What’s the Best Roofing Material for an Old House?

Old house roofs not only have the charm of age and history, but they can serve your home well for many years. But, if you’re finding that it’s deteriorating and repairs seem inevitable, it’s time to act. Of course, older house roofs often don’t use modern roofing materials.


So, before getting started, know what you’re getting into with fixing an old roof. Let’s cover four common old house roofing materials and the pros and cons of each.


Asphalt and Composite Shingles


When choosing roofing materials for modern homes, asphalt and fiberglass composite shingles are a common choice when choosing roofing materials. While they are still considered relatively inexpensive overall, there are high-end options, as well. They come in a wide array of thicknesses and shades. In fact, some composite shingles can even mimic slate and wood shakes. Some manufacturers even offer a lifetime warranty on the high-end composite shingles.


Wood Shakes and Faux Shakes


Typically, wood shake roofs age with grace and character. Unfortunately, wood shakes age and begin to rot. That’s when leaks begin to drain into the roof system below and cause leaks in the home.


Also, true wood shakes have become far less popular over the years for safety reasons. That’s because as the wood shakes dry out with time, they can become a fire hazard. In fact, insurance companies will even offer discounts to homeowners who replace their original shake roofs with more fire resistant options.


Faux shakes are a great alternative that is made of cement, plastics, and other materials. Some faux cedar shakes are actually made from 95 percent recycled material. Being that they’re not true wood, they can retain shape and color for much longer. However, for those shakes that are cement-based, the existing roof structure may need to be reinforced to handle the additional weight of the new shakes.


Slate Roofs

Probably the most long-lasting roof material for an old house is slate. It’s also by far the most expensive as a thousand square feet of slate roofing costs over $40,000. However, these roofs have been reported to last over two centuries.


As this material is out of most homeowners’ budgets, there are fake slate options with the look. The cement based tile alternative is going to set you back about half the cost of the real thing. It may also not enjoy the same lifespan, but it’s still a solid roof material.


Metal Roofs

Metal is an old fashioned roofing material and one of the most versatile and durable. The natural patina they develop over time only adds to their charm. It can even be fashioned to mimic wood shake and fine slate roofing. Like slate, though, it can be very expensive to repair and replace.


Whatever materials you choose, be sure first to have your roof carefully inspected. It may even be prudent to get an infrared roof inspection before you make any big decisions. Also, try to stay consistent with other homes in your neighborhood, very important in assessing your home’s value.

Which of these roofing materials fit your home and budget best? It’s worth investing in a material that will serve your home both aesthetically and functionally. After all, having a strong roof over your head is the most important part of any home.


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