Over Your Head: How Today's New Roofing Products Can Dramatically Change the Appearance of Your Home

You may sentimentally recall your mother asking you if you were aware of how hard your father had to work to put a roof over your head. It was a rhetorical question, actually meant to make you do whatever chore it was that you skipped out on. But let’s take up the question posed by mothers everywhere once again. It makes more sense for us today than it did when we were kids.

Just how much does that roof over our heads cost? And if we should happen to be tired of the way it looks, what choices do we have to add style and protection to our home?

Back to Basics

Your home design can hide…or push the roof right out there for everybody to see. Visibility is always the first consideration when you’re thinking about roof replacement. Even if you’ve got a healthy budget, you can’t always get what you want.

Material weight will always play a factor. Your existing roof infrastructure may not have been built to handle switching out an asphalt roof for ceramic tile.

The first step is to determine what you can have. Then plan accordingly. You may not just be replacing the roof’s exterior materials. Those materials, by the way, break into 6 basic varieties.


It’s that familiar dark stuff, and it’s the most common residential roofing material used in the US. This is mainly because it’s also the most economical and easy to install.

Asphalt tiles don’t have to be a dark color, and they can be reinforced with fiberglass for weatherproofing without adding much weight.

The downside of asphalt roofing is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of insulation if your house is exposed to extreme weather conditions. It also doesn’t last very long.

Concrete or Clay

Homes throughout the southwest use this roofing material to capture regional influence. The style brings Mission, Southwestern, Spanish, or Mediterranean flair to your home.

These tiles are usually made of clay and concrete. It makes them energy efficient and resistant to fire. They also are about four times more expensive than asphalt tiles.

The very things that make them attractive also become liabilities. The safe and energy efficient tiles are heavy. You’ll need additional framing to support them.


A metal roof can create a dramatic change in the statement your house makes. The communication fits right into their extreme level of protection. A metal roof is your friend if you have to deal with the nastier side of what Mother Nature can throw out.

Metal roofing material often comes in sheets of stainless steel, copper, or aluminum. You’ll also find a growing selection of metal shingles. This style of roof is complementary to contemporary homes. Metal also gives a classy upgrade to cabins and bungalows.

Metal roofs are relatively light in weight, but they can be heavy on the budget.

Wood and Shake

Sometimes, back to basics works best. Most roofs were made of shake or wood shingles long before hybrid materials such as asphalt became available.

Wood shingles today are machine milled, but they still weather to a satisfying shade of gray. Handmade shakes provide an even more rustic look.

Wood or shake tiles are usually made of pure natural wood such as redwood, pine, or cedar. They’re not a good choice if there’s a lot rain and moisture in your forecast. This will cause rot and splitting. You’ll also need to check with your local building codes. It’s wood. Wood combusts. In some places, wood roofs are prohibited.


Close your eyes and let your imagination run wild. That’s the opportunity a growing collection of man-made materials is offering homeowners. These synthetic roofing products can mimic traditional things like wood or slate – or they can take you in a whole new dramatic direction.

There’s growing interest in these materials because they can combine the best of all worlds. For example, synthetic shingles can be impregnated with an energy efficient radiant barrier Just coming out on the market are revolutionary shingles that can be used as solar collectors. You may not even realize that’s what they do.

It was mostly for theatrics – that whole lecture about the long days your father worked to put a roof over your head. It’s okay, Mom. We’re old enough and wise enough now to know that the actually came with the house.

Mom, you still get all the credit. The roof-over-our-head lecture worked. We finally did end up doing the chores.

Talk to us about crowning your home with a new roof. We’re a proud member of the National Roofing Contractors Association. We warranty all of our craftsmanship and are able to provide extended material and labor warranties on all our installed products.