When you’re shopping for a home in the Cary NC area, we know you’ve got a long list of things to consider; we’d like to help today by sharing our best tips on what homebuyers need to know about roofs.

Among the many amenities that draw you to a home, we know roofs aren’t likely to fall very high on your list! But considering their cost and importance in protecting the home that sits beneath it, they’re an element that’s definitely worth your attention.

First concern: check for its age and how it’s wearing. Look closer if you see:

  • shingles that are starting to bend up on the outer edges (a.k.a. cupping),
  • missing shingles or pieces along the ridge at the very top of the roof,
  • or any shingles that have slipped out of place.

Heavy layers of algae or moss are worth further investigation, but not necessarily a problem.

What homebuyers need to know about roofs and popular materials

Beyond signs of age or damage, consider the type of roofing material. Different types can impact how you’ll need to budget for maintenance and/or replacement in the coming years. Some roofs are more likely to hold up well in our hot and steamy summers, icy winters, and against periodic severe weather like wind, hail, and the hurricane or tornado.

Roofing color and materials can make a big energy difference, too. According to energy.gov “standard or dark roofs can reach temperatures of 150°F or more in the summer sun. A cool roof under the same conditions could stay more than 50°F cooler and save energy and money by using less air conditioning.”

(What homebuyers need to know about roofs is that cooler ones can also last longer, so put a “+” next to roofs with lighter colors or materials with protective coatings.)

Asphalt Shingles
  • Very popular and possibly the most widely used option you’re likely to see.
  • Asphalt shingle roofs hold up well in our seasonal fluctuations, though when we get a dose of severe weather there is a risk of damage and lost tiles.
  • Does the roof you’re looking at have a textured look? That “architectural” style—one that highlights the layers in the shingles—has been a growing trend that should hold up well over time. A popular subcategory is a shingle that, from the ground, mimics slate.
  • A brand-new asphalt-shingled roof will likely last 10-15 years.
Clay Tiles
  • Not for every home type, but fairly common in NC, especially for Mediterranean style homes, the rich rustic look can certainly add perceived value and curb appeal.
  • A downside to clay tiles is cost—and, the tiles are fragile. The value is certainly there, as these roofs overall lasting far longer than asphalt tiles—100 years is not uncommon. You will, however, need to be prepared to replace at least a few most seasons, especially if a hail storm hits or you’re in a wooded area with branches and storm debris flying around.
  • A plus with clay tile, vs. the roofs that follow: they don’t fade.
Concrete Tiles
  • Similar to clay in that they’re a durable, premium roofing material, concrete tiles can give a very beautiful result.
  • A definite plus: this type of roof averages a 50-year lifespan—great for your high-ticket maintenance budget. Fading can be a problem with some colors and finishes.
  • On the down side, they also absorb more water than clay, often leading to mildew stains—so while they are less likely than clay to crack, there will still be some maintenance involved if you want to keep them clean.
Metal Roofs
  • Metal roofing is a growing trend in homes across our area, both for new construction and for replacement roofing. It’s a popular material both because of its durability and its unique look.
  • You’ll see it used for whole homes, and also mixed with shingles—especially for porches and similar smaller roof sections. In a hail storm or heavy downpour, you’ll notice the noise unless the home has been well insulated.
  • A metal roof’s lifespan is 40-70 years, though fading can certainly change its color, especially if you’re in a full-sun setting.

As you might expect, all these roof materials have their pros and cons, and appearance is certainly one for you to consider. But with an average new roof for a 2200 sq ft home in the $5,000 and $10,000—and up and up—we want to make sure that the major considerations for what homebuyers need to know about roofs are top of mind for you when it’s time to buy. For help finding your dream home, please give us a call at 919-899-4502.

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