Across the lower tier of the United States, older homes and newer homes built to the Spanish colonial theme use terra cotta or concrete tiles. In the north, you'll find era homes with natural slate or wood shake roofs. No matter where you live, the time may come to put up a new roof.
Before leaping at replacing your roof with the same materials, it may be worth your time and money to look at the newer synthetic roofing materials. Many offer green, energy efficient alternatives. Of course, you'll need to find a roofing contractor that has experience in using products like composite slate polymers or synthetic wood shake tiles, especially a contractor that has manufacturer certifications. There are even new steel roofs that are more energy efficient than original roofing.
New Materials Are Green and Durable
Roof replacement costs vary by material, the size of your home, and whether any structural corrections must be made. Here are some examples of new products:
EcoStar makes steep-slope roofing from recycled rubber and plastics that are formed into synthetic wood shake or manufactured slate. They are said to be resistant to 110 mph winds and impact, and come with a 50-year warranty.
Best Materials in Phoenix sells synthetic Mission/Spanish Roofing tiles that look like the original terra cotta roofing. The maker claims that these tiles can reduce mid-day roof heat flux by 50 percent. Each tile weighs only 2.5 pounds.
Old House Web reports on Royal Slate shingles created from marble dust and polyester resins to resemble much heavier, old-school rock slate. They also come with a 50-year warranty.
DaVinci Roofscapes makes synthetic slate with the durability and look of natural slate, but without the weight. This is a 50-year warranteed roof, but will probably last much longer. Composite tiles come in 19 colors. They also make a "green" roofing product that is said to reduce energy costs and meet LEED requirements. The sturdy synthetic slate tiles are reportedly impervious to mold, algae, insects, curling, chipping, and fading.
It pays to look these new options over. Many synthetic tile lines have been in manufacture for over a decade and have a good track record. Your contractor will find them relatively easy to install, compared to natural products, and some products can be installed directly over asphalt shingle roofs (although tear-off may be necessary).