If there is one prediction for 2017 in terms of roofs, it’s that there will be more of them being built next year. Construction on new homes is expected to rise, and each of these homes will need a roof. The styles, materials, and use of the roofs will be aimed towards sustainability and energy efficiency even more so than they were in 2016. We’ll still see affordable roofing materials and solar panels, but living roofs will be a much more common—and beautiful—sight.
It’s a common misconception that once the roof is built, there’s very little you can do to update or change it. Updating a roof renovation project is definitely a bigger project than updating your windows, and isn’t a quick fix. But if 2017 is the year you want to replace your roof or install solar panels—or both–these trends and predictions are sure to be helpful for your renovation. Whether you’re building a new home, raising your roof, or replacing an older roof, here are our predictions for the top roofing trends of 2017.
Gutters: The Unglamorous Roofing Accessory
First, let’s talk about the gutters that go around your roof. There is nothing glamorous about gutters, yet their practicality cannot be denied. In addition to moving rainfall away from your home’s foundation—and basement, if you have one—gutters also help collect rainwater for you to use later. Stored in rain barrels, the water can be used for your lawn and garden in dry months, lowering your water bill. Depending on your location and your home builder, gutters may come with your home automatically. In addition to saving your foundation and possibly saving you money on water bills, gutters keep rainwater from “waterfalling” off your roof and into your garden or yard, creating trenches. As climates shift, more people will see the need for this unglamorous yet practical roofing accessory in 2017.
Asphalt Shingles & Other Roofing Options in 2017
Asphalt shingles are still a popular material for roofing because they are affordable, lightweight, and easy to install. However, their lifespan—approximately 7 to 15 years depending on climate—is the shortest of most of the options. Roofing tiles are steadily gaining popularity as we wrap up 2016 and enter 2017. This is primarily because of their appearance and their mid-range price point. They do last significantly longer than asphalt shingles—anywhere from 20-25 years—but your roof may require structural support because they are heavier than shingles. Similar to concrete tile, slate roofs are a favorite going into 2017 because they are considered the most durable. Yes, they are also the most expensive, but because they are expected to last longer, it may save you money. Talk to a roofing contractor if you’re curious about exploring your options.
Green roofs, or living roofs, offer a way for homes to grow greenery and vegetation on their roofs. If you want an eco-friendly roof and you’re not planning on installing solar panels right away, a green roof may be an option for you. Mostly found in Europe, green roofs are becoming a source of pride for big cities in the U.S. and they are sprouting up more and more across the country. What’s more, cities such as Portland, OR and Washington, D.C. even offering incentives to install—or plant— them. Even Chicago’s city hall has a green roof, which helps keep energy bills down during the summer by helping to cool the building.
No matter your aesthetic, this could be a very cool thing to do in 2017. Green roof professionals will come out to your home and help determine which roof is best for you, depending on your region and your style of home. You can plant nearly anything you like, but keep in mind that native, self-seeding, flowers and grasses are the easiest to maintain. Living roofs are great options for those who want a garden but don’t necessarily have space for them on the ground.
The technology involved in installing a living roof includes a thick waterproof membrane to protect your home, and the roots and drainage systems are taken into consideration as well. This may be a better option for newer homes, depending on how much structural support is necessary to support the roof.
Solar Panels in 2017
While not technically a roofing trend, we’ve included this one because most homeowners will install solar panels on their roofs more often than anywhere else on their property. Solar panel technology is continuing to improve and installation is more common in cities across the country. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, over a million homeowners can boast that they use solar energy to power their homes, and that is expected to double in the next two years!
For many people, their energy bills are increasing every month, making solar panels an attractive option. And while the initial investment may put people off, there are state and federal loans available to people who install solar panels on their property, and your city may also offer financial incentives. Your solar panels will eventually pay for themselves just in energy savings—and sooner than you may think!
If you’re thinking of installing solar panels, it’s important that you have a contractor inspect your roof first. Your roof should have at least 10 years of life left, and if that’s not the case you should renovate your roof first and then install solar panels. If this is your situation, talk to your contractor and get their thoughts on the best roofing materials for your home and future solar panels.