A roof is an integral part of any home, as it provides a barrier between the inside comforts and outside elements. To that extent, you never want to cheap out on materials and go with something like plastic wrap as a roof, but rather find a happy medium where you don’t have to spend too much but still get a solid covering. Let’s take a look at some of the most common materials used in roofing, and which one offers the best return on investment.
Asphalt Composition Shingles
By far, this is the most common roofing material you’ll see on American homes. The basic 3-tab shingles are relatively inexpensive, but they don’t last forever (12 to 17 years) and will have to be changed regularly. However, if you upgrade to a premium grade, then the lifespan will be considerably longer. Plus, they’re super easy to install, and there are even some states where you can recycle your old asphalt shingles.
Return on Investment: 63%
There’s something so attractive about the sight of raw-looking wood, as it instantly lends a cozy, rustic feeling to any house. Wood shingles are usually made from cypress, redwood, pine and western cedar, and are fantastic for steep roofs so the aesthetic can be shown off greatly (more of the roof is visible). The downside is wood is highly flammable and wood shingles may not be okay with your city’s fire building code; they can be treated with fire-retardant coating, but that won’t make them fireproof. As well, wood shingles do require more maintenance than other materials.
Return on Investment: Around the mid to high 60s, but going with cedar shingles offers a better ROI because of its longevity.
This is a particularly popular choice among homeowners because metal shingles or sheeting is incredibly durable, fireproof, and excellent at shedding snow and ice. They usually come in steel, aluminum or copper, but will need to be treated to fend off corrosion, rust and other weather-influenced factors that affect metal. But in return, you’ll get a roof with great cool energy efficiency capabilities, as well as a material you can recycle easily, if you ever change your mind about metal sheeting or need to change it.
Return on Investment: 87%
Clay tiles, which are actually made from a metal or composite material that is clay-based (sometimes, it’s also made from concrete), are heavy, durable and long-lasting. You have to be doubly certain your roof structure can take the load, because it’d be awful to wake up one morning to discover a couple of weak spots in your roof. They’re also fragile and easily broken, but the bright side is they’re fireproof, have good energy efficiency and insulating values, and can be made to look like other roofing materials.
Return on Investment: 88%
You’ll have to swallow hard when you learn of the difficulties and high initial costs of installing a solar panel roof, but it pays off almost entirely, we promise you that. As soon as your roof is in, you’ll start noticing a huge drop in your electric bill, with the cost of energy rising at an average of 7% a year. There are also many tax credits you’ll instantly become eligible for, immediately giving you a bit of money back on what you spent on solar panels. And if you decide that for whatever reason, you have to part with your house — and the environment-positive solar panels — your house will be snapped up in no time. There won’t be months and months of it sitting around on the market waiting to move; solar panel-roofed houses are an incredibly hot commodity.
Return on Investment: This is a bit of a tricky one to figure out, because not every state has the same support for solar panels. In a state like Hawaii, the Internal Rate of Return (how much a homeowner can expect to see back in an average year), solar panels are at a whopping 24%, with DC following close behind at 20%. In total, there are 11 other states at the 10% or higher mark (New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, California, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, Iowa, and Minnesota), while only eight states (Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, Idaho, Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota, and Mississippi) offer a lower IRR than a 5-year Certificate of Deposit.