Buying a new roof and getting your money’s worth

There are a number of things to consider when selecting a new roof system. Of course, cost and durability head the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are important too. A new roof system is a big investment. We want to help you get a quality roof system at a fair price from a professional roofing contractor. We hope this information will make you a more knowledgeable consumer and, when the time comes, a smart roof system buyer.

Roof system components

All steep-slope roof systems (i.e., roofs with slopes of 25 percent or more) have five basic components

  1. Roof covering: shingles, tile, slate or metal and underlayment that protect the sheathing from weather.
  2. Sheathing: boards or sheet material that are fastened to roof rafters to cover a house or building.
  3. ?Roof structure: rafters and trusses constructed to support the sheathing.
  4. Flashing: sheet metal or other material installed into a roof system’s various joints and valleys to prevent water seepage.
  5. Drainage: a roof system’s design features, such as shape, slope and layout that affect its ability to shed


There are six generic classifications of steep slope roof coverings.

  1. Asphalt Shingles: Possess an overwhelming share of the US roofing market and can be reinforced with organic and fiberglass materials.
    • Organic Shingles consist of a cellulose-fiber (i.e. wood) base that is saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules
    • Fiberglass Shingles consist of fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layer of asphalt and mineral granules.
  2. Clay and Concrete Tile: this is the most durable roofing material. The tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes. The tile is heavy, therefore if you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure can support the load. Most commonly used in Florida and the Southwest. They also are available in a flat design to create more of a French or English look.
  3. Slate: This is considered virtually indestructible but it is the most expensive roofing material. It is commonly ?used in the Northeast of the U.S.
  4. Wood Shakes & Wood Shingles: this is made from cedar, redwood, southern pine and other woods. They are handmade and have a rougher look. It is popular in California and the Northwest and parts of the Midwest.