If your roof has passed the point of no return with roof repairs and gutter replacement and you are now in the market for a new roof, it can seem like a big decision. You want to make an economical decision, but also choose a roof that has longevity and durability. And the choices do not stop once you have picked your roofing material — you also need to think about choosing a roofing contractor for your roof replacement. All the options can seem overwhelming. Let us help break down the options and what you should be paying attention to during this process.

What Are My Roofing Options?
The four most common types of roofing material available are asphalt shingles, slate, metal, and composite.

Asphalt shingles are currently the most popular option on the market. They are an economical choice and easy to install. There are two types of asphalt shingles –Laminated and Three Tab. Laminated shingles are layered and three-tab asphalt shingles have one layer. An asphalt roof can have a lifespan between 15 to 20 years, though this depends on how the quality of the asphalt shingles and if they are properly installed. However, if you live in an area with high winds, asphalt shingles might not be the best choice for your home, as they are particularly vulnerable to wind damage.

Slate roofs are gorgeous in appearance and are comprised of 100% natural stone. They are also very durable — they can last up to 150 years or more with the right maintenance. They are also an environmentally friendly option and are fireproof as well — so if you live in an area that is at risk for drought or fires, this is a good option. However, they do tend to be pricier than asphalt or composite shingles and can be a bit more challenging to install.

Metal roofing has become more popular in recent years. It can be made up of steel, alloy strips, aluminum and even copper (which is more expensive). There are a variety of shapes, colors and textures. Plus metal roofs are easy to install and are very lightweight. Like slate, metal roofs are fireproof and can help keep your home cooler if you live in a hot climate. However, metal roofing can be pricey and requires a contractor who specializes in metal roof installations.

Lastly, Composite shingles are about the same weight as asphalt, but can be more expensive. They are made up of a variety of materials, which can include rubber, asphalt, plastic/polymer or clay. It can be slipperier than slate, so adding snow guards might be a good idea, if your home is in an area that receives a good amount of snow accumulation. Composite shingles are a relatively durable option and are easy to replace. However, some versions can crack under impact or fade, so do your research and choose your composite shingles wisely.

What Should I Look For When Choosing Roofing Companies or Contractors?
A roofing contractor should have a Contractors Dwelling License, Contractors Qualifier License, Liability Insurance, Worker’s Compensation Insurance and have warranties. A roofing contractor should have good credentials, be able to provide local references and testimonials about their work, and be established in the community. Make sure the roofing company/contractor has a good track record and can provide a written estimate that includes any promises made verbally to you. They should also draw up a contract that should be finalized and signed before any work begins. This protects you from shoddy contractors who take advantage of people who need roof replacement done after a storm. In addition to having a contract, make sure the contractor communications well about the job and answers all your questions.

Putting a new roof on your home and choosing between roofing contractors does not need to be intimidating. With time and careful research you can become empowered and the process and end result of a new roof can be rewarding.