Different Roofing Materials: Pros and Cons

A variety of roofing styles are available to consumers—including shingles, tiles, and metal—and each style can come in a range of materials with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Shingle roofs are the most common in florida and are divided into two categories: wood shingles and asphalt shingles. Wood shingles have a natural look, provide added insulation, are easy to repair, have a cheap replacement value, and are also long lasting. Unfortunately, wood shingles are also complicated to install, can have low durability, require high maintenance, and present a fire hazard. Asphalt shingles are low cost, easy to install, fire resistant, come in a variety of colors, have a wide range of applications, and are easy to repair. But asphalt shingles are also environmentally unfriendly, require high maintenance, and have a short life expectancy.

—On average wood shingles can last 30 years, but they can last much longer under moderate weather conditions and proper maintenance.

—On average asphalt shingles can last 20 years, but they can last a shorter time without proper maintenance or a longer time with a higher-quality asphalt shingle.

Another popular roofing material in Florida is metal. Metal roofs are durable, fire resistant, low weight, energy efficient, require low maintenance, come in a variety of colors and styles, and are recyclable. But metal roofs also include a high initial cost, are difficult to install, and you may need to periodically paint them.

—On average metal roofs can last 40-80 years, while copper roofs can last 70+ years.

Tile roofs can be a beautiful addition to any home or building, and they come in a variety of styles, including clay, slate, and concrete. Clay tiles are attractive, long lasting, require low maintenance, come in a variety of colors, and are non combustible. Unfortunately, clay tiles are also heavy, expensive, complex to install, prone to fading, and walking on the roof may break the tiles. Slate tiles are beautiful, fireproof, long lasting, require low maintenance. But slate tiles are also expensive and heavy. Concrete tiles are durable, relatively lightweight, require low maintenance, and come in a variety of styles and colors, but they are also expensive.

—On average clay tiles can last 100+ years.

—On average slate tiles can last 60-150 years.

—On average concrete tiles can last 100+ years.

There are many factors to consider when choosing between these different roofing materials: life expectancy, maintenance, cost, and appearance.

Choosing the Right Roof for Florida

Florida’s tropical and sub-tropical climates make it a wonderful place to live, but the state’s environment can make choosing the right type of roof a difficult decision. High levels of UV exposure, a high level of annual rainfall, and the strong likelihood of hurricanes and tropical storms can all have an impact on your roof and should be considered when making a decision.

Hurricanes are an enormous threat to roofs due to high wind speeds. Metal and tile roofs installed using concrete and adhesive foam fair the best during storms, while shingle roofs can sustain serious damage. The damage to shingle roofs in high winds can be attributed to their age. In the hot Florida sun, shingles can become brittle and the adhesive may lose its effectiveness after only 12 years even if they were properly installed. Shingles do fair better against hail though, while metal and tiles run the risk of dents and chips.

UV exposure is also a serious risk to roofs in Florida. Not only can it effect Shingle adhesion, it can also turn the shingles a grey color through leaching paints. The same is true of certain tiles and even metal roofs. This UV fading might necessitate paining or staining to restore the color to your roof.

Florida’s high levels of rain can cause problems for shingles and untreated metal roofs. Older untreated metal roofs are prone to rusting, but the metal roofs manufactured now use a zinc or zinc and aluminum combination coating to prevent rust from forming and corrosion from salty ocean breezes, and it is bonded to the steel at the factories.Shingles on the other hand need to be serviced and cleaned regularly to prevent mildew and mold from growing and ruining your roof. Sealants are not necessarily a cure for this issue, because they can make shingles more brittle or prevent the sun from evaporating condensation that accumulates in the shingles.

There are many choices and decisions to consider before putting on a new roof in Florida, so you want to make sure you speak with your roofer about the many factors that might affect your new roof.