The roof is a crucial part of your home, but most homeowners don't give it much thought. While it's common to spend days agonizing over the perfect type of siding or shutters, the roof rarely gets the same attention. Unfortunately, it's most common for people to start thinking about their roofs after a significant problem has been discovered by a home inspection company. Now that most of the U.S. is in the throes of winter, you might be more aware of your current roof's shortcomings than ever. It might be wise to use the remaining cold months as an opportunity to pick a new roofing option that will improve your home..

Consider the slope

Which sort of roofing best suits your house is based on a variety of factors, and the slope of your roof is a crucial consideration. Low-slope roofing, which is suitable for gently angled and flat roofs, has different weatherproofing and durability demands than the shingles that typically adorn slanted roofs. If you have a shallow slope on your roof, you have significantly fewer options for roofing. Mostly, these will consist of metal or polymer paneling or sprayed-on foams. In any case, a low-slope roof is most concerned with avoiding punctures and dissipating the sun's energy. Because it's not very slanted, a low slope roof is almost never in the shade. Coverings for low-slope roofs take this into account with surface treatments that reflect the sun's rays in addition to providing weather resistance. A roof can contribute a lot to your home's overall energy efficiency, as heat either enters the roof or escapes out. 

Shingles for sloped roofs

If you have a sloped roof, you're going to be looking at different shingle types as you decide on a roof surface.

  • Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles are the least expensive and most common type and are not particularly durable. You can recognize asphalt shingles by their rough texture. On average, standard asphalt shingles will last around 15 years, though there are more durable laminated versions that can last for over 20 years. If you're considering stepping up to laminated asphalt shingles, you should look into some other options that are similarly durable.
  • Wood shingles: Wood shingles can give any home a classic look and last for around 25 years, but they have some significant downsides. They are banned in some areas for being a fire hazard, and wood shingles that have been treated to resist flames are much more expensive than their natural counterparts. Additionally, wood does not age consistently. While the shingles might last longer overall than asphalt, individual shingles will occasionally split and rot in unattractive ways that are difficult to repair. 
  • Metal surfaces: A metal roof can be incredibly stylish and durable, but you will pay for the look. Metal roofs cost about four times as much as asphalt shingles, and are more difficult to install. While you can get lead shingles, it's also possible to get metal roofing that comes in sheets for a sleeker appearance. Metal also provides efficiency benefits because it insulates well and can last around 50 years. As an added bonus, an aluminum roof could be recycled after it's outlived its usefulness. 
  • Tile options: Concrete or clay shingles are particularly common on Southwestern-style homes and extremely durable. They are also heavy, have a tendency to trap heat and can be very expensive. That increased cost could be offset by their astonishing longevity. This type of roofing can last for more than 100 years. 

Choosing the proper roofing surface is a delicate balancing act between style, functionality and affordability. That said, the correct choice can provide your home with an aesthetic boost that improves its weather resistance and energy efficiency.