Roofing Guide For Homeowners

When assessing the needs of your roof, there are often more details to keep track of than you feel comfortable with. This makes it hard to make important decisions without professional help. The roof is a vital part of your home and a big investment. At JTI Siding, we know it can be frustrating to spend hours on research trying to understand important roofing concepts. For example, how do you determine when you just need a roof repair or when it’s time to replace it completely? What about material? Different roofing materials have different longevity, durability, and style. A professional team of roofing contractors can offer you advice on this and every other step of the process, giving you, the homeowner, the ultimate peace of mind.

Most Common Roofing Materials

Metal Roofing

Metal is becoming more and more common as people realize how affordable and durable it is as a roofing material. Metal roofing is available in:

  • Copper,
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Zinc

Metal roofs tend to be durable and weather resistant as well as fire-proof. Contemporary homes are the best fit for metal roofs, but they can also complement bungalows and cottage-style homes.

Prices for metal roofs range based on the type of material used. The least expensive material to install is  low-galvanized metal panels, while a roof made of copper or zinc will require a large investment from a homeowner. The strength of the material correlates heavily with price per unit: galvanized steel is the cheapest. If you’re worried about durability, it makes more sense to opt for a heavy aluminum or stainless steel.

Benefits of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing comes in several different styles, is light and durable, and can be ordered in either shingles or panels. This allows for versatility in roof installation. It also provides a high level of reflection for sunlight. This reflective quality disperses heat which helps with the cost of air conditioning in North West Arkansas.

What to Watch Out For
Depending on the type of metal roof, there is a trade-off between affordability and durability. On occasion, there can be problems associated with metal roofing. These include loose nails and rust accumulation, as well as leaks and damaged seams and edges. Professional installation is important so that you can avoid these pitfalls.

Due to the high variability in different types of metal used on roofs, material costs can be as low as $90 per square foot and as high as $900 per square foot. It’s best to reach out to us for a free quote on the costs of a new metal roof.

Depending on the style and roofing material chosen, metal roofs can last from 35 to 70 years.

Wood Roofing

Years ago, wood shingles were the top choice for anyone purchasing a new roof. Today, this roofing material is not as popular; however, wooden roofs still have some advantages. They’re built from natural materials, so there’s little impact on the environment, and wooden roofs these days are built from rot-resistant wood such as cedar and redwood.

Wood shingles are still the primary choice of homeowners with historic homes, who are looking to keep that rustic, historic aspect in a new roof. In addition, many homeowners simply prefer the natural look of wood shingles, which age to an attractive gray. When installing a wooden roof on your home, make sure the wood shingles are treated to become fire-resistant, especially in the south. Some regional fire codes don’t allow wood shingles on private homes.

Benefits of Wood Roofing
Wood and wooden shake roofs are lightweight, less expensive than some materials, and offer a natural-looking aesthetic for historical homes.

What to Watch Out For
For the price, wood doesn’t have a very long lifespan when compared to other roofing materials and can be more susceptible to fire and rot. Common repairs are needed on wooden roofs. This includes replacing wood shingles that rot due to moisture and old age. (Rot-resistant wood, while more durable, will still rot over an excessive period of time.)

$110 to $180 per square.

20 to 30 years.

Asphalt Shingles

By far the most common type of roofing that American homes are equipped with, asphalt shingles give homeowners versatile options and great value. Asphalt shingles are available in many colors to help you find a perfect match for your home’s exterior.

The only time that asphalt shingles aren’t recommended is in cases of flat horizontal roofs or roofs with a very mild slope. Since much of shingle roof durability comes from overlapping shingles, drenching rain can get between shingles and make them susceptible to leaks. Almost all architectural home styles that have a sufficient degree of slope on the roof can be covered well by an asphalt shingle roof.

The two most common materials that asphalt shingles are made from are:

Organic Material – Organic asphalt shingles are reinforced by an organic paper backing. They have a tendency to wear out more quickly than fiberglass asphalt shingles, but they are more environmentally friendly.

Reinforced Fiberglass

Three-Tab or Architectural: What’s the difference?

Three-Tab shingles have cut-outs running along the bottom of them, giving the illusion that there are three different shingles, when there is really just one.

Architectural shingles consist of a larger quantity of asphalt, giving them a slight curvature. Although the difference in the two is subtle, architectural shingles have a tendency to be more expensive than the three-tabbed variety.

Benefits of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles offer versatility in color and style, and are one of the least expensive roofing styles common today.

What to Watch Out For
Fiberglass asphalt shingles are made of petroleum, hence, this product is harmful for the environmental. On the other hand, organic shingles don’t last long, often wearing out before their estimated lifespan. Neither type of asphalt roof offers the durability of some other roofing materials.

$50 to $150 per square.

15 to 30 years, depending on proper maintenance and specific asphalt used.

Clay and Concrete Tile Roofing

Clay and concrete tile is a durable and popular choice for a roof material, especially in certain regions of the country. Although clay or concrete roofs in Northwest Arkansas are rare, if your home’s architectural style is inspired by the Mediterranean, Spain, or the Southwest, a tile roof may be the variety that best complements your home’s aesthetic qualities.

Clay tiles have a pleasant orange color and can add texture to a roof by giving it a ribbed or scalloped design. Concrete tiles are slightly less expensive and gray in color. While they don’t offer the same benefits to your roof’s appearance as clay tiles, concrete tiles are just as far as durable.

Benefits of Clay Tile Roofing
Tile roofs are attractive, durable and long-lasting. They protect against the elements and are non-flammable.

What to Watch Out For
In terms of the range of available roofing materials, clay and concrete tile is one of the most expensive options. Also, both materials are much heavier than their asphalt, wood, slate, and metal counterparts, which may require additional steps to install them correctly.

Concrete and clay tiles start between $325 and $550 per square.

30 to 45 years

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is an older style of roofing that isn’t used much in the present, but it’s historically one of the most visually pleasing styles of roof on the market. Commonly seen on colonial and European-inspired homes, slate roofs are expensive. The shingles are heavy and can only be installed by trained professionals. Not every roofing company will even deal with slate roofs. JTI Siding will.

Benefits of Slate Roofing
Slate comes in a variety of colors, allowing the homeowners select a color that best matches their home’s exterior. Slate tiles are heavy and durable. This type of roof is graded to last a very long time, assuming proper maintenance is undertaken. Slate is also easy to recycle, making it a sustainable roofing material.

What to Watch Out For
A drawback to their durability, slate shingles are excessively heavy. Since slate is often imported, it takes trusted professionals both to vouch for its quality and to install it safely. Slate shingles are among the most expensive of available roofing options.

Slate tiles start at $550 per square and can increase based on the source and the quality of the slate used.

Lower-end slate can last 40 years or more, while the most expensive are sometimes graded to last over 100 years.

Synthetic Polymer Roofing

Synthetic polymer roofing is a material that is made to resemble some of the roofing materials mentioned above. Because polymers like rubber and plastic can be used to create an inexpensive, durable replica of many of the other roofing materials, they are becoming a more popular choice as more and more are installed.

Benefits of Synthetic Roofing
Synthetic polymer roofs are affordable and can be made to look like almost any other material.

What to Watch Out For
As synthetic material has only been used on roofs for a relatively short period of time, its durability and resistance to natural elements, specifically in Northwest Arkansas, are still in question.

The material starts at $150 per square depending on the style you are choosing to replicate as this affects the complexity of the design and the thickness of the material.

We don’t really understand this yet as the material is too new to have any real sense of its lifespan or how well it will hold up in our environment in Northwest Arkansas.


JTI Siding serves customers throughout the Northeast Arkansas, including Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale

Why Do Roofs Fail?

Now that you know all there is to know about different roofing materials, maybe you’re wondering why roofs often last for less than their estimated lifespan. There are several reasons, but two stand out above all else:

I. Poor Installation or Materials

This is one of the key reasons why you need a professional, experienced company with an excellent local service record, like JTI Siding and Construction, to handle your roofing installation. When done poorly, a new roof can be a huge waste of money. You need a company who has reputable sources of materials, as well as a team of roofing installers who know the intricacies involved in installing different styles and types of roofs.

Here’s what can happen if you don’t have one or the other or both:

  • Blisters: shingle roofs blister when air gets underneath the surface as a result of low-quality installation or faulty materials.
  • Leaks, cracks and weak spots can result from poor material quality or roofers who aren’t experts in their industry.

II. Neglect

When you don’t have your roof repaired or at least inspected at certain points during its lifespan, weak spots that start out small can threaten the structural integrity of your roof. This is why it’s imperative to hire a team of experts to handle your roofing needs, whether you’re just starting to explore your options or it’s time to choose a style and material for a new roof installation.

The Bottom Line

You’ve read a lot about roofing, including why it’s important to hire professionals for your roofing jobs as well as the most common roofing materials, their upsides, drawbacks and other important considerations. It’s a lot to digest. At JTI Siding and Construction, we get it.

That’s why our team’s mission is to be an expert resource to guide you through the process of choosing a new roof. It’s a huge investment, and we want to give you the options, advice, and insight you need to handle the process confidently.