It seems everyone wants something different but does not know what is going to work for their house
Many factors must be taken into account as in what does the house look like, where do you live, what can you afford, what is functional under your conditions.
Fiberglass Asphalt shingles: If you have a cedar roof this would be more cost effective. For starting families it is usually the best way to go. A regular laminated shingle may not do anything as far as looks on a classy house. There are architectural shingles that may be better suited to this kind of house. And yes they do cost more, some are as much as cedar.
If you have vinyl siding & aluminum gutters changing the colour of your roof & gutters may be the only way of giving your house an updated look.
Also being able to walk on it safely to clean debris is important. Cedar, metal & synthetics can be very slippery & dangerous.
Keep in mind that not all shingles are created equal. Most of these products are not surviving the “LIFETIME” warranty that they are given. Some lifetime shingles need replacement in 10 years.
The warranty is against defects. If they wear out because you live in a rain forest that may not be considered a defect. Some manufacturers have a “Leak Only” warranty.
All warranties are only 100% transferable in the first 10 years, so keep that in mind when you buy a house with a warranty attached.
Rather than rely on a fictitious warranty do your research to find the best products
Cedar Shakes: If your house is like mine, where you see lots of roof & you have cedar siding or brick/stone on the front. It may not be as cost effective but a high quality shake can sure give a house that west coast look. If you are in an expensive area then it may keep the house value up as well. If you plan to stay in the house & like the look & it is in your budget there is no reason a CCA treated shake wouldn’t last 30 – 40 years. ( Split shakes are better than sawn shakes in our climate)
Cedar roofs ventilate like no other roof. Mold is non existent in the attic of cedar roofs. Cedar also insulates against heat in the summer & keeps the house warmer in winter. They are the last roofs to melt the snow off.
Cleaning can be an issue if you have lots of trees. & walking on them when wet should be left to a professional.
Shakes get a bad rap because they are expensive & most new construction contractors are looking for something in a budget they can afford. Second growth is a myth as nobody makes shakes out of second growth. Moreover it is unscrupulous manufactures putting in a large amount of defects that should have been graded out. These Tapersawn shake that are poorly graded are responsible for the curling, cracking & breaking that is commonly seen .
Synthetic Slates/Shakes: DC Roofing has been installing synthetics for about 12 years. We have tried most ( but not all) of the synthetics. All of these, recycled or new material are very, very expensive. 20% – 60% more than cedar. The look can be astounding though. If you are building a new home that has lots of roof that can be seen or even something that looks like an English Tudor it may be a consideration.
Some of these have been around for a long time & are very good wearing, 50 years may even be a reality. I have seen some of the older products fade dramatically, rubber & pure plastics have had some issues over the years. Rubber seems to be better if you stick to the darker colours. This is not to say they won’t last 50 years. Our climate being cooler may help these products but if you were in California or Arizona the UV may take its tole. Some of these have not been around long enough to collect that data. I personally like the products with limestone in them as the seem to be really stable ( colourfast & no warping)
These may be too expensive for the average home
Concrete Tiles: These have got a bit of a bad rap as well. For 25 years most of the tiles put on in the Fraser valley were the cheapest product on the market. Lack of cement in the tiles, poor finish & not changing out the dyes often enough made for an inferior product. Good concrete tiles will last 40 years even in our climate. Unfortunately they cost 2 – 3 times as much as contractors want to pay. Consider most of them a 20 – 25 year product. Couple that with the $10,000 or more that it costs to build a house to withstand the weight it may not be that cost effective either. They were made for a dessert, not a rainforest. Also to consider is the 30,000 lbs that an average roof weighs( that would be a 2 story 3000 sq ft house) We are in an earthquake zone. They do tend to grow a lot of moss which tends to plug up flashings & gutters. Less cost than cedar to install but extra construction cost make it very similar.
Metal Shingles & Snaplok: Most of these will probably stand the test of time. Some metal shingles look good, some are very shiny & the glare of the sun reflecting off of them take away from the house. Keep that in mind when purchasing. These are very slippery when wet. Cost will be as much or more than cedar.
Snaplock Can be a nice look. I would recommend a 24 gauge with a Kynar or similar finish as the fading would be almost nonexistent. You do need the house to be a little more modern with this look. As with most metal in a the Lower Mainland underlayment is important as condensation on metal can be a serious problem for the roof deck.
Metal is loud when it rains. If you keep your windows closed it would be ok but as we live in a warmer climate I leave my windows open at night so there is some noise associated with the roof. If you have trees over the house the constant dripping after a rain may be a little annoying. This is a better product for a dryer climate like Whistler.
Cost is similar to cedar but a difficult roof with lots of cutting can be expensive.
Flat Roofs: I will save that one for a later date