6 Roofing Materials for Your New Build

October 5, 2023


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If you’re familiar with extreme weather highs and lows (*raises hand in the Midwest*) you may know how important it is to have a high quality, durable roof for your home.

Minnesota is known for hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. But no matter where you live, choosing the right roofing material is essential to withstand weather conditions, reduce maintenance costs and avoidable repairs, and to keep you and your home safe.

Today we’re rounding up our favorite durable roof options to help you make the right decision when it comes to your roofing material.

1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials used, especially in the midwest. Not only are they versatile, but they are one of the most affordable options. Asphalt shingles are composed of a fiberglass layer coated with asphalt, which allows water to run off of them easily. The benefits to asphalt shingles are:

  • Cost. Hands down they are one of the most affordable options.
  • They come in a wide range of colors so you can find something that looks good with just about any home.
  • Asphalt shingles are really easy to install.
  • It is also easy to replace a couple shingles if a few get damaged.
  • They are beneficial for noise control – due to their makeup, they cushion outside noises better than other roofing materials.

Some of the downsides to asphalt shingles are:

  • Asphalt shingles don’t have the longest lifespan, normally running around 20-25 years depending on what you select.
  • They can get damaged in high winds and hail.

One thing to note is that if you do select asphalt shingles for your home, we highly highly recommend you select architectural shingles as oppose to three tab shingles. Architectural shingles are a little more expensive, but they add dimension and look way better in our opinion.

#thelakeloft by Alma Homes

2. Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are really common in the south and in areas with heavy rain. While they are more expensive than some other roofing options, but they do have a lot of advantages that can make them worth the investment. Some of the pros are:

  • Longevity. Many metal roofs can last up to 50 years.
  • Metal roofs are also a great sustainable option. Not only do they not need to be replaced as often, but they are normally made up of some recycled materials.
  • They have a great look. While the style of a metal roof may not be the right fit for every home, they are beautiful and add a lot of character to the right style of home.
  • Metal roofs are also durable. They resist wind, rain, and fire extremely well, which is really important in certain parts of. the country.
  • Generally speaking metal roofs don’t need a lot of maintenance.

So while there are a lot of perks to metal roofs, they also come with some downsides:

  • They are expensive. This is one of the biggest drawbacks. However, based on where you live in the country, they may be a bit more affordable if it is a really common roofing material.
  • Metal roofs can be LOUD. There isn’t much cushion when it comes to a metal roof, so you will definitely be hearing every drop of rain a lot more than you would with other roofing materials.
  • Metal roofs can dent. While they are pretty durable long term, things like hail can dent the metal roof pretty easily. This may not ruin the structural integrity of the roof, but it certainly will affect the aesthetic of it. Plus, if the dent chips the coating on it, the roof could start to rust.
Alma Homes 6 Durable Roof Materials for Your New Build
PC: homeedit.com

3. Slate Roofing

Slate roofs are absolutely beautiful and have been around for thousands of years, but being that they are a natural material, they come at a cost. The downsides to slate are:

  • It is one of the more expensive roofing materials on the market.
  • It can be more brittle that other roofing materials, which can make maintenance on your home an issue. If you need to walk on your roof to fix something, there is a chance the slate could crack.
  • Slate roof tiles are HEAVY, so your home needs to be either designed to accommodate their weight, or modified structurally to support their weight.
  • Slate can be really challenging to install, so you want to make sure you are working with something who is very experienced in installing slate roofs.

So with all of that working against slate, why would someone choose it? There are a lot of pros to this roofing material, namely:

  • The look. They are absolutely stunning and they come in a wide range of colors and shapes. Slate roof tiles are timeless design at its best.
  • Slate performs very well in a wide range of climates, and it is completely waterproof.
  • It doesn’t expand and contract much, which makes it a great option for harsher climates that have extreme temperature variations, and it performs really well in really cold climates.
  • Slate generally holds up well under extreme weather such as hail, wind, and even fire.
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4. Synthetic Slate

If you love the look of slate but don’t want the hefty price tag, synthetic slate shakes may be a great options for you. The main drawback to synthetic slate is just that, it’s synthetic. While there are many very realistic looking ones, it is a manmade material, so you do lose some of the beauty of the natural slate. Along those lines, synthetic slate shakes also don’t last as long as slate would. However, on the plus side, synthetic slate comes with a lot of benefits:

  • Synthetic slate shakes are less expensive than natural slate tiles, but be warned, they are still expensive.
  • They are a lot lighter in weight so you don’t need additional structural reinforment.
  • Many companies offer really long warranties on the synthetic slate.
  • Although its synthetic, they do look very realistic and come in a wide range of colors.
Alma Homes 6 Durable Roof Materials for Your New Build
PC: davinciroofscapes.com

5. Flat Roof (EPDM)

If you want a modern home, chances are you’ve considered a flat roof. In order to create a flat roof, you will likely use Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM). Even if you aren’t doing a flat roof on your entire home, if you do accents (like on the

#bloomingtonbuild below), or if you have a deck/patio above living space, you will still use EPDM to waterproof those areas.  The main benefit to EPDM is the fact that is one of the only ways you are able to achieve a flat (or flat look – every roof will have some degree of pitch to it) look on your home.  The material is relatively affordable, but install can be quite expensive.

The downsides to EPDM are as follows:

  • In certain climates, it can expand and contract, so it likely will need ongoing maintenance.
  • It can be rather expensive once labor is factored into the equation.
  • If the material cracks, you can have water intrusion, which is never a good thing.
#bloomingtonbuild by Alma Homes

6. Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles are absolutely beautiful and they give a very warm, traditional look to your home. Cedar is a natural material, and is also a natural insulator, which helps prevent the transfer of heat and cold through your roof.  They perform well in wind, rain, and snow, and with proper maintenance, they last a long time.

The main drawbacks to cedar roofs are:

  • Their cost. Again, since they are a natural material, they are really expensive.
  • Cedar roofs will also weather over time, which many people like the look of. However, you do want to be aware of the fact that the cedar shingles will turn gray over time.
  • They also will need regular maintenance. Without maintenance, you run the risk of the shingles buckling, rotting or even burning.
  • This goes without saying, but cedar roofs are not fire resistant

Like with slate, there are synthetic or composite options available to give you the look of cedar without some of the drawbacks, but they will still be rather expensive.

Alma Homes 6 Durable Roof Materials for Your New Build
PC: studio-mcgee.com

Okay, we know that was a lot of information to take in — but it doesn’t get much more important than the roof, right? Your home’s roof can sometimes be overlooked, but now you have everything you need to choose the right type of durable roofing material. Tell us, what material will you be using for your home?

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