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Is it time for a new roof?

Is it time for a new roof?

Are the shingles on your roof curling up? Are you finding grit beneath the downspouts? These two signs indicate a worn-out roof, particularly if it's 15 years old or more. Before you replace it with a new version of the same material, consider other options that may be better suited to your home.

Wood Shingles -- Many homeowners love the weathered look that wood shingles provide, plus wood can offer insulation benefits to the attic space below. However, wood roofs have a shorter life span than some other options, such as metal, and they require occasional maintenance to avoid mold, rot and insect damage.

Clay or Slate Tiles -- A terra-cotta or gray slate roof can update the look of your home's exterior. These materials also age well and can last for decades. But the upfront cost of a tile roof makes it one of the more expensive options, and its weight -- usually between 6 and 18 pounds per square foot -- often requires extra support.

Metal Sips -- From galvanized steel to aluminum or copper, metal roofs usually outlast a traditional shingle roof by at least a couple of decades. Cost can be a limiting factor, and some may not appreciate the noisy nature of the rain on a metal roof.

Synthetic Replicas -- Want the look of a gray slate roof but flinch at the cost? Many synthetic products can mimic that high-end look you prefer without breaking your budget, though the life span may not be as long as the real thing.

Asphalt or Composite Shingles -- If you've gone through the other options and none seem right for your home, consider these trusted standbys. There's a reason why asphalt shingles and composite shingles (their more modern counterpart) are the most common roofing materials in America. Both types can last about 25 years and are more affordable than most alternatives.

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