There’s an old saying which is applicable to the roof buying process:
“Only the very rich can afford to buy cheap.”
We should make careful decisions that will provide a good return on our investments. We have to buy products that will last a long time and be beneficial, freeing us from future repair costs or replacement expenses. The very rich, however, are able to buy disposable products – because they can afford to replace them again and again when they fail to work.
When it comes to roofing, most of us need to choose a roof which will have the most return. That return can come in 3 ways:
- Increased home value
- Freedom from continuous maintenance and replacement costs
- Energy efficiency
Potential buyers of your home will also want this return on investment. This means that they will also place value on a roof that does these things.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Can the right roof pay for itself over time? The answer to this question is yes. Let’s take a look at some of the important factors.
1. Increased Home Value
Home improvement researchers have estimated that a quality roof will immediately add up to 70% of its cost to the home’s value. Studies which have looked at higher-end roofs rate those even higher in payback than a standard roof. While we’d love to stand firm on these claims, we have found that the interaction between roof cost/quality and home value is quite a bit more complicated than that.
All real estate markets are different. And, as most folks who have bought or sold a house know, two things are required to complete that transaction – a willing seller and a willing buyer. The two of those may end up “dancing” a great deal to end up at an agreed-upon price. To a large degree, the value of your home’s roof will be determined by the buyer of the home. If you have a roof that they want and appreciate, then it will increase how much they are willing to pay for the home. On the other hand, if your home’s roof looks ordinary or in need of replacement, it will reduce what they are willing to pay for the home.
Along the lines of both home value and roof aesthetics, we would advise going one step further. Drive through a few neighborhoods of higher value homes and you will quickly see that many of those homes have more distinctive roofs. Depending upon your neighborhood, you will likely find the following roof types: Slate, Wood Shakes, Tile, Metal, Dimensional Shingles, Composite Materials. These kinds of roofs hallmark higher-end houses and have become essential features if a house is to be sold at a higher price.
Today’s metal roofs can look like slate, shake, and tile, meaning that a metal roof can be a great way to enhance your home immediately through increased aesthetic appeal and value.
2. Freedom From Ongoing Maintenance and Replacement Costs
No one looks forward to roofing repairs or replacements. The cost of roofing, regardless of the kind of material being used, seems to double every 12 to 15 years. That number is being driven ever higher by the increasing cost of skilled labor.
In thinking about roof maintenance, it’s important to keep in mind that most “temporary” or “disposable” roofs have 2 lives. Both lives are fairly short but those 2 lives are a Functional Life and an Aesthetic Life. According to national studies, the Functional Life of most roofs is about 17 years. However, the Aesthetic Life is closer to 5 – 7 years before the shingles have streaked and stained and the weather has taken a toll to where they look like an “old roof.” Once they hit that point, even though the roof may continue to protect against the weather, the perception is that it is on its “last leg” and it begins to detract from the home’s overall appeal and value.
There is a funny thing about roofs – anyone who buys a home suddenly becomes a roofing expert. If the roof on the home they are considering shows any age at all such as cracks, splits, moss, or algae growth, the prospective buyer looks up at the roof and demands a discount on the house’s price because they are going to have to replace the roof before long. And, to a large degree, they are correct in doing that.
The conclusion of this is that, to add to a home’s value over the long term, a roof needs to not only be durable and long-lasting but it also needs to maintain a “just new” look that enhances the home. Metal roofs fit that bill very well.
3. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is another important aspect that will attract a prospective home buyer. Homes that are more energy efficient tend to sell faster than homes that are less efficient, and this can result in higher selling prices. Many homeowners also like roofs that can easily have solar added to them at a later time.
There are primarily 3 ways in which a roof can be energy efficient. Those are: increasing the attic ventilation along with the new roof, moving to a lighter color or more reflective roof, and adding a thermal break to minimize heat transfer through the roof system.
Increasing Attic Ventilation
Re-roofing is the perfect time to address your home’s attic ventilation. Recent research by our nation’s leading energy laboratories has focused increasingly on ventilation. It has been proven to be a more effective way to decrease attic temperatures and therefore lower cooling costs than even reflective roofing. When re-roofing your home, make sure that the soffit intake vents are clear of insulation and functioning. Also make sure that, in terms of air flow, they can support maximum exhaust vents in or near the peak of the roof.
Reflectivity, however, is still important and is an area where metal roofs out-perform other traditional roofing materials. The use of metal roofs in lighter colors or in dark colors that utilize heat-reflective pigments has allowed many metal roofs to be Energy Star compliant. The choice of these products is an easy way to make a metal roof be energy efficient.
Due to their design and installation, metal roofs can also include thermal breaks. A thermal break is basically a dead air space between two materials for the purpose of stopping conductive heat transfer (also known as “thermal bridging”). Thermal breaks are used in double and triple pane windows to stop heat transfer. The thermal break in a metal roof can be between the metal itself and the roof deck. This is naturally achieved with many of the heavily formed shake, shingle, and tile metal roofs which keep the metal up off of the roof deck. It can also be achieved by installing the metal roof on battens that lift it up off of the roof deck.
Solar Applications Finally, the durability and design of metal roofing lends itself well to eventual solar applications, and an increasing number of homeowners care about that as well. Having a home’s roof be “solar ready” can add value to the home.
While it is impossible to ever predict the exact amount of value that a new roof will add to a home, the benefits of a metal roof should be sought after by prospective home buyers. It becomes a natural conclusion, therefore, that homes with the benefits of metal roofing will sell faster and for higher value. Those benefits include:
- Freedom from future roof expenses
- Lasting beauty that stays “looking new”
- Reduced utility costs through energy efficiency and eventual solar panel installation