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You might think that early summer is the time to do all of those repairs or updates around the home, but actually, many roofers prefer to work in the late summer, fall and early winter months. This is largely because the season tends to be less rainy (or snowy) than other times of the year, and to a roofing company, their top priority is making sure that water doesn’t infiltrate your home as they work.

As fall fades on to winter, you might fare even better. Roofing companies typically have less work over the winter, which means that they can get to your project faster. In addition, prices on labor and sometimes even roof materials can be lower, too.

Since roofing season is almost upon us, let’s talk about the different roofing materials you can choose, and how to pick the right material for your home!

Choosing Roof Materials that Look Great

When it comes to roofing materials in the Midwest, the three most popular choices are shingle, metal and EPDM. EPDM is rubber sheet roofing, and because it is flat and fairly plain looking, it is usually only used on modern commercial buildings or contemporary homes with flat or low-sloped roofs.

Shingle or metal roofing is what you want if your home has a traditional roof. Shingles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and metal comes in both corrugated styles and shingle.

Which Roof is Easiest to Maintain?

Compared to other parts of your home, most roof materials don’t require much maintenance. Here is a breakdown of the maintenance needs you are likely to face with each material:

  • Shingle roofs are sometimes prone to growing moss, particularly if they are shaded. You’ll need to routinely remove moss growth because it can degrade the shingles, and you might need to periodically replace lifted, broken or missing shingles.
  • Metal roofs require very little maintenance. You should inspect yearly for loosened fasteners or holes in the material, making sure to patch those holes or tighten the fasteners.
  • EPDM roofing should be inspected yearly (or more often) for tears or damage. You should also check for bubbles or seams that appear to be peeling away from the roof’s substrate. Repair holes or reseal the material as necessary.

Which Roofs are the Most Durable?

To look at durability, it helps to know the overall lifespans of each type of roof. The lifespan of roof materials can vary by manufacturer and by the style of the material, but on average, shingles are expected to last 20 years, EPDM lasts between 15 and 25 years, and metal roofing lasts between 40 and 80 years. Here are some other concerns:

  • Wind can lift or remove shingles, which causes leaks, while hail, snow and ice can remove the protective coating on an asphalt shingle, making it susceptible to UV rays and moisture.
  • In hailstorms, metal roofing may suffer dents, but rarely holes, and metal roofing is also very strong against wind, although it may be damaged in a particularly extreme event. When it comes to snow and ice, you’ll need to install snow guards to protect your gutters since large chunks of ice are prone to falling off the roof suddenly.
  • EPDM roofing is vulnerable to the freeze-thaw effect. That is, the material contracts when it is cold and expands when it is warm, which can break the seals that prevent the roof from leaking. Large hailstones can also cause damage, but wind damage depends on the rating of the material; higher rated EPDM can withstand stronger winds, all the way up to hurricane force.

If you’ve never picked out roof materials before, then the decision can seem overwhelming. However, if you choose your roof according to these three guidelines — looks, maintenance and durability — your decision will be easy! Stop by one of our 20 locations and let our team guide you through the process of choosing the perfect roof for your home.