Oregon weather really puts our roofs to the test. In our rainy, windy environment, you want to know your roof can handle the elements. There’s so much information out there about how to choose roofing materials. The truth is, most of that advice makes assumptions about which factors are important to you. For most people in Oregon, it really comes down to:
- Durability — Will it last?
- Price — Is it affordable?
- Style — Is it consistent with your home’s appearance?
Many Oregonians also want to help protect the environment by choosing an eco-friendly roofing option.
Before you choose a roofing material, think about how you’d rank each of those 3 (and maybe 4) factors in order of importance. For example, if you want a roof that will last with minimal upkeep, durability might be your number one consideration. On the other hand, if you live in a home with a very specific aesthetic, you might place more emphasis on style.
Once you know what’s important to you, it’s time to start looking at options. Let’s dig in!
Durability: Can last 20-30 years
Style: Available in a variety of colors
Walk around almost any neighborhood in Oregon, and you’ll see plenty of asphalt shingle roofs — and for good reason. After asphalt shingles were invented in the mid-19th century, they immediately became popular because they were durable (and fire resistant), low cost, and easy to install.
Asphalt shingles are typically made from a fiberglass base. They’re then coated with a layer of asphalt and covered with weather-resistant mineral granules. Asphalt shingles hold up well in wet environments like western Oregon’s. They also look good on a wide variety of home styles. You’ll see them on 100-year-old Victorian homes, modern homes, and everything in between. Plus you can get them in many different colors and shapes!
If you think asphalt shingles are right for your home, we recommend GAF shingles that come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Durability: Can last a lifetime and beyond
Price: More expensive
Style: More versatile than you might think
Metal isn’t as popular as other roofing materials when it comes to residential roofs, but it can actually be a great option for Oregon homes. Metal roofs are tough. They’re fire resistant, moisture-resistant, and can last up to twice as long as other roofing materials. If you want a long-lasting roof with minimal upkeep, metal might just be for you.
Thanks to recent technological innovations, you can get metal roofs in a variety of styles and colors. Metal roofs can even mimic the look of tile or other more “stylish” materials. Metal roofs are also great for the environment (more on that later).
The only catch is that metal roofs are often more expensive and slightly more difficult to install. But if you plan to stay in your home for life, durability and minimal maintenance may make a metal roof well worth the investment!
Durability: Can last a lifetime
Price: More expensive
Style: Widely considered a beautiful option
Slate is a great roofing option if style and durability are more important to you than price.
Slate is a type of stone. It’s often quarried in eastern states like Vermont, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It’s a great aesthetic choice for Chateau, Colonial, and French style homes. You can even get it in different colors and shapes. Plus, slate is extremely durable and fire resistant. It holds up beautifully against heavy rains, helps keep your home cool in the summer, and makes your roof the envy of the neighborhood!
The downsides? Slate is expensive and difficult to install. It’s also heavy. Your roofer will need to make sure your roof’s structure can handle the weight load.
Human-made slate is a lighter, slightly less expensive option, though it may not be quite as durable.
Photo: David Prasad
Durability: Very durable (depending on the material)
Price: More expensive
Style: Versatile and beautiful for many home styles
Tile roofs are common on traditional Spanish Colonial and Mission style homes — especially rounded terra cotta colored tiles. Flat tile also reflects classic French and English style homes. You’ll often see these tiles manufactured out of clay and cement.
Like slate, tile roofing is very durable and fire resistant. Also like slate, tile roofs are usually expensive and heavier than other materials.
Photo: Ctd 2005
Durability: Can last 30-40 years
Style: Great for cottage, bungalow, ranch, and contemporary homes
Wood shingle and shake roofs are another popular option in Oregon. They are unique, beautiful, and fit in well with an earthy Pacific Northwest aesthetic. What’s the difference between shingles and shakes?
- Wood shingles: cut mechanically with a saw
- Wood shakes: split by hand, offering a rougher, natural look
With proper maintenance, wood roofing can last 30 or 40 years. That maintenance is extremely important in our wet environment to prevent mold, mildew, and rot. Like asphalt, it’s also a fairly inexpensive option. Wood roofing isn’t fire resistant, though, so some cities don’t allow it.
Eco-Friendly Roof Materials for Oregon Homes
Eco-friendly roof technology can make your home more comfortable, lower your utility bill, and help the environment. Here are a few of the best eco-friendly roofing options for Oregon homes:
- Metal: A metal roof reflects sunlight (a white metal roof reflects even more!), which keeps your home cool and lowers energy costs. Metal is also low-maintenance and recyclable, so it’s an excellent sustainable option.
- Recycled Shingles: Shingles made from recycled material help reduce waste. Recycled shingles can be made from tough and long-lasting materials like plastic, rubber, or even old tires!
- Wood: Wood may require some maintenance, but the natural and biodegradable material is eco-friendly and can even improve air circulation in your home.
- Reclaimed Clay or Slate Tile: Using recycled (and recyclable) materials is a great way to lower your home’s impact on the environment.
Which Roofing Material Is Right for You?
Hopefully, this post gave you an idea of which roofing material best meets your individual needs based on how much you value durability, price, and style.
Most homeowners find that asphalt shingles offer the best combination of durability and affordability. Asphalt is a hugely popular roofing material, so it’s also a great investment that adds value to your property.
Still not sure? If you live in or near Portland, Oregon, Fivecoat Roofing Inc. can help! We have more than 30 years of experience installing roofs in Oregon and would love to help you choose a roofing material for your home.
Call (503) 481-3699 today or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.