The cherry on top, the icing on the cake, the finishing touch … call it what you will, but often it’s that top layer that brings the whole thing together—log and timber homes included. When it comes to roofing, thanks to modern technology, your selection is not just a chance to dial in your style, but also double-down on the functionality of your home.
So, what’s new in today’s roofing market? For some expert insights, we chatted with Mark Graham, the vice president of technical services for the National Roofing Contractor Association. Whether you’re looking for options for your new home or re-roofing your current abode, options abound. Here are a few fresh ideas to consider.
Asphalt’s New Aesthetic
One update that may pleasantly surprise anybody shopping for a new roof is the progress made in asphalt shingles. No longer just simple black rectangles, asphalt and composite shingles now come in a much greater variety of colors and styles.
“Even just a few years ago, pretty much all asphalt shingles looked the same,” explains Mark. “Individual manufacturers have done a really nice job with their architectural, or what we would call ‘laminated,’ shingles, where you can get the look of wood shakes, wood shingles or even tile. It looks like something with a thicker definition in a product that is actually still an asphalt shingle.”
The Metal Movement
Log and timber-framed homes may be rooted in history, but they sure do stay ahead of the trends. One such example is the return of metal roofs, which are popular for their durability in the face of wind, heavy snow loads, penetrating rain and other elements. The folks at roofingcontractor.com report an increase in demand for metal roofing in the past year. Plus, with rising materials costs across the board, the lifetime cost of a metal roof may seem a bit more competitive than before.
“One of the interesting things about metal is the palette of colors that’s available is very broad,” reports Mark. “If somebody wants to do a traditional, dark-colored roof, or use a shade of green to replicate copper on log homes, metal can do that. But, if somebody wants to do something else – something with brick tones or even something with earth tones – I mean, there are many different shades and colors that you can choose from. You can get a little bit creative.”
Some roofing manufacturers like CertainTeed or GAF have started offering photovoltaic (PV) products, also known as solar shingles. These sleek roofing systems look like a roof and act like a roof, but offer the benefits of solar panels. Plus, it’s one integrated system — not a separate roofing material and solar product.
“The advantage of an integrated system is you don’t have two components. You have one, which makes the installation and the functionality of the product much more streamlined,” explains Mark. “If you would put a panel on a roof, you’re probably going to have a roofing contractor doing roofing work. Then you’re going to have a panel integrator installing the panels; then you’ll have an electrician doing all connections. It becomes two components and three trades, instead of one component, one trade.”
Before you get your heart set on solar shingles, you’ll have to see if it’s a fit for your property. “It’s going to make sense in some markets, and it’s not going to make sense in others,” explains Mark. Beyond geographic considerations like sun exposure, homeowners should also note that some states offer major rebates while others have serious limitations around the technology. “It’s very state and local specific,” reiterates Mark.
Whether you try out the latest cutting-edge technology or opt for something completely classic, there’s a roofing option for each and every style and need. “My recommendation to homeowners when it comes to roofing is to treat it as a major purchase,” advises Mark. “Don’t look at a roof as a commodity item. Really look at the options. There are colors, textures and so many styles and materials. If you want to get creative, go for it!”