Whether you’re finishing your new home build or you’re redoing your roof to ensure that your home remains protected from the elements, you have some decisions in front of you. You’ll have to decide on the right roofing material for your abode, as well as the color of said material. So, how do you decide? Well, here at Red Dog’s Roofing, we have a few years of experience putting new roofs on homes here in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and we have a few tips in store to help you to decide on the best roofing material for your home. Here are some ideas that you can consider as you shop around and weigh your options.

Consider Your Home’s Exterior Material

First thing’s first, you’ll want your new roof to pair well with the exterior of your home. Try to find a material that meshes with the aesthetic of your abode’s exterior. For example, if you have a home that features a natural material (e.g. wood or stone), then you may want a slate tile roof to complete that look. Below we have compiled tips that are specific to each of the various home exteriors that are commonplace here in Massachusetts, so you can plan for your roof accordingly.

Vinyl, Fiber Cement, & Composite Siding

These materials are by far the most common here in Massachusetts, as well as across the nation, thanks to their affordability. Plus, vinyl, fiber cement, and composite siding options are all rather resilient, even in the face of the forces of Mother Nature. Since this is a standard building material, you can really get away with most roofing materials out there. Opt for asphalt shingles to keep costs down — your home certainly won’t stand out, yet it will remain functional, and you’ll get great value out of your roofing material. Or, you can install a metal roof for a long-lasting solution that holds its value while lending protection to your home. Metal roofs are available in all sorts of colors, and they can be painted to nearly any color, so that you can customize the look of your home. Composite slate tile roofs are becoming more and more popular due to their aesthetic (they look nearly the same as true slate tile roofs), and their affordability. Plus, these roofs are available in a wide variety of textures and colors, so you can find the look that suits your abode best. You may want to shy away from using natural slate tile on your roof, since it may be too expensive, and your roof structure may be too weak to support this heavier material. Sure, slate looks great, but it may not make sense to invest so much money into your home when it may prove difficult to regain those dollars, should you ever place your home on the market. Similarly, you may not want to install wood shakes on your roof, since they may not last as long as other materials, and they may look odd in a neighborhood where most homes have vinyl, fiber cement, or composite siding, and most roofs have asphalt shingles.

Wood Siding

If you have a home with wood siding, we’d recommend shingles, wood shakes, metal roofing, or slate tile. Since wood siding looks natural, yet it can be painted, it can work with nearly any roofing material. Pair wood siding with asphalt shingles for an affordable roof with a simple look. Or, consider wood shakes atop your wood-sided home to make your home look contiguous and completely natural. You can also install metal roofing, which is affordable, resilient, and commonplace for homes with wood siding, and even log cabins. Slate tiles also mix well with wood, since both materials are naturally beautiful. Just be sure that your home can support these heavier tiles — you can have a roof inspector out to take a look at the structural support for your roof. We don’t recommend installing composite slate tiles, since they may look unnatural in comparison with your home’s wood siding — especially if your siding is unpainted. Composite slate tiles may look out of place when they’re on top of natural wood siding, and the juxtaposition of the two materials may be off-putting.

Stone Walls

Stone homes have a natural appeal, and they work well with roofs made of natural materials. We recommend wood or slate if you have a home with stone walls or features. Slate tile is an excellent choice, since stone homes are built to last. The slate can last just as long as the stone (since it really is stone), which means that your home can endure wear and tear for decades on end, without much maintenance. You’ll also love the aesthetic appeal and solid look of stone and slate. You can also consider wood shakes to continue the natural theme of your home, while giving it a bit less “weight.” Wood looks lively atop stone walls, and it won’t seem to compress your home, which may prove true with slate. However, wood shakes don’t last forever, and you’ll have to swap them out every couple decades. If you’re looking for a roofing solution that has as much character as your stone walls, then wood shakes may be the best option.

Brick Homes

Similarly, you can install wood and slate tile on top of a brick home. Brick also has that solid look, and your home’s structure will likely be adequate to support the weight of slate. Plus, dark slate can help to accent the lively reds, tans, and whites of the brick of your home. As we mentioned above, you can consider wood for a livelier composition. Just take note that the color of your wood shake roof will change over time. Cedar roofs change from a brown sugar color to a charcoal grey over time, so plan accordingly! If you’re looking for the most affordable option for your home, you can always opt for shingles. However, you may not want to install metal roofing — it can look a bit odd to have a material with so much texture and character (the brick) against a material that is fairly uniform (the metal).

Stucco Exteriors

If you have a stucco home, you can increase its aesthetic appeal with wood shakes or slate tiles. Stucco homes have an enticing texture that you won’t find on other home exteriors, and shakes and slate can work to highlight that texture, since each tile or shake will be unique. You can also opt for asphalt shingles to save some money. Consider shingles that are patterned instead of monotone shingles to break up the composition of your roof.

Take a Look at the Neighborhood

While you may want to put a metal roof on your home, you should be wary that it may stick out a bit if you’re in a neighborhood where everybody else has shingle and shake roofs. Take a look around the neighborhood to see if there’s a theme for the roofs of local homes. If you don’t want a home that sticks out like a sore thumb, it may be wise to stick with the neighborhood theme. This may prove valuable if you ever choose to sell your home, since home buyers are more likely to be interested in homes that fit well with their neighboring homes, instead of a home that looks out of place. If you don’t have neighbors nearby or all of the homes of your neighborhood are unique, then you’re free to get creative with your roof. And heck, it’s your home anyway, so do what you’d like!

Consider Cost

Of course, you should consider the cost of the roofing material that you choose for your home. More importantly, you should consider the value that you get out of that material. Consider installing more expensive, more durable roofing materials (like slate) if your home has high value, or if you plan on living in your home for decades on end. These materials will retain their value and increase the overall value of your home, should you decide to sell. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that you have a highly durable roofing material protecting your home. On the flip side, you should consider affordable materials (like shingles) if the home is fairly low in value in comparison with other homes on the market, or if you are planning on selling your home soon. You wouldn’t want to install a slate roof on a home that you’ll only live in for a year, since it’s unlikely that you’ll reclaim all of the value that you invested when you put your home on the market.

Weigh Your Color Options

Now that you’ve decided on the right material for your roof, you’ll need to consider the color of that material (unless you’re going with wood shakes, which are wood-colored). Here are a few quick tips that you should consider: Don’t match: While your first instinct may be to match your roof color with the rest of your home, this can prove overwhelming. Instead, use your roof to break up the composition of your home. You don’t have to go with a polar opposite color, but you should go with a color that won’t make your home look like one big, solid mass. Pair natural with natural: Natural-looking homes should be capped off with a natural-looking roof color. You may want to go with earthy brown and tan shingles, or possibly charcoal gray slate tiles to match the natural colors of your home. You wouldn’t want to pair bright red shingles with a home that has wood siding that is painted with pine green. Pair modern with modern: On the other hand, you can continue the modern theme of the exterior of your home by pairing it with a modern color. Consider monotone black shingles or dark slates for your modern-style home. Or go with a painted metal roof for a striking appeal.

A Note About Weight Restrictions for Slate Roofs

As we mentioned, slate tiles are heavier than other roofing materials, and they require adequate support for an installation. However, this roofing material is still a worthwhile option, thanks to its incredible durability (slate tiles can last a century or more) and their beautiful aesthetic. Just be sure to have your roof structure inspected before you move forward with this roofing type. After all, slate tile roofs can weigh anywhere from 800 pounds to 1,500 pounds per roofing square (one roofing square is equal to one hundred square feet, by the way). Meanwhile, lighter materials, like asphalt shingles, only weigh about 200 pounds per roofing square. That means you’ll need far more support for a slate roof.