What’s the Best Roof Material for the Northeast?

Homeowners living in the American Northeast, in places like upstate Pennsylvania, New York, and throughout New England, typically deal with some of the most variable weather in the country. Summers can be blazing hot and humid while spring and fall make way for milder weather and cooler temperatures. Winters throughout the Northeast can be brutal, bringing both frigidly cold temperatures and heavy snowfall.

One of the most important considerations for homeowners in the Northeast to make is roofing material. A high-quality roof can provide superior protection against the elements, but different roofing materials all have benefits and drawbacks. If you’re considering a roof replacement or need an extensive roof repair in the near future, you should know your options when it comes to roofing material so you can choose the variety that offers the best value.

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

An aerial shot of an Erie Home Asphalt Shingle that is in the Monaco Red color.

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in America and have been the traditional choice for roofing material in the country for generations. An asphalt shingle roof typically consists of roof decking laid over the supporting joists of the roof, an underlayment to protect the decking from seeping water, and then asphalt shingles attached in rows running along the roof’s planes starting from the bottom near the eaves.

Asphalt shingles are lightweight, flexible, durable, and can hold quite a lot of snow and rain without allowing it to seep into a home. They are also available in many different colors and styles allowing for a wide variety of customization options. It is also possible to find asphalt shingles that mimic the appearance of cedar or slate shakes. A professionally installed asphalt shingle roof can last up to 30 years under ideal conditions, but it will eventually require replacement. Some of the most common issues with asphalt shingle roofs are impact damage from hail, chipping, curling, and dislodged shingles that can make way for leaks.

Western Red Cedar Roofs

A Beautiful Erie Home Metal Roof featuring a Barclay Metal Roof

Western red cedar shakes are great roofing material that offer a classic, rustic look. Western red cedar shakes are quite smooth and cut to uniform thickness, but their widths usually vary. This creates an uneven roof texture that can be quite visually appealing for some homes. Western red cedar shakes or shingles look particularly attractive on cottages, bungalows, Cape Cod, and Tudor-style houses.

Cedar shake roofs are highly durable and can withstand rain, hail, high winds, and snowstorms. The Northeast experiences a wide range of precipitation throughout the year and cedar shakes can offer fantastic year-round protection. However, wood is susceptible to rot, so it’s essential for Northeastern homeowners to purchase pretreated cedar shakes. Installation can also be time-consuming, so choosing a cedar shake roof over an asphalt shingle roof is usually the more expensive option.

Slate Roofs

Slate roofs consist of shingles made from smoothed slate stone. Most homeowners in the Northeast find slate roofs to be beautiful, and they are also incredibly durable and long-lasting. Slate roofs also offer superior fire protection compared to asphalt and cedar shake roofs, and a properly maintained slate roof can last 50 to 100 years. This type of roofing works best with European, French, and Colonial-style homes.

Despite the advantages of slate roofs, this option is the heaviest and often the most expensive. Slate roofs are only viable options for homes that are sturdy enough to support them, and they are also typically expensive to install. A slate roof can be a fantastic investment that looks beautiful, but Northeastern homeowners should keep the cost in mind when considering slate roofing.

Metal Roofs

A Beautiful Erie Home Metal Roof featuring a Charcoal Granite Ridge Shingles

Many homeowners throughout the Northeast are upgrading their homes with new metal roofs. This style of roof offers several advantages over other roofing materials. It offers superior weather protection, but it is not as heavy as slate. Installing a metal roof requires specialized equipment and an experienced installation team, but the right team can complete the job faster than many homeowners might expect.

Metal roofs are available in several different styles. Standing seam metal roofs consist of vertically arranged metal panels that interlock along a roof’s planes. It’s also possible to install a shingle-style metal roof with strips of metal shingles. Homeowners can find metal roof material that mimics the appearance of asphalt shingles, cedar shake, or even Spanish tile. Homeowners in the Northeast can also choose from a wide variety of finishes and colors to customize their metal roofs.

One of the drawbacks to installing a new metal roof is the price; it is generally more expensive to install a metal roof than an asphalt shingle roof. However, a metal roof will more than make up the difference with its low maintenance requirements and longevity. A properly maintained metal roof can last 50 years or longer and withstand weather far better than an asphalt shingle or cedar shake roof. With such long-lasting value and personalization options, a metal roof is a fantastic investment for any home in the American Northeast.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a New Roofing Material

A Beautiful Erie Home Metal Roof featuring a Barclay Metal Shingle Roof.

Homeowners in the Northeast should also consider several other factors aside from just performance and aesthetics when deciding on a new roof. Two of the most important factors for this decision should be maintenance and cost of ownership.

Asphalt shingle roofs generally require the least up-front investment, but they also require the most maintenance and won’t last nearly as long as a slate roof or metal roof. It’s vital to determine if the cheaper initial cost is worth it to you in the long run. If you plan to move in a few years, then investing in a higher quality roof will simply translate to a slightly higher sale price. If you plan to live in the house for years or even pass it on to your kids, then investing in a roof that promises a longer functional lifespan is the wiser option.

Maintenance can also become a problem for some types of roofs. Metal roofs typically entail the lowest maintenance requirements. If you want a roof that won’t require consistent maintenance and attention, metal is probably the best option.

Homeowners in the Northeast should also consider their insurance. Most homeowners’ insurance carriers offer discounts to homeowners who purchase safety and structural upgrades for their homes because they lower the risk of those homeowners filing insurance claims. If an insurance carrier discounts your insurance premium for buying a high-quality metal roof, this could save you thousands of dollars each year. Deciding on the best type of roof for your home in the Northeast is a major decision. Consider these differences and review your options carefully before making a final decision.

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