feature a steep slope, letting water and snow slide down without obstruction. You can bid farewell to snow-related collapses by installing this roof on your house. Gable roofs are commonly used for garages as they give enough room to store spare wheels and other auto parts. Energy efficiency is another advantage of gable roofs. Thanks to the high slope, they allow proper ventilation, reducing restraint on the HVAC system.  

Cost. Gable is one of the cheapest roof types on the market. Its affordability is explained by plain design and simple installation. The average price per square starts at $1600 and goes up to $3000. 

Cons. A gable roof is not the best pick for windy and hurricane-prone areas as covering materials can easily peel away during strong winds.

Jerkinhead or half-hipped roof

The jerkinhead roof has a distinctive and complicated design that resembles the church dome. The word "jerkinhead" has a Scottish origin and is translated as a "church roof." Other names you can come across are "Dutch hip" and "half-tank." This jerkinhead roof comprises components of hip and gable roofs. It has taken its shape and two sides going for the ridge from a gable roof, while its top peaks forming small hips at the roof ridge's ends are taken from hipped roofs.

Pros. The half-tank roofs have gentle slopes and flattish peaks that increase their stability and aerodynamic properties. Thanks to a higher pitch, they better resist damages caused by wind or snow and grant more housing space than gable roofs. ​On top of that, these roofs have an intricate design that can enhance the home's curb appeal. 

Cost. Get ready to shell out if you're about to install this roof type. It has a complex design and requires significant effort to install on the house. Thus, labor costs can make the largest share of your roof replacement budget. The price you will be quoted for installation may go up to $38.000. 

Cons. The half-hipped roofs are difficult to maintain. Roofers come with special equipment to reach remote spots for inspection and repair. These inconveniences result in higher expenses for the owner.

Hip roof

A hip roof has four equal-length sides, gathering at the top, with symmetrical slopes but without gables. The adjoining sides coincide with the external angle, creating the hip. These roofs usually have a rectangular shape. They're prevalent in American households, especially in the northern part of the country. You can easily distinguish them by faces that are similar in pitch. 

Pros. Hip roofs are resistant to high winds and hurricanes due to their four-sided structure. Plus, they are sturdy and better protect a house against the elements than flat and gable options. Another advantage to highlight is the aesthetic appeal these roofs may add to your home. They give the freedom to introduce multiple interior decoration ideas into life while making the proper accent on the home’s exterior. Hip roofs can also add extra living or storing space in the attic. 

Cost. The cost of a hipped roof installation may vary depending on its overall size, pitch, and covering material. If you're about to install this roof on a single-story home, your budget will amount to $210 per square. 

Cons. A complicated design makes these roofs quite pricey to build and install. You will need to hire an expert roofing crew to ensure proper installation. Otherwise, your new roof may quickly become susceptible to leaks. By the way, the same rule is relevant to all roof types - the more qualified your installers, the higher roof longevity you can expect. 

Mansard roof

With its design being French in origin, this roof is notable for its four double-sloped sides that converge on top to create a low-pitched area in the center. The roof sides can be curved or flat, while its lower slopes are always steeper than the upper ones. 

Pros. Mansard roofs bring old-world aesthetics to modern homes. Thanks to their ultimate elegance and Renaissance sophistication, they can do wonders for your home curb appeal. Besides, mansard roofs are best for enlarging space inside the house. They give an abundance of interior attic space so that you can build the additional room upstairs. 

Cost. A mansard roof is one of those roof types the replacement of which can break the bank. While the size, coverage material, and location can add to the installation cost, you should expect to pay $17.000 to $58.000 per project. 

Cons. With the low pitch in the uppermost area, mansard roofs are leak-prone and poor to withstand hurricanes and heavy snowfalls. They're seldom seen in areas with extreme weather conditions. If you're one of those, who have fallen for mansard roofs because of their signature design, get ready to spend a pretty penny on installation and maintenance. The complexity of design and multiple hard-to-reach areas make these roofs costly to clean and repair. These days, a few contractors are well-versed in dealing with mansard roofs. If you cannot find a roofer with the proper expertise, consider trying your luck on the HomeQuote platform.

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Skillion roof 

A skillion roof has nothing in common with other more standard roof types seen on American homes. It may resemble a flat roof, but its steep pitch makes it unique. Skillion roofs are typically used for porches, sheds, and garages. Nevertheless, they can also be installed in residential homes.

Pros. Skillion roofs are cheap to build as they're made up of a single panel and require fewer cover materials. A knowledgeable DIYer can change a roof pitch, slope, or design without professional assistance. The skillion is also convenient to clean and maintain. This roof can be a perfect fit for snowy and rainy areas as all accumulated water easily slides down in a gutter system, not creating leaks. Particular attention should be given to a style of skillion roofs. They have a sleek, minimalist look, perfect for contemporary cottages.

Cost. As we've already mentioned, these roofs don't require extra knowledge to be installed. They're built on rafters and cost 2-3 times less than hip and even gable roofs. However, the quality of cover materials and the number of beams can affect the final quote. You can expect to spend between $4.000 and $12.000 to install this type of roof. 

Cons. Unfortunately, skillion roofs cannot withstand high winds and can be easily damaged during the storm. Another drawback goes to the absence of additional attic space. You can get the higher ceilings by installing this roof, while your loft area will most likely be reduced.

Gambrel roof

A gambrel, also referred to as a barn roof, comprises two sides with one gentle and one steep (almost vertical) slope. Initially, this roof was used on barns and sheds, but now it can be seen in log cabins, farmhouses, and even Georgian-style homes. The roof style allows leveraging the upper story's area, making it a perfect choice for big families.

Pros. In our days, when the farmhouse style comes back into fashion, gambrel roofs have become a choice of the growing number of householders. They are great for creating extra space in the house and accommodating the second or third story. Gambrel roofs are easy to build because of their plain structure comprising beams and gusset joints. They can be an excellent pick for cost-conscious homeowners valuing quality and a rustic American style. On top of that, this type of replacement roof is suitable for rainfall areas. Their structure allows water to flow down the building without accumulating on the top. 

Cost. As with other roofing options, the price to install a gambrel roof will depend on factors like the size, building type, covering materials, location, etc. If counting both material and labor costs, the total installation cost may go up to $30.000 for a 2.000 square foot area roof.

Cons. They can be a poor choice for buildings located in areas with heavy snowfalls and strong winds. In case of extreme pressure, roofs with an open design can collapse. Gambrel roofs require regular maintenance and inspection to ensure no leaks and damages have occurred. In addition, ventilation problems are common with this roof, resulting in the rapid growth of mold and mildew under the ceiling.

What are the best types of roof replacement covering materials to consider for your house?

With so many roof coverings being in place, unaware homeowners can quickly get confused while selecting the right option for their homes. Nevertheless, the deeper insight you gain on the topic, the fewer surprises there will be along the way. 

Roofing material is a crucial consideration that may affect the lifespan of your roof and make or break your house's visual appeal. Here is the list of questions you have to answer before picking the right covering option for your roof:

  • How much does it cost to install and maintain the roof with a specific coverage? 
  • Can the selected material withstand the climate conditions prevailing in the area?
  • How much weight can your roof hold? 
  • Does the chosen covering option require framing? 
  • Does the material feature leak- and fire-resistant properties?

Read on to get an in-depth round-up of popular roofing coverages available on the market. 

Metal roofing

These roofs vary in the type of metal they are produced from. You can come across galvanized steel, copper, aluminum, tin, or zinc, with the first one being the top choice among professional roofers. The average lifespan of this covering is 40 years, but it may last even longer with the proper maintenance. Metal roofs are robust but prone to corrosion. Fortunately, this issue is easily solved with epoxy or ceramic coatings. 

Pros. With their many styles and types, metal roofs offer great diversity for customers. They come in numerous colors and imitate wood, slate, and asphalt shingles. Metal covering is lightweight, highly durable, eco-friendly, and recyclable. It lasts 2-3 times longer than its cheaper counterparts, requiring little maintenance. Roofs made up of this material are commonly seen in extreme wildfire risk areas like Texas and California. That's because metal covering has a Class-A fire rating.

Cost. The cost of metal roofing, especially a copper-made one, can become a deal-breaker for a middle-class homeowner. Depending on the selected metal roof type, one should expect to pay $70 to $160 per square. Aluminum shingles cost $330 per square while copper ones go up to $2.500 per square. 

Cons. As previously mentioned, a metal roof can cost you an arm and a leg. If you have a limited budget, it's better to go for more affordable options like wood and asphalt. Metal roofs may produce a lot of noise when the rain or hail hits them. If not regularly sealed, this roof can become a victim of corrosion.

Green plant roofing

Green or living roofs look like lawns with wildflowers or grass on top of your house. They come into two primary forms - intensive (up to 150 pounds of vegetation per square foot) and extensive (20-25 pounds of vegetation per square foot). These roofs can have drainage layers or be planted with modular plants. The structure of a green roof is protected with additional waterproofing coverage.

Pros. Green roofs are extraordinary and aesthetically pleasing. They can increase the value of your home, making it more appealing to potential buyers. Plants covering the top create a solid barrier from moisture, ensuring the long run of its membrane. Living roofs are 100% eco-friendly - they improve air quality and prevent smog and dust distribution. Plus, this coverage protects the house from excessive heat and cold, contributing to energy-saving. 

Cost. A green roof is a costly affair - the price may go up to $50.000 depending on the square footage. Your spending on intensive options maintenance may vary from $1.000 to $2.000 annually. 

Cons. Green roof installation is labor-intensive and costly. These roofs require a waterproofing membrane and an irrigation system for plant watering. A green roof might be the worst idea for arid or storm-prone regions.

Slate roofing

Slate roofing has been used in the US since the 1600s. This material is the number one choice for the growing number of American house owners despite its high price and heavyweight. Slate tiles are made from natural stones cut into thin pieces. This covering material has multiple undeniable advantages, chief among which is age resistance. The expected lifespan of this roof is 60-150 years. 

Pros. Slate is the top-most roof type available on the market. It is highly durable, waterproof, freeze- and fire-resistant. Slate roofs are built to last with little maintenance required. They are ​not susceptible to weather extremes and can easily withstand scorching sun or heavy snow. Another advantage of this material is its beauty. Tiles made of natural stone look attractive and have clean lines. Slate is available in various shapes, thicknesses, and colors to create fascinating home exteriors. Homeowners typically set their sights on this covering as it helps boost the home's curb appeal and its sale value. 

Cost. Slate roofing is one of the most pricey covering options, and for a reason. It is heavy and complicated to install. The average slate roof cost varies between $12.100 and $24.800. 

Cons. It is the most expensive of all roof types due to the high manufacturing costs. Slate is the heaviest roofing material, with an average weight of 900 pounds per square. A slate roof requires technical experience to install. Make sure to find a roofing crew with proven expertise not to throw money down the drain. 

Asphalt shingle roofing

Asphalt shingles are commonly made of fiberglass or other organic materials covered with a layer of gravel for waterproofing UV light resistance. Asphalt is the cheapest type of roofing used by around 75% of Americans. Houses covered with asphalt shingles are commonly seen in suburban areas in the southern regions. This material is easy to install, but DIY attempts may result in poor performance of the drainage system. 

Pros. Asphalt shingles are designed to protect a house from nature's elements and fire. They're available in a range of styles and colors. A homeowner always has a choice to go for a low-priced strip roofing or eye-catching architectural fiberglass shingles. This durable material can serve 15-30 years with minimal upkeep. 

Cost. Asphalt roofing is one of the cheapest covering options on today's market. The average price to install asphalt shingles is about $9.000. The size of the roof, the quality and type of the material, and local labor costs contribute to the final quote.

Cons. Asphalt shingles are brittle and can be cracked due to rapid temperature fluctuations. This material is not suitable for regions with extreme temperatures and strong winds. The cheapest types of shingles cannot last more than 15 years. This material is the least eco-friendly and cannot be recycled. 

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Rubber roofing

Rubber roofs, also called EPDM, are used predominantly on commercial buildings. Though they also gain popularity among private homeowners. This type of roofing, available in shingles and rolls, is made of recycled materials and can be easily installed on the top of your house.

Pros. Rubber roofs are low-cost, lightweight, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly. They do not require much maintenance over their lifespan and can serve up to 30-50 years. This material works best for flat and skillion roof types. It looks muted and suits modern exterior designs. 

Cost. You should expect to pay between $6.500 and $18.300 to install a rubber roof. Consider your roof size and type, labor, and additional materials when crunching the numbers.

Cons: The roof’s color may gradually face away, ruining the overall house appearance in the long run. All rubber roofs are delicate and can be punched by tree twigs or other falling objects, leading to leakages.

Clay roofing 

Roofs covered with clay have a signature look and draw the eye. This material is ideal for hot and dry regions like California or coastal Florida. It does not require much investment to maintain and can serve for years. Nevertheless, clay is heavyweight and can be installed only on solid structures. 

Pros. Clay tiles are incredibly durable and can serve more than 50 years. This material is fire- and pest-resistant with better protection from water penetration. Clay coverage perfectly matches certain home styles like European and Mediterranean. It comes in multiple textures and shades, allowing to develop the custom exteriors. Clay is considered an eco-friendly roofing material as it is simple to recycle. 

Cost. The average cost for a clay roof installation ranges between $23.000 and $48.300 (approximately $1500 per square). 

Cons. Though clay tiles are relatively cheap, their installation is costly, and they require extra framing support for their heavyweight. Tiles can easily break from the weight of an adult human, and that is why all repair works become much thicker to handle. 

Wood roofing

Wood is among the oldest roof covering materials dating back to the early 18th century. Apart from creating a rustic appearance that gives any house a unique touch, it has many other advantages and is worth the investment. This covering is made of cypress, pine, cedar, and redwood. You can come across wood shingles and shakes - the last option is handmade and may look a bit rough. 

Pros. Wood is a natural, lightweight material (around 200 lbs per square) that gives a house a distinctive look. This coverage may serve you 25-30 years with proper maintenance. Shingles are offered in different sizes, shapes, and colors. They are commonly made from salvaged trees and can be easily recycled into mulch and chips. Wood is resistant to high winds and works as one of the best insulating materials. Redwood and cedar shingles are best to resist moisture and pests. 

Cost. Wood roofing is a superior material that costs anywhere between $650 and $1.200 per square. Shakes are usually a little more expensive than shingles, with prices of $380 and $350 per square accordingly. 

Cons. Due to poor fire resistance, wood shingles cannot be installed in fire-prone areas. They require regular maintenance, including chemical preservatives and spray-on-fire retardant usage at least once per two years. Wood roofing is also vulnerable to rot, mold, and water damage.

Leave your roof installation to licensed professionals

If you want to get the best value for your money, avoid troublesome issues, and install excellent roofing that will serve for decades, it's advisable to entrust work to professionals. Fortunately, today's advanced technologies allow searching through local contractors' offers from the comfort of your couch. It is fast, easy, and does not imply any commitments. 

HomeQuote is a platform that finds the best contractors based on specific needs and geography. You just need to take a few simple steps to get matched to a local roof replacement contractor of your liking. HomeQuote boasts an ever-increasing network of screened roofing companies with corresponding licenses, specialists, and equipment to provide you with the best service. 

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