The Homeowner’s Guide To Choosing The Right Roof

roofing contractor Burke VA

It may not be the first thing you notice when you look at your home every day — or even the second — but the roof is perhaps the most important feature of your home. It keeps your home together structurally and it makes up a large part of it aesthetically. If you’re thinking about investing in roof replacement this year, you need to make sure you choose the right one for your style and needs.

With so many different types of homeowners, roofing contractors tend to offer a wide variety of styles and materials. This roofing guide will help you pinpoint the most important factors to consider when replacing your roof and sort through the different types available to you. Before you know it, you’ll be calling a variety of roofing contractors to start your roof replacement project. Whether you are located in Burke VA, Herndon VA, Montgomery County MD or anywhere in between there are several companies you can interview.


Visually, the roof represents about 40% of a home’s exterior. Whether you actively make note of it or not, the roof impacts the overall aesthetic of a house and can completely transform its look when you make any sort of change to it.

When you’re choosing the type of roofing you want for your home, remember to consider its compatibility with the rest of your home’s exterior elements. You should aim to match the type of roofing with your home’s existing architectural style. If you have a Colonial-style home, you probably want to avoid Spanish tiles for your roof. Keep in mind that many newer roofing products are made to look like original roofs. You could get fiber cement shingles that look like wood or tile, allowing you to choose a material that has the function you need with the look you want.

Longevity and Durability

This factor is often a major consideration in conjunction with the cost. Those who plan on staying in a home for several years may need to invest more in a roof made of materials that offer a long lifespan. Homeowners on a tight budget may want to save money on more affordable materials, but they could be calling up the best roofing contractor Burke VA offers again in a few years for another replacement.

Concrete and clay tile roofing will typically last for 50 years or more, offering long-term homeowners a roof that will see them through their time in the house. Slate is another long-lasting option that also offers great durability in the face of rot, mildew, and insects. On the flip side, asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials, but they have a shorter lifespan of about 20 years and are more prone to damage.

Fire Ratings

Your home should be the one place in the world where you feel completely safe. However, the threat of fires can easily negate this safety when your roof isn’t up to the job of resisting them. The Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) rate the fire resistance of roofing materials and the sheathing beneath them. These ratings range from Class A to Class C. Class A ratings mean that the roofing materials are most effective against a severe fire, Class B roofs are resistant to moderate fire exposure, and Class C roofing is only able to handle minor exposure to fires. Materials that don’t offer any protection against fire don’t qualify for a rating at all

Untreated wood shingles are one of the roofing materials that are not rated in this system, as they cannot handle any exposure to fires. If fire is an environmental hazard in your area, you should not use untreated wood shingles for your home. Town ordinances in areas with high fire risk often don’t even allow roofing contractors to install untreated wood roofs. However, concrete and clay tile roofing have Class A fire ratings. Slate also offers a Class A rating and metal roofing may have this top rating as well, depending on the deck underneath it.

Weight and Installation

The structural framing of your home likely wasn’t built to hold every type of roof. The weight of roofing materials may be too much for your home to handle, especially when combined with the weight of the substructure. Weightier materials also require roofing contractors to use a special roof structure and heavy-duty equipment to get it on top of your home.

The heaviest roofing materials are typically tile, slate, and concrete. As these are also the materials that offer impressive longevity, durability, and fire ratings, accommodating their weight is often a trade-off for these factors. If you want one of these materials over a lightweight option like asphalt shingles, you may need to reinforce your home’s framing and roof structure to ensure it can handle the weight.

No matter the materials you choose, an experienced roofing contractor Burke VA trusts will be able to do the job for you. Contact us with any questions you have about the right materials for your home or to schedule a project today.