With each passing year, more homeowners and aspiring entrepreneurs are using real estate as a long-term investment strategy. Some choose to own multi-family units, others try house-hacking and rent out a part of their home, and some opt for a short-term rental strategy. 

Regardless of your approach, managing a rental property means dealing with short-and long-term maintenance needs. Eventually, you’ll need to replace a roof.

Here’s how to choose the best roofing material for your rental property. 

Consider the Existing Structure

When determining which type of roof is right for your rental property, the first consideration is the type of building and existing structure. You may be limited based on the current roof or structure of the building when choosing a material. For example, a multi-family unit with a flat or low-grade roof will require another flat or low-grade roof. While several material options fall under this umbrella, you can’t change the core structure of the building, and use materials meant for a higher-grade roof.

The existing structure is also essential when considering heavier materials. An older building may not have the structural fortitude to support the weight of a metal or slate roof. It’s important to talk to a skilled roofing expert when deciding if you should upgrade your existing roofing materials. 

Consider Your Environment

The location and environment of your property should also be taken into consideration when choosing a roofing material. For example, places like Florida are susceptible to intense weather and could benefit from a more durable metal roof (source: www.floridaroofing.com/services). Slate roofs are considered the best for freezing climates that are prone to snow and ice.

Don’t hesitate to talk to a local roofing expert to see what they recommend for your environment. 

 ​How to Choose Rental Property Roofing Material

Consider Your Budget

Your budget will play a role in determining which roof to install on your rental property. Naturally, longer-lasting materials like metal and slate cost significantly more upfront than traditional asphalt shingles. However, these materials pay for themselves over the years by minimizing repair and replacement costs. 

If you have several rental properties, it’s worth using your negotiating skills to find a roofing contractor who will give you a deal for repeat business. Take the time to shop around and compare prices.

Consider Your Long-Term Plans

Considering your long-term plans goes hand-in-hand with evaluating your budgetary constraints. Some real estate investors choose a strategy that entails fixing up a building, filling it with tenants, and selling it relatively quickly for an increased cost (i.e., flipping the building). In this case, it makes sense to choose a more affordable, shorter-duration material like asphalt or a basic built-up roof.

If you plan on maintaining this investment property for a long time, choosing a durable, longer-lasting material is well worth the investment. A well-maintained metal roof can last 50 years or more, while composite shingles will last upward of 30 years.

Consider the Aesthetics

Aesthetics aren’t everything when choosing a roofing material, but they’re worthy of consideration. This concern is especially valid when you’re positioning your property as a luxury rental or appealing to a higher price point.

Fortunately, there are endless options when looking at aesthetically appealing roofing. Architectural shingles are a cost-effective upgrade from traditional asphalt shingles and add an elegant facade to your roof. Clay or slate tiles are stunning on hacienda or Tudor-style buildings, while cedar shake looks great on cottages and rustic short-term rentals. 

The aesthetics ultimately come down to the considerations above and your personal preferences.

When in doubt, talk to an experienced roofer who has worked on similar buildings. Consider the value of your long-term investment and network to create lasting relationships that will benefit your income-generating goals.

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