Roofs in Hawaii endure intense sunlight, frequent rainfall, humidity, and corrosive ocean air. Considering all of those factors, picking the wrong roof leads to frequent maintenance, repairs, and early replacement.
Below are some of the most popular roofing choices, ordered by lifespan and cost.
Asphalt Shingles (10 – 30 years) are often the cheapest solution. Having been around for over 100 years, asphalt is not exactly new, however compared to wood, ceramic, and slate, it’s the new kid on an old block. The relative short lifespan of Asphalt is an important consideration as toward the end of its life, asphalt shingles show lots of wear and do not have a particularly nice aesthetic.
Rubber Shake is an interesting alternative. Though not a natural material, they are made of recycled materials so it is eco-friendly. It is also a durable and relatively cheap material.
Wood Shingles (15 – 30 years) can look excellent. Cedar is a popular choice for shingles or shakes and the wood can be treated to increase fire resistance and decrease vulnerability to pests. However, Hawaii is a tough environment for this material. Plus, they are more expensive than asphalt while having a similar life expectancy.
Metal Roof (20 – 50 years) – the ocean air can be very corosive, so uncoated steel doesn’t do well out here. However coated steel or copper will hold up well, retain its color and overall aesthetic appeal.
Ceramic Tile (40 – 100 years) roofing dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. They are expensive and fragile, but they are eco-friendly and have an historic aesthetic and long lifespan. We’re used to seeing red teracotta tiles, but ceramics can come in multiple colors and styles.
Slate (50 – 200 years) is very expensive, but is virtually unrivaled in its longevity. If you install a slate roof it’s likely to last for multiple generations. It’s not a man made material, so you don’t have to worry about artificial colors fading, an important for hawaii it is not affected by high humidity, mold or fungus.
Besides lifespan and cost, one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing roofing is the style of the house. A Spanish villa style home will fit best with ceramic tile, a modern design often jells well with metal roofing, whereas wood and slate roofs fit well with more historic European style homes.